Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 20 2018 yep they're dead

Both hives gone - I'm sure it was the loss of warm space with the tornado blowing them over and losing comb from the top 2 boxes of each - where all the honey was.
Ok, on to new packages next spring!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I'm not sure they're going to make it this winter

Well, my newly packaged hive looks like there are hardly any bees in there. I'm so sad because they were doing great before they toppled over in the tornado.
The overwintered hive seems to have more activity but again, not like I would like to see it this time of year. We'll see how they fare come February to March!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Final feeding push

Sept 28 2018
I refilled the feeders one last time - the issue with filling/feeding 2:1 sugar:water combination is that the sugar precipitates in the dependent position thus crystallizing and plugging the feeder holes. Hopefully, they can still get syrup with their proboscises.

Next week, we'll remove the feeders and the lower boxes and hope winter treats my little ladies well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Harvested honey - unplanned

So there were several combs that fell off of their top bars when the hives toppled. I had put them in the top box so the bees could clean up the honey (the empty feeder boxes) but then I took them out and harvested 2 1/2 quarts of honey from about 5 broken pieces of comb.

I refilled the feeders today and am hoping the bees can get enough honey for the winter - but now there are spaces in the boxes where the combs broke off - that's not good. Harder to keep warm in the winter as well as climb from one comb to the other for honey and I don't know if some of the combs are squished against each other and therefore there isn't "bee space" for them to move up and down. But I am not taking the hives apart again. They'll just have to do this on their own.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Yikes tornados

Sept 20 2018
Apparently two tornados went through when we were gone this evening and both of my hives were toppled.
Angry bees.
In the wet darkness, Mark and I put the boxes back together.

Friday Sept 21
After work, I got the smoker going and took the comb out of the feeder boxes to bring in and process. Then I replaced the feeder jars in the top empty box, put new sawdust in the quilt boxes and reassembled them.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday September 16 2018 - feeders on

Today I smoked the hives, put the mouse guards on and put feeder jars on each hive.
But when I removed the top cloth to place the cloth with the hole (which goes under the jars), the propolis had nearly sealed the top bars completely. So not sure how much they will go up to the feeders. Meanwhile they've gone crazy on the hummingbird feeders and on these flowers in my ravine - I don't know what this plant is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - Bearding on the hives

It's been hot and here are shots of my hives this evening:
my large hive - the overwintered hive:

my small hive from the new package:

here's a link to a good article on Bearding:

Sunday, July 8, 2018

they're packing in the nectar

My top boxes look great - I now have 5 boxes on each hive and they are filling the 4th box, the bottom boxes don't have windows though.
What a great nectar flow - I was not planning on harvesting honey this year, but I may have to take the top boxes in order to get the hives down to a reasonable size for winter.
We'll see!
Here are videos of each box:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

roof blown off and adding boxes

July 2 2018 - we returned from a week away horse camping in Roosevelt Nat'l Park to find Hive B's roof/quilt box on the ground! Must have been windy here. The top cloth was pulled back 1-3" on the SW corner and some bees were going in and out of the top box. Thankfully, it was plenty warm and the queen must not have left. I put the quilt box and roof back on!

July 4 - Mark helped me lift FOUR boxes on each hive as we added a box to the bottom of each hive because they were filling the bottom boxes. Hopefully, we did it in time and she won't swarm with half of her hive.

This is Hive B (new package this year):
 This is Hive A (overwintered hive):
 Monarchs on our milkweed:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

After the jungle heat ...

I took off the feeders today, the packaged hive B had empty feeders and there was still syrup in my overwintered hive A.
Now I won't feed again until the fall, the bees are doing well.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Added 1:1 syrup for the last time

June 15 2018: I filled the feeders but when they empty them this time, I'll take them off until fall feeding. All is well in both hives.
Going into a hot hot weekend of 100° heat index.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

June 12 2018 added boxes

Got the smoker going, beautiful day out and around 10:30am, Mark and I lifted the 3 boxes on each hive and added a windowed box to the bottom.
I put some pollen patties on and kept the feeders on.
All looks good.

Here they are:

 workers on the bottom board bringing in pollen

the light boxes are my feeder boxes, we use the white table to move the boxes over then place a new box down and replace the hive on top of the new box. It's slick and it's the perfect height.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Filling feeders

June 7 and 11 I filled the feeders.
In the meantime, Justify won the Triple Crown on Saturday June 9 - 3 years after America Pharoah!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day 2018 and 99°!!!

This must have been a record setting day.
Suffice to say the bees are busy, though the bee population in my overwintered hive still seems slim in comparison to my package, but feeders were nearly empty on both hives so I topped them up.
I can still feel pollen patties under the top bar cloth so I did not open the hive to replace them.
The bees are always at my bird waterer by my house, despite the fact that I have supplied them with a bucket of water in the apiary.

Oh, and my husband ran into a fawn on our land:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's going to be hot!

Hitting the 90s these next few days, so I took out the bottom boards (to help keep the hives cool, so they don't swarm in the heat) and made sure the grass was cut in front of the openings - since the workers sit at the entrances and "fan" the hive to cool it.

Hope I don't lose them!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hive check

Saturday May 5, 2018 Cinco de Mayo

I got the smoker going and took off the cloth under the quilt box of each hive to make sure there were pollen patties on the hives. Then I filled the feeders and put them back together but first, I grabbed the queen cage out of the second box of Hive B. I hope Hive A makes it, it seems low on bees.

