Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter pollen...

It was in the low 50's today so I went out to watch the bees for a bit this afternoon and much to my surprise they were all bringing in pollen. I have no idea where they are getting this yellow/grey stuff but they are all on it. Maybe after a little research I'll be able to come up with a source.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Use the brush... Get the sting!

Seems the weather is deciding it's time to be normal for the next 10 days so I took advantage of todays 65 degree weather to steal some honey and do look in inspections. All the hives were storing honey and even the orange and blue hive had some capped stores. I didn't pull any frames but from looking in I think everything is all set for the winter. I took 2 medium supers from the white hive and placed one on the blue hive and one on the orange hive. Hopefully with this and what they have stored already they'll be fine. I do plan to make and add some candy boards before January to at least the orange and blue hives. I probably should have done it already but haven't had the time to get around to it. With this silly weather I'm sure I'll get a warm day between now and mid winter to get them added. I'll keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. Making the candy boards looks like fun. I'll make sure to share it here with a video or at least some photos.

The stings... Took 2 (one in the hand and one in the fore head) while using the bee brush to get them off the frames of honey I stole from the white hive. They really don't like the bee brush and I try not to use it if I don't have to. I was actually surprised I didn't get more but they waited until I had only 2 out of the 20 frames left to show me their displeasure. I think that brings the sting count up to a total of 5 for the year. Not bad considering I don't wear the jacket/suit/gloves. I'll buy some escape boards and bee-go over the winter so I don't have to run them off the honey next year frame by frame with the brush.

Oh... I also reduced all the entrances to the smallest hole for winter. I'm not planning to use the bottom inserts unless we get some really cold and windy days. I'm going to hit up a few of the guys I go to for advice though and see what they say. I'm thinking I may go ahead and add them to the orange and blue hive just because they aren't as strong as the other 2 hives. Better safe than sorry I guess and I'd like both of these to be around next spring. They haven't been doing as good as the Italians and Carniolans but the coloring on these 2 strains makes me want to keep them around.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beautiful day...

Highs in the 50's, bright and sunny, and the girls are working the feeders. Happy to report the orange hive was able to handle the 3 nights of below freezing temps that hit us suddenly. Hopefully they'll be able to store enough syrup and make it through winter with a borrowed honey super from the white hive. The white hive and orange hive have a good amount of activity at the entrance but not much from the blue (15 or so hanging on the porch interested in something) or the stained hive. I made a fresh batch of 2:1 last night and added the juice from 2 lemons to lower the pH of the 4 gallons of syrup when it cooled.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I guess they heard me...

It was a nice 70 degrees today so I spent the evening watching the bees. All of the hives were pretty quiet except for the orange hive... Those girls were HARD on the feeders and pollen patties today. It was a traffic jam at the hive entrance and the feeders were swamped with the peach colored ladies. I'd guess at least 90% of the bees at the feeders today were the peach colored cordovans from the orange hive. It was nice to see. Either they know the cold snap is coming tonight or they've been reading my blog! LOL ;^)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nice day for an inspection before the rain and cold...

Did a quick inspection on all of the hives this afternoon. It's been around 70 today and sunny so I decided to take a peek before the rain and chilly weather that's predicted sets in.

White Hive
Looked great as always. Lots and lots of activity from the entrance and lots of bees inside. I added another empty medium super to give them something to work on. They've filled 3 mediums so far and all of it's capped. They are starting to back fill the brood nest also. I figured if they can't finish it before the cold weather sets in I'll at least get some drawn wax.

Stained Hive
The entrance is pretty quiet but lots of bees inside. They are filling the supers with syrup and have some capped stores. These seemed to shut down and go into winter mode before the other hives.

Blue Hive
I was able to find the queen in this one and did notice a few new bees. I'm guessing they didn't supersede her or the new queen from the queen cells I saw on last inspection didn't make it back. They've went into shut down it looks like as I found very little brood. They are starting to store syrup and pollen but not near as much as I believe they will need for winter. Hopefully the weather stays nice and I'll to keep the syrup out for them and the other hives.

Orange Hive
Found the queen and some new bees but I didn't see any brood. This hive also has hardly any stores. There's barely any pollen or syrup being stored which boggles my mind because the entrance is active and I see a lot of the cordovan colored bees at the feeders. I've heard these bees are a hungry strain but I'm puzzled why they don't seem to be planning ahead. Maybe this cold snap we're supposed to get near the end of the week will light a fire under them. There's been plenty of 1:1 and pollen patties out for the last 2 months so I can't understand why they aren't hoarding like bees are supposed to. I plan to make candy boards for all the hives and steal two supers from the white hive of capped honey for this and the blue hive in the next few weeks so if they make it through the cold snap hopefully this will get them through winter. I'm concerned though as I really like the coloring of these bees. If they don't make it I'll try them again next spring and see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The cold I'm hoping...

Checked the orange hive this afternoon and found 200+ bees dead on the ground in front of the hive. Not sure what's going on but hoping it has something to do with the cold and rain we've been having for the last week. All the hives were active today but the orange hive was the only hive with the dead bees out front. Tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 70's so I'll do an inspection. Just hoping it's not something else going on with them. I'll probably take the top super off the orange hive also if there's no signs of them drawing comb in it. No sense in having the extra space to heat if they aren't utilizing it.

I feel like we're in for a short fall this year so I'll get the feeders on the blue and orange hive tomorrow so I can hopefully give them enough to get them through the winter.

I went ahead and put the 2 hive top feeders I have onto the orange and blue hive. I gave them each a small pollen patty as well as 1 little more than a quart of 1:1.

Orange Hive
I pulled out 2 frames for a quick check and they were very light. No stored honey, syrup, or pollen. Also I could see dead bees on the bottom of the hive so I removed the super from the bottom board and found it covered in dead bees and larva. I swept everything out and put everything back together with the feeders on top. There's thousands of them now on the ground in front of the hive. I'll get a photo of them tomorrow and put up.Very concerned and hope to find out what happened. I figure it was they either got too cold and didn't have enough food to keep the hive warm (I may have added the top deep super too early and it was just too much space for them to maintain) or I some how missed a serious robbing event. There is still a LOT of bees in the hive and although I didn't check more than 2 frames I did see brood. Off to beesource to see what the folks say...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Miserable last few days...

We've been having some chilly weather the last few days (lows near 40 and highs near 50) so I decided to walk out and check on the hives. I need to get into them as soon as it's nice enough. The rest of the week is supposed to be better so hopefully Wednesday I can open them up and take a look.

Orange Hive
Some dead bees and a larva on the landing board. No activity at all from the entrance and just a couple of bees hanging out on the front of the hive. They looked pretty cold (high today is 50).

Blue Hive
No activity either. One bee did come out to see what I was doing but that's it. No dead ones like with the Sunkist though.

