Sunday, December 21, 2008

Naming of Demeter

I have ordered more bees for spring and plan on doing some splits as well. So I believe I should start naming them. Names should be feminine since this is a girls world, ya know?

I'm thinking Demeter, best known for being the Goddess of the harvest. She is also well known for the coming of winter over her sadness of Persephone going to the underworld. And lesser known for being a reminder to us to be firm and unswaying when we are taking a stand for what is right or what we need and deserve.

Ventilation and condensation....

I'm still playing with different theories on keeping the hive warm as well as letting the condensation out.

Now what I have set up is a closed bottom board, 1/3 of the entrance is open, two deeps, then a inner cover (w/o notch) empty super, another super with insulation in it and then the top cover. I little over kill for middle Georgia I know, but till I play with all these things I wont know how best to make them winter maintenance free.

The key to all this seems to be a nickel in each front corner, between the two supers, to let out the moisture. I noticed that my inner cover had wet, slightly swollen corners when I was reconfiguring so I know water was rising to the top and running to the front of the inner cover as well as collecting on the sticky board when in. Even when the board wasn't in I believe this was still happening so I don't think a open bottom board would suffice for ventilation.

No more water on sticky board and the hive smells like it should.

About 30 mites in a 24 hour period. I think they will overwinter fine.

I will add a picture when I can.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Water woes

Yesterday was a warm day for December. Highs in the 60's. The bees were out in full force.

Today was still warm but had rained quite a bit. I noticed a small clump of bees on the ground in front of the hive. I thought they were bees that the mortician bees cleaned out while the weather was so nice yesterday. After looking more closely the bees were still moving. Could they have gotten caught in the storm and were just waiting to dry? Very curious.

I pulled the bottom board out today for the first time in a couple of weeks and was shocked at the mold on the board. Quite a few mites, but for the time it was in I think they are ok. I felt all around the inner part of the bee cozy thinking that might have been the trouble with the water, but it was dry inside. Inside of top lid is dry. It has to be condensation. After looking more closely at yesterdays pictures (see top picture) I noticed two streams of water coming out the front. So the question is open up the front entrance more or remove the bottom board? Maybe put in a half board?
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The hive has been prepared for winter the best I know how. Two deeps of brood and stores are on the bottom, then a inner cover that the holes have been blocked so they cant get to the insulation that is on the medium on top and pull it out. The black outer cover is the bee cozy. Hopefully this will prevent any condensation problems and free the bees up to break cluster more frequently.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Winterizing the hive

I seems that the key to winterizing you hive is to keep the moisture under control. The heat of the hive and the cold of out side cause a condensation effect on the hive's lid. The water then drips down on the bees and that is what causes caulk brood and mold. I'm planning on using a
bee cozy wrap next week when it gets here and putting a piece of polystyrene foam on top of the inner cover.

I have a screened bottom board and I'm unsure if leaving it open or closing it is the way to go. I have read so much conflicting info on this subject. I'm opting for leaving it closed.

Hopefully this will keep them dry and help them move more freely in the hive to get to the stores of honey when the temperatures really dip down.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sugar treatment

Approx 100 mites and about 8 beetles on the board 3 hours after the treatment.

Powderd sugar treatment for mites

Since my count is getting into the danger zone, I thought I would try a powdered sugar treatment. The treatment is a mechanical method, when the bees get covered in the sugar they groom themselves and each other knocking off the mites. Long Lane honey bee farm in central IL has a really nice blog with lots of informative lessons. Here is a link to the lesson on sugar treatments for mites with a video showing the process.

I noticed that my inner cover was hiding a lot of shb's. My last hive got infested with wax moths when it died out. The moths left a lot of small holes in the cover making hiding spots for the beetles. I have been lazy and not using my beetle eaters.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mite cout going up

80 mites in two days! Ugh I'm loosing the mite battle. I'm feeling like small cell might just be BS.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sugar water

After 4 days the bees have hardly touched the 2:1 syrup that I put in the hive. I added a 1/2 gal of water to the mix and some more honey b healthy and put some of the new mixture in. They seemed to start taking it as soon as I put it in.

I pulled a couple of frames just to see what was going on in the hive this time of year. The comb that was dark w/ brood is now starting to be filled with syrup for winter stores.

Still bright yellow and grey pollen being brought in.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I think my bees are good for winter

I believe that my bees are good for winter. My mite count today showed 30 mites for 4 days. They have two full deeps drawn and full stores.

It's getting cooler here at night w/ lows in the 30's some nights so I have reduced the entrance to help keep the cluster warmer at night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When we went to the beach last week I put the frame of honey that I knock over in the empty supper on top while I was gone. They completely cleaned it out! I'm going to measure cell size since this frame was a foundationless frame, I want to see what my small cells bees built on their own.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Goldenrod and asters are in bloom here and pollen they are bringing in varries from a pretty bright yellow to a darker color of gold.

You can get a good idea of where your brood is located from your sticky board. Looks like the 4th frame from the left is the middle of my brood nest.

