After the hives were re-queened Thursday, I had some out of town things to take care of until Sunday. I needed to pick up some things around the bee yard that I left lying around. If the new queens are accepted I may have to change names for the hives. I have been toying with herb names for a while. I am big fan of herbs and I grow them all the time.My new NUC sitting on top of the TBH is a split from “Old Faithfull”, my original hive. I’m not sure if it has a queen, but it has a frame to make one and plenty of resources. I also did something in the NUC and all the hives that I think I'm pretty smart for having had thought of it. I put them all to work drawing out 4 total bars from the TBH hive. The bees for it are due to arrive early May. The drawn out frames would be a great head start for the package. So the NUC is composed of one frame of eggs (only one I found in “Old Faithful “) to make a queen if there is no queen, and medium frame of honey, a frame of pollen and honey, one new never used plastic frame, and one Bar from the TBH. From the outside the NUC looks promising.
Quick Links to Local Pollen Count,My TBH, and my Garden
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 12:20 AM
Monday, March 30, 2009
If you are looking for the best advice on how to re-queen a beehive, I suggest you keep looking because you are not going to find it here.
Reasons to re queen a hive:
- Older queens are more prone to swarming
- Replacing a failing queen
- Better stock traits like pest and disease resistances
- And in my case, improving bad attitudes
So how do you get new queen bees? There are a few suppliers online; I chose to use Gabees.com mainly due to its proximity to my location
How are queen bees shipped to the beekeeper? Well see for yourselves below. I had to pay extra for the overnight delivery because I needed to run out of town for a few days. Here is the envelope that arrived last Thursday.
Below are the contents of the envelope. On the left 3 marked queens (mine) and on the right five marked and clipped wing queens(Mike's).
What is a marked and clipped queen? See the bright spot on the picture below. That’s the queen with a painted dot on her thorax. It makes it easier to spot her next time I’m looking for her in the hive. A Clipped queen is a queen that had one or two of its wings clipped off. It doesn’t prevent her and the hive from attempting to swarm away, it just prevents her from getting very far. Since the workers won’t leave her behind, the swarm is usually found in a cluster on the floor right outside the hive, making it easy to collect and re-hive somewhere new.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 10:52 PM
Sunday, March 22, 2009
All the Beekeeping Forums, clubs, and newsletters are a BUZZ with the news out of the White House. NO!!! The economy has not turned around yet. The big news has to do with the new garden and beehives been set up at the White House. “The 1,100-square-foot garden will include 55 kinds of vegetables, including peppers, spinach and, yes, arugula. (The selection is a wish list put together by White House chefs.) There will also be berries, herbs and two hives for honey that will be tended by a White House carpenter who is also a beekeeper.” (Read more in the Washington Post)
Meanwhile locally the flow has definitely been set in motion. The bees are working the orange tree blossoms, and the trees will probably blooming for the next month. The few intermittent showers all weekend have most likely been an improvement to the flow.
Some pictures from the blooms on my citrus trees.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 9:02 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Last weekend during my inspection I removed the traps my bee inspector gave me. He helped me with the Small hive beetle problem by providing me with baited traps for each hive, made by Bee excellent (local beekeeper that seems not to have anything online). The trap is a variation of the trap build by Fatbeeman (catch his video in this previous post).
I also removed comb cells that the bees usually build at the bottom of the frames in the deep body. Since it is natural comb, most of the drone cells are located here.
Below are the three traps and some of the brood cells. They have been in my freezer since the inspection. The freezing will kill all the critters. Unfortunately, it kills bad critters and the bees, but sacrificing drones is a good way to inspect and remove mites. The mites prefer to nest and reproduce in drone cells. If you get a chance to perform a similar inspection, make sure that you only remove enough cells that you can inspect with in a few minutes. They thaw out rather quickly and become rather juice and messy.