Stained Hive
No activity at all. No dead bees on the board either though.

White Hive
Good activity from the entrance. They aren't as active as usual but they are still working the feeders it seems since that's the direction all the foragers are heading. The 1st hive/breed (Italians) is still doing the best!

I think when I check them next I'll add a jar feeder to the Carni's, Sunkist, and Buckfast just for good measure. Not sure the Italians are giving them much room at the 3 jar feeders I have set out for all of them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bloody inspection...

This will be a quick update as I checked the hives quickly this evening and everything looked good except for the blue hive.

Everything looked good and lots of activity at the entrance. They've drawn 7.5 frames and are storing honey and pollen. Didn't see the queen as I just checked the outside of things but noticed lots of new bees. Added a second super for them to work on. Hopefully they'll be able to finish it before winter.

Sadly hardly any eggs and larva. The very little bit of capped brood I found appeared to be drones. Not sure this hive has a chance with this queen. I found some queen cups and queen cells but left them alone this time. I don't believe they have enough time to raise a queen before it starts getting chilly here but I'll pray for them. I posted on Russell's forums and hopefully get some advice on what to do. I don't think I have any options except to hope they make it or hope Russell's has another buckfast queen available I can order. I really think I waited too long with this one though. We'll see I guess.

just as always everything looked good. Lots of eggs, larva, and capped brood. They are also storing honey and pollen. Didn't take much apart but didn't feel the need. I'm pretty sure they'll be able to finish the 4 frames left in the top deep and get a medium super done before winter.

They've drawn the top medium out and are filling it now. I'll add another when they have most of this one capped. I didn't check the brood boxes because of the nasty cut I got from the stained hives top but will next time I do an inspection. These girls are doing such a good job though I hate to disturb them.

Still loving the Rauchboy. Just like the first time, it was easy to light and stayed lit. Great smoke also. Definitely worth the money!

Also if you have one of those copper garden hive tops from Brushy Mountain like I do on the stained hive, be careful when taking it off and putting it back on. I got a nasty cut when placing it back on the hive to my left index finger.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

After the rain inspection and a Rauchboy...

The rained stopped (after a week of it) and I was able to get into the hives today. Everything looked good and even the blue hive is showing signs of improvement.

Orange Hive
Still doing well. Lots of bees and brood and good activity coming and going. They were bringing in lots of pollen just like the other hives. I found a little small hive beetle crawling up my hand when I took a frame out. I wasn't able to get it but it didn't look to have made it back into the hive.

Blue Hive
This one is showing signs of improvement. I'm not sure if the queen slowed down laying because of the little dearth we were in but I found a good number of eggs. Not much larva and brood but the egg numbers have picked up. I also found a un-capped queen cell on the bottom of a frame in a swarm cell location. I'll probably kick myself later on in the year but I removed it. Besides the one I didn't find any other queen cells or cups. I was able to find the queen and she looks fat and active. Still keeping my fingers crossed though. I believe it's too late re-queen this one so if in a couple/few of weeks there's no improvement I'll add a frame or 2 of capped brood from the other hives to boost them and pray they make it through winter.

Stained Hive
I continue to be impressed with these carni's. The queen is a laying machine! They have the box almost drawn out and should be ready for a medium super by next inspection.

White Hive
Just popped the top on this one to check the progress on the new medium super I added. They've just about got it all drawn out. They were working on the outer 2 end frames and should be filling them with nectar any time now. Once it starts getting capped I'll add another. These italians have done one hell of a job this year that's for sure. I can't wait until next year to raise some of this queens daughters.

Rauchboy Smoker
I've been having trouble with smoker I got this year with my kit and I decided it was time to give a Rauchboy Smoker a try. I ordered one and today was the first time I got to test it out. My old smoker was from Brushy Mountain and it just wouldn't keep good smoke if you set it down for more than a few minutes. It also took a bit of effort and time to get it smoking good when it was first lit. Well I got tired of it and just have this to say about the Rauchboy's... They are worth every penny! The thing not only smokes like an old lady at a slot machine it stays lit. After lighting it I sat it down for 10-15 minutes and when I picked it back up... Well you can see in the video it's living up to all the claims!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post Earthquakes and Hurricane Inspection...

So after a week of earthquakes and a day of the outer edges of a hurricane I thought since the sun was shining it would be a good day to check the hives. Everything looked good except the blue hive still has me concerned.

Orange Hive
Same as last time. The girls are doing well are just about ready for another super. The majority of the bees have the blond/peach color. Absolutely gorgeous to look at!

Blue Hive
Not much activity coming and going from this hive compared to the orange hive. There's a good amount of bees inside when I opened it but the queen isn't laying much. I found 1 frame with 1 side about 3/4 full of capped brood. I was able to find eggs and larva but it was sparse. Also, I removed 3 queen cells. I figure the bees are trying to tell me something but want to make sure it's possible to get a replacement for her this year if I need to. Hopefully it doesn't come to that given it's so late in the year though. In the meantime I've contacted Dr. Russell again to see what he says and check if it's possible to get another. I really appreciate him taking the time out of his busy schedule to help me with my questions.

Buckfast Queens Brood Pattern

Buckfast Queen Laying

Stained Hive
These girls are still doing awesome. They'll more than likely get a medium super added soon. The queen is a laying machine and just gorgeous! I found her in the top super with a frame of newly drawn comb. She had filled both sides with eggs! Needless to say I like these Carniolans very much!

White Hive
These girls just continue doing their thing. The top medium was 90% drawn and they had already started capping nectar. I added another medium super so they can continue to go at it. Really really happy with these girls. Even more so given they were my first package. I got lucky and got a great queen! I'll definitely make an attempt at raising her daughters next spring.

Girls and their looks...
 This one decided the tip of my finger would make a nice a spot to take a little break and clean herself up a bit.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick evening inspection...

Got a chance to go through the hives this evening and overall I was pleased with what I saw. Found all the queens and for the most part everything looked good.

White Hive
These girls are doing very well. They've been working hard on the top medium super and there's only a few frames left that aren't drawn. I believe I've be able to get this hive to draw out another medium super and fill it with a little feeding and a good fall flow. I found the queen in the top deep super and she looked good. Lots and lots of eggs, open and capped brood in the top deep. It was getting dark so I didn't go into the bottom super.

Stained Hive
Another laying machine. They have started to work on drawing wax in the top deep. I found 2 frames FULL of capped brood and lots of eggs and larva. Very pleased with these girls. Hopefully they'll be able to get the deep drawn and filled as well as a medium super before it starts to get chilly.

