Sunday, February 3, 2008

Let There Be Spring

OK not for real, but I’m feeding to create an artificial early spring flow, and the high 70 temperatures during the day should help my cause.

This weekend I went out with my new beekeeper assistants and inspiration for the honey label, my 7 year old twin girls. “A” was my photographer, and “B” was my personal assistant. This is what my bee yard looks like right now. The hive on the right is waiting for a package, a split from my hive on the left or maybe a wild swarm to move in. My original hive has a supper that I would guess is now 1/4 full, and on it sits a Beemax top feeder.

It was kind of nice to have a “go-pher”, one who also held tools so I would not have to bend over to pick them up off the ground. It was also great to have a seven year old photographer. A wild imagination and a camera with memory for 400 pictures will get you neat pictures like: My smoker and feed bag (honey and wax from last crush and strain) sitting on my dry bird bath. Standing water (aka bird bath) in Florida is a mosquito breading ground.

The pictures also have a different perspective because of her stature. Like this picture of the open hive. My pictures usually look down into the super. Her picture is a new angle and probably shows my new idea better. The plexiglass provides containment of the bees, and can be move to allow inspection of either side. I thought it worked great and kept the number of bees flying around us to a minimum. I have seen other beekeepers use a pice of wood or a cloth rag.

They both were brave and stood tall as I pulled frames out. We did a small inspection to find out if the brood was expanding into the supper, but it was not to be as the following pictures show. The supper is about ¼ full of honey, no egg laying going on here. At this pace if I make a supper for my NUC, I may be able to split the current supper and let the NUC have some frames of honey. (Pictures by "A")

These last pictures show what I did with the rest of the $10 plexiglass sheet. I took the guard off the top feeder to allow the bee’s better access into what the girls (my kids, not the bees) call the bee’s cafeteria. I think by midweek all the wax is going to be free of honey. At that point I will replace the guard, take my wax, and fill the feeder with 1:1 sugar water. I will continue feeding until March when I’m hoping for a strong hive that I can split.

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