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.