June Frame

June Frame

Friday, May 31, 2013

the timeline to current date

I didn't start this timeline out correctly - but here's actually what's happened so far.  I've 'condensed' the info into 1 large post, mainly to get 'caught-up' with everything.  Enjoy ..

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3-31 - picked up bees packages (ordered from ga)and put them into their new homes.  I'm currently using the (approx) 2-quart board man style front feeders.

4-3 - replenished the feeders.  Bees must be hungry and these are all new frames that they need to pull out before anything can happen.  I did get 1-frame for each hive from my cousin and put into each hive so they could clean them out and get ready for the queen.

4-5 - refilled the sugar water for both hives.

4-6 - first inspection.  both queens were out. found both of them with their red markings. removed a lot of bur comb from around the cages.  H1 (hive 1) bees are light colored and H2(hive 2) bees are really 'black' in coloring.  strange as both packages came from the same location - but who cares....5-frames are being drawn out on both hives and that's a good start.

4-8 - refilled the feeders again.  The weather has been raining and still cool this year.  It's been a strange year as we have gotten about 70% more rain than normal - and the pollen flow is 'off'.

4-16 - Inspection with Mr G.  Mr G has been raising bees for 20+ years and I'm fortunate to have someone who's both close by, and doesn't mind givng a new 'beek' some pointers.  We found good brood patterns in both hives, some stored sugar water and some supersedure cells in both hives.  nothing in them, but suspect this is just 'normal' for now and I'll continue to monitor.

4-23 - Inspection.  H1 - 3 to 4 brood frames but moving slowly.  some pollen and sugar water in there.  H2 - (day 7) 2 superseedure cells found but nothing in them.   As it's day 7 since i first found the super-cells, I'll check in another 4 days to see if anything else is going on (queen in cells or capped). No queen found in H1.  4 swarm cells found - no more eggs.  I wonder if she's dead or what's going on.  talked to several people who thought I should add another queen to get them going.  I may decide to take a frame with eggs and brood from H1 and add to see what they'll do.  Should have new queen in 2 weeks -if they need one.

4-29 - Inspections - H1 and H2 ok.  no queens.  slowly building out to frames 5-6 with foundations.  still not alot of pollen but some honey being capped and brood being laid.  eggs found and things seem 'normal' but slow to me.  I'm suspecting that the queens were'nt bred well or really good queens.  I've also heard that about 70% of others that got packages and even nuc's from Ga this year are having issues and most people have already re-queened their hives.  I'm gonna stick it out a bit more and see what happens.  It's been 14 days and I still haven't been able to find the 'black' queen from H1. Called Mr G and discussed the issue of no queen on H1.  He thinks that if they're still pulling in pollen and things seem to be working to keep a watch, and will come over in the next week and help me look around at both.  He's already caught 3 swams by now.

5-1 - still no queen in H2.  4-5 frames are pulled out now and 3-4 frames of brood.  strange that I haven't found her and wonder if she just stopped laying - cause there wasn't enough frames 'ready' for her her.  H1 ok with queen found, 4-6 frames pulled and eggs/brood look ok.

5-7 - Another inspection with Mr G.  H1-ok with good brood, honey and pollen.  H2-no queen found.  Decided to move a frame with eggs/brood over from H1 and see what's happening, or what will happen.  I hate to 'stunt' H1 as they aren't really strong right now and probably should just re-queen - but we'll see.  Added frame into 5th from left - near center of existing brood box.

5-11- found another guy in town who does bee removals for a living and also sells them.  got a "nuc" from him, which is really full.  He came over and helped me install into another hive as well as do some inspections on the other hives.  H1 and H2 are going well for now but only 5-6 frames being laid in as they are pulling the other frames out.

5-16 - 3 hive inspections.  H1-bees are drawing comb on frames 2/9.  adding another 'deep' on top and moved a few frames up.  I'd heard this was a good idea as it incourages them to start moving up - so i'll see what happens.  H2- 3/4 frames still need to be worked out at they are stil moving slowly.  no queen found yet, but seeing new eggs and brood. H3-(nuc) In 5 days they've already drawn out 3-4+ frames and are working on the last 1.  I checkboarded and moved up from frames whenever I added the new brood box for them.  These are working really fast - as they should for a 'nuc' box.  I found some rubber bands in the box and think that this was from a 'removal' somewhere and might be some more 'feral' bees.  Who cares at this time as they're moving along.

5-19 - added 2nd brood box to H2.  It might be early but hopefully they'll keep working strong now and as they're still taking some sugar water.  As they weren't taking too much, I'd removed the sugar water for awhile.  moved 3 frames up into new box.  tried some foundationless frames in here also.  I've added sugar water back to all hives now as I want them to start making drawing out more foundation and the 'honey/pollen' flow is really slow now.  still been having alot of rain but it's been dry for about 4 days now.

