June Frame

June Frame

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jan 30, 15

I've been feeding the Nucs on top with 2-1 sugar water and also have a 2-quart feeder on the back porch for open feeding - mostly to see how they are doing for 'my sake'.

It's been over a week and 2 of the Nuc's have almost taken a whole quart jar of sugar water, but 1 has consumed almost 1/2 now.  I guess they aren't as hungry as the others.  I'd expected this from this pictular hive as it seemed to be a little heavier but had expected the middle Nuc to take up more as I'd seen more been in it - compared to the other 2 Nucs.  Who know ??

I've also added a 2 gallon feeder of 2-1 to one of the double boxes, but they haven't taken much - maybe 2 inches.  That's still a lot, but I'm sure I lost some setting it up so as long as they know it's there...I'm happy.  It was about 3 inches away from their cluster but believe they've found it.  On another hive - a single, I added a wedge, and added a top feeder, but only filled one have about 1/2 way.  I've checked on this a couple of times, but haven't noticed them feeding for some reason.  I'll keep an eye out on them.

As all the 'candy' has been eaten I'd like to add some more to them tomorrow if possible.  The 'candy' has some pollen sub in it also for them.  The hive, at the road, was kind of pissy the other day whenever I opened it up and actually banged me a few times while I was inspecting the top box.  I don't know why - but need to inspect it soon and check on the queens status.  I'd given then a new queen last fall - but saw she was laying before winter..so who knows.  The queen, I believe was 1 of my VSH queens and the other boxes aren't acting the same way.

more later ..

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jan 8, 2015

It was 19 at the house whenever I left this am.  Hopefully, the bees are staying warm and I don't anticipate to see them until this weekend.  I haven't been in the hives for about a month, but am still seeing them fly - and have food 'out' in case they need more.

So far I'm down 5 hives - but still have 5 'full' hives of which 3 are in double-deeps and the other 3 are Nuc's that I'm over wintering with new VSH queens.  2 of the VSH queens are from Asheville and 1 is from Georgia.

I scraped and cleaned up the boxes already for spring so they should be ready to go .. fingers crossed ..whenever spring actually starts and think I have enough hive components for another 6 hives.  I've also made some contacts with a few others that are interested in having/hosting some of my hives.  I need to do some serious 'build-ups' this spring if I can, as I'd like to at least double my hives or possibly get to about 16.  I'll be doing this mostly from queen rearing and making up my own Nuc's as I haven't decided to purchase any more packages or nuc's yet from the club.  I might have to in order to get the bees - but we'll see how it goes in a couple of months.  Of course, it'll be 'too late' to order then.  ha ha 

Made my reservations for the SC/NC hosted meeting in Monroe NC for next month and am excited to attend.

More later ..

Monday, June 23, 2014

mid june 2014 update

Well, I admit it - I've been slack.  I haven't posted anything about what's been going on around the apiary.  Let me try to sum up what's happened over the last few months ..

>  over wintered with 4 hives, lost 1 and was down to 3.
> purchased a couple of packages (wish I hadn't and didn't I say I had this issue last year?)
> had to re-queen 3 hives and then supply 2 brood stocks to get those up and running - all from the 2 packages I purchased.  Even the queens I purchased didn't go to well and had to be re-queened from 'my' stock.
> up to 7 hives now - and stable.
> built a top bar hive but had to queen it from "my" stock from grafting.  seems to be doing well so far with the new queen in there about 3 weeks now (from hatch out)
> tried my hand at grafting again on 5/31.  grafted 24 cells and got a survival (my issues I'm sure) of 15 queen cells.  made up 9 nuc's and will check this week for eggs.
> made 3 other splits.

So, I guess I've been busy and hopefully these 9 nucs will have good queens in them and I'll be able to double-stack nuc's and over-winter them this year in preparation for next years stock.

I have found a local organic farmer who has agreed and want's a couple of hives.  As soon as I have a couple of the nuc's going well I'm going to move them over there for the winter - and then into a standard hive configuration next year. 

I hope to pull some honey within the next week and hopefully should get about 70# of honey from the 6 hives I've managed to 'maintain'. 

Here's what the apiary looks like now ..  and some other misc pictures of the area. 

You'll need to overlook the untidiness of the surrounding area as I haven't had a chance to 'clean-up' yet ..

Monday, March 31, 2014

3-29-14 split and angry hive

I'd wanted to check on the hives for a few minutes to see how they were doing.  2 of the existing hives were doing fine and since it was kind of late I decided not to check on the new packages other than to add some sugar water if they needed.

I have to take a frame of brood from H2 and add it to the 'danny' nuc.  This is a nuc I'd gotten back, or specifically 1 of the 3 queens he was 'banking' for me over the winter, and it need some additional resources.  I added another quart of some sugar water to them also.

In inspecting the angry hive I noticed on frame 5, of the top brood box, that there were 2 queen cells - of which 1 was empty and the other was capped.  I took it along with 3 other frames of brood, honey, and some pollen stores and made a split.  I need to check the bottom of this hive to see what's going on there as well as inspect all the other boxes before i start adding the supers.

