1 This is Carlos getting a newly painted (Bedford Gray) beehive ready to receive a colony of bees. He's placing the frames into a brood super.
2 The frames, which are made of wood, are cleaned thoroughly and reused.
3 A sheet of foundation wax is added to the frame. The bees use this foundation wax to build their honeycomb upon.
4 The foundation wax is slipped into grooves on the frame.
5 A strip of wood is added to secure the wax.
6 The strip is carefully nailed in place.
7 More nails are added to the side.
8 The frames fit snugly in the super.
9 D.J. Haverkamp, of Bedford Bee Honeybee Service, arrived to guide Carlos in the checking and splitting process.
10 The new empty hive was loaded up and transported to the existing beehives.
11 D.J. fueled the smoker while Carlos opened the hive. The third person is Nora Kerrich, a student at Horace Greeley High School, who is interning with D.J.
12 Carlos lifted the inner cover and gave the bees a generous smoking, which calms the bees. The smoke masks alarm pheromones that are released by guard bees when the hive is opened.
13 The first order of business is to inspect the hive, ensuring that there is a queen laying eggs. A hive functions with just one queen. If a second queen is made, she could swarm from the hive, taking half of the bees with her.
14 D.J. liked what he saw here. There is newly capped honey around the edges of the frame. The darker cells in the center contain brood, or new bees, being born.
15 D.J. pointed out a queen cell, which was empty. He felt that the queen in it had recently swarmed from the hive.
16 When worker bees decide to make a new queen, either because the old one is weakening, or was killed, they choose several small larvae and feed them with generous amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells.
17 This is some of that royal jelly, which triggers the development of the queen, including her important ovaries needed to lay eggs.
18 During hive inspection, you lose a small portion of bees. The white objects are bee larvae, which were forming in burr comb built between the frames and exposed when the frames were removed.
19 Each frame in the upper super was inspected and it was time to move down into the brood super.
20 Another smoking - The smoker operates with a bellows attachment, feeding air to the smoldering fire within.
21 Carlos cleaned off more burr comb from the tops of the frames.
22 D.J. saw plenty of eggs in the cells, so the queen has been actively laying.
23 D.J. was excited by this frame. The cells on the left contain drones, or males, and the ones on the right are worker bees. So organized!
24 You can actually see nurse bees feeding the drone larvae before capping the cells.
25 When conditions are favorable for swarming, the queen will start laying eggs in queen cups. These swarm cells hang from the bottom of the frame.
26 A fully constructed queen cell has a peanut-like shape and texture.
27 Upon further inspection, D.J. was thrilled to see a newly emerged queen. The bees will have to sort out which queen will reign.
28 Moving deeper into the hive.
29 So many bees!
30 Putting the hive back together, D.J. instructed Carlos to gently sweep the bees from the upper honey super frames into the lower brood super in case the queen was among them.
31 After sweeping the bees, a queen excluder was placed over the brood super. The queen is too large to pass through and will no longer have access to the honey super, which is now delegated entirely to honey.
32 The brood being born in the honey super will leave those cells and those cells will soon be filled with honey.
33 Putting the hive back together
34 It was decided that the third hive would be split in two. The empty brood super was positioned next to the hive.
35 D.J. removed the center frames.
36 And replaced them with active frames from the hive.
37 He put the empty frames into the original hive and turned it so that the hive entrances faced one another.
38 The process was repeated with the second brood super.
39 The hives were closed. The bees will figure out which hive to call home and if all goes according to plan, each hive will have a queen and eggs will be laid. If no eggs are found after a few days, D.J. will introduce another queen into the hive.
40 Nora, Carlos, and D.J. and the fascinating world of honeybees!