Here is brood in different stages of development. The white ones that don't look like bees at all will turn into a mushy puddle of goo if you don't move them along fast. The one all the way on the right was the second infested mite I found. I’m very excited with the lack of mites. It means my natural methods may be working. I'm using powder sugar and tobacco leaves in the smoker. A new batch of tobacco is sprouting at this very moment.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 11:45 PM
In my area anyway. I was sure everything was ready and waiting for the 1st rain shower, and the rain finally came two mornings ago. Nothing huge, but enough to trigger all the fruit blooms to open.
Here are my Mango blooms. It's the first time my Mango trees have ever bloomed.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 11:32 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Sorry, I couldn’t help the pun associated to our current economy. I have been worrying all week about the high number of bees that have been bearding on Old Faithfull. Bearding is normal for a strong hive right before sunset as all the field bees' return for the day, but not normal at 10 in the morning. I have been worried that the hive is getting ready to swarm. I decided to do a thorough inspection on all the hives. I decided I was going to be equipped for anything and everything. Supers fully drawn out, swarm cells, and overcrowded hives.
I prepared two medium supers. I hollowed out the plastic frames, and had the bright idea of using the cut out plastic as starter strips in the wooden frames.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 9:23 PM
Parts and tools (mallet and glue) to assemble a Beemax hive (Super in this case)
Insert the L brackets into body of hive. The frames sit on the L- brackets.
Align joints and tap with mallet until joints slip in about 1/4 of and inch. Apply a mild glue (elmers is a good choice) to joints. Tap down with mallet untill joints slip completely in.
Confirm that all emblems and writing are oriented in the same direction; it is possible to insert parts upside down. The clue of an upside down part is seen below. Notice how the hive edge is not aligned.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 8:28 PM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
March has not been good to me, three stings in the last two weeks. If bee stings are truly good arthritis treatment, then I'm going to be the most limber 80 year old. Luckily the more stings I get the less reaction my body experiences. They still hurt like "H" - "E" - double sticks. (For those of you with no kids that can’t speak “Spell language”, that means HELL) All three stings courtesy of my Moody hive. This hive is making me feel like a parent making excuses for a misbehaving child.
The Moody hive has been fed so it is not low on resources; it has plenty of capped and uncapped brood so its queen must be fine. Last I looked it had a Small hive Beetle problem but steps have been taken to control them. It is the only hive that I have not placed a super on because I was waiting for it to expand from its original Nuc size (5 frames) to the new ten frame body, but maybe it wants more space ?
This past weekend, after I took down a dead Oak on my property, I went over to the bee yard to relax and observe the ladies at work. Some people gaze at fish in tanks to relax and release stress, I look at my beehives. It hadn't been more than 2 minutes when two bees came after me and one stung me in my forearm. I was sitting down on my bench so I was not in their flight path, it was definitely an intentional assault. I have read in beekeeping literature how bees don’t like bad smells, I was still in my work clothes so maybe …………………….. No, no more excuses, time for some tough love. As all good parents should now and then, it is time to put my foot down. An order for 3 new queens from gabees.com has been place, and they should be here by the end of March. Since1 queen bee or 3 queen bees cost the same for shipping, might as well take care of all 3 hives, and begin the new year with new queens. If I play my cards right, changing the queens should set the hives back just a few days. No biggie!!!!
Spring flow should be here any week now. I have planned a full inspection for all the hives this weekend, I’ll get to use my new inspection Hat and jacket pull over.
Here is Old Faithfull, this group has a full supper that is partially being used for brood right now. What you see the bees doing in the picture is call bearding; everyone has an opinion on why they do it. It is completely normal event on a late afternoon for a good strong beehive.
This is my Eager hive.
And this is the Moody Hive.
Requeening made me think that my choice of names will be out dated; an attitude change for better or for worse is one of the main reasons to introduce a new queen.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 11:37 PM
Sunday, March 1, 2009
- Why is honey measure by weight after 8 ounces?
Check my math and see for yourself
Specific Gravity of Honey (From http://wiki.answers.com/ ): Ratio of the mass of a substance to the mass of an equal volume of water.