As the other hives seem to be 'stocking' up some sugar water and nectar, I'll probably add supers to them so that they will 'grow' up and not want to swarm.  It's going to be in the 80's all week and the pollen is almost in full bloom with nectar being brought in daily.

Mike asked me to come over to his house last Friday and help him look for his queens as he hadn't been able to find them on the new packages.  We found 1, which already had the 'color marking' removed from it but weren't able to find the other one.  Hopefully he can find it today, or he'll need to order a queen at the mtg tomorrow.

more later after another inspection ..

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3-22-14 New packages

I'd decided to order another package this spring but as luck turned out I was able to purchase another from a friend on delivery day - so now I have 2 packages to install.  I had the equipment and it seemed like a good idea.  We arrived a few minutes after all the packages did from Georgia and after about a 30 minute wait or so, we were back on the road again.  After a short stop to grab something to eat I arrived home around 7 and as the weather was clear and in the mid 50's I decided to put the packages in.  It's a good thing I did that night as neither of the syrup cans had actually been pierced so the bees didn't have anything to eat during their trip from Georgia.  I'd sprayed some 1-1 water on them while I was suiting up and wondered why they were all working the side of the box so intensively - now I know.

I decided to, after puncturing some holes in the syrup cans, to leave them in the hives till they were empty and also feed some 1-1 so I shook most of the bees out of their package box, turned that can over for them and after putting a single deep on top of one of the hives, said good night.  The other package followed the same process, but instead I used 2 super boxes.  Later that night I remembered that I hadn't removed the corks from the queen cages but did so Sunday afternoon.  Both queens were marked so finding them was quite easy and although the bees seemed pretty anxious for their queen to come out - I widened the candy 'cork' a little and left them in their cages.  The queens should be out today and I'll check in a few days as the weather is supposed to be below freezing tonight and tomorrow evening.

I'd gotten 1 of my queens back from Danny a few days earlier and he was gracious to loan me a 5-frame nuc box and some brood - so I ended up with a Nuc instead of 3 queens.  I'd rather had the 3 queens back and since he didn't ever graph from the queen he wanted and (I don't believe) didn't keep track of whether this was one of my actual queens from last year - I'll just have to monitor and see what I actually have.  I didn't have a chance to look in the Nuc so we'll see what's there in a few days.  I had placed this Nuc close to the other hives but since the other hives wanted to 'rob it out' I moved it to another location.

I added a pollen patty to each of the hives whenever I set them up to provide some additional food as well as the sugar water and as I've seen some some flyers now and guard bees on the entrances - hopefully they will keep going and building up well.

Most of what has already started blooming, in a 'normal' year has either budded up - or starting to flower some, I'm hoping this late cold snap won't cause any issues.

More later, and I'll try to put some pictures in here later whenever I get a chance to take them.

Monday, March 10, 2014

3-9-14 Hive inspection and what I found

It has been a few weeks of partial spring and although I've been peeking in a few times I wanted to check on them to seem how they were doing since we've had a few days of warm (almost 70's) and some cooler nights (lower 30's).  I've heard that most hives can starve this time of the year because the queen starts laying, which equals more bees that need to feed - and although they might be bringing in more pollen - there's a tendency to 'burn through' their honey reserves and get in trouble.  I had a friend over yesterday and it's always a good idea whenever you have a fellow 'beek' around to go through your hives together and see/compare what's going on - so here' what I found ..

H1 -
This is the single deep that got a new queen last fall and has overwintered well and she's been laying pretty well so far with approx 2 frames of brood and I've also been feeding it some Megabee a few times to get them built back up.  Whenever I was in there about a weeks ago there was new brood about to about to hatch, more laid in various stages and still about 2 frames of capped honey.  Whenever I went into them yesterday I found a busy hive with lots of pollen, and more brood laid - but no nector or capped honey.  A problem.  I was able to steal 3 frames of capped honey from the other hives and provide them some 'stores' for awhile.  I'll check it in about 4 days to see how they are doing.  They seem to be making some drone brood, but not excessively and the queen has about 4 frames to lay in now and some really good brood patterns so far.

H2 -
This is the hive that had 2 4-frame nucs sitting on top.  3 or 4 days ago I've moved/split up some of the brood from the right side to the left side to give them more room 'up top' and as I've been seeing brood in the lower left hand side.  I'd been finding drone brood being made between the top boxes and below and thing that even though the space was 'normal' for double frames, it might have been the 'only' space they to lay it.  I decided to break it down more to see what was going on, and am glad I did.  What I found was almost 6 frames of capped honey still down below and not much room for the queen to keep laying.  As this time is the year that you are supposed to 'reverse' the hive boxes if you have 'doubles', I decided to rearrange it.  I took both 4-frame boxes off, rearranged the bottom box with most of the brood, added some empty frames to the bottom box, replaced the double 4-frame boxes with another brood box and moved the honey stores, some brood and empty frames up top.  The queen should have about 7 frames to lay in now between both boxes so she should be happy for a bit.  This is a good honey packing hive and really nice brood pattern so far.  Queen seen and is looking healthy.

