June 12th: Adding Second Box and Top Feeder

6:12:15 - 01 6:12:15 - 02

On June 9th, I had pulled frames and saw that there were capped brood all the way out to the inner side of frame 8.  I thought it was time to add a second box for fear that they might start feeling cramped and swarm.  I ordered two 6 & 5/8″ unassembled, medium boxes, in cypress, from Kelley Beekeeping.  They were shipped UPS ground, and were supposed to be delivered today, but there was a train derailment, thus delaying them.  So, I purchased a medium hive body from Murdoch’s with 10 frames with plastic cell (wax coated) foundation.  I wasn’t happy with either of those choices, but that’s all that was available at short notice.

I had read online, by some beekeeper somewhere, that he had had no trouble getting the bees to draw wax on the plastic-based foundation if he sprayed sugar water on the foundation with a little lemon grass oil in it.  So I did that.  I also added the top feeder back on to encourage them to move up through that new foundation.  I used organic cane sugar and put a little ascorbic acid in it to make it more acidic.  (Honey has a pH of 4.2, cane sugar has a pH of 6.)  In addition, I put a few drops of lemon grass oil in the sugar water (I put the drops in the dry sugar first).

I plan to check the hive in a few days to see if they’re up in the new box, on the new frames.  I will probably do that when my cypress hive bodies come in and I swap one out for the white-painted pine box I got at Murdoch’s.

I’m also planning to order frames and 100% beeswax foundation (which I will have to learn to cross-wire with John Babb’s help).  I plan to order 20 of these and will swap them out for the plastic-based foundation frames as soon as possible.

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