Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to robbing again

The sugar water has attracted the neighbors again even with the entrance reducer in place.  Not a huge number of bees but many. I have read that if you trap the bees inside a strange hive for three days, they will make it their own.  So I took off the bottom board and replaced it with my catch trap.  Any home bees from the hive can get back in and any robbing bees will enter and not be able to get back out.  The nasty hive will build up by someone else's attrition and if the literature is right, then the hive can begin to prosper, albeit, not the usual way.  We'll see what happens.  Later

Monday, June 25, 2012

Activity in the nuc

Lots going on at the nuc entrance this afternoon after the thunderstorm.  Looks like the brood is beginning to hatch, as new bees were flying at the gate.  Inside the hive the bees are actively making comb where I had removed it for the nasty hive.  It too seems active, but with such a small colony its still not much.  The bar of bees I gave it seems to have perc'd them up. Gave it some sugar water to help it along and closed down the entrance even more.  Checked on brood development and it to seems to be getting stronger with brood on more than one comb now.   As the bees hatch, it to should improve as there will be more hive bees to help.  Hope to see new bees flying in a day or two.  Later

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another transfer

Today I have decided to move a frame of bees into the nasty hive to see what will transpire.  The nuc seems to be doing well now so they can spare the frame.  Later

Friday, June 22, 2012

Queens in

Checked the nuc today and the queen has been set free.  We'll have to wait and see if she is accepted tho.  Placed a mat in front of the hive to see if a dead queen shows up.

The nasty hive is slowly dwindling, not much in the way of brood cells and no honey build-up ( could the robbing had anything to do with that?).  I'm just going to let it go as I don't want to mix it with the other hives, just in case there's another problem.  The bees seem fine otherwise.  We'll see how the summer goes.  Later

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Queen

Received my new replacement queen today from Full Bloom Apiaries out of CT, right on time as promised.  Because its so hot today, I gave her (them) some water and a drop of honey.  When I opened the hive to put her in I noticed that they had begun to build down into the Octagonal hive.  I had made a transition board for that purpose last year and its working just fine.  I had opened up the hive yesterday to check on things and much to my surprise, there was brood comb on one frame on both sides.  That couldn't have been from my transplant attempts as its to soon.  There are three possibilities: 1) Maybe a laying worker, but the pattern looks to even, almost perfectly round.  2)  that I had moved the queen with the TBH frame when I transferred the frame to the nuc. If I did, the TBH will make a new one.  3) and last is that for some reason the original queen just wasn't laying, which I doubt.  I decided to put in the new queen anyway just to be sure.  If it was either old queens then the new one will take over or maybe they will leave her alone and I'll have 2 working queens.  That happened to Debra when we tried to make a nuc out of the back of her TBH.  The queen move forward and the back succumbed to beetles, she checked and they are both laying.  We'll see what happens.

On another note, my comments on white Oak Apiaries is getting noticed on the web.  It shows up right under his ad.

The robbing has ceased on the nasty hive since I shut down the opening.  Will leave it that way until they can build up their strength to protect themselves better.   

PS:  It's now 4:30 and for the first time since I installed the nuc there are guard bees defending the entrance.  I saw no hostile activity nor threat at the entrance so maybe they are finally feeling that they could be a colony, lets hope.  I thought maybe that they were fanning since its so hot, but they weren't doing that either. There are large stores of honey and my adding extra bees has kept the hive strength up even without a queen, it can only get better now.  Only have the nasty hive to work on expanding now.  Later

Monday, June 18, 2012

Robbing nasty hive

Today as I checked the arrival of the hatching of the bees in the nasty hive I saw everything going great in the morning,  many bees at the entrance awaiting their first flight. I checked again later in the day and saw much fighting at the entrance.  I had given them sugar water inside the hive to help them along and I guess now that the flowers are abating, thievery is about, so I closed down the entrance to help them defend the hive better and it seems to be working.  If its still is bad tomorrow, I'll close it down some more or maybe even shut it off completely for a few days.

Got a reply from the queen vendor and he has shipped the new queen, should be here on Weds.  Its a New World Carnolian.  Hope that will spice the nuc before its to late.  I guess I should be feeding it also.  The TBH is still going great guns, hope to harvest some of the honey the first year.  Later  

Monday, June 11, 2012

White Oak Apiaries

Just want to let anyone know that you don't get what you pay for at White Oak.  I thought I had purchased a nuc which should have had 3 frames of brood and bees and 2 frames of honey.  He said that because of the late spring the nuc would be a little light.  What I got when I opened it at home was: one half frame of brood, 2 frames of bees, one completely empty frame (no comb) and one empty frame of comb the bees would not touch.  And guess what?  no queen, which I didn't find out until my 2 week inspection where I found no brood left and no laying going on.  I left an e-mail and he doesn't seem interested in my dilemma as he refuses to return my call.
There was also an interesting article in the NY Times that stated the president of the Brooklyn Bee assoc. who purchased his bees from White Oak, had his bees chew their way out of the nuc's in the back of his car and he had to pay a fine because of the nuisance it caused.  Sounds like this guy is a piece of work.

I suspected something upon arriving at his apiary as it was in total disarray, not what you would want from a businessman you could trust.  That's my two cents worth, take it or leave it.
The queen which I purchased from him I had to actually pick up on site when I got my Nuc, as after waiting ten days he hadn't sent it.  It isn't laying a good pattern and after 4 weeks the hive has not enlarged at all.  My other hives are doing great, so its not the flow.  Later

Friday, June 8, 2012

Making queens

Today I opened the TBH and located some day old larva.  I shook off and brushed off all the bees and took the bar to the house.  There I used my magnifying glass and make-shift tool and removed four of the larva to cell cups I had just made by watching a video by the Fat Man.  The whole process seems painless, really, no stings.  I then placed the cell bar into the queen-less hive and replaced the TBH bar.  I'll check them tomorrow to see how things are working out.

