Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Nucleus Checkup

Robert, Joe, and Alex take a look at the nucleus colonies, derived from the Braddock feral colony removed several weeks back. The colonies, which were given Hawaiian queens from where Christina is spending the year, are doing quite well. Well enough that later that evening Meredith and Alex took two nucs to the Pittsburgh Zoo--their new home!

We also put in a new shipment of queens into some of Robert and Jennie's own nucs.

Meredith stands tall against Robert's skyscraper hive experiment, which currently weighs in at 200 lbs.
Jennie and Alex say goodbye as we load up the two nucs headed to their paradise home at the Pittsburgh Zoo.


  1. What's the goal of the skyscraper experiment?

  2. Hey Jeff--
    We're using "experiment" in its broadest sense. There's a strong nectar flow on right now and so we "supered up" that hive because it's also a very strong hive right now. We purchased an old scale from a former beekeeper and placed this hive (before supering up) on the scale. We can watch it get heavier with nectar and honey--very exciting! I'll add, though, that piling supers up this high poses some problems, not the least of which is lifting heavy honey-filled supers from that high up. That will be Robert's job! :) Great question. See you soon! Jennie

  3. The thought behind tall, 3 hive body colonies like this one is, if the beekeeper can suppress swarming by not restricting the brood nest and by being careful to break up the overhead honey "crown" above the brood, the bees will generate a very large population. Since making honey is a numbers game, these big colonies can make a lot of honey. I did this last year with this same hive and it did real well. The bees will probably supercede the old queen themselves as she runs out of eggs after the effort. Remember that a single large colony will produce far more surplus honey than a couple medium ones of the same total population. Robert

  4. HEY-- just found your site and I have a question that we're pretty concerned about here. We get honey from a farm out in Slate Lick. They told us they haven't had honey in a long time. They're getting concerned.

    Are you folks noting an even more stark drop in the number of bees lately?

    Laura Lindsay

  5. Hi Laura,

    I know of some beekeepers in Westmoreland County who had a rough season last year and didn't get much honey. Right now, there's a very strong nectar flow on where we are and so we're very hopeful that this will be a good season. If you have more questions, feel free to email us at