Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hive doing well

An inspection of the hive from the viewing window shows that the hive is expanding well.  They are now utilizing a new frame and are beginning to clean the next.  The size of the bees has also grown so I know that the queen is laying well, without having to open the hive.  The bees are working hard, bringing in lots of pollen.  The blossoms from the flowers and fruit trees should start to come in soon and I expect the bees to begin to move up into the top box soon.  I have an empty box on top and one on the bottom, left over when I added swarms (with queens) last summer.  All in all I had three thriving colonies in the hive going into winter and but only one small colony coming out this spring.  Can't wait for the swarm season to begin.  1st year without buying a box of bees.  I have modified all the boxes to accept a beetle trap to try and control that problem and am not going to expand the hives like I did last year as I think it caused to much space for them to protect.  Live and learn.  Later

PS:  My previous blog about White Oak apiaries has over 700 hits so far and I want to thank you all for the responses which have all been negative and with the same experiences I went through.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Colony expanding

The colony that suvived the winter was very small, only using about 1.5 outer combs on the south side, where it was warmest.  They now have expanded into the fourth comb, with bees starting to clean the comb making ready for the queen.  It will take a little longer for them to build up but I look forward to seeing a lot more flying in the next couple weeks. 

The honey I salvaged from the upper box is very dark and strong tasting, but still quit good.  The comb I set out for the bees is being eaten quit fast, even with so few bees.  Only six more weeks till the swarm season, can't wait.   Later

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Heather's finally e-mailed

Heathers E-Mail;

I wrote you a nice long email this evening after dinner, went to send it, and 
the email program crashed!

It is currently quite pleasant out. I am wearing just about all my layers minus 
one or two small pieces and am nice and warm. Sarah, one of our RTWers, kindly 
lent me her second pair of Sealskin waterproof socks which have been a godsend 
along with my drysuit. I am always nearly dry when I come off watch minus sweaty 
feet and some condensation around my wrist seals. The poor souls on board who 
are trying to make it in just their Henri Lloyd foulies are mostly miserable as 
the foulies just accumulate water both inside and out and the water temp is 10 
degrees. So a BIG thank you for getting it for me. In fact, Ive written a poem 
about my drysuit that should be up on the crew blog page in the next day or so. 
Not quite Shakespeare, but close enough...

In other news, this leg has been fucking hard. The first ten days it seemed like 
everything that could go wrong did. We had kitemare after kitemare.
Exhaustion set in since we are such limited crew and we kept having to wake each 
other up on our off watches so people started making even more mistakes due to 
fatigue and it seemed like an vicious cycle. But then we couldnt put up 
spinnakers anymore because the sea state got too heavy and the wind angle was 
wrong, and after we blew through a few sheets, everything  settled down and we 
all got a chance to get into a normal routine.

I bruised my ribs being an asshole. Then two days ago, I crushed my fingers putting 
a reef in at the mast. Thought I broke at least one but it turns out its mostly just
a little bit of nerve damage from the crushing and probably will lose a fingernail or 
two? Also got a pretty deep gash on my knuckle which I am trying to keep from getting 
infected. Anyway, was down for half a day and there was a question as to whether or not 
Id be able to helm but everything seems okay now and I am back on the old grind! It gave me 
a chance to rest up which is good because I was definitely  feeling overwhelmed. 
Now my head is back in the game and I am ready for the next 10 days to be 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

First rain of the spring

It has been raining now for 2 days and is expected for another 24 hrs.  Fed the bees again last week when it was warm as not much in the way of flowers yet, although, as mentioned before, I did have a few Snow Drops and Crocus up, which the Bees found right away.  Not many bees left in the hive from the winter and they are right now staying on the sunny side of the hive for the extra warmth.

I believe my bees made it through the winter because it has been so steadily cold that they couldn't venture out as they have been doing the last three years and then never coming back.  Can't wait to get outside to work the gardens.  Bought some Aconite seeds from London to sow in the back yard, they are the first plants to emerge in the spring, about the same time as the Snow Drops.  They are bright yellow so will brighten up my drab back yard before in greens up.  Also found that I need to plant a lot more Crocus as many of mine died for whatever reason, but that's a fall job.   Later

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bees still here

The last cold spell has past and the bees are doing fine.  My Crocus are up and the bees are busy gathering pollen for the hive.  Today we went to the north end of the island so I stopped at the location I caught two swarms last year and the building had bees everywhere, a good sign that maybe I'll get more bees from them this year.  This is the same colony that my wintered over hive had come from so they have good genetics.  I am getting all the equipment ready for the swarm season to begin.  Each year I seem to get more and more calls.  Debra told me that the swarm I gave her last spring is doing well, it came from this colony also.

Started my springtime flower seed buying spree and actually worked the flower beds today, as the temps almost hit 60.  Snow in the forecast again, "come on spring".  Later

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Winter is almost over

Today the temp got to a little over 50f and the bees were out looking for nectar and pollen, unfortunately for them, there is nothing up yet.  Worried I might lose them in the last cold snap, it was a relief to see them out en-mass.   Made some repairs to my top feeder ( it began leaking last fall) and filled it with sugar syrup and HoneyBeeHealthy and added some pollen patties out front.  This should last until the flowers finally perk up. I can see the daffodil heads popping out of the ground now but the snow lilies haven't begun to raise their heads.   This will be the first year in 4 that the bees did not fly away in Jan.  Maybe leaving the screened bottom board open helped.  Looks like most of the bees in the Bee Group made it also, I think the cold may have kept them all home.

The beetles were bad last year so I am inserting a beetle blaster in each box this year to help in controlling them, and am also not going to expand the hives as much as I did last year, as one hive had signs of moths in it. Keeping the hives smaller should give them more control over whats inside.  I am even going to try my hand at splitting this summer, I broke down and bought a Langstrop hive for the purpose, we'll see how that goes.

Have more time this year as my camper got smashed by a semi and my boat sank from a drifting ice flow on Valentines day.  Later

PS for those interested, my daughter is 4 days out of Qingdau China sailing in 50 knots winds and 6 meter seas, quite the bumpy ride.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Signs of life in the hive

The weather has finally started to get warm (50's) so today when I checked on the hive I found several dead bodies outside the hive, so I tilted the hive back to check to see if there were many dead on the floor, one bee came out to see what the fuss was all about.  Will have to supplement their food with some fondant to get them through to real spring.

On another note, I checked my pollen patty box to give some away, and found it full of frass.  Looks very similar to powder post beetle residue.  Maybe it is, who knows.  Will have to clean very well before I put some in the hive.  Can't wait for spring to get here, We've had enough snow and cold for this year.