Thursday, April 23, 2015

New bottom boards

This week I was working on some new improved bottom boards with a slot for the beetles to go straight into the pan under the screened bottom.  As I was looking at it, it occurred to me that the beetles could just crawl up from behind and through the screen and into the hive.  I had remembered seeing a you tube video of one like mine that had a trap between the hive and the entrance, so after much digging, I found what I was looking for on line and bought six.  Talking with the mfr, I told him it was for my octagonal hives and he was totally unaware of what they were.  I said " don't laugh, all of my hives survived this terrible winter".  He said he could have what I needed here by next week.

Today I modified the bottom boards to accept the Beetle Jail entrance trap and can't wait for them to arrive as I killed 9 beetles the other day while doing a cursory inspection.  The bees had them all pushed into a corner so it was an easy thumb squish process.  All my bees seem to be very hygienic.  As it turned out, making the new boards for the Beetle Jail, was half the work and the cost is surely justified.  NOT CHEAP  Will have a picture when its all done.

My Red-bud is just beginning to open its blossoms and the bees are ready.   Later

Monday, April 13, 2015

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Feral hive out come looks bleek

Seeing limited activity, today as it was warm, I pulled the nuc box from the top of the hive and saw that it was empty so I set it aside and removed the second box.  This one had a few bees.  Upon cracking open the third box, I saw a smaller mass of bees at the top so covered it all up and went and got the hive blanket and cover.  I then removed all the upper box again and did a thorough inspection.  Not a trace of honey left so I thought that the bees I was seeing could be robbers.  After watching awhile, the bees became active and soon they were bringing back pollen to the hive so my hope picked up a little.  I made up a batch of sugar water and put it in the entrance feeder.  I shook out the remaining bee from the box removed and then reassembled the hive leaving only 2 brood boxes.  It was in the low 50's so I didn't want to chill any brood, if there is some, so didn't dig any further for now.  Will just watch for now and see if any new flyers come out in the near future.  The other two hives are still doing great and I am expecting early swarms and have made all preparations for that.  If I get secondary swarms, I may pull the queen from one and put her in the feral box as it has an older queen.  Probably why its not up to par with the rest.  Was a good thing I fed when I did earlier as this hive would not have made it.  Still may not.  Later

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Flight bees

Yesterday I mentioned that one hive had new flight bees.  Today all three hives are active.  With the weather warming, the bees are not paying attention to the yard flowers and are off enjoying their new found freedom.  They must have hit the mother load somewhere as they are all coming back with legs covered in pollen.  I'll have to do a walk about with the dogs and see if I can find out where.  I opened up one of the viewing ports on the strongest hive and found that there is over half the honey reserves left from this winter.  I left about 35 lbs in each hive.  Guess the insulation really worked and just more reason to continue with the octagon hives.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Aconite bulbs blooming

Last fall I purchased 100 Aconite bulbs for my bee garden. Even though I had 3 trusty squirrel guards, the squirrels had a field day and all that came up to bloom this springs were six plants. As fat as the squirrels got, you would have thought the dogs would have gotten at least one. The bees are enjoying them anyway.

Yesterday I cleaned up my comb honey boxes and then placed one on my one hive.  A little early, but thought I would see how it will compare to the next one I set the 1st on May.   Still kind of chilly at night so I plugged up the upper entrances for the time being.  Today the activity in this hive was acting as if the brood had hatched because for a short time a ton of bees came out and began circling and then left for parts unknown to gather nectar and pollen.  I pulled the last of the insulation off today and put it away for the summer.  Later