Postponing yesterday’s Clermont visit permitted today’s rain free inspection. We found that most colonies continue to be queenright with reasonable brood patterns in all three stages – egg, larva and capped.
The two colonies that were deemed queenless at our last visit appear to have accepted the nuc that was incorporated into them using the newspaper technique. The newspaper had been completely removed from the area exposed to bees. The remaining paper, outside the exposed area was removed as part of the inspection. Both colonies now appear to be queenright.
One additional colony recorded as possibly queenless at our last visit got the last five frame plywood nuc combined into it. The extra three frame spaces were back-filled with a two-frame space internal feeder and one frame of foundation.
There were three five-frame nucs that were still two supers. This configuration is believed to be less than optimum for overwintering. One additional five-frame super was added to each of these colonies bringing the super count to three and the frame count to thirteen (due to the two-frame space feeder that was also added). The frames in these additional supers were from frozen reserves and contain both capped and uncapped food resources. With some additional fall feeding, these nucs should be ready for winter.
A discussion occurred at our June 25th visit about extracting honey from partially capped frames. To add some valid data to this question a honey refractometer was used to sample uncapped cells, capped cells and burr comb honey between supers. The results were mixed. Several samples were at or above the suggested 18% maximum moisture level and several were below the suggested level.
After honey supers are removed, the colonies will be adjusted to the four super overwinter configuration. Each colony will also have a two-frame space feeder added. Mite treatment is the next major activity for our Clermont colonies.