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.

Orange
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.

Blue
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.

Stained
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.

White
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!