Saturday, September 29, 2012

Preparing for winter

Preparing for winter is fairly simple for me, I just put in the bottom board.  Because of the beetles I covered the bottom board with Diatomaceous earth when I put it in.  The board is about an inch below the screen.  Yesterday and this morning I found a single beetle on the bottom board trying to move but couldn't without legs.  Its amazing how destructive to the beetles this is.  I have not seen any new dead brood on the bottom board, nor beetle larvae either for that matter.  Bees still bringing in pollen and a little nectar.  Robbing has ceased since the smell of the Honey Bee Healthy sugar syrup (Don't want to do that again) has ceased so I expanded the entry a little.    Later

Monday, September 24, 2012

Beetles in the hive

Yesterday I found 2 hive beetles in my nasty hive.  They moved into the feeder where the bees could not go.  I mushed them with my finger.  I guess that's what those larvae were from, at least I think.  Things to note;  don't use Honey-Bee-Healthy to only feed 'one' hive.  It causes instant robbing.  I had to close off the hive there were so many bees trying to get in.  It took another day after the food was gone for the hive to settle down but even today there were a few stragglers trying to get in.  The bees became very aggressive and for the first time even went after the dogs, didn't take them long to learn where not to go tho.  Had a few bees sticking to my cloths but no stings.  Will wait to feed again after it get colder I guess.

Had the group of SI bee keepers here for a meeting on Sat., which went well I thought.  Handed out some bee plant seeds as party favors.  We tasted some Mead and a new grapefruit drink I learned to make at last weeks festival in Rockoways.  Not much else going on.  Later

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More little worms

Yesterday I pulled the bottom board to the nasty hive and found five brood pulled from the comb.  One was still alive and the others were sucked dry.  I also found 4 more little worms.  I went to the Honey fest. in Rockaway, taking some samples with me.  I asked a long time beekeeper about the problem and after looking at the worms, said he had never seen such a thing.  This morning I found no dead brood but did find six or more worms of various sizes, from 1/16 in to 1/4 in, in length.  The look somewhat like a hive beetle larvae but I think they are much to small, and I see no beetles in the hive.

Today I sent the photo and history to the labs at Ithica for identification and what to do about it.  I also did a thorough inspection of the hive, even with a magnifying glass and found nothing unusual, just a strong hive.  Go figure.  Later

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dead brood on the bottom board

This morning early, I looked into the Nasty hive and found many dead brood laying on the screen and a couple of dead bees.  Pulled the removable bottom board and didn't find any hive beetles or mites, just fragments of pollen and hive debris.  I did see a small mite sized insect, but it was grey in color.  I lost sight of it and couldn't save it.  I checked through the upper transparent cover and did not see any sign of mites.  The hive seems to be doing fine.  With the bees doing good house cleaning, it seems I have a strong hive.  Will have to watch closely with early morning visits for awhile.  The other two hives are still doing fine.  Later

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hanging Chains

I have read with interest that the bees form chains inside the hive to help with comb building.  What I have read, in more than one publication, is that the bees, presumably using internal mathematical equations, design the size, location and alignment of each comb and with that information form these chains, positioning thier bodies to accomplish the task.

Here's an alternative theory:
 As a natural bee keeper, my bees have no frames nor foundation to follow and having observed my bees     ( through the viewing windows) for hours and on many occasions,  have found that the bees really just hang in every which way and build the comb not necessarily in the direction of the hanging chains.  If they did, the hive would have comb running in all directions.  So as I watched, I began to remember another social insect who does the same thing, the ant, and guess what?  they don't build comb.  They build bridges and many other intricate forms (using their bodies en mass) including the chains like that of the honey bee.  What for? For ease of transportation.  With this new thought I watched the bees, and behold, they came through the entrance and ran directly to the bottom of the chain and began crawling straight to the top to deposit their load, once having done so, either ran down the chain or just dropped to the bottom board and ran back out.  No grand design here, just a bee ladder and ingenuity enough to know that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line, a bee line I guess.  Later

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sept and bees coming on strong

After a nasty bout with a kidney stone I finally checked the hive for a fall progress report.  All hives have been very active.  The inside hive has been building new comb, three since I last checked, in the lower brood box and filling with honey.  Most of the bees have moved down although I haven't seen the queen in all that mass of bees.  The nasty hive I think has built up to a wintering over size but still no activity in the lower box.   A few hanging from the upper bars.  With all the fall activity, they may finish on top and begin comb below, would be good to see.  May have to feed anyway to be sure.   The TBH is just moving along, doesn't get any bigger or smaller.  Seems to have a queen who knows how to run a business.  Must be a republican as she didn't need any outside help.  I expect to catch a big swarm from it in the spring, then sell it along with a new octagonal hive as a complete package.

 Almost out of last years honey so I might take a bar this weekend.  May have the troops over for a Saturday get together/talk on wintering bees and harvesting.  Later