The SG of good honey is 1.425, which means it's 42.5 percent denser than water. Since a liter of water weighs one kilogram, a liter of honey weighs 1.425 kg. Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon, so honey weighs 8.34 * 1.425 = 11.88 pounds per gallon of Honey.
128 ounces in 11.88 lbs = 8 ounces in 0.7425 lbs therefore
12 ounces in 1.11375 lbs and 16 ounces in 1.485 lbs
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 8:34 PM
The TBH (back out in the bee garden) and the Nuc sitting on top of it are waiting for my two bee packages to arrive in early May.
I had my annual state inspection this weekend. The state of Florida inspects every registered beekeeper for serious diseases that could be spread through out the area or state, and the inspectors are an incredible source of information.
This weekend, after seeing the state bee inspector in action, I finally learned what the hook on the smoker can be used for. Who knew!!!! It honestly never occurred to me and I had never seen anyone do it until now. I will never need to bend down to pick it up off the ground ever again.
The Small hive Beetle problem seems better in the other hives. To stay on top of the problem I cleaned the inspection drawers in my stands, and re-baited them with lard. Below are my three inspection drawers dripping over a window screen. The round caps are baited with Crisco oil lard.
After scrapping and rinsing clean the drawers, I re-baited them and poured oil in them.
And the circle of life is not complete until the chickens get their feast of oily small hive beetles
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 7:26 PM
If you want to stand out among your neighbors you start keeping bees. If you want to stand out among beekeepers you do it on a TBH. The Top bar Hive has also become the hive of choice for most organic beekeepers. Here are my plans for my TBH, and below are some steps on how I build it, and background history of my TBH. First I should give credit where credit is due. The base for my plans came from http://www.biobees.com/ - Check them out, great site “about sustainable, chemical-free, small-scale, 'organic' beekeeping, using simple equipment that almost anyone can make at home.” Hey!!!!!! They are right; I did build it myself at home. Also, check out http://www.bwrangler.com/bee/index.html for information that leads me to my conclusions about what I think might work for me. Here’s what influenced my design:
· Florida beekeepers keep one deep brood in Florida - So a smaller TBH should work better here. I built the smaller 36” version and I modified the trapezoid dimensions to give me a volume slightly larger than a deep box hive.
· Hot and humid weather means more ventilation required – so I built a screen bottom.
· Small Hive Beetles control - Building inspection/ trap drawer
· How to provide support to it– Cover can slide back to allow placement of hollow top bar that gives access to a medium supper, deep body, or place a NUC above it to provide drawn out frames of pollen, honey, or brood from the Lang hives
· How it provides support to my Langs - The length measurements of the Top bars is the same as the length of a standard frames. Top bars will fit in standard Deep body hives.
My 1st Mod to the original design was to replace the peak roof to simple and flat. The split on the roof made it hard to seal for rain. I placed the hive out in the bee yard in the 2008 season. It quickly led to my second Mod which was my choice of color.
I was successful in introducing a colony by sliding back the top and replacing the 1st bar with a hollowed out bar that allowed access into a Nuc placed on top of the bars. Unfortunately my choice of a purchased Australian queen did not work out. The bees were particularly gentle and hard working. Gentle in this case proved that nice gals finish last. The colony hardly fought back against the Small hive beetle, and eventually the colony collapsed.
After the colony collapsed I brought the hive back in the shop for more changes. I replaced the gutter screen with 1/8 hardware cloth. I shortened the inspection drawer board and in its place to close the bottom I put 1/8 hardware cloth. I believe too many pests were infiltrating the hive from underneath.
The picture shows the hardware cloth on the bottom, entrance at far end, and starter strips above.
Area below living quarters for ventilation and to place lures/traps for small hive beetles.
I furthermore gave the hive a better coat of paint, removed it from the post stands and moved it side by side with my Lang hives. Right now I’m waiting for one of my 2 purchased packages to try again.
Posted by Bee Anonymous: at 4:50 PM