5-28 - Mr G came over to help inspect.  Queens found in H1 and H3.  boy, H3 queen is really fat!!!. no queen found in H2 but finding eggs and more brood.  probably 5-6+ frames in all hives now have 70% brood capped in them.  the black queen is really hard to find and you'd think a more experienced beek would be able to spot her - or even "me" with a red-dot on her.  Found, in the bottom box, 2 capped queen cells on the same frame (F8 I think).  As there weren' enough bees and plenty of room for them to expand ... decisions-decisions. (do i allow this to happen, create a nuc from/with the frame and other frames from H3/H1...).  Went though both boxes really well but still can't find the queen.  no other queen cell found - and no queen.  I decided to NOT make a split now, but rather tear down those 2 queen cells.  No rain for about 10 days now.  I'll check on them in another 10 days or so and see if they have made any other queen cells - or what's going on.  I believe now that I added the other brood boxes too soon as I have drawn frames in both boxes - but the bottom brood boxes aren't drawn out fully and 'operational'.  It's kind of scattered now and they should have the bottom 'full' and be working alot in the 2nd one.  i'll move some (honey/pollen frames) around as needed and try to keep them 'off-foot' and hopefully they'll draw out 'all' the bottom box frames and then try to get them working/concentrating on the top brood box.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

3-31 The day it all started

Ok today I picked up the 2 packages that I'd ordered thru the local bee club.  These bees are coming from Ga.  I dont know how many came in that day for everyone, but there was a trailer full.

I was concerned that the heavy rain we had whenever picking up the bees might dampen my ability to actually install them - but alas, the rain quit - the clouds opened up, and the bees got put into their new homes.  I installed each into a new 10-frame box and started feeding them sugar water.  In hind site, i should have installed them into nuc boxes, but i'll do that if i ever get some more.

I've come to the impression that they probably didn't probably do as well (info on that later) is - in my opinion, that there was 'too much' room for them to grow into.  I think that by possibly installing them into a nuc box (a 4 or 5-frame box) it would have caused the new hive to grow better and become more established.  after that, i would have moved them.

now the feeding starts ...

tips and nuggets

I've already read several books and been to several meetings.  The best answers I've come up with so far, that I can pass along are these items - (not in any specific ordering)

Build your own boxes if you can - there are plenty of plan our there on how to build Deeps or Brood boxes, Mediums (also referred to as Honey Supers amongst other things), shallow (i dont plan to use at this time), tops, bottoms, etc.  Doing this will atleast save you a few $$ as you can build a Deep/Brood box for about $13 vs $22 and any little you can save is just more towards the next box.  If you can get any 'free' lumber from construction sites - you lumber costs dwindle down into the $5 range per Supers.  Besides - isn't all of the experience, part of the experience?


Ask questions - there's plenty out on the net and at local clubs to help anybody get an idea of what might be going on with what you're experience.  Although bees have been 'cultured' for about 5000 years, there's bee a good movement for the last 30+ years to document and share common knowledge.

There are no rules.  I say this because the more I talk to people, I get different answers.  It really comes down to asking (you have to listen to what they are saying), Reading (to further or broaden your knowledge) and what's going on "right now". 

Right now - well, that's an interesting thing.  What is happening now, is different than it was last season and different accross town in someone elses bee yard. 

Keep a log.  I dont know about everyone else, but if you can keep some notes as to what's currently happening, then 'down the road' you can use your experience and knowledge to let you know if what you tried worked - or not. 

Why not bees ??

2013 - the first year of my bees, and what's going on ...

I've been toying with the possiblity of bee keeping for several years now.  After a few years of trying to actually get into the classes locally w/o much success I decided to start out on my own by picking up several books, reading them, scouring the different blogs, attending a local bee club and then just ordering them and getting stated.  I've decided to try and keep my bees as 'natural' as possible.  I know this will be hard as if I don't treat something, it might die and we don't want that - but if I treat, then I'm only hurting the 'natural order' of things.  It's a hard line, but I'm going to try and see if I can walk it.  I'm sure I'll 'stray' with some natural rememdies from time to time, but if I can get/propugate some good genetics and not have to spend $$ all the time treating them, I think I'll be better off in the long run..

With all that in mind, I've gotten started.  I'm about 7 weeks into the project, but will try to go back and put things in a chrono-log so atleast I can keep up with what's going on .

This, I hope will allow several things -

1. keep up with what's going on this year in my hives, and with the weather
2. have a way to share with anyone that's interested
3. and give me something else to do, like I 'need' that ...