Checking in on the Russians

They’ve been in their new homes at Lemoine Point Farm for exactly a week, and boy have they ever moved in!

In case you’re not aware, a nucleus hive (or nuc) is the preferred method for selling colonies in Ontario. It’s a box with four, normally deep, frames: 2 or three frames of brood and a frame of nectar or honey. It also has a laying queen and roughly 10,000 bees. You buy one from another beekeeper, take it to your yard, move the whole works into a full size brood box and let them do what they do best.

These are our first Russian hives and I really hope they continue like this. Each nuc went into a deep brood box along with 6 brand new frames with foundation starter strips and “wired” with 40lb-test monofilament fishing line. In a week, every single colony has drawn out four more frames of comb, each roughly ½ complete. All of that wax is loaded with eggs too. In some cases it looks like the queen was cracking the whip to get the workers to build comb faster so she could keep laying! The comb is beautiful and straight too.

They seem to like the fishing line as well. Last summer we noticed in a number of hives that the bees seemed to be almost avoiding the wires. A lot of new comb was built so that it barely touched the wires instead of the wire being incorporated into the comb. Other beekeepers saw the same thing. Whether it had something to do with the extreme heat last year or what it was, we don’t know. So, we’re trying out high-strength nylon fishing line this year and so far it seems to be working.

The real test will be how it holds up when extracting from honey frames, but we have’t gotten to that point yet. I’ll tell you this, though: it’s FAR easier to work with than steel wire! 🙂

Bee beauty picture!

Isn’t she gorgeous? She’s huge and that white dot (meaning she was born in 2016) makes it so much easier to find her.


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