June Frame

June Frame

Friday, June 28, 2013



Success, or at least partially.  As I previously posted I was going to try and create a couple of splits from my hives.  I created 2 splits with both from several hive combinations, with one of  them being a split into 1 4-frame and the other going into a 10-frame box.  The 10-frame worked and the 4 frame didn't.  I think that even though I  believe I had enough resources in both the 4-frame didnt because if the robbing that started and even though I tried to stop it- I wasn't successful and eventually had to shake the remaining bees back into their respective hives.

I checked the 10-frame yesterday for queen activity (already given ip on the 4-frame a few days ago) and not only found her, but am glad to say she looks very fat and happy.  I've been feeding them on and off every several days and noticed/decided that even though their "supplies" seem to be ok - I think I'll feed them for a few weeks so they can draw out some more comb and give her plenty to lay in.

I'm saddened that the 4-frame didnt work, but decided to try again yesterday, specifically with the hive that I refer to as the "Nuc bomb".  This time u took a (almost full) frame if capped/in-capped honey and put into the 4-frame Nuc box.  I also added a few frames of brood and pollen along with their respective nurse bees, and 3 other full frame shakes.  I decided to also use a top entrance this time to see how they will react to it.  It only has about an inch opening, and with no external feed source they should be able to protect it w/o any issues.  I have the option to top feed with a quart jar, but will see how they do for a few days on their own.  I might have made a mistake by adding the honey-b-healthy to the sugar mix last time, so this time as I feed - it will be sugar water only.

I also toasted to my local bee buddy, "S" and he still wants to try some grafting off of my Nuc bomb. I bought the grafting cups and tool myself, but haven't had a chance to experiment yet.  Hopefully we'll be able to get the "cloak" board on their next week and get some good eggs for grafting.

I checked all the other hives while I was back there yesterday, and they seem to all be doing well.  I've started to see some more hive beetles, so ill have to make some changes this weekend to try and get bak on top of them.  The bees are handling them at the moment, but they can quickly get out of control so better to start now.

More later...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

a split or 2 -

It's been a few days since I updated this blog, but here's what's been happening.

A week and a 1/2 ago I noticed a few queen cell cups being formed in Hive 1.  I decided, even though it wasn't the hive that I necessarly want the genes from, I'd try to create a split from it.  So last friday (6/21) I took that frame along with 3 other frames (scattered from the 2-deep box), a frame of capped/fresh brood from another hive -  and created a nuc box putting it about 150 yards away.  I put some sugar water on it, but quickly noticed that 'other' bees had found it and I had a 'robbing' situation going on.  I quickly plugged up the new nuc and had to leave it closed up all weekend.  On monday, i opened up the blockage and left them to their own devices.  I also re-filled the quart feeder. 
Yesterday (Wednesday) I noticed that the 3 queen cups, had been transformed from just cups into capped queen cells.  They looked strange to me as they weren't fillagreed yet.  Today I re-inspected the hive and noticed that they were indeed fillagreed.  Magic ...

I also noticed back in Hive 1 that they had a queen cell already fillagreed - so i took it some brood/honey/pollen from H1, H2, and even 1 frame from the super-nuc box.

Attached are some pictures of what I saw today.  The cluster of 4 queen cells, is what was in the new nuc - but fillagreed today.  I have the new nuc shut up till tomorrow pm, then will let them go and see what happens ...

ps - another 5 gallons of sugar water has been taken also.  I'll make some more up tomorrow and start feeding them again.  I have to remind myself, I'm only doing this now - because I'm trying to stimulate more queens, brood, and some honey - if possible ..

Thursday, June 13, 2013

hardware needs ???

So - now that I've decided that I want to do some splits, I need to determine several things -

1. What will i be using in hardware equipment? 

I've come up with a pretty good idea of using a 4-frame nuc box.  I've developed the idea of using this type of nuc because I can 'stack' 2 right on top of a single 10-frame box (side-by-side)  for either 'walk-away' splits, because the easly stack side by side - overwintering some nucs shouldn't bee to hard for the 'boxes' to share heat for the winter, and I don't know that I actually need "5-frame" nuc boxes for what I'm doing.  This might not work in the long run, but we'll see as time goes on...

As I have 4 nuc's now and 4 deeps I'm probably ok to attempt this now and see how well it goes. I've borrowed a cloake board from a friend for now, but will probably have to get one on my own as I'm unsure if I can build one for what one costs -

I'll need some queen cups and a grafting tool.  This is so I can 'quickly' create the enviroment that I want with new queens, and not loose too much time.  [time to hatch, 16-days ..queen is bred in another, say 3 days - laying time to confirm good queen - 2 to 3 weeks --- 1 month gone]

2. how many 'boxes' will i need now - what happens if it works, and then later?