H3 - the angry hive..
This is the hive I'd added 4 frames of various stages of drawn comb into last week.  They have started to work on this and drawn down and out some of those frames.  I found 5 frames of honey in the bottom box and some good brood patterns in here also.  I decided to rearrange this hive also by adding a couple more frames to the top box and moving the capped honey up and to the outside of the hive.  In each of the hives whenever I rearranged them I left pollen and honey beside the brood frames so they wouldn't have to far to go for food.  The hive wasn't too 'mad' yesterday which was good.

All in all a good hive visit, and manipulation.  I need to leave them alone for about a week to give them time to adjust and keep going.  It's still about 2 weeks out on our necter flow yet as best I can tell, and about 2 weeks before the other 'package' I order comes in so that should just about 'time it out' well.  The forcythia in the yard should start blooming within the next week or so as well as the cherry tree we have by the house.  Maples are blooming as well as American Elm so they have some pollen coming in.  As soon as the the cherry tree looks like it's going to 'pop' - I'm going to make a split off of H2, and possibly H1. We are expecting to have 3 more days of clear weather and mid 70's this week, then rain mid week and cooling off to the mid 50's but the low's are still above freezing.  I'll need to do a quick check on H1 by the weekend to be sure they are still 'good' with honey stores and might have to add some sugar water to them but the other hive should be good with 4+ frames of capped honey on them still.  I also only killed 2 SHB yesterday so they are still around, but not 'bad' yet.

More later ..

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feb 27, 2014

I've been into the hive a few times and am pleased so far with their progress in rebounding from the winter, and getting ready for spring.  I took a few pictures of each of the hives including their frame status and queens for reference, but as most of them were busy - I'll keep those for myself at this time.

For the last couple of weeks I've noticed the girls bringing in lots of pollen,  about 30-40 % of the time whenever there was good flying weather.  I've identified a couple of American Elm trees on my property and the girls have really been enjoying it. 

Last week I did a 'full' inspection and here's what I found.

H1 -

New queen from last fall.  2+ frames of mixed capped/new brood and 4+ frames of capped honey.  This is the hive I'd given a strip of pollen patty too and they responded very well with it.  I added another strip of pollen patty to it a couple of days ago and will check on it's status, weather permitting this weekend.

H2 - T

his is the hive that died due to not enough bees to keep warm.  It's ready for the Nuc I should receive in about 3 weeks.

H3 -

This hive has 2 double 4-frame nucs on it.  A few weeks ago I'd noticed the queen starting to lay in the top of 1 side and only a few bees moving around the other side.  I didn't check the bottom box other than to move 1 side and peak down.  It had almost 3 frames of capped honey on that side, so I presume its the same on the other.  Last week I did a full inspection and saw capped brood in the lower 'main brood box' and almost 3 frames of mixed brood in the same upper 4-frame box as the previous week.  I also noticed a lot of bees in the other 4-frame nuc box and believe the queen has migrated over there and started laying.  From my estimate, I've probably gotten about 5 frames of brood laid by this queen so far, and she seems to be doing well.  I have this box configured in this manner in hopes of making 2 more nuc/hives from this setup in a few weeks whenever the pollen starts coming in strong, and our nector flow starts.  I'm going to let them raise their own queens from this stock and they should be able to build up good for the summer and into the winter.

H4 -

Angry hive.  A week or so whenever I entered it I noticed that almost all the tops of the frames were covered with bees and there was about 30 or so bees on top of the Inner Cover.  Last week I counted 4+ frames of capped honey and several frames of mixed brood/pollen so this hive is doing really well so far.  I broke the #2 top frame off while trying to pry it off due to it's being "glued' down really well - so I just pushed it back down and left the frame as it was.  I'll deal with it later.  I peeked into it the other day and notice about 150 or so been up on top of the Inner cover and all the frames are now covered with bees so I decided to add another brood box, but only gave it 4 frames - and of those 4 frames only 1 is a 'full' frame in depth.  The other frames had partial natural comb drawn already and I wanted the hive to continue building them out.  Once they completely draw those down and need more frames, I'll add more frames until I eventually get a full deep box.  I also had a nugget left over from my pollen strip and give it to them to see what they would do.  It didn't take more than about 15 seconds for that to be covered in bees and started to be consumed.

So far I have 3 hives that seem to be going pretty well, considering it's the last of February and I'm pleased about this.  At this time it appears that I might be able to create 1 to 2 nuc's from H3 and I'll probably create another from H4.  I have a package coming in about 3 weeks and hopefully it will do well as I already have some drawn comb for them to get started in.  I also have a VSH Nuc which should be ready for mid-May pickup from NC.  I'm excited about getting these genetics and possibly making a few hives from it.  I also like the idea of possibly creating/re-queening these genetics into my other stock - but need to 'watch' them to see how they do this year.  I'll probably try to create another Nuc from it that way I have 2 VSH genetic hives to compare/contrast to.

This Saturday is the annual Spring Bee conference here in town so I'll be busy with this day.  There are going to be several talks on queen rearing and survivability so that should be exiting to hear. 

Maybe I'll see someone there that I know, that follows this blog ...