Monday, July 16, 2012

Plexiglass cover

Today I put a plexi-glass inner lid over the bars of the nasty hive so I can better monitor it without opening the hive completely.  While in the process I was delighted to see that the bees have increased in numbers significantly, maybe there's hope yet.  Have been waiting all growing season to see what the mystery plant is in my bee garden.  It has grown to over 7' tall and finally bunched out at the top and to my dismay, has fussy flowers which the bees could care less about, so out it came.  Great conversation piece, but no value to me or the bees.  Planted some Anise Hyssop in its place.   Also started some seeds which finally came in the mail.  Almost eradicated the Queen Ann's Lace which took over the bee garden this spring while I was doing cabinet work for friends.  Good luck having them help in the garden.  Can't even get my wife to help, if it's not Hosta, she wants nothing to do with it.  Later

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bees finally moved into penthouse

Finally, after a long six weeks the bees have begun to work the super.  When I lifted the lid to check, there was a mass of bees.  In the past, there were only a few bees hanging around.  If there is a good fall for nectar then maybe I'll get some comb honey in the boxes.  Lets hope, I need some for Christmas presents.

The nuc is full of bees, I guess the new queen is working well.  The expansion into the brood box is slow, but I think that it has a lot to do with the dearth that we are experiencing right now, no nectar, no comb building.  In the evening the mass of bees hang in the brood box so the upper nuc must be getting full of honey and brood.  Although the white clover is still producing, it is drying up as well.  A few bee flowers are yet to bloom in the bee garden and the Asters should begin to bloom also.  There is also the tree I found last year which will produce for all three hives when it comes into bloom in a couple of weeks.  I took a cutting and it has rooted so I will transplant that in back by the bee garden.  The Japanese Apricot is doing well even though the top of the stick died.  I cut it off and am training the top-most branch as the tree top.  Hopefully it will branch out.  I took cuttings of it also and it has also taken root.

The nasty hive is slowly gaining in strength, if the robbing of the hive would stop it still might have a chance if I feed it all winter.  I have left the entrance reducer in but I may have to reduce it further if the dearth gets worse as the robbing will get worse too.  There's a small group of bees in the nuc who use the upper entrance who look suspiciously like the culprits, as the are very dark and have little hair (which gets chewed off by the guard bees when they try robbing).  Only a guess, but its funny how they seem to stay to themselves at the little upper entrance.

Plan to check on honey supplies at the end of the month, should get a frame or two without causing any harm.  Later

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nuc is expanding

Finally the nuc has started to build down into the main box.  First comb is about three inches long and the whole of the box seems to be actively building, but with so many bees its hard to tell.  Maybe if we have a good fall for nectar I will be able to dispense of the nuc altogether, surely by next spring.  I do expect to get swarms from both hives next spring.  Weather still in the 90's but the hives seem to be handling it okay as there is no fanning going on.

Checked the nasty hive and it still is looking bad.  The queen is laying very sporadically at best but they are building comb.  That's a first, as there was comb in the hive to start with but no honey build-up (from the robbing).  It will be lucky to make it through the winter even if I feed it.  Later