Thearetically - I'll need the following:
1 nuc box and a 1 deep per box that i want to create + allot of bees to propagate a single hive. 
Do I have this now - not sure till I get started to see what actually happens.  Funny thing, there isn't really any published information on 'how you actually do this' out there as I've tried to find it - and it seems to be a 'secret' for some reason.

In reality as i theorise more about this situation, I'll need not only allot of bees to start with, but a really strong hive or 2 so that i can keep moving/swapping out frames of 'nurse' bees into the nucs to feed the queens and try and keep the worker bee population down to a minimum so that they don't want to swarm on me.

3. what will i do to over-winter, if this works out now?

Over-wintering I think that I can accomplish this with the side-by-side 4-frame nucs.  I'll also need some type of feeding ability for them so i won't be able to stack too many high.  I can also double-stack the 4-frame nucs, thereby creating a 'tall' 8-frame box and feed that way so that i can maintain my structures and feed - if needed.  I'll also need another place in the yard so there's some potential work there and how many do i actually want to 'winter-hive' - and how many hives do i actually want to keep???

4. what will i need to have 'on-hand' and for the future should I want to either maintain my own stock, or sell some nucs/queens in the future?

Obsivesly I'll need to have and/or have ready about 4 to 6 nuc boxes to start.  Simple math seems to dictate the following:  1 setup = 1 to 2 nucs and 1 deep .. probably at a minimum. 

5. what else am i forgetting?

6. how much will all this cost in material -  and time ??????  Will i build my own stuff, from others' plans, creatively engineer myself - or just buy?

I need to find more 'free' stock material.  I'm pretty efficient now with building my own w/o alot of waste - but having more 'free' stock will certainly reduce my costs.  I think that if i 'troll' some construction sites i can pick up some more 'parts' but don't really have a good storage place for 'allot' of equipment or parts now.  The wife's wanting me to build or get a garage/shop so maybe I'll look into this.  We really need this now anyway, but there's 'some' support from her in all this and am always appreciative for the support - just need to thank her more for it !!!   I need to engineer some screened bottom boards for my nucs now - but that shouldnt be too hard.

the next step in my evolutionary trials ...

I've decided to also try my hand at some grafting and creating some 'natural' splits.  I need to do this for several reasons - Life cycle learning of the bees - for my own continued search of knowledge about these special creatures, propagation of the species, before it's not too late in the year, and if I can - why not ?? 

Here's some listings or other thoughts of why I need to start now (mid june timeframe)  -

 - The bees have time to 'rebound' and get started for winter
 - If I have to feed (I will I know, as there's no "flow" going on now) then the bees will/should have   enough time to get settled in good for the winter.
 -  If I'm not successful in my 'trials' then I'll have time to combine them back together and hopefully not loose too many.
 - "normally" this type of thing is done in the early spring or whenever there's a good 'flow' going on - but you gotta start some time and this might be quite a good experience for me.
 - I should have enough time for these bees to estabish themselvess and "IF" I have to overwinter some nucs this year I'll know how to do it.
 - I've gotten the notion that I'd like to create several nucs and possibly sell them every year, but most importantly that I have enough 'stock' to be able to perpectuate the good stock I believe I currently have, so that if I have a 'bad' year - I don't end up loosing this stock - or have a 'catostrophic' loss to my apiary.

Thirsty girls - and some brain dumps..

FYI - out 'normal' (as this year isn't a typical) year pollen flow has been out for several weeks now. I think we're into the typical 'hot and dry' summer and potential bee stress timelines...

Most people, if they have any honey, are pulling it out now or real shortly- and letting the bees settle in for the summer and get ready for the winter. 

I'm still trying to 'build up' my hives and since I've gotten the 2 packages to finally get going - I've been feeding them for several reasons (ps - i don't really want to feed as this isn't natural for them, but need to for now to get them 'ready' for next year)

-  As I had to take some eggs from H1 to get H2 going (bad queen with spotty pattern and bees not really happy with her), this hive is finally starting to do well with allot of good brood pattern, honey and pollen stores.  I'm going to try and create a NUC from it this weekend - but more on that later.

 -  H1 had a sluggish start due to the frame-stealing I had to do - but is doing pretty well now with lots of brood, honey and pollen stores.  Gonna try to make a NUC from it .. more later

 - Our year hasn't been normal.  Usually by the middle of march our pollen counts are really high and our cars are literally green until the middle of June due to so much 'popping' out at the same time.  With the weather been so rainy and cool, most people have been having issues with their bees this year.  It seems that there have been 'great' spurts in different area's - but overall pretty slow.

 -  Due to the sluggish/non-typical year of pollen - I want the bees to have plenty to survive this year and be 'boomers' for next year.