Blue Hive
I'm a bit concerned about this hive. I found one queen cell on the side of the frame. I'm not sure if it's been there since the last inspection but I did remove it. It wasn't capped, but I think the girls may be telling me something about the queen. She was laying pretty decent at first but has slowed down it seems. I found 1 frame of capped brood (both sides) and did see eggs and larva. It's not as much as compared to the other hives though. I've read the buckfast queens will slow down their laying during a dearth so I'm hoping that's the problem. I've been feeding again since Monday and plan to keep doing it until it starts to get chilly. Hopefully that jumps start her into laying more. We'll see though. I'm going to keep an eye on this hive for sure. I don't believe I have enough time to get another queen here and the hive going before it starts to get chilly so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm also planning to send a note to Dr. Russell and get his opinion on things tonight. I'll report on what he says. On a positive note... They are doing well on drawing frames. They should be ready for another deep super in a week or 2.

Orange Hive
I'm starting to see the amber peach coloration in the bees from this hive. Still a buncha mutts left from the extra brood I added. I can't wait until the majority are this queens progeny. She's laying very well and they have some capped stores. There's 3.5 frames left to be drawn and they should also be ready for another deep super in a week or 2.

I've again changed feeders after having a BUNCH of drowned bees in the pet waterer feeder I was using. I also noticed the more honey-b-healthy I add the more drowned bees I get. It's all probably in my head but when using it at half strength there's not nearly as many drowned bees in the bowl when it's empty. Anyway since I have trouble killing the bees while trying to help them... I made a little stand up out of egg crate and punched some holes in the lid of 3 quart mason jars. I've been using this to feed since Tuesday of this week (Monday I used the pet waterer) and it seems to be working well. With the pet waterer the bees, jackets, ants, wasps, and bumbles would go through 3 gallons of 1:1 in a day. With the jars it's cut back to 3 quarts. The limited access is the reason but 2 dead bees per day (my highest count so far) versus hundreds helps me sleep at night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stained and White...

Got a chance this evening to check both of these hives this evening and even had a little help. My nieces and sister stopped by and my nieces stuck by my side while I went through both hives. My sister was a little more apprehensive so she stayed about 60 feet away watching.

Stained Hive
Lots of eggs, larva, capped brood, honey, and pollen in the hive. I checked both deep supers and was able to find the queen. Beautiful little lady! The side bands on her looked red in the sunlight.

Carniolan Queen

Her Brood Pattern

White Hive
The top medium super is half filled with honey and nectar. They are working on the rest of the foundation building cells. The bottom medium super is chock a block full of honey. I'm guessing it weighs 40-50 pounds. I went through the top deep super and found lots of capped and open brood, larva, eggs, and pollen and honey were stored on the outside frames. There were 2 frames that still needed to be completely drawn in this box and I believe after another week they'll have them drawn out. They've been ignoring them I guess to work on the wax in the 2 medium supers. I didn't find the queen in the top deep super and decided to leave the bottom super alone. Everything looked good though and I'm proud of the Italian queen in this box. I'll enjoy trying to raise her daughters next year. It slipped my mind to get a shot of her brood pattern but will when I go through the whole thing to find her one weekend this month for a photo.

So far I'm very very pleased with the queens I got from Russell's. I can't wait to get the Moonbeam Queen along with more next year.

Another Beetle
It's amazing how these things are little pouncers. I was holding a frame while looking for the queen and saw another beetle come over my shoulder right onto the frame. The girls were on it fast and I smushed it. After explaining to my nieces what it was and what it does they were little hawks looking for them when we pulled a frame out. Our 3 sets of eyes didn't find anymore more luckily. I'm running errands in town tomorrow and will pick up some of the bait I've read about using for them. I'm adding it to the beetle blaster traps I have along with some vegetable oil and all the hives are getting them installed this weekend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blue and Orange... Widows, beetle, a moth and worms...

This evening I decided I had enough time after work and things around the yard to check on the blue and orange nuc and it's all good news!

Blue Nuc
Found lots of bees and all 5 frames have been drawn out. All 5 frames had either honey, pollen, capped brood, eggs, or open brood in them and they were just full of bees. I decided it was time for them to move up to their permanent hive so I brought out the new hive I had for them and set it up. When I picked up the nuc it felt like it weighed between 25-30 pounds. Pretty heavy I thought for 5 frames. Anyway, everything looked good (even though she's not laying as much as the SKC) so I put them in the new hive and buttoned them up.

Buckfast Queen

Her brood pattern

Orange Nuc
Things also looked great in this one. Lots of bees, eggs, larva, brood, pollen, and honey. This one weighed about 35-40 pounds so they are a little ahead of the blue nuc I guess, which doesn't make sense but... I believe it's the 2 full frames jam packed full of honey I have in this hive though. Like the blue nuc these girls also got new digs.  

Sunkist Cordovan Queen

Her brood pattern

Beetle, moth, and worms
I saw my first small hive beetle today but it wasn't in the hive. I set the orange nuc top down on top of a fence post and just as I was turning away saw something land on it. Figuring I had a chance to make it one less yellow jacket to annoy me while around the hives I checked it out. I was surprised instead by a big fat small hive beetle. The surprise turned quickly to joy as I smashed that big fat small hive beetle! I also found 2 wax worms (I think they were wax worms) and a dead wax moth in the spider web under the orange nuc. The worms were too fat to get through the small screening I placed on the bottom for ventilation and the spider was more worried about me. I went back into the orange hive to check for damage or see if I could see any wax moths and found nothing. I did find pollen and wax on the 4x4 post under the nucs screened hole. Maybe that's where they came from but I reckon they were in the hive... There's no signs of damage on any of the frames though so I'm a little baffled. I'll look into it I guess and see what I can find. I'll also place the beetle traps I have sitting around in all of the hives to be safe.

Black Widows
Much to my surprise when I took the bottoms off the nucs I found a black widow (or 2) in a screen hole in each nuc. The orange nuc had a big female that built her home in one of the screen holes. The blue nuc had a nice female and what I believe was a male with her also in a screen hole. I shooed both of them out and onto the ground. If they make it back that's fine by me as they are good pest control. I doubt I'll have a problem remembering to check under the hives before putting my hands there after finding these 3.

Black widow and worm on bottom of orange nuc

Black widows (males and female) under blue nuc

I plan to check the white and stained hive this weekend if the rain predicted doesn't show. Otherwise I'll get to them on Monday and make a post.

Also... Still lots of orange pollen coming in as well as some cream colored pollen. I'll have to see if I can find the source of the cream stuff. I believe the orange is from the sumacs.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

White hive gets another level...

Added another empty medium super to the white hive this evening. I also placed a top feeder on it to give them some syrup to help draw it out. I filled the stained hives syrup up and removed about 100 dead bees from it. I guess the "floats" don't work as well as advertised. I added the top feeders because I wanted to make sure my bees got the syrup. Lots of yellow jackets, bumble bees, and ants in the bee yard I'd rather not contribute to.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Evening inspection...

Got a chance to check all the hives this evening after work this morning and visiting with Chris (and picking up 2 frames of capped brood) for a little while this afternoon. Much thanks for the frames Chris and I still am not over how much those Cordovan's propolised that hive of yours!

