Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Winterizing hives

The cooler weather mornings have approached so I decided to start to wrap my hives.  I'm using 3/4" closed cell Styrofoam to the exterior.  This year I'm going to leave the bottom boards out and just wrap the base in tar paper to promote heat from the bottom up.  I'm also leaving the south face of insulation off for now and will place tar paper over it when the weather really turns.  I also removed one of the lower boxes in the swarm hive as they had all moved up and I could do it early this morning without disturbing the bees to much.

The robbing has continued at the strong hive and the pile of dead bees is growing deeper by the day.   Other than that, the bees are busy preparing for winter.  I have noticed that the size of the bees seem to be getting smaller as the winter approaches.,  Later 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Robbing has ceased

The pile of bees in front of the hive is over a inch deep.  I guess the little buggers from the feral hive ran out of bees or just gave up.  Almost all the bees now are drones, kicking and squirming, trying to get back in.  Both hives are cleaning house nicely. Checked my beetle trap again and only found one, so it looks like I'm getting that under control. 

Its starting to get chilly in the evenings, so I put on a layer of insulation to the top boxes, but left the south side exposed, so the sun can warm up the hives during the day.  The bees are very active today, lots of pollen gathering, probably from the Goldenrod, although they are working my Aster quite nicely (when the Bumble bees let them), will have to plant more.

Its off to northern NY this weekend for the Grouse opener and try my luck on fall salmon.  Later

Sunday, September 15, 2013


The little black feral hive is intent on robbing one of my hives and along with the fall expulsion of the drones, there is a sizable pile of dead bees in front of the hive.  Have inspected closely to make sure its not some disease, but the hive seems normal.  Still killing beetles in my thumb trap.  The bees chase them up and I kill them, quite some team work.  The merged hive now has three independent colonies but with the cool weather I expect that they will merge into one soon.  Have some repairs to make to one of my boxes as it seems I forgot to screw it together and now its opening up at the seams.  Placed a strap around it for now.  Hunting season approaching so I need to take care of the little things before I leave.  Later

Monday, September 9, 2013

Merged another hive to the other swarm hives

Today I decided that, after a close inspection of the absconded hive, that there seemed to be no major problems inside the hive.  So I made ready the top of the merged hive and placed paper over the top and then placed the two boxes on top and replaced the cover.  We'll see how that goes.

Funny thing, Sat. when we did our inspections of the hives at the Meetup, I found that the first merge of the four boxes combined, did not really create one large colony, but there are two colonies inside, each living as if the other does not exist.  They use the same entrance and don't seem to bother each other, especially since the upper colony bees have to go through the first colony space to reach there own.  What's going to happen to the third colony, sitting atop the second? I wonder.  Will have to monitor and see.

The best hive is still doing great (knock on wood).  I did a mite dusting and it came out clean, but there are some beetles.  I placed a trap on the top bars and it created a place for the beetles to hide, so every day I open up the cover and squish them with my thumb.  At fist I would see twenty or so, but yesterday I was down to 2.  Think I may have something, as in my hives there is literally no place for the beetles to hide, and the bees chase them all over.   Works for me, will have to do the same for the other hive to.   Here's a Pic of my now three colony high shared stack.  Later

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mite check on absconded hive

Tuesday I pulled the board under hive 2, to get an idea of why they absconded.  Absolutely no mites, not even one.  But the board was full of wax moth larvae.  That afternoon the hive was a buzzing with bees, robbing no doubt, and it was after that , that I pulled the board.  My thought is that with all the activity in the hive, most of the wax moths were nocked to the bottom and out the screen onto the board.  I think the wax moths moved in after the bees left, as the hive was literally un-attended, but who knows for sure.  It was a fairly strong hive to begin with, so I don't think the moths moved them out.  Still no answers and probably never will have.

It was good that the hive is mite free, as I want to join what is left with the other swarm hive, #3.  Will do that on Saturday.  I'm giving a small talk on winterizing hives this Sat. so may do it then, as I'll have help. 

By the way.  If you try to freeze your wooden wear after a moth infestation, it takes more than 2 days to kill then.  I scraped the worms from the board after 2 days in the freezer and put them in a plastic bag for Sta., and an hour latter they were all back alive.  My suggestion would be to seal up your equipment in a plastic bag and put in moth balls.  Keep it outside for the winter, than scrub it with a bleach solution before reusing it.  Later