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

Feeders...

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.