White Hive
Inspected top super and found LOTS of eggs and capped brood. Didn't hunt for the queen because everything looked good that I checked. They are drawing wax in the upper deep and are starting to cap the honey in the medium super I added a few weeks ago. Once they get the 3.5 frames in the upper deep that's left drawn I'll add another medium super. Again, I wasn't ready to tear the hive apart completely after seeing positive things in the upper deep.

Stained Hive
No capped brood cells left from the swarm but the Carniolan queen has filled a couple of frames full of eggs. I also noticed larva in the hive so things are going good. Saw the queen and she's nice, fat, and dark. Very easy to find her. They have started working on drawing frames in the upper super. I also added a top feeder and 2 liters of 1:1 to give them a little jump start.

Blue Nuc
The Buckfast queen is laying a good pattern in this nuc and there's still a little capped brood left from the original split. Lots of eggs and a little larva present. They are also drawing wax on the empty plastic foundation. I added one frame of capped brood from Chris's Cordovans to this hive to give them a boost until the new queens brood starts to emerge.

Orange Nuc
Seems they readily accepted the 2nd Sunkist Cordovan queen! There's still a little capped brood left in this hive from the split and I added the other frame of capped brood from Chris's Cordovans to this hive. The Sunkist Cordovan queen was very easy to spot (she's gorgeous!) in this hive and she's already started laying eggs. Very good sign! I also got to see what a hive of these bees looks like with a queen from Russells like mine. It's absolutely gorgeous with all the amber/peach bees.

Before I came in for the night I put out 2.75 gallons of 1:1 in the open feeder (to prevent some robbing) and filled the pint jars on the nucs. The nucs are pretty balanced and are taking about 3/4 of a pint each in a 24 hour period from their feeders so far.

Over all I've very please with the girls. It's nice to have something positive after the last week or so.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunkist Cordovan queen is free...

I opened the nuc this evening and checked on how they were accepting the new queen. Nice little surround of bees on the screen that were feeding her and tending to her. I pulled the frame out and they went NUTS fanning and searching for her. I decided to pull the screen back after watching how they treated her for a bit and how they acted when the frame was missing and let her walk out and down into the hive. When I opened the screen there were some bees that went in to attend to her. Didn't notice any aggression at all. Eventually she walked out and down into the hive. Once on the frame she was getting followed by a few attendants and everyone else was clearing the way for her so I think things are good. I planned to wait but slacked on the patience this time. It'll be almost a month before new brood emerges and I'm hoping to have this queen and her bees in a 10 frame double deep by the end of September so they can make it through the winter.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sunkist queen in, mini inspection, and first sting...

Orange Nuc
I built a DIY re queening frame last night and placed the new Sunkist queen into it this afternoon when I got her. I took it out this evening and installed the frame. I removed 6 capped queen cells and buttoned the hive back up. No video but they seemed much more accepting of her versus the last time I tried to re queen them. I'll let her out on Monday and see how things go before I close the hive back up.

Blue Nuc
It took forever but I found the Buckfast queen. Never thought it'd be so hard to find a queen on just 5 frames. I did see signs of eggs and a handful that had 2 eggs in the bottom of each cell. Also 2 that had an egg on the side of the cell but right at the bottom. I haven't read anything yet about a queen laying double eggs but I'll do a little research (just checked beesource and Micheal Bush says this is a sign sometimes of a newly mated queen. so no worries unless she's still doing it a month from now). Otherwise though she's laying in a nice cluster so we'll see how it goes.

Stained Hive
I didn't pull this hive apart to check for the queen but did look for eggs. Not much happening in the upper super. There's hardly any wax drawn on the empty plastic foundation up there. Most of them were all new after stealing a couple for the splits. I suspect they are storing all the nectar in the bottom super. I plan to pull the super off tomorrow and put extra wax on the plastic frames. I'll also spray some 1:1 for good measure. There's still a lot of bees in the box and I did find eggs so the queen is laying.

White Hive
They have drawn the top medium super out about 95% and have filled it full of 1:1 and nectar. There are 4 frames in the top deep super that are still empty so I'll wait a little bit before adding another super. I didn't check for eggs but will next week when I check to see if they are ready for another medium super. It's been super hot and after tearing it apart for the splits I didn't want to disturb them too much.

First Sting
Got my first sting today. I was flipping a frame over and squeezed a bee between the frame and my finger. It was to late to back off before she defended herself. Well deserved I reckon. I pulled the stinger out and squeezed as much venom out as I could. I saw the stinger before I felt the pain but it wasn't much. Nothing at all now except numbness and a little swelling.

New Sunkist Cordovan Queen...

Arrived safely in this god awful heat and is now in the DIY re-queening frame I made in a dark room. I gave them a bit of water on the screen and they quickly drank it. I'll put the queen in the hive tonight and hopefully she's accepted this time. I'll video the behavior and adding it just to get an idea of what the folks on beesource think of it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Buckfast Queen...

I checked the blue nuc just now and the Buckfast queen has been freed and is cruising around the hive. They had made 4 queen cells between Thursday and now and the new queen had chewed through the side of all of them. For good measure I destroyed them completely.

I also ordered another Sunkist Cordovan Queen earlier today from Russell's just to be sure I get a replacement soon. Even though the other 2 hives accepted the new queens I feel like I may have tried to re queen them too early and they rejected the Sunkist. If the folks at Russell's disagree I'll gladly accept a refund. ;^)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I checked the queens today that I got from Russells and there's some bad news to report.

Orange Nuc
The Sunkist Cordovan queen didn't make it sadly. I found her dead in her cage along with 4 dead attendants. There were 2 living attendants that I released by letting them crawl out of the corked end. I've contacted Russells to see what my options are.

Blue Nuc
The English Buckfast queen is still in the cage but they are working on the candy and are almost through. The bees seems attentive to her and I'm hoping they will have her out in the next day or so.

Stained Hive
The Carniolan queen was released and I found her in the top super on a half drawn frame. She hasn't started laying yet but I'll give her a few more days before beginning to worry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Video from today...

I didn't think about my camera at first so there's not much video. We had already went through the stained hive and this is just of the white hive while we were looking for the queen. No video of the nucs install sadly. The excitement I guess got the better of me.

Queens arrived and the flow ain't over yet!

New nucs

I got the queens today around 2 this afternoon and beekeeping local Chris came by to offer some guidance in making the splits and installing the queens. Actually I let him handle it all since he's got way more experinece than I do in this. Really appreciate the help Chris!

Stained Hive
We found a queen in this hive so they suceeded at making their own. She hadn't laid any eggs yet however so I don't think she was mated. Anyway went sent her to bee heaven as humanley as possible and installed the Carniolan queen. We also took 2 frames of empty comb from this hive and added 1 to each nuc.

