Saturday, October 5, 2013

TIME TO FEED 10/5/2013

Being in a new climate I really don't know the best timing to begin supplemental feeding of the bees.  Given the fact that the hive is light, and the fall season is fast approaching, I decided that now would be a great time to feed.  I added a quart jar of sugar syrup and EOs to the hive today.  The girls weren't too glad to see me, but we managed to get along well enough.  I really wish I would have given them syrup when I hived them, as they would probably be much higher in numbers now, but at least they managed to do well enough to stay alive.  I'll be treating for varroa in the next week or so.  I simply want to get them in as best shape as possible going into winter, and then next spring I'll hopefully be able to split the hive.  I really don't like having only one hive, but I am thankful for the one I do have.  Two is always better - just in case.

Monday, June 17, 2013

HIVE CHECK 6/15/2013

Peeked into the hive today and found the bees busy and generally looking good.  They were calm with no smoke necessary.  I was hoping to see them working more of the top box, but they have barely looked at it.  The second box however is more full than before, so I supposed that is a good sign.  Eggs, larvae, and capped brood noted. I would also like to see more honey and pollen, but figure with smaller numbers, it will take some time.  Will see how they look in a few more weeks.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

HIVE CHECK 5/9/2013

Just took a peek at the new swarm hive.  This is the first real check I've done with this hive.  On the last check, I had to remove three beautiful combs from the inner cover and install them into a frame and add more frames to fill the top box.  Other than that I didn't do much checking.
So today I find the bees buzzing and generally calm.  As long as I moved slowly, they did too.  I did not need any smoke.  The hive consists of three medium 8 frame boxes, with mostly drawn comb.  The bees are all in the top box which is what I was expecting.  At least 4-5 frames are full of open and mostly sealed brood.  Laying pattern is OK with a few spotty areas.  I am generally pleased with the queen's egg laying.  I moved the full box to the bottom of the stack and took one frame of brood and moved it to the next box.  That should be enough to encourage them to start moving around more.  I anticipate that we will see a noticeable increase in numbers in the next two weeks or so at which time the hive will hopefully start building up honey and pollen stores.  I did see a small amount of pollen and honey but nothing noteworthy.  They could probably benefit from some syrup but I am holding off for now.  Although they don't need the third box, I left it on for the sake of anticipated expansion.  We'll see what they do with it if anything.
Overall, I am pleased with the progress and disposition of this colony.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

HIVE CHECK 4/25/2013

I finally found my gloves and hood and just checked my new bees - I am very pleased that they are exceptionally calm and very industrious.  They already built an astounding amount of new comb (not where I wanted- not their fault) with eggs in just under a week.  I did have to remove the comb and attach it to a frame, and now have the hive set up the way it should be.  I will leave them alone for the next two weeks before I peek in on them again.  Was even able to taste test a few teaspoons of the most scrumptious honey.  I am VERY happy about this swarm and their queen. I only wish I could have taken a photo.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Swarm Season and a New Hive 4/19/2013

A lot has happened over the past several months.  4 out of 5 of my hives survived and are looking strong and ready for a springtime explosion.  Exciting news right?  Well, I had to sell the hives.  We moved to California, and it was looking just a little bit too complicated to get the hives across state line. So here I am in beautiful sunny Cali with flowers blooming everywhere, but with no little nectar collecting insects to call my own.  A bee-less beekeeper is a pitiful sight.  At least I think so.
But behold!  Within the week of our arrival, a swarm landed in the neighbors yard!  Except it was about 35 feet high, right next to the power lines.  Sigh.  Well I scrambled to put a hive or two together, to hopefully entice the cluster to move in, but they did not find my offerings appealing enough. Sigh again.  Now we have been here about a month.  My friend from down the street knocked on the door and told me about another swarm right around the corner.  There was already a beekeeper there, but I went to investigate anyway and offer my assistance.  It didn't take long and she offered the bees to me, since she didn't have enough equipment.  YES!!!  I am a happy beekeeper with bees once again!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In The Dead Of Winter - 1/20/2013

It has been a very cold winter thus far.  Not as much snow on the ground as is usual for this time of year, but very very cold.  With the temps finally nearing 40 degrees, I was finally able to peek into the hives today.  4 out of five hives are alive and well.  The hive that didn't make it had a full block of sugar directly above the cluster, but I am guessing that the sub freezing temps made it impossible for them to move to it.  I am disappointed, but at the same time happy that I still have 4 hives.  It appears that the hive which was aggressive last year, is even more aggressive this year.  I didn't even lift the inner cover and the girls were on high alert.  Needless to say, I put the roof back on and didn't bother to see how much sugar they had left.  Judging by their enthusiastic response, they are probably just fine.  They should have enough sugar to get them through the next month or so after which we will be moving to warm and sunny California.  This should prove to be an exciting adventure.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sugar installed - 11/23/2012

I have been worried lately that the bees may not have enough food stores to get through winter.  We have had a very mild winter so far, which equates to faster food consumption.  Two of my hives are of particular concern since they went into winter on the light side, and one of those two has been the repeated victim of robbing as well.  Although it feels rather early to be installing sugar patties, I decided I would do so just for some peace of mind, especially since we have a very long way to go before spring (which doesn't happen until mid June here in the mountains).  I would hate to find out (like I did last year) that I waited too long before offering them some survival rations.  So today, although it is chilly, I made quick business of installing a king sized lump of sugar in each hive.  I am very happy to see all hives are alive and well, although they are enjoying life in the penthouse.  I have not been able to remove the quail feeders I put in some time ago.  The weather has been too cold, and the bees are at least in part clustered on the jars.  At least they are all still buzzing.

I am excited about cyber Monday when I will be ordering a bunch of bee stuff from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (free shipping!).  I signed up with them as a distributor, but the cost of shipping quickly dissolved any hope of my business plans.  So, as a consumer, when their annual free shipping sale comes along, I am jumping for joy.  It will be a hefty bill, but I will be set for the entire next year.  I love free shipping.

Happy Beekeeping!