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

Queens...

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.