White Hive
Found the queen in the top deep super. The bottom super they are using for stores. In a week they've made tremendous progress on the undrawn foundation in the medium super. Lots of pretty new white wax and they are already storing honey in it. So much for the flow ending 3 weeks ago like I've heard preached. We took 4 frames from this hive and placed 2 in each nuc.

Blue Nuc
Installed 1 frame from stained hive and 2 frames from white hive along with the English Buckfast queen.

Orange Nuc
Installed 1 frame from stained hive and 2 frames from white hive along with the Sunkist Cordovan queen.

I'll check all the newly re queened hives on Sunday to see if the queens have been released and how they are coming along. I shot some video and I'll post it once I get it together later on tonight.

Also... I'm hoping it wasn't a bad choice but I set out a feeder full of 1:1 in hopes it'll prevent the hives from robbing each other. After the it's empty I'll only feed the nucs (and new hives when they move up) when/if they need it until fall comes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All done...

I got the last coat of paint on everything yesterday afternoon. 2 coats of primer and 3-4 coats of paint on everything. Tonight I finished putting all the frames together and into the boxes until I need them. Jerry doesn't carry all plastic frames so I went with wooden frames with pierco plastic foundation. I may bend a piece of aluminum tomorrow and put it on top of the nucs just for some added protection before the queens get here. Here's both of the new hives and nucs. The queens shipped today from Russell's and should be here tomorrow or Friday. Either day will screw up my work schedule but I'm glad to be getting them this quickly.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Building boxes...

Picked up the 2 new hive kits and another nuc this after noon and just got them all together. Still need to put the frames together but I'll take care of that once the painting is done. I'll get them a coat or two of primer on tomorrow evening and hopefully they'll get finished by Sunday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Inpections... White hive is doing awesome!

After the rain passed I did a quick inspection of both hives. Didn't use the bee jacket again this time and I didn't need it. Such sweet little girls I have.

White Hive
Awesome! At least in my mind. I checked the top deep and they've drawn 7.5 frames which are chock full of honey, nectar, capped brood, eggs, and bees. Great looking white comb! I didn't want to wait until they had drawn 8 frames this time so I went ahead and added a medium super to the top of the brood boxes. I'm confident this hive will be plenty strong enough for the 2 splits I plan to pull from it once the queens arrive.

Stained Hive
They are still working on drawing the frames which I'm happy to see. Not much progress but they have made it to the top in a couple which they previously didn't. There's lots of pollen, nectar, and capped brood still in the top box. I didn't check the bottom box and won't until I re queen them or notice they have raised one. I didn't see any eggs at all in the cells that were empty and I didn't expect to. I did find one queen cell that was open and had a dead queen inside. I guess things weren't right and they dispatched her. I found 2 big capped queen cells also in the top super and 1 that was uncapped. No evidence of a queen but all those things I've read about them being fussy when queen less doesn't seem to apply, they are as gentle as they've always been.

Hive Stand
The new hive stand is up and ready. As I mentioned in my previous post I'm hoping to get the gear this week.

New hive stand, 2 new future hives, and 3 new queens...

Yesterday afternoon I picked up the material for a new hive stand. That evening I got it built and set up next to the current one. I'm picking up 2 new single deep hive kits and a nuc this week (hopefully, he's scheduled to get his order in any day now) from Jerry at Va Bee Supply. I also just placed an order with Russell Apiaries for (1) Carniolan Queen, (1) English Buckfast Queen, and (1) Sunkist Cordovan Queen. I indicated I'd like them shipped next week but I don't expect them to. My plans are to add the Carniolan to the stained hive, and make 2 small splits once I get the queens from the white hive since it's doing so well and introduce the Buckfast and Sunkist queens to the splits. Then once the nucs I place them in get built up I'll add them to the new hives. If the stained hive succeeds in raising their own queen before I receive the queens that I ordered I'll more than likely take a split from it also and add the new queen when she arrives. I may try to over winter that split in a 2 deep nuc however instead of trying to manage 3 new hives this time of year. We'll see what happens. I'm always happy to add new  hives until I reach the 8-10 I'd like to keep here but I don't want to be overwhelmed my first year.

Also I planned to inspect both hives today but wouldn't you know it as soon as I started to get set up the rain started falling. Maybe when it ends I'll be able to check them out. If not there's always tomorrow since I'm stuck home awaiting a new phone.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I couldn't take the wait...

I popped the top in the stained hive today and pulled a few of the top frames to check them. There's capped brood on the ones that are drawn enough and I noticed 2 big queen cells. One is capped and one is uncapped. I plan to leave them alone until next weekend and let nature take its course. Also there's a lot more bees in the hive than I expected. Not the huge numbers like before but there's at least as many bees as their was when I installed the package. So some good news after all.

I also popped the top on the white hive. I didn't inspect like I probably should have but will either this weekend or next weekend when I check the stained hive. They are still working on the frames and are filling them nicely. They will not need a new super added this week but if they have 7 fully drawn next week when I look I'll add the super. Better to be safe than sorry I reckon.

I think this weekend I'll take a walk around the neighborhood and see if I can find out where the swarm went. I talked older local beek that said from his experience they usually don't go far and to check older buildings. Since there's a bunch of them around it sounds like a good to at least check.

So long girls... I hardly knew ye.

The swarm was still in the tree this morning. I was keeping tabs on them until around noon when I came inside to grab a camera. When I returned back to where they were they were gone. Figures that'd be my luck! Didn't see which direction they went and after a little walk around I couldn't find any signs of them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Swarm swarm swarm!

So the stained hive swarmed today. I found the swarm in a big oak about 60 feet from the hive. No chance of getting up there to get them as they are too high up. I went and picked up a nuc from Va Bee Supply and set it up in the barn with a swarm lure in it. When I came in tonight around dark they were still clustered up in the oak tree and I'm guessing they plan to stay put for tonight. I still see activity at the hive and after opening the top I do see bees in there. Not sure how many though because I didn't take it apart. I heard a queen piping 2-3 weeks ago from this hive and when I picked up the nuc today Jerry mentioned I could possibly have a new queen in the box and the old queen may have left with a swarm. He advised to wait until Sunday to check it and look for eggs. We'll see how things go tomorrow I reckon and I'll keep this updated.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The start of something...

I did a quick check on both hives this evening and the stained hive is making progress on the plastic foundation. Seems the sugar syrup with honey-b-healthy did the trick. I gave all the frames another quick mist with it again and closed it back up. We'll see how things look next week. Hopefully more progress. The white hive is doing the same as before. GREAT! It will need another super in a week or two I'm thinking. Judging by the amount of nectar in the new comb in both hives it seems they are still finding plenty of it and are doing just fine without the syrup.

