Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The ladies are laden with pollen today. This is the first I've seen pollen this spring and everyone of them is bringing it back home. They have also eaten over a gallon of syrup so far this spring. Time to make more. These are all good signs. It's about 55 degrees now and promises to be in the mid to high 60's. Good bee weather.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Bee-a-thon coming on July 16th. Should be a lot of good information.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

All is well

Nothing to report this week. I have pretty much left the girls alone to do there thing. I am thinking about putting a honey super on now that there population is increasing and they are probably thinking about massive honey production. I need to do a little more research to find out if the time is really right.

The only other concern at this time is swarming. I'd hate for the ladies to move on but, hey, that's the nature of things. I am considering putting a hive body with empty frames next to the hive in the hope that if they do swarm this might be inviting to them and I could end up with two hives. It would save me the trouble of dividing them myself.

Here is a link to a neat report I heard on NPR about bee dancing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Days

90 degrees and sunny today. No rain for a few days. The ladies are happy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Long Awaited Return

The weather has been miserable here, rain and thunderstorms pretty much daily for a week. The ladies don't like it when the skies are grey; they get grumpy and aggressive when their home is disturbed. For this reason I don't check on them so much during weather like this. I am content with the knowledge that the nectar and pollen are flowing and they really don't need me messing around with them anyway. They are perfectly fine on their own, thank you very much. After all they probably have been making honey longer than we have been bearing fur.
Let's update shall we. It's been a long time since the last post and to recap, due to queen failure in Hive B, I combined it with Hive A. Well I am happy to say that little adventure was a success. The two colonies have come together like long lost twins and are happily going about their business as one cohesive unit. The newspaper, which was used to keep the two hives temporarily separate has been mostly eaten away: only about a third of it remains between the two hives and I have decided not to disturb it but to let the bees continue to clean it. They chew pieces off and carry them out the front opening. Tidy.
It is finally a nice warm, sunny day so I opened the hive to check on them. The seem happy and fairly prosperous. They did not well up toward the surface like I would like to see them do but there are really only four to five combs drawn out in the top box(formerly Hive B). It is obvious the queen has been up in the top box as there are several frames that have larva filled capped cells in them. The population should surge soon and then I should see the welling up of bees indicating a strong population. They are multiplying and expanding, yippee. I did not go into the bottom box but was able to look at it through the top box with a few frames removed. There are a lot of bees in the bottom box, very densely populated. Exciting.
Other than the this the only other thing I did today was to remove the entrance reducer. This is a piece of wood with gaps cut into it. It is place into the hive entrance for the purpose of limited the exposure of the hive to the outside. I guess the idea is that with this in place a hive with a small population with have less doorway to patrol and secure from outside invaders of which there are many. With the current population, they should have no difficulty protecting the entrance and I figure ventilation will improve with a larger opening. Like all animals, the ladies do like their air. Good airflow keeps molds and mildews down and makes it easier for them to regulate the the temperature of the colony when the hot weather hits in about two weeks.
Here is an interesting link concerning the EPA, pesticides and bees that Ciara sent to me: EPA lacks guts and teeth.

Next time I am in the hive I am going to try to record the sound of all the bees to share.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen


Finally had the opportunity to check the hive thoroughly today and found what I was afraid of. Hive A is thriving and has many capped cells meaning the queen is laying well and in a couple of weeks there should be thousands of bee babies. Yeah. Hive B on the other hand has no capped cells,the bees seem listless and are only storing nectar and pollen in the cells. This means there is no queen in Hive B to lay and nobody in the hive knows what they should be doing. What to do?
I have two options: A. get a new queen or B. combine the hives. Getting a new queen would be ideal but will cost about $25 and with the package bee's lifespans getting toward the end there may not be enough time to raise a brood before the adults die off. Combining the hives will cost 3 sheets of newspaper and maybe a couple thousand bees.
I opted for option B. and here is how I did it. Since two different hives cannot be merely dumped together, a way is needed to acclimate the bees and allow the pheromones present in each hive to equalize. This is accomplished by separating the hives with 3 layers of newspaper that has been perforated in several places with a pin or needle.
Step by step: I removed the lid from Hive A(the hive with the queen) and placed three sheet of newspaper over the top to act as the lid. I randomly perforated the paper and then placed the body of Hive B(no queen) atop of the paper on top of Hive A. Placing a lid on top of it all means that there is no exit from the top of the hive. Theoretically it should take the bees about 3 to 4 days to eat through the paper and get to one another. By that time the pheromones in both colonies should be equalized and the queenless bees will be the happy subjects of Hive A.
The loss of a couple of thousand bees, what's up with that? Well, since I performed the operation in the afternoon many bees are out in the field and when they come home, it won't be there. Here's what I did to minimize the loss.
I placed a new hive body on top of the old Hive B base and put 4 empty frames in it. I want to see if I can get returning bees to take up residence and transfer them to the new combined hive tomorrow. We'll see.
In honour of this occasion I will post the following song.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Interesting article on modern day beekeeping.