Friday, August 24, 2007

Second Time Around

A co worker of mine had given some thought to being a beekeeper himself. After talking bees with me, he decided to do it. Luckily for us, he lives a few miles down the road from one of our local beekeepers. I’m talking beekeeper with over 100 hives on his property alone. He jumped into the hobby, and I restarted mine by purchasing one of the beekeepers hives. Actually, we had him transfer frames into his, and then into my hive body.

So here is my new set up, so far it has worked great to control all my ant problems. One M01691G VIZ PLASTIC HIVE STAND/VENTILATED BOTTOM BOARD from, for $30 plus shipping, landscape timbers cut to the length of the hive, cement pavers, and under all that some weed block material. Is about ten feet away from the previous location on higher ground, and now it faces south.

Still, nothing is ever perfect. The new Stand/bottom board has some great ventilation. Unfortunately some of the bees can squeeze out of the holes when you close the entrance. Found that out after I went to pick up my hive from the beekeeper. This lesson was worth 2 stings) As we put it in the back of my car, the car filled up with a few bees, so to resolve the problem I lifted the body off the hive away from the stand, and the beekeeper slid a piece of screen (between base and hive body) to close the hive up. Simply, it was not an easy task when it was all done, and unfortunately …… I either lost the queen or injured it. Five days later my local state inspector showed up, and he revealed the fact that there were no new eggs on any of the cells, and 4 new capped queen cells. BUMMER!!!!! He said “strong colony, wait 20 days. Everything will be ok if they can raise a new queen”

So I have a really neat setup, and bees without a queen. They are working on replacing her, but you just never know it they will succeed, and I won’t know till the 24th of August. The day has been marked on my calendar from day 1. For 20 days I have been waiting to find out if the new queen emerged, mated properly, and made it back. Failure means I will be on my 3rd try, I‘ll make sure to take my regular hive bottom, so there is no repeat of last time.

In the meantime I noticed the moats are too deep, and the bees kept drowning in them. I tried discouraging them from drinking the water by putting a layer of oil on the water, which was completely unsuccessful. Next, I tried making little landing boards so they could land on them and drink out of the moats. Didn’t work any better. My final solution which seems to work very well, was to drill a hole on the moat’s side wall to keep the water level to about ¼ of an inch deep. Even it they fly in for a drink, they should be able to fly out or walk out, but the water level is still deep enough to keep the ants out.

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