I also melted the beeswax I've been collecting. I had about a pound when I finished with it. I need to look around for ideas on some sort of strainer/filter to pour it through. It didn't have much trash in it but I'd like to get it nice and clean before pouring it into a pan to cool next time. When I figure out a way to filter it I'll melt this batch again and pour it in with the new stuff.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hot and humid!

I found the girls out on the front porches this evening cooling off and doing a bit of washboarding. Here's a quick video of it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Inspection day and honey bound...

I inspected both hives today and took some video.

White Hive...
Everything looked good. They are taking to the plastic frames nicely and have fully drawn out 5 so far. I didn't check the bottom super but noticed syrup/nectar, pollen, eggs and capped brood in the upper super. I didn't look for a the queen but by the looks of things she's there and everything is going well.
White hive inspection:

Stained hive...
After checking the upper super and not seeing much progress from last week I decided to also check the bottom super. They have been working on the foundation in the upper super but no where near the level of the white hive. I did notice some eggs in the upper super but most of what they've drawn is filled with syrup/nectar. After getting through the upper super I took the bottom super apart. There is LOTS of capped brood, pollen, syrup/nectar, and capped honey. I'm concerned however because there's not very much room for the queen to lay. I also noticed a few queen cups but none of them were capped or had eggs in them. I was able to find the queen and she appeared healthy but it concerns me that she's running out of room to lay. After putting the hive back together I closed everything up and came inside to make a batch of 1:1 with honey-b-healthy to spray the plastic frames with. After mixing it up I came back out and sprayed the plastic frames with it. I've read this helps them accept the frames and gets them working on drawing foundation on them. I'm hoping it works or I believe I'll have problems in the near future with swarming or superceder of the queen. I'll check things again on Saturday and until then I'm keeping my fingers crossed they start drawing in the new frames.
Stained hive inspection:

Spraying the frames:

Also I plan to cease with the sugar syrup for now. I removed it tonight as it was almost empty and don't plan to use it again unless needed. I'm hoping I can just spray the frames to help the stained hive along when I inspect each week to get them to draw them out. It may not work but I believe overfeeding is part of the problem with the stained hive and I don't want to set up any more of a honey bound situation than I already have. My first big new beek mistake that I won't soon repeat!

I made this video to see if I could ID the pollen they are bringing in hard core. Looks like it's from aslike clover which is great because I planted so much of it!
Coming and going again:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More syrup...

I put out 2 ¾ gallons of 1:1 with honey-b-healthy and amino-b-booster this morning before work. This will be all I put out until this time next week. I noticed them working the blooming clover in the little field area the hives are in really hard this afternoon. It's the first time I've noticed and it's been blooming for weeks now. I'll probably skip cutting it until we get some sort of rain so it'll have some moisture to re-bloom. They weren't swarming the water jug like the other day when I put it out so I left it. Didn't get a chance to check on the hives but plan to tomorrow and I'll set the camera up. It'll be quick unless I notice something concerning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I've confused them...

I cleaned out a feeder I was using to open feed syrup with honey-b-healthy on Monday morning and set it back out today filled with water. The bees are all over it just like it had sugar in it. I bleached it, gave it a vinegar soak, and washed it all really well and you can still smell the minty smell. I'm guessing that's what's attracting them. If they're at it tomorrow like today I'm going to remove it. I hate to have them waste their energy on water thinking it's syrup when they can/could be out foraging. Can't be they need the water since I have so much around.

Also plan to wean them off the syrup. I'm mixing up a batch of 1:1 tonight or tomorrow to set out on Friday. I'm planning to cut them back to 1 feeder full (3 gallons) per week now that there's so much clover blooming and some of the wildflowers are starting to put out buds. I like for them to have it to draw out the new frames but I don't want to have them become honey bound.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Inspection after the rain and a late orientation flight...

I did an inspection really quick of both hive after a nice hard and heavy rain. Both seem to be doing well and both are drawing out the plastic frames/foundation. The white hive is drawing out the plastic frames/foundation a little bit faster than the stained hive at the moment. Not sure if they've taken to it better or the stained hive finished with the frames in the bottom super first. I noticed both nectar and eggs in the plastic frames on the white hive but just nectar in the stained hive. The cells in the white hive are deeper and more filled out so I'm guessing the queen in the stained hive doesn't think they are ready for eggs yet. Next week I'll check them again and if I don't see any eggs in the stained hive I'll go through both supers to make sure all is well. Otherwise everything looks good. Those tiny eggs are sure easier to see on those black frames.

I took some video of the inspections but there's nothing I could piece together for a decent video. I'm going to start using the tripod like before when making videos of the inspections. Trying to hold the camera in one hand and the frame in another wasn't a very good idea.

The white hive was a bit late with their orientation flight this afternoon. I guess the rain put them behind which was good because I was able to catch it on video.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Since a few people asked here are the feeders I use. Both are medium Le Bistro gravity waterer's. They each hold 2.75 gallons. The little pieces of blue stuff floating in the tubs are pieces of DOW foam house wrap I cut to fit. The design cut into them can be anything you want but I would make it something a bee can reach both sides of if one falls in. I started making circles and ended up with something that looked like a face. Totally unintentional I promise. The foam is working much better than the marbles I was initially using. When I refilled them I had around 15 dead bees in each. With the marbles they will crawl down into them when the 1:1 gets low and sometimes can't get out. The foam floats on top of the syrup and allows them to get every drop of it from the top.

More sugar!

After work today I put out another 4 gallons of 1:1. Last night when I brought the feeders in to clean them there was only about 1/4 cup left in each. They went through that batch fast. I've ordered more honey-b-healthy that's arriving tomorrow as well as some pollen patties and hive top feeders. I don't plan to use the top feeders until later in the year but I wanted to have them around in case I changed my mind. I'll have to pick up some more sugar this weekend as I'm out. I'm going to place half a pollen patty out this afternoon and see how they take it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moving on up... To the East Hive...

So... After an extremely tiring week and day I made it home this even around 6:30 and decided to check and see if they needed the new supers. Good news is that they did. I didn't do much of an inspection this time just checked the outside frames to see how they were going. The white hive had 8 frames fully drawn and they were working on the inside of both end frames so I added the second deep super. The stained hive had drawn out almost 9 full frames and were working on the 10th final frame. It also got a new super. Both hives were jam packed with bees and loud. You can hear them in a little clip near the end of the video. I'll report how they take to the new plastic frames versus the wooden frames with foundation they started with.

If you watch the video keep in mind it's rushed. I spent all week working late and spent the day today making hay. I was tired, dirty, and rushing. I didn't even were the jacket and veil this time. I was excited to see their progress but I had dinner and a shower on my mind and the video took a back seat to that.

