I haven't had the time, help or ambition to attempt fixing all the cross comb that I discovered during the last inspection of Green Hive, but I thought I would at least give them all a quick peek. I also needed to remove the feeder from the Top Bar Hive. Well, nothing is ever as easy as you think it will be!
Upon removing the first few bars from the TBH I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see no real progress in comb building. There were not many bees present, although the feeder was empty. I picked up the empty jar and this is what I discovered.
Oh crap. I instantly thought I discovered why the hive was so weak, Small Hive Beetles! Well, come to find out after a little research, these are NOT SHB. These are common "Sap Beetles" or "Picnic Beetles". They are drawn to rotting fruit or fermenting liquids. In this case, it was the sugar syrup from the feeder.
Sadly, after dodging one bullet, I was struck with another. I removed a few more bars to open the hive up and I noticed quite a few yellow jackets and other types of wasps flying around my hive tool and inside the hive. As I looked deeper into the hive I saw a lot of wasps and few bees. I worked my way up to the front of the hive to see signs of a recent battle.
I ordered an American Foulbrood and a European Foulbrood test kit from Dadant and the results of those tests will likely determine if I need to burn the hive (with AFB) or attempt to save the hive in some manner if the tests come back negative.
This hive is going bonkers. I wanted to just take a quick look to see if they had made any progress on the medium super I added during the last inspection and a FULL box of bees were looking up at me when I opened the lid! I did not pull the frames but seeing bees looking up from between EVERY frame gave me a great boost after the TBH. I wasn't prepared for this and I had to run back into the pole barn to grab another super! Two honey supers on now and I'm thinking I have a chance of taking some honey from this hive this year!
I finished this hive by placing some bottle caps onto the top cover to prop it up a bit. This is suppose to allow for additional ventilation in the hive. I really should have done this back in July when the weather was in the high 90's but I kept forgetting.
I also keep forgetting to remove the entrance reducer. It is now stuck down really well with propolis and I have four heavy boxes piled on top if it! Hmmm, maybe I can take it off during the NEXT inspection. If I don't forget again =)
Although this hive is behind Green Hive, I am pleased with their progress. It looks like they have drawn out about 50% of the new box I put on during the last inspection. I am not expecting to harvest any honey from this hive this year. I'll end this report with a nice close up of the bees. Smile girls!!