I took the mouse guards off too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pollen coming in April 24, 2018

Pollen coming into both hives.
Lots of bee activity.
Hive B feeder jars were 1/2 full so I filled them and Hive A jars were down 1/3 so I filled those as well.
Nice weather.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Reduced big hive A to 3 boxes from 5 and added feeder box

April 22, 2018
We got the smoker going. Checked Hive B, active, still has syrup in feeders.
Separated the bottom 2 boxes with the hive tool, then we smoked them and lifted the 3 top boxes (sans quilt box & roof & window covers - to reduce the weight) and moved them onto the small formica table. About 4 top bars with comb were stuck to the bottom of the 3rd box so Mark tipped them and I pulled out the top bars. We then transferred the top 3 boxes back onto the base (after I cleaned all of the dead bees off of the bottom screen) by holding the box handles with long pieces of wood (Mark's invention).
The mouse guards are still on.
The corks are in the escape holes.
I put sugar syrup in the feeders on top of Hive A (after I moved the pollen patty to the side away from the feeder holes).
All went well.
I hope Hive A can increase in numbers now that it has sugar syrup and pollen on top of it!

This is my newly packaged Hive B:

And this is my over wintered Hive A:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hived one package after a blizzard

April 17, 2018
I was in NYC when a blizzard hit here on the 14-16th with over 15" of snow!
Mark picked up the two packages I had ordered and kept them warm in the garage overnight. He sprayed them periodically with 1:1 sugar water
When I arrived home, we hived one package in the small hive B and placed the queen suspended between the top bars of the second box. I shook the package of bees on top of her (in the top box or third box) and replaced the top bars and put the feeder on top.
The bottom or first box is empty and I plugged the mouse guard holes with grass.
Here we go!

Hive A still has bees so I sold the extra package to a coworker who is a beekeeper.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 9 and 10, 2018 Harvested honey and getting ready for NEW bees

I harvested about 5-6 quarts of lovely honey by crushing the comb, draining through netting to get the big particles out then through cheesecloth into a jug.
It looks really nice!
I have a bunch of extra comb/wax that I am saving for my nephew since I have more than enough beeswax saved up.
When I went to my big hive, I looked in it and there are bees in the top 2 boxes, so I am going to cancel my extra package and just keep the one that I ordered.
They are supposed to arrive early next week - I sure hope it warms up!
You'll read more in a week or so when I hive a new package, see you on the sunny side.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March 27 - bees still around

It was over 40 degrees today, I checked the hive and there was still pollen and sugar under the quilt box - I didn't see a lot of bees through the windows but several came to the escape hole when they heard me messing about.

This weather is not conducive for hiving bees but the packages will probably be here in a couple of weeks!

Here's hoping for warm sunny days.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 17 St Patrick's Day

I checked my large hive and it did not need a new pollen patty or sugar fondant yet. I took apart the small dead hive and cleaned the bottom screen of dead bees. I brought in ~10 combs of honey and I reassembled the hive, empty box on bottom, middle box with comb/honey/pollen, pollen patty on top of that box, then top box with some comb. I will put a new package in that hive.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pollen patty time

It's March 6, 2018 and there was a snowstorm yesterday while we were out of town. I took the top off of the hive and pulled back the cloth long enough to put on one pollen patty and two squares of sugar candy.
There were active bees under the cloth and some were bold enough to venture out but I doubt they managed to maneuver back into the safety and warmth of the hive.
Spring is on its way.
I put the cork in the escape hole of the small hive and will disassemble it when it warms up - before pests can get into the honey comb.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In the 40s at the end of February

Lots of cleansing flights, dead bees in the snow and the big hive is active.
Still no noise in the small hive!

The yellow spots are where they "eliminate" when they do cleansing flights and you can see dead bees in the snow too:

Hey you poking out of the hole!
Hello ladies, come on out and visit me:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Well now I'm not so sure

Jan 27 2018
I can hear buzzing in my big hive but not much in my small hive - just a random bee or two.
But this happened another winter where I thought I had lost a hive and somehow it resurrected itself as the temperatures warmed up,
Stay tuned!

Monday, January 22, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR! They're still alive

January 19, 2018
I checked my hives and they are both buzzing - surprising, given the arctic chill which descended upon us for what seemed like weeks.
But activity in both hives - hang in there girls, February is just around the corner.

More info (credit to Jim Kloek of Nature's Nectar):

Netflix has a good documentary series called Rotten.
The first episode is about honeybees. They talk about the struggles of a beekeeper, adulterated honey and how it happened and the theft of several thousand beehives over four years.

With the warmer weather the bees can move their cluster easily and hopefully re-position slightly on a fresh frame of honey. 

 There should be no brood in a colony right now.

 Bees will be going on cleansing flights during warm weather. It is a good time to see if your hive(s) are alive. There will be bees dying in the snow. This is normal.

 If you don't see bees on cleansing flights, it doesn't mean that the hive is dead. If a colony was very heavy with honey especially a three deep hive, the bees could still be down deep in the box and can't break cluster to get out. You can rap on the side of the hive and listen for a buzz. If you get physical with the hive, a beesuit may be in order. An interloper could fly out and give you some payback for the disturbance.

 Not seeing cleansing flights is not a huge problem at the moment. As time goes on, the cluster will shift into the top box and cleansing flights will be more frequent with the warmer February weather.