When I did a inspection the other day I forgot to bring my beekeeping caddy in the apiary with me so when I pulled out the first frame so I have some working room in the hive I set it next to a statue I had on the table. Bad plan. I should have just stoppedand got the caddy. I whole frame of honey and uncapped nectar fell to the ground. This frame was started from a popsicle stick so it wasn't wired at all. Bummer! I put it in the glass dish my husband was kind enough to get for me after her heard all the colorful words coming from the bee yard.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

day 10 & 11

Looks like I might have ton count every day now. The count has gone up and the pollen is unreal. What a waste that it is just getting wiped off my sticky board onto the ground! 29 today for the two days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 8 & 9

Today's count was 21. To be honest there was probably more, but the count was hard to do because of all the pollen on the board. Lots of bright yellow, grey and a brownish color nuggets.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

3 &4 day check

I forgot to count my mites yesterday, so todays count of 9 is for two days!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2 day mite check and pupae

Today's count was 16 mites.

I notice two pupae in front of the hive. This is supposed to be a sign of small cell bees doing their job of clearing out mite infested brood.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Mite count 24 hours post treatment

13 mites were found on the sticky board today.

I will keep checking for the next 14 day till all the brood that was treated had a chance to hatch.

Adding a shallow for spring feeing

After pulling the fume board off I added a shallow for them to work on. I plan on feeding them in hope of them pulling out a couple more frames that I will freeze over winter and feed back to them in the spring.
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24 hours after treatment

After 24 hours it time to take the fume board off. All the formic acid should be evaporated by that time.

I have to be careful pulling the tape off the bottom of the hive because John warned me that hive beetles would be hiding under there after the treatment. I was happy to only see about 6 or 7 total. I smashed them w/ my hive tool.

I marked my sticky into quarters to help w/ the mite count. It went back on the hive and I will do a count soon today to see how many mites have fallen out of the brood onto it.
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Mite treatment

John putting fume board on brood boxes.

Tin foil and painters tape is used to seal off the screened bottom board.

John tapes up any cracks.

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Formic Acid mixture

Formic acid mixed w/ honey bee heathy

Fume board goes above brood nest. Heat from brood nest will make the formic acid mixture evaportate. Formic acid is heavier than air so it drops down to the brood nest and kills the mites even in capped brood.

John made this fume board and was nice enough to sell it to me so I didn't have to make my own.
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My mite board w/ the 14 mites before treatment.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

14 Mites were counted today

I did a 24 hour count to see what my mite count was before and after the mite treatment.

Surprisingly only 14 mites were found. I believe 50-60 is the you better do something number.

Pictures and more info to follow shortly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Formic Acid treatment

I have decided to take my friend John's advise about treating for mites. I'm pretty sure I lost the last hive to mites, so as much as I don't like it, I'm going to do it.

I'm going to do a sticky board count for 24 hours before we do the treatment to see what I get and then do another count after treatment for 24 hours.

Here is a link for info and instructions for treating w/ formic acid.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hive work today

I was worried about mites crawling back up into the hive w/ it sitting on the table, so I put the hive on cinder blocks to give it plenty of drop distance. I will also put some D. earth under the hive after it rains today.
I found one hive beetle in my AJ's beetle eater, two running on the top lip with 2 wax moth larvae and one moth. I squished all of them with my hive tool.

The bees seem to be in bad temperament today when moving them onto the bricks. Probably stung 10 time on my gloves. A storm is rolling in so maybe that accounts for the foul mood.
Today is the first time I have seen the queen since I installed the package.
The picture of comb is a frame that was drawn from a popsicle stick starter. The cells looked huge. I will have to take a ruler out next time and measure the cell size. These bees were supposed to be reduced to small cell already, but it looks to be at least 5.2mm. Maybe because its honey storage area? If so then what does it do when we give them sheets of small cell to store honey? I would like to move to all foundationless. I believe they need differant sizes for differant use.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ordering equipment lesson

After waiting and waiting for my items from Dadant I called Friday to be told that it hasn't shipped and would be ship out Monday.

Apparently when you order on line from them they ship out of their IL branch instead of routing orders to the branch closest to the person ordering. This is bad for two reason first shipping cost is more than if I had ordered from the FL branch and second because of the flood in the Midwest the IL branch is way behind. Bad planning.

The lesson in this is to not just place a on line order with a company, but to pick the branch closest to me and call them so it is shipped out of THAT branch.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Country rubes screened bottom board and a beetle trap

I'm so excited! I ordered a country rubes bottom board today.

This is a small hive beetle trap that sits in between two top bars. You fill it with veg oil and the beetles drown. I ordered one as well. I have only spotted one beetle this year, but I thought it would be fun to try out.

Is there a bottom board made to do it all- shb, mites and ventilation?

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Things living under my screended bottom board

Yesterday when I pulled out the sticky board I found the usual wax cappings, pollen, bee parts, one small hive beetle and on the bottom of the board several wax moth larvae.

I think I need to redo how my hive it set up, it doesn't seem to be working if all the debris is hanging out inviting critters and pests.
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Monday, June 30, 2008


Here a paper towel w/ mineral oil and thyme oil.

I don't see much in the way of drone cells and I'm not sure what to make of my findings on my board so I treated just in case.

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Hive pictures from today

Here is a picture of my cattle dog Tang. He likes to snap at the bees to defend me, so he must wait outside of the apiary fence while I do inspections.

I caught a bee coming out of her cell in this picture.

This comb has some issues so I'm working it to the side of the hive in the hopes I will be able to pull it out and do crushed honey with this frame.

Nice frame of capped honey and brood. Not a lot of frames with brood, but it seems to be a good solid pattern.