Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winter is coming

For winter this year all my bees will go into the bee house, including the 3 remaining nucs, except the swarm hive I caught Aug. 1st. I have added feeders and am feeding all the hives as this has not been a great year with all the rain we've had.  The hive that I am keeping at Staten Island is the Aug. swarm.  It is strong and has honey in both the upper and middle boxes of the octagon hive.  I gave all the hive's a dose of oxalic acid on Nov. 1,  The strongest hive had the most drops but none had too many.  My Sept. count was 2 per 100 bees in the worst hive.  We'll have to wait till spring to see how they do.  Later

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hive check 7/24

Looked into my nucs today, its been a week since I switched upper boxes and I wanted to see if there was any changes.  The heavy box I thought I could harvest some honey but it seems there is new brood in the upper chamber so I left it for later.  Lots of honey tho, just on the upper parts of the frames.  The second box, which I suspected of being queen-less, still had some old unhatched brood in the upper chamber.  Checked the lower chamber and to my surprise, there was newly capped brood.  I must have brought the queen from the previous switch.  That hive is fixed, now to watch the other.  Did not look for a queen cell in hive No1 so will monitor, although both hives bringing in pollen, a good sign.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Moved hives north.

Spraying for West Nile virus starts tomorrow so today I took 3 of the 5 nucs north and set them up on the property.  The small swarm I caught last week seems queen-less so I installed 3 frames of brood, larvae and eggs (I hope as I can't see that well) from the strongest hive.  Now its a waiting game to see if they make a queen cell.  If not I'll try again.  Nothing tried, nothing gained.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nuc monitoring

Yesterday I opened up the nuc where I had placed one of the larger swarms.  I had placed a comb of bees and brood in it on Sunday and wanted to see how it was progressing.  They have built quite a bit of new comb and in it there were eggs and larvae which means they have a queen and she seems to be laying good patterns.  Now the question is?  Is this the swarm queen? or did I accidentally move the queen with the frame I installed.  A check of the other hive in 5 days will reveal if they are making a queen cell.  The really small swarm I caught Monday is bringing in lots of pollen which is a good sign also.  Will check its progress next week.  Have no more comb to spare right now so they are on their own.  Lots of time left in the season.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hive check at the farm

Drove up to the farm to mow the lawn and see how the bees are doing since I installed the push in queen cage on Monday.  When I pulled the frame I could see that they had eaten through the back of the comb to get to the queen.  Found several dead bees in the cage but no queen in the pile.  Searched the whole hive but could not see her, even though she is marked.  The bees were bunching all over the place, so I tried to separate them to no avail.  Found lots of pupae in the cells so I guess she's okay.  The other two hives are going strong.  If they expand any more, I think I will split one of them, as I might do to the last swarm I just caught.  We'll see in a week or two.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hive inspections and split

Today with the help of a friend, We pulled the covers on all five nucs to assess their hardiness.  The first we intended to split so took off the top box and placed it on a new bottom board, than replaced the cover.

We then went to hive # 2, a newly caught swarm which was queen-less, and installed a new queen in her cage an closed it back up.  The third hive was also a swarm but much larger, they were adjusting nicely to their new surroundings and had built up almost 2 whole frames of comb in 2 days, so I added another box under and closed it up.  The last was a purchased nuc which was light when I bought it ( another hired hand had carried it to the car).  An earlier inspection had showed the queen had a random laying pattern and I had expected to replace her, but the last queen I had was going to my friends hive.  Upon inspection, the hive had perked up and their was brood on all frames and they had begun to store honey.  It has been so wet and cold this spring I felt the hive would do well and would assess the queen later.  Finally,  We pulled a frame of brood with some honey and installed a push in queen cage and installed the last queen.  This we placed in a nuc box and my friend will install it in his hive as his hive is queen-less.  We will check on it in a week and see how it is progressing.  With the push-in cage, she can begin laying right away and as the brood hatches, they can attend to business as usual without fear of her being killed.  If a working layer is in the hive, she will be suppressed from laying by the pupae in the introduced frame.  Big morning and only one sting where I pinched a bee. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Package DOA

Today while feeding the hives I found the first hive dead out.  The queen must have gotten the Nosema and never rebounded.  Only a few bees left.  Thank you Hudson Valley Bee Supply for all your support.  Oh, that's right, you said tough shit.

Friday, May 5, 2017

2nd inspection after queen cell replacement

Yesterday I checked to see if the queens were bred and found that both were and were laying nice patterns.  No 1 hive seems to have no queen and is failing.  Hope it can survive until I can add a frame or catch a swarm.  Fed all the bees.

Monday, May 1, 2017

1st Inspection of the AZ hive.

Today I went north to feed the bees and remove the queen cell caps and check for progress. The new cells just opened on Friday so its to soon to check on them, but the No.1 hive could have had some progress.  To my dismay, it was lagging behind the others so I took out the frames and placed them in the upper box as I had done with the other 2.  We'll see how that goes.  Anxious about working the bees inside the house, because of the closeness and not knowing what the bees would do and if they came out, how to get them back.  But a few whiffs of smoke and they were as gentle as could be and no bees came out.  The ones that road out the frames and fell off just walked back into the hive.  I'm liken it.

The big mess from the Nosema seems to have subsided as no bees were seen on the ground and the fronts of the hives were clean.  Glad that mess is over for now, as if Hudson Valley Bee Supply could care.  Still not a lot of bees in any of the hives, hope they can last out until the Carniolan queens get here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Starting over again

Last Sat, the 21 st of April I went up to get my 3 packages and then took them to the bee farm and installed them.  The next Monday I went up to check on the food supply and discovered that they may be infected with Nosema, a stomach fungal disease that makes them defecate all over the front of the hive.  I gave them more food and then went home to make up some medication (a mixture of Tea tree oil and Wintergreen oil)  which I added to a gal of sugar syrup.  I cleaned up some, and then checked on the queens, to see if they had been let out.  The bees had built comb completely over the cage making it impossible for the queen to get free so I had to cut out the queen cages.  As soon as I did, the queen and the attendants scrambled out of the cage, 2 of them may have escaped.  I went to Monroe NJ on Weds. morning and picked up 2 queen cells to install in the suspect boxes, picked up my bottom trays which I had made up and headed back north.  Bees dead everywhere by the thousands with some still alive crawling around unable to fly due to K-wing, another symptom of Nosema.  I installed the new queen cells and then headed to Hudson Valley Bee Supply, where I purchased the packages to show them evidence on the package boxes (shit everywhere literally).  I told him that I suspected Nosema and had lost 1/4th of my bees.  He shook his head and said, "that's too bad, but they should have time to build up."  I would have thought he be more concerned with his customers, and that he may have others out there with the same problem.  If you are reading this and have this problem, let me no so we can approach them en mass.  Fill you in later.