Saturday, April 26, 2014

New bees out flying today.

Almost as I had predicted to my wife, the flight bees were out, doing their little dance in front of the hive, gathering in the scent of the hive before venturing forth to do their bee thing.  The number of bees coming from the hive has double today.  I was a little worried as the size of bee mass inside the hive has remained constant for the last couple weeks.  Hope this will be the major turn around for them.

Jean from the Bee Meetup group just lost her hive in February during a warm spell, in which they just all flew away.  Next fall I'm inserting the queen excluder just above the entrance, as I don't expect next winter to be as harsh as this one was, but who knows, maybe we have another ice age coming and as this is the first year my bees didn't do the same thing, maybe I can stop it in its tracks.

Time to get the swarm trap ready and in place, hopefully I can trap the swarms before they all fly away.   Later

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