Note - I put a 5-gallon feeder out about 6 days ago and it was empty yesterday.  Talk about 'bulking' up.  I'm going to have to do something else for them - like honey supers or possibly other deeps to keep them active till I'm ready to split in the next week or so. ....

Monday, June 10, 2013

feeding at the apiary.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd gotten tired of feeding a quart every day so I created a 5-gallon feeder and loaded it up.  Funny thing is I had a bee following me all around the yard as I was gathering the 'parts', making the feeder and then putting it up.  Within a couple of minutes other bees had found the new suprise and every since then - I don't think there's been less than about 500 at a time feeding. 

Enjoy ..

Friday, June 7, 2013

Talk about a busy bee...

Well I posted a picture earlier today which showed allot of bees hanging/chillin out in front of one of my hives - H3 or Nuc box

I think I'm gonna rename that Nuc box to Nuc Bomb !!!  I took the cover off to inspect it this afternoon and it's all drawn out and just about full.  Talk about a good laying queen ... I looked back over my notes and recorded the following, about that hive -

 - 5/11 - purchased that 5-frame nuc from somebody locally.  It was from a 'tear-out' or a wild/ferrel hive somewhere.

 - 5/19 - added a 2nd deep super to the box and moved 3 or 4 frame up to get them started.  I also added     4 bare frames with tongue depressors as guides for them to make some 'natural' comb on their own

 - 6/7 - today added another deep and moved 4 frames up.  All the new frames are foundation less and I hope that they draw them out as well.

Hopefully I'll be able to do one of the following - create a 'walk-away' split, or maybe graft some queen cells from this box and make splits with the 2 4-frame nucs I have on H1

H1 - i moved a couple of frames around on the 2 4-frame nuc boxes up.  In about a week I should be able to either create a couple of nuc boxes, or hopefully I can get/graft a couple of queens from H2.

H2 - still moving a little slower than H1 (the other new package from this week) with about 65 to 70% drawn out on the top deep box.

Also, I got tired of filling up the 'board man feeders' every 2 to 3 days, so i filled them for the last time today.  I got smart, and created a 5-gallon feeder.  Funny thing is, while I was mixing it up, I had a bee constantly following me around.  She followed me to where I was putting it, and as soon as I put it up - 5 other bees came around and starting feeding.  I bet by mid day tomorrow, it'll be swarming with bees.  I'll upload a picture of that in the am.

Good brood patterns in all boxes ...

Here's a pic on the new triple box ..

more later ..

a few days later

Ok-  so it's been a few days and I haven't put anything out here.  Well nothing much has changed except we're receiving some rain - 1.5 inches in less than 24 hours.  I've peaked into the tops of the hives and they are still working along.  It seems to be happening more slowly in the packages but as long as their still working (drawing out, pollen gathering, and egg laying) I guess I'm fine with that.

I did a top hive inspection yesterday, between the rain drops and found the following -

H1 - they are still working on the top left-hand side of the 4-frame nuc box more than the right-hand side.  Not sure why, but who knows.  By working more, I mean that all 4 frames have been almost drawn out and some egg laying has been done.  I noticed a strange bee yesterday in here and wonder if it was the queen or not but not sure.  It was half-again as large as a drone and almost 3/4" long.  I didn't get much change to inspect it as it quickly disappeared but the other bees didn't seem to bother it and just smelled and went along with what they 'normally' do.  It didn't have the full abdomen and look like a queen - but since this hive is differently colored - maybe that was her.  If so, it's the first time in a month that i've seen her - and she's definitely a hybrid of some type.

H2 - they still seem to be struggling with drawing out all 4 frames but have approx 2.5 drawn out and some honey/pollen stored in them.  I swapped around an un-drawn from the right with one on the left to try and encourage them some more.

H3 (nuc box) is starting to get allot of activity up there.  They've drawn out most of their frames and have a lot of good brood patterns and pollen/honey stored up there.

I've been using, for about 2 weeks now, a mixture of HBH (honey bee healthy) for several reasons but mostly to get them to drawn out the remaining new foundation so there will be more room for pollen/honey/brood.  I think that this has been working because I have all 3 hives consume most of the quarts within about 4 days.  H1 and H2 have consumed the most so far with H3 having about 2 inches left whenever I've topped them (all) off.

I checked on them late yesterday and noticed something strange.  On H3 - there were a lot of bees just 'hanging out' and cooling themselves along their front porch.  With 85+ temperature, 75+ humidity, and all the rain - I can't blame them.  I'll attach the photo so you can see.

Hopefully the weather will dry out over the weekend and I can do another 'full' inspection of all 3 hives so I can find the black queen as well as check on the bottom deep brood boxes.  If they haven't filled up all them, I might do a box rotation. 

Here's the 'chillin' bees -