The hive I mixed has shown some improvement as half the bees on top have moved down to the other box.  Still bees hanging on to the combs in the top box.  I have a window into it so can now watch from a distance without opening the hive.  There's a lot of space still for them to moderate the climate.   Later

The activity in the queen-less hive has definitely increased since I installed the queen cups.  Do they already sense there is hope on the horizon?  The number of bees making sorties has more than doubled.  Lets hope that at least one of the cups will take.  If more than one does, I have my queen rearing boxes to put them in.  Debra said that all her bees died in the box I lent her, so I'm anxious to test one for myself.  Later

Later Afternoon:
After writing the above I realized that I could move my bars of the nasty hive from 2 boxes into one box as they had built on different sides of their individual boxes.  So I did.  I placed my observation on the bottom so I can check on growth.  When they get half the bottom filled, I'll add another box.  When I was working in the TBH I broke one of the combs off the bar, it was pretty heavy so I think in a couple of weeks I'll pull it and extract the honey.  Got a great price on an electric extractor and bottling tank, can use it for the bee club.  Later

Thursday, June 7, 2012

2 hives queenless

Yesterday I examined all my hives.  The small swarm which I thought was doing so well was queen-less, so I papered them into the nasty hive which I had previously given the queen to.  There was fresh brood in the comb so I think they will be fine.  My nuc is still queen-less and the frame of bees and brood I added hasn't started a queen cup so there must not have been any new larva.  I've been studying up on queen making so tomorrow I'm going to try and find some day old larva from the TBH and make some queens.  With my eyes that should be something.

Haven't heard a word from White Oak Apiaries so scratch them off your list of good people to work with.  I got half of what I paid for and no queen to boot.  Will have to post some bad things to say about them on the web.  Oh, I'm doing that aren't I.  Later

Monday, June 4, 2012

Transferring bees

Couldn't stand the tension of waiting for White Oak to call back so today in the rain I removed a frame of brood, bees and hopefully an egg or two from the TBH over to the nuc to give them some support.  All went well and I didn't even get stung.  Will check the end of the week for queen cells developing.
The nasty hive has calmed down completely since I added the queen.  They became a busy factory, building new comb and flying many sorties.  I hope in another 20 days or so we shall see new bees flying.  The small swarm has begun work on another bar.  I can see this one making it through the winter.  I may have to combine the nuc and the nasty hive if there is no new queen development.   Later

Sunday, June 3, 2012

NUC failing

After the excitement of watching the new bees yesterday, I awoke around 2 o'clock thinking that I hadn't been seeing anything happening at the new nuc.  Decided to check it out and found no queen, no brood cells, empty frames and very few bees.  May still have time to add a new queen and salvage it.  I guess that White Oak Apiaries has more problems than I thought.  Along with his untidiness and bad bookkeeping, he may be untrustworthy also.  We'll see, as I wrote him an E-mail telling him of the problem and how was he going to correct it.  I'm not the only one having this type of problem of having queen-less nucs.  Will have to wait and see what he says.  Later

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dance of the honey bee

The swarm I placed in my TBH has become an official colony today, as the first bees to hatch came out for their orientation flights.  I love to watch them dance in front of the hive, circling, circling ever so larger, than after many minutes, gaining the courage to take off for who knows where, to fulfill the last stages of their life, unselfishly bringing in nectar or pollen for the others, knowing all along that nothing will be for them.  Free of the hive at last and the drudgery's of cleaning and tending the very young, then flying with the wind with only an occasional bird or car to worry about and instinctively knowing how to get back.  I had watched them gathered on the threshold of their entrance last night, anxiously waiting, they couldn't sleep, just hoping the weather would change and they would be given the okay to go.  Not right away of course, the older bees would have to lay an invisable course for them to follow to the flowers.  Then the word would spread and they would start to trickle out, than more and more would be flying at the entrance.  Soon, and as fast as it had begun, they would make a last circle and head for the sky, the hive would be back to normal.  How long would they be gone? only the distance would tell.  Later

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bee Penthouse complete

Finished working on the expansion of the TBH today and beat the storm that's coming in.  I added a narrow regular super filled with comb boxes.  I chose the TBH as it has the most active bees.  The colony is strong and I am hopeful that they can fill the super with good honey before the end of July, at which time I will remove it and let them store for themselves the rest of the year.  Here's a picture:  It has a removable cover so if I wanted, in a good year, I could add more supers on top.  This year is iffy weather wise, as the blooms are very short lived. 
The swarm I caught on Monday has 1 1/5 combs built already.  Not bad for the size of the colony.  I'm thinking they may be fine by winter time.  The other hive I added the queen to, I'm not so sure about.  Still have three weeks to go before I see any increase in bees.  Then I'll feel better.  Got stung on the nose yesterday while trying to put the cover back on the hive.  I had been working on it for quite some time too.  They are extremely tame, even let the dogs stick their noses right into the entryway without giving them trouble.  I do of course, because if they attack the dogs their liable to come for me.

Checked on the bee tree today and found a few bees working below one of the holes I plugged up.  Not sure whats going on but I told them I'm done and to call an exterminator if they return en mass. Later