Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring opening

The temps hit above 60 today so I decided to open the hive and install pollen patties and Beetle control traps, which I made from CD diskettes, with D-earth and Boric acid (watch the Fat Bee Man U-tube on that).
   I decided that I wouldn't smoke and the bees from the hives all remained quite content, even though they didn't know me from Adam.  I should say all but one, a lonely bee decided to commit suicide and nailed me on the wrist.  Maybe he was the only one leftover from last fall and was getting even for something.
   I checked the Cedar shavings (which are my hive blanket) and they were totally dry.  I guess having the area vented above the shavings works.  Lots of bees in the attic so the queens are doing their jobs.
I didn't touch the feral hive as the nuc box is still on top.  Will deal with that after the flow.  Later

Sunday, March 22, 2015

1st day of spring

I had planned on removing all the insulation from the hives the 1st day of spring but the weather changed again with 4" of new snow and the temps dropped back below freezing at night.  Will remove when the weather changes for the better.  The bees finished the second batch of syrup so I set out one more.  The pollen patties arrived so the first day in the 50's, I'll put them in, also the beetle traps I made from disc holders.  Later

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pest management

For pest management in my boxes, under the cover I have placed a baited plastic CD box for Small Hive Beetles.  I have also placed a plastic tray filled with vegetable oil under the screened bottom boards.  I clean this about every 2 weeks as it gets filled with capping and other debris.  A thorough inspection at this time also gives me an idea as to any problems inside the hives.  Because the oil is an added expense, this year I'm going back to Diatamacious(sp) Earth and add a small amount of Boric acid to it.  At the front of my hives I have planted Thyme to help ward off beetles and mites. This seems to have worked as my beetle counts last year were very low.  So far, by not stressing the bees by opening the hives, I had little or no mite problems, the bottom traps were clear.  I believe using the Carnolean queens aided in reducing the mite problems because they are a smaller bee and seem to be more hygienic.  Both the hives with the Carni queens came out of the winter very strong, the transitional hive had Italian stock and is somewhat weaker.  I expect the first two to swarm and have made preparations for it.  As a natural bee keeper, I am going to start propagating by swam rather than splitting the hives again, even though it did work well last year.

Transitioning from nuc to octagonal hive.

Through the last several years on beginning bee keeping I have slowly but surely become a natural bee keeper.  I did not open any of my hives last year except in July to see if I had surplus honey that could be harvested, which, because I had split my one surviving hive, I did not.  Last year I was asked to remove some bees and found that someone had placed a nuc on the back porch of a building and it had attracted a swarm.  The year before, a bee keeper was called to remove some bees from this building and I believe he just forgot to take the nuc box home.  I watched the box occasionally throughout the summer, hoping he would remove it and when he didn't, I did.  Because my hive is only 14 inches across, I could not just transfer the frames from the nuc, so I added a new cover to my hive and cut a hole out the size of the nuc and then just placed the nuc on my hive, upside down.  I added an entrance hole at the top for ventilation and access for the bees.  I will leave it in place until this July, at which time I will remove it and place the original cover back on.  Any bees will be swept back into the hive and all honey will be harvested.  Photo's show nuc with winter insulation wrap.  A visual inspection from the viewing window indicates that the bees have built comb all the way to the bottom box.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Crocus

Today the Crocus blossomed and it was no time before the bees found them, hooray for springtime.     The bees are almost finished with the second batch of sugar syrup I gave them.  Have pollen patties on order but have not arrived yet.   Must be bee season as I find myself searching the net for bee stuff.  Also ordered another comb honey box, hopefully they will sell at this falls bee gathering in NYC.  Our first SI Beekeepers meeting is next Saturday.  I think we lost about 40% of our bees this year, about average I think.  Later

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Winter has finally broke

Wednesday the temp were in the 50's so I removed the insulation from the south side of the hives and almost immediately bees came out of all three hives and began their evacuation flights, you could almost here the sighs of relief.  I cooked up so syrup and HoneyBHealthy and placed it in the lawn between all the hives.  They found it forthright and within a couple of hours the 2 quarts were gone.  After they were done flying, I picked up the feeder and brought it inside to clean and refill.  I found that many bees had crawled inside and became soaked with the sugar water and had died, so I tossed them in the trash.  The next morning I found all the bee's alive and waiting at the rim of the trash bin so I collected them in a basket and waited for the temp outside to warm so I could bring them back.  I then refilled the feeder and placed it back outside.  Cool day so not to much activity.

Today I spent repairing my catch sacks, the wood spreader hoops I had used, broke, so I had ordered new metal ones which arrived yesterday.  That task is complete.  I have been laid up with bruised ribs from a bad fall and the door to the garage froze closed with ice 2" deep so no work over the winter.  I had planned on completing several more hives to sell and will now have to make up for lost time. Later