Ever wanted to own a bee hive for no other reason than to save the bees, but you have no place to put it or are allergic to bee stings? Well, now you can help the bees by buying your own hive and keeping it at The "Cochecton Honey Bee Sanctuary", located only a short bike ride to Bethel Woods Arts Center.
I will do all the work, what better way to help the pollinators. At the end of the second season, you can reap the rewards of fresh organic honey, straight from your own hive. Come and enjoy a day volunteering some of your time on this beautiful 16 acre site. Apple pick in the fall, make cider or caramel apples, enjoy the site as a base for biking, canoeing or rafting the Delaware river, only minutes away. Make a day or a weekend of it with the family, the time is right and only $300.
Just finished cleaning out all the hives. 2 had very small clusters in the center which looked like they froze during the cold snap we had. All the others were empty of bees, less a few dead on the bottom board. None had any full brood cells. All hives were full of honey which is a bear to strain as it is so viscus this time of year. My 1st swarm hive of the spring had 2 and 1/2 boxes of honey, but all hives had enough for winter survival. I found 1 beetle larvae and only a couple of beetles dead inside the hives, the most, surprisingly were in the strongest hive.
Just ordered 2 packages, I said I wouldn't but since I caught no swarms last year, I thought it would be prudent.
Crocus were in full bloom this week, they seemed lonely without the bees. Later
Just got back from our annual trip to Key West and it looks as though all my bees just up and left during the warm spell in Dec. No dead bees in 2 of the hives and no activity in the last 3, so I'll be setting traps at friends home's this spring. There is a slim hope that they just remained inside the hive the last warm day and didn't come out. Will just have to wait till spring to see. Later
Today I put the final touches on insulating the hives. I kept one hive un-insulated for comparison next spring to see if it is all worth it. I removed the top box from the hive I combined (No 6) as the bees had moved down and no honey had been stored in it so its less area for them to keep warm. Still unsure if this hive will make it or not, although it seem active at the moment. I set out some sugar water with HBH for the bees and hordes of yellow jackets showed up for the feast, so now I have to make a trap for them. Other than that, not much happening. Time to start cleaning up the summers mess.
Decided to buy some cardboard nuc boxes for next spring. Keep my yard to 7 hives and let the swarms move into the nucs for sale later.
Put a piece of dryer sheet inside a disk case in the hive just above the top bars as I had read it works for controlling beetles. Checked the drop pan 2 days later to find a dozen or so dead ones. I had placed lime dust in the pan too, so not sure which is working.
After much thought about the pro's and cons of joining two weak hives, I decided on putting them together today. Each on its own was doomed to fail this winter so, after remembering my first hive to survive the winter 2 years ago by a combination of 3 weak hives, I decided to try and save at least one. They were both from small swarms which I should have put together last spring, but a little greed seeped into my veins and now I will probably pay the piper. I also added a shim with bars to the green hive. This is one of the two that suffered from my experiment of 2 years ago by not placing bars in every box, that was a bad move but we only learn from our mistakes. Added another box under hive No. 1 as it was almost full of comb to the bottom and top box full of honey. This was a swarm hive so will not harvest from it. It is almost to the wintering weight of 30lbs. As of today I think that 4 of the 7 are heavy enough to survive the winter. 1 is close and the last which I combined today, I will probably have to feed in late Oct. Later
Yesterday I hosted our Staten Island Bee keeping Meetup group for a brunch meeting. Had a great time and learned a few things. Gave a tour of my gardens and apiary also. By the way, I'm hosting an apiary tour and short lecture on natural bee-keeping methods on Sat. Sept. 12th between 11 and 2. All are welcome and its free. E-mail me for directions. firstname.lastname@example.org