Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Introducing more color into my apiary with a purple hive!

As proud as I was of my temporary hive (which I made from two honey supers and two bottom boards), I knew it was time to put my swarm in a permanent home. They had been in the temporary digs since Saturday, April 7th, so they were due for some real estate they could call their own. So after my weekend trip to Triad Bee Supply, and two healthy coats of paint, it was time to install the new hive.

Check out the new hive set-up! Yep, purple! As you've probably noticed by now, all of my hives have a different color, and while I was at the paint store, I saw this pleasing shade of purple. Okay, maybe it is really more of a shade of lavender. But I really like it. I saw a really hot shade of red I liked, but I didn't choose it because I hear the bees only see it as black. So I'm sticking with lighter colors. And I have another hive that needs painting, and I already have the paint. In honor of the ladies, my next colony will reside in a pink hive. My apiary is definitely becoming a splash of color!

In the time that this colony has been re-hived, you can see that the queen has been one busy lady. She hasn't missed a lot of time in laying eggs as long as she has a place, and this frame came from another colony the same day I caught them (as you know, you always put a frame of brood with swarm catches so they will stay put). This is all new capped brood. And the other side of the frame was just as covered. So for an old queen, she's still got it!

And not only capped brood, but take a look at all the c-shaped larvae! As you can see (as with all my pictures, click for a larger view), all the larvae are pearly white and glistening which is an indicator of a healthy colony. This colony is well on its way to doing extremely well. In addition to the great looking larvae, most of the drawn frames were filled with a mixture of eggs, larvae, capped brood and the essentials to make honey (nectar and pollen). And nine out of the ten frames were fully drawn, so I added a second deep hive body and ten new frames. Of course I spritzed them with sugar syrup to attract the bees. By the time I was closing up shop, they were already working their way up.

By the way, I did a quick check of the blue hive and things looked great there too. I found new eggs and larvae, so I know the colony is queenright. That wasn't the case for the last few weeks. I'm beginning to think that this may have been the hive that swarmed instead of the yellow one. Why? Because the same day the swarm happened, I found eggs and brood in every hive but the blue one. I know that queens will stop laying before a swarm in preparations to leave, so I'm inclined to think that maybe it was the blue one after all. For every week I checked after the swarm, I could not find eggs or a queen. I was even beginning to worry that it may develop a laying worker. Now all of a sudden, I have eggs and brood. So maybe I have a new queen in residence and she's back after her mating flight and already working? Could be. The bees were extremely calm and things were running as usual, so I think things are fine there. My only concern is a few small hive beetles I've seen there so I'm going to start a treatment soon.

Looks like I have one happy (and colorful) apiary!


  1. Nice colour Mark.I'm sure your bees love it.I like all the colours you've chosen and by the way your paint skill is great.Keep up the good work.Greetings from Greece.(Dimitris)

  2. Good paint job Mark. I've done much the same. They say it works to prevent drifting or assists in better home identification. I'm envious of your weather and brood production. In Vancouver we are still cool and wet and anxiously awaiting good foraging weather.

  3. Dimitris: Thanks you for the compliment! Actually I'm not the best painter, but I try! The bees have enjoyed it I believe. Thank you for stopping by and hope all is well in Greece!

    Danielle: Thanks! I've heard that too, that the bees do much better with colored hives. I've even seen hives with identifying symbols over the entrances. The weather has been been gorgeous. A very early spring which now seems to be going into summer. Good luck with foraging. Keep us posted!

    Bethany: Thank you too! It is definitely a sea (or apiary) of colors! Hope all is well your way!

  4. The hives all look very handsome together. I don't paint my hives, only the corners via the advice from my beekeeping teacher. Serge Labesque

  5. Thanks, Mil! Keep me posted on your new blog progress!



Thanks for visiting Mark's Bees. Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas on my posts. I'm always open for ideas from other beekeepers.

All comments are moderated to eliminate spam so that's why they may not appear instantly.

Thanks again and please visit often!