Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What I learned at the "Ed"-ucation Day

The education part of the yearly picnic is always an opportunity to garner some more knowledge of beekeeping.

A little tidbit of information I learned was that drawn out frames rather than foundation frames should be used to replace the frames of brood and food removed from a colony during a split. I learned this within minutes of arriving, well before the education session had begun. Ed was asking how my split went, and commented that I shouldn't have replaced frames of brood with frames of foundation, and frames of foundation should be kept together rather than distributed within the box. Sure enough, during the education session Bee Inspector Bill Stagg elaborated on much the same thing. Double whammy time.

I thought I was being crafty by spreading the foundation out, since a frame of foundation will often mirror the drawn out frame beside it, and I thought bridge comb would be avoided if two foundation frames were not alongside each other. I don't feel quite as guilty about placing foundation for some of the frames in the split. In the wild, a swarm would more often than not need to build their own comb and that is the condition a split is supposed to recreate.

Another thing I took home his year was the difference between a queen cup and a queen cell. I always assumed that the truncated, rounder cups were just smaller misshapen cells. I hadn't considered them as an early stage of a  developed queen cell, perhaps because of the difference in shape. Since the cups were empty, I figured that it never had a queen, or that the queen had been killed. Now it seems obvious to me that the cell needs to be constructed from some smaller form and that the form is in the shape of a cup. [ Notice how I wrote "that the form" instead of "that that form" to avoid a double "that". That is because when you do that that is distracting to read; that is how I feel about that.]
Blurry picture of queen larva in queen cell


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