I also picked up another one of those new feeders and am whipping up 4 gallons of 1:1 with honey-b-healthy. By the time I got home this evening they had finished the last batch I put out. For the last few days they've been going hard at the 1:1. Not sure if we're in a dearth or they are in hoarding mode. Either way they'll have plenty to do what they will with as well as help them draw the frames in the new supers out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lots of activity at the feeder today.

I've been having an incredibly busy week and haven't had much time for updates. Luckily there's nothing to report except today they were heavy on the feeder when I left this morning and still after it when I got home this evening. I decide to relax a bit before dark and watch the bees before making dinner and they are still bringing in lots of pollen. Plenty of white and a white-green coming in both hives.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hello emu's, allow me to introduce Mr. Electricity...

Those good for nothing emu's have been decimating my clover. You'd think the 75 pounds of food they eat each week would be enough! Today I found them in the wildflowers and borage just picking away. So... In a fit of rage I was off to the farm to get the electric fence charger. I picked up everything I thought I'd need and wouldn't you know it... The power supply is kaput. So after a quick trip to tractor supply I returned with new gear and 8,600 volts for those dumb emu's. Since the area I've fenced them out of is bigger now I figure I'll plant some more wildflowers and clover in late fall in the extra space for next year.

Oh, I almost forgot. Last night when I got home and put the sugar water out I saw the coolest thing. Both hives had the entrance reducers flipped Saturday to the bigger entrance and there were bees filling both of the holes in the entrance. Just stacked on top of each other. I'm guessing it was the guard bees and they noticed my bright flashlight. Pretty cool to see and the new feeder works much better than the poultry waterer I was using.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Almost there...

I checked the hives really fast this evening to see how far they are from having all the frames drawn and also flipped the entrance reducer to a bigger size to ease the congestion. The white hive has 6 full frames drawn and the stained hive had 7 full frames. I didn't pull any except the empty ones on the end to check the progress. I'll do a thorough inspection again on Friday or Saturday of next week to see if they are ready for the new deep supers and to check the progression. I'll set the camera up again also for videos. I also picked up a new style of feeder today because the current one is leaking for some reason. When I return home I'll put out the new batch of 1:1 I just mixed up and the new feeder so they'll have it in the morning.

All for now, off to enjoy a little festivities.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No orientation video tonight...

After work I spent the rest of the evening planting 250 borage plants and was so dirty and tired I decided to leave the camera inside. Tomorrow I'll get a video if I'm home in time as well as some video of the borage that I planted. Unless the stupid emu's eat it while I'm away tomorrow then I'll have a nice demonstration on how to properly install an electric fence.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Evening boredom...

Playing with the camera again. 3 minutes or so of the stained hive entrance up close. Hoping to be at home tomorrow to catch the orientation flights on video.

Farm bees...

I was by the farm this afternoon for a few minutes and noticed lots of honey bees on the flowering bushes. I noticed 3 stripes and the dark bees usually associated with feral bees. I'm not sure if the 3 stripe lighter colored bees are feral or there's a beekeeper in the area. I was considering putting a few hives there next year made up with splits or packages but may just put out some swarm traps over there in the spring to see what I can catch then hive them. I plan to go back this weekend when I have more time and look around some more.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

White hive follows suit.

A day later but they repeated the orientation flight that the stained hive put on yesterday. 4 p.m. seems to be the magic hour for these things. I'll have to look for the clock next time I'm doing an inspection.

Monday, May 23, 2011

First orientation flight.

I got to witness my first orientation flight today from the stained hive. It started around 4 this evening and was all done by 4:30. Pretty cool to witness. I plan to be around tomorrow at the same time to see if it happens again or the white hive puts one out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2nd hive inspection!

I did a thorough inspection of both hives this afternoon and they both looked great. The white hive had 4 frames that were fully drawn and 2 half drawn. They have started on the other side of one. The stained hive had 5 full frames and 3 half frames drawn. They were also starting on another side.

Both boxes had lots of capped brood, lots of larva, and I was able to see the queens, eggs, and a new bee emerging in both hives. Which means both queens were released and started laying within 26 hours of being installed into the hives. I was pretty excited when I started to pull frames in the white hive and I am glad to have found the same in the stained hive.

Also... It was sunny and warm (upper 70's) today and they were pretty much ignoring the syrup. Only 3-5 bees on it the few times I checked it. I'm guessing they were after real nectar today! The little borage patch is also only a couple of days from blooming and I'm anxious to see how fond of it they are.

Here are the videos. I didn't shoot any photos today.

White hive inspection.

Stained hive inspection.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Late night syrupy goodness and super painting.

Just finished staining and applying a 1st coat of paint over 2 coats of primer on my 2 new deep supers from Brushy Mountain. Need to apply 1-2 more coats of white paint to the white hives future super and both will be done. That stain goes on so much faster than painting and only needs 2 coats, just wish it dried as fast as the paint does. I also ordered 20 plastic pierco deep frames in black for the new supers. I couldn't find much negative info about them in my research so I wanted to give them a shot.

We've been getting a lot of rain for the last week and the girls were hard on the sugar water lately. I'm guessing the rain/lack of sun effects nectar flow. So... I made another 1 1/2 gallons of 1:1. They killed the last batch I made and there was only a little bit left in the bottom tray when I brought it in tonight. I'll add the honey-b-healthy to it later tonight when it's cool and get it back outside for them in the morning.

It's supposed to be nice and sunny tomorrow so I plan to do my 2nd real inspection. I'll make an effort finding the queen in both hives before closing them up. Should have plenty of photo/and or videos tomorrow as well as a report on how things look.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

10 minutes of bees.

I got a new camera yesterday and wanted to try it out. It's just bee traffic at the white hive and a annoying little invader that ended up smushed.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1st inspection and back to 10 frames.

Did my first hive inspection today and everything looked good. Found capped brood, larva, and honey and pollen stored in both hives. I glanced through each frame really quickly and was able to find the queen in the white hive but didn't have any luck finding her in the stained hive. In a week or two I'll spend more than 10 or so seconds like I did today looking at each side of the frame and see if I can locate them both.

Also it seems what I read and was told about keeping 9 frames from the start in the brood chamber and supers was bad advice. After a brief discussion with the folks at BeeSource I added the 10th frame back to each hive. I'll decide later once the comb is drawn if I want to go with 9. For now though the 2 frame spacers get to collect some dust on the shelf.

White Hive

Stained Hive

Monday, May 9, 2011

Late night sweet tooth!

Went out around 9 tonight and brought the sugar syrup feeder inside. Gave it a good cleaning and while it dried I mixed up 1 1/2 gallons of new 1:1 syrup and let it cool in a cold water bath. Just mixed in some honey-b-healthy and put it outside so the girls will have fresh breakfast in the morning.

Just for future reference...
16 cups of water + 16 cups of sugar = 1.5 gallons of 1:1 syrup.

Bigger bee patch.

