Saturday, June 28, 2014

4th box added - whether it needs it or not

So of course, as I observed the hive, I thought swarm cells were forming. Swarm cells form when a queen is planning to depart or the queen is failing - since these are young queens, I feared the former.

Mark lifted 3 boxes at once (WOW) and I put the 4th box underneath. I do not see comb in the 3rd box, so how could they really be preparing to swarm? Unless the "false floor effect" does exist - which is where the top bars of the lowest box is a "fake out" and they think it's a floor and that they are running out of room.

Needless to say, they have plenty of room now - though I've read that you can't prevent swarming (some think it's healthy hive reproduction) unless you destroy the swarm cells - guess who is NOT going to try that...unless the next post is from the ED with IV epinephrine running - for my anaphylaxis.

So here's a video and I think there are too many drones going in and out - but I usually am not down there mid-day (despite Cassie's belief that I never work, turns out, I do) so maybe this is normal activity. I sent the video to Nature's Nectar (Stillwater very experienced beekeepers) but when I looked at it on a computer screen (versus my iPhone) it's kind of fuzzy so they may not be able to tell me anything.

well there it is, my hive June 27, 2014

and here's an even worse video (it is a martin flying off of my martin house - who, by the way, came back the next day - Monday - and we haven't seen him since). One of these days, the martins WILL set up camp here (the birds singing in the background is my martin CD "dawn song" trying to attract a colony):

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stopped supplemental feeding

Tonight I decided to take the sugar syrup feeders off the top of the hive - it was dusk. I went to the hives with a brush and a hive tool with intention to take the feeders off and to remove the feeder boxes.

So I put on my veil/jacket, GLOVES (after the sting on the finger debacle), and headed over there.
I opened the top, took off the jar feeders and prepared to remove the screen/frame which separates the feeder jars from the top of the bars.

Then I realized that the bees were ready to defend their honey so I decided to run up and get the smoker.
Run is a misnomer...more like hobbled to the garage.  (yes hobbled - see xray below) - this occurred the day after the bee sting - can you believe it?

I limped back (the rubber boots squish my toe) and smoked the top and pulled off the screen. Lo and behold, the fabric flap doesn't fit anymore because the bees have eaten some of the fabric, so I couldn't just replace the flap. I had to go back to the garage to get the original cloth which covers the top bars (and is solid without a flap cut in it). Again limped and hopped to the garage and back. Now it's getting dark, by the way.

Smoked the hives and pulled the old cloth off and replaced with the intact top-bar cover cloth. Then replaced the quilt box and the roof. There were bees attached to the screens and the hive cloth so I had to brush them to the entrance board to get them to go "home."

This is what the feeders look like - when the jars get removed, there is a screen under the jar lid and the bees cannot get through the screen but they can lick the syrup through the screen as it drips from the holes in the lids.

Double Jar Feeder for Bee Hive

This is the view from below - the way the bees would see the feeders :)

A couple of bees stuck to my veil all the way up to the house then they flew back to the hive. All went well, let's hope the upcoming nectar flow is enough for them. I have 4 more boxes on the way to expand my hives.

In case you don't have the concept, here is an exploded view of the Warre hive (I currently have only 3 hive boxes on):

So that's the 8 1/2 week update. I'm also concerned that there may be swarm cells forming (i.e. queen cells being developed so the queen can swarm with half of the hive, if they are getting overcrowded). But I'm not sure. That's why I've ordered more boxes to give them more room to expand. Hopefully, I will enlarge the hive in time!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

8th week

Tomorrow is week 8 of my colonies. The top boxes are full, the second boxes are nearly full - I can see 6 combs for sure.
They are starting in the 3rd boxes so I ordered 4 more boxes with windows from
Here is a picture of my stung finger:

Isn't that beautiful?
The sting occurred on May 27 (I was in a hurry to get to Bloomington to pick up my grand niece and nephew to go to the Science Museum so I didn't smoke the hive when I opened the top!!)
Haste makes waste!

Here's a picture of a Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) which was on the hive yesterday:

Isn't she cool?
So all is well with the hives, they're still drawing comb so I've left the syrup feeders on as well as the pollen packs. The white clover is blooming, the wild geraniums are just finishing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014 refilling the feeders - Week 7

So I put ~1 cup of sugar syrup in each of the 4 jars on Saturday, and they are nearly empty so although one isn't supposed to visit the hive in the evening (since it is the time of day when they are all coming back to the colony - thus the most bees are there), I went there tonight to put on more pollen packs and to feed the bees.

Hive #2, the southeast one, had no pollen and just a little syrup left so I replenished them
Hive #1, the northwest one, had a little pollen and the syrup was nearly empty.

I smoked the hives, put pollen on, and filled the feeders. Lots of bees and it looks like they are drawing comb in the bottom boxes.

All went well - no stings! I wore gloves because I got a sting on my right ring finger May 27 and my hand got super swollen as well as deeply bruised (weird). The bruise mark is still there and it's been 2 weeks!