Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1st storm of the winter

The day before Thanksgiving and the weather has turned bad.  Earlier in the week it was into the 70's and the bees were out in great numbers collecting water for the winter.  All three hives buzzing up a storm.  Maybe that's what happened.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hives winter ready

Completed the last of the insulation today.  It is only 40 degrees and the bees are so toasty warm, they came out to forage but decided against it and went back in.

Late fall harvest

Today the temp is 45 and the bees in all three hives are active.  See no pollen coming in so I think they are storing up on water.  Insulation complete.  Had Bee Meetup last night, small turn-out and everyone is hoping for a surviving winter.  Got and gave several tips which will be useful.  A couple harvested to much honey, as when I said that the Langstroph hive needs at least 75 lbs. to winter over, several said they didn't leave that much.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Winter readiness

Today I began insulating the hives in prep for winter, which is suppose to be bad again this year.  I wrap them in 1" closed cell foam board from HD,   The bee's are very active, except the middle hive which is shaded by the Lilac bushes this time of year.  Will have to insulate that one next.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bee Dance

For those interested, Karl Ritter von Frisch won the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering the Bee Dance, where a bee, finding a great amount of nectar in the field, returns to the hive and creates this dance by doing a gyration of circles that are suppose to tell the other bees where it is located. 

Although not a scientist, I have watched bees returning to the my hives and have seen most of these dances go unnoticed by the other bees. My own hypothesis is: if you know that all the bees inside the hive are actually not gatherers, but really housekeeping bees, is that; a bee, released from her mundane duties of tending to the needs of the hive, is given permission to leave the hive and fly away in search of nectar or pollen or water, but mainly is able to be free at last, to escape. She fly's away wandering, to search and gather the needs of the hive, no care in the world, and upon returning, is so excited about her adventures that she cannot help but be excited about these adventures. Spinning around in circles, I can her her say " holy fuck, what a great day I've had, at one point I almost got hit by a bus, and these huge fucking flying things kept trying to catch and eat me.  Later

Friday, August 8, 2014

Queen-less hive

During my morning check I saw no activity from  (I'll call it my Mexican hive, after the source) so I just completed a thorough investigation and found only a couple hundred bees still alive, no brood and no queen. So it looks as though they killed her upon installation.  If there had been more bees, I would have taken some eggs from my Nuc hive and transplanted them, but, short of bees, I decided to move the hive over to the nuc hive and place it on the bottom.

I was going to harvest some honey from the Nuc hive but when I pulled the outside-most frame I found that the frame itself was full of capped honey, but because it was a frame for a super, it was short of the bottom and they had filled it in with comb and it was solid with capped brood, hardly a cell open.  Will have to watch and make sure they don't leave like last years colonies.  With the addition of 2 8" boxes at the bottom, I'm hoping all will be well with them.  This is the hive that had to make a new queen and today is the day the new fliers are to come out.

So I'm down to 3 very active hives and they all have lots of room so keeping my fingers crossed.  Later

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bees all went home

My best laid plan went array again as last evening, all the bees I had shook into the QC flew back home.  An inspection showed no queen either, Oh well.

The queen I installed in the queen-less hive is of such superior quality as today, 1 day after installation, the young brood were all dancing in front of the hive.   It turns out to be exactly on time for the hive to have re-queened itself.  I'm out $67 dollars but am happy that they re-queened as I think my stock is better as it has survived not only the winter, but every imaginable thing I could have done to kill it.  You say, why did not an inspection show new brood when I checked?  The answer is that I don't open my hives, but just turn them upside down to check how things are going.  Without cutting out some cone I can't always know what state they are in.  As an armchair beekeeper, I tend to let the bees do their own thing (most of the time).  I also have viewing windows to see how things are doing and once in a while I see the queen sneak by.  Later