Got the wildflowers planted today and the borage and lavender planted in trays on Saturday. Once the borage and lavender come up I'll move them from the greenhouse to the bee patch. I had some trays that have 18 larg deep seedling cups in them and used those for the borage. Ended up using a total of 15 trays and if all the seeds sprout I'll have 270 plants to move to the bee patch. That's going to be a lot of borage! Not sure how well the lavender will come up as I wasn't expecting so many seeds. I ended up sprinkling a pack in each tray/flat and took the remaining pack and added it to the wildflower mix I got from Wildseed Farms. Also got the herb garden planted.

The herb garden post seeding.

Borage I planted earlier.

The larger (it's not getting any bigger) bee patch

Well/Over seeded wildflower area (700 square feet)

Clover coming up.

2 flats seeded with lavender seed.

Some of the seeded borage trays.

Also the girls aren't on the syrup much today. Not sure if they are finding plenty of nectar or it's starting to go bad. I plan to mix up a fresh gallon tomorrow and put it out for them just in case it is going bad.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pollen, pollen, and more pollen!

I mowed around the hives today and decided I needed a break, so I sat down to watch for a while. They were hot on the pollen somewhere. Both hives were bringing in lots of white, cream, yellow, and more of that bright orange stuff. I read somewhere that dandelions produce a bright orange pollen and since a neighbor a few houses down doesn't think mowing her yard more than once every month or two is a good idea I'm guessing that's the source of the orange stuff. I reckon I should thank her for not mowing and having so many dandelions.

I also had to chase off a European Hornet Queen. She came buzzing around the hives and I was after her. These things are pretty heavy around here during the summer and I think I'm going to educate myself on how to trap the bastards. I put out 4 of these traps I made 4 days ago but so far there's not a thing in them.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bee's, Borage, and Strawberries!

Another video... Just playing around with my playsport camera and editing software. No refunds on the 4 minutes of your life you'll waste if you watch it. ;^)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

10 frame to 9 frame and fencing out the emu's.

After reading a bit about keeping 9 frames in a 10 frame hive I decided to give it a try. The thing I liked the most about it was it makes the bees easier to work when everything isn't so jam packed in. I got my 2 plastic spacers from Brushy Mountain today and this evening I removed a frame from each hive. I also took a quick look to see how they were doing without removing the built up frames. The 3 frames in the center of the box were nice and filled with comb from what I could see. Not sure how far it went down but from the top it looked to go all the way to the bottom of the frame. I'm going to leave them alone for the next couple of weeks and let them work without disturbance. Then I'll check to see their progress and decide if they are ready for another super.

I also tilled the ground where I plan to plant the borage, lavender, and wildflowers. It was way too wet to do anything with though in regards to planting. I plan to plant the borage and lavender in the greenhouse tomorrow after work and keep it there until it's ready to move to the bee patch. I also fenced out the emu's. I noticed they were hard after the new clover coming up there and just couldn't have them stealing future bee food. So I set up a fence around it using electric fence posts and fence tape. They aren't the brightest animals so I'm hoping it keeps them out. If not, we have a battery operated fence charger at the farm I'll bring over and that should fix'em. I'll put up some pics of everything when the borage and lavender has come up and everything is planted in a few weeks.

Wildseed Farms

Just wanted to give a thumbs up to Wildseed Farms for getting my order out to me quick. I ordered on Sunday and it was in the mailbox today when I got home. They even threw in a free pack of seeds. The order will be used to plant the addition to the bee garden and a herb garden.

Here's what I ordered
(1) Basil pkt.
(3) Borage pkt.
(1) Cilantro pkt.
(3) Lavender pkt.
(1) Mint pkt.
(1) Sweet Marjoram pkt.
(1) Italian Parsley pkt.
(1) Rosemary pkt.
(1) Thyme pkt.
(1) Northeastern Wildflower Mix (1/4 pound)
(1) Southeastern Wildflower Mix (1/4 pound)

Sounds like my package from Brush Mountain Bee is also here. All for now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chilly and breezy.

It was a bit chilly and breezy today. This evening I watched the girls for a while. They were really on the sugar water and honey-b-healthy today. The white hive was less active versus the stained hive but they were bringing in lots more pollen (half the activity but just about every one coming in had full pollen baskets). I believe the stained hive was after the sugar water mostly. I'm guessing (just a guess) the temps had something to do with the stained hive being warmer in the sun and more active. You could tell the difference in temp by touching the outside. The stained hive was nice and warm and the white hive was close to outside temps. I'm guessing it was easier to warm the stained hive up with the sun heating it a bit. I believe I'll get one of those held held IR themos and use it to keep track of the hive outside temps to add to the counts.

Weather - 61 f partly cloudy
Wind - 5-10 mph
Rain - 1 1/2" from last night

Count per minute (coming and going)
Stained = 78 p/m
White = 37 p/m

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ladies of the evening...

These girls work late! This was taken at about 8:20 this evening. It's full dark at 8:30 around here. She was the last one to leave the feeder and seemed to go into the white hive.

The girl's saved their queens!

So today it was time to check on the queens and see if they had been set free. I check the stained hive first and they had eaten all the candy and let her out. Popped the cage out and closed the hive back up. I'll check again in a week or so to see thier progress.

Queen cage from stained hive. The comb they built on the side of it was perfect until my nieces had to hold it. :^)

Wish I would have put this one up and not shown it off. Looked so nice and I would have liked to keep it now. Thought the excitement from my nieces was worth it I reckon.

I opened the white hive and found the same thing. No queen in the cage and a similar piece of comb built on the side of it.

I broke this piece of comb off the side. It was another keeper, but little hands and fragile objects aren't a good combination.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some photos of the girls from yesterday.

Working on the sugar syrup with honey-b-healthy. So far they've only taken about 1/2 a gallon of it. I believe they are skipping it for some nectar they are finding locally.

More from feeder.

And another.

Both seems to have the same activity.

Last one.

As you can see in the last 2 photos I decided to move the waterer. Thought about it and it'd be much easier to clean and fill when it's not sitting right up by the hives.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lahore is no longer honey bee-less!

I had an email yesterday evening from Jerry at Virginia Bee Supply saying he had a couple of packages of italians I could have if I wanted them. Boy did I ever. This morning I gave him and call and I was off to pick them up.

Awaiting their new homes.

All set up and awaiting the ladies.

Rula on R.I.T. duty.

First package installed.

Stained hive all closed up.

White hive installed.

White hive all closed up.

Both hives.

A vistor watching us clean up.

I'm sure I did a million things wrong but that was such an awesome experience! I'm glad I got to install a package at least once. He're hoping they can forgive my mistakes (I'm sure I probably made 1 million and 12) and they don't mind the 39 degree weather we're supposed to be getting tonight. I'll post more when I check on them Sunday or Monday.

Oh and not a single sting. Just one angry lady that though it a good idea to keep dive bombing my ear until I let her land.