Saturday, May 31, 2008

Try to lure bees up to 2nd brood box

Its been 5 days since adding the second brood box and the bees still aren't interested so today I took a frame of honey and pollen and put it above the cluster in the lower box in a attempt to lure them up. The hive seems queen right and the population seems to be growing.

I need to order some supplies~ more foundation, a frame grip, pollen trap, mite count tray, lemon oil or swarm lure and smoker fuel (because I just can't get that damn thing to stay lit).

Friday, May 30, 2008

Interesting fact:

I read that the ratio of workers to drones in a bee hive is 1.618, or Phi.

The more I think about it, I don't know if that is true. I think it's probably more true that it changes on a need basis.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Housel position for foundation

I have inserted my frames in my hive according to the theory of Housel positioning. This is taken from May 2006 newsletter, Northern Lights, The Newsletter of the North Devon Branch of the British Beekeepers Association.

Whilst examining wild comb, a gent named Michael Housel made the observation that, in wild comb, bees position cells on opposite sides of the comb in a particular way, and that therefore in providing foundation for comb building, we beekeepers should copy that positioning.

This positioning all depends on the "Y" formation viewed at the bottom of each cell. To understand this fully, you will need to have a sheet of foundation in front of you (or drawn comb) – then all will be revealed.

On one side of the foundation, if you look at the bottom of the indentations that will form the new cells, the faint lines in the bottom of each cell will either show a "Y" pattern or an inverted "Y" pattern. Have a look at the figures below. Now turn the sheet around (sideways, don’t flip it up the other way) and you will see that, on the other side, the "Ys" are the opposite way up.

The last time I tried this method I found that the brood still was clustered towards the left side of the hive, which is next to my white house. Maybe the heat reflecting from the house was more alluring then the position of the Y?

I have marked the inverted Y's with a I for inner and inverted. I will try it again and see what happens.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Superseded? added brood chamber

I added another brood chamber today and looked once again for the marked queen that came with the package. I'm just almost sure that queen was superseded. I just can't find her anywhere and didn't see eggs so I'm assuming (I know always dangerous) that she is no longer present.

This isn't really ideal, I believe. Now I have to wait for the new queen to mate and start laying. Crap! Maybe I shouldn't have put the new brood chamber on if they are going to be loosing numbers till the new brood started to emerge.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sound from the hive

When looking at the hive today I could hear a constant humming sound. I know that the experience beeks can tell what different sounds are in the hive. Going to see if I can find a reference to the different sounds. I shot a video of the inside to try to pick up the hive sound. Camera ran out of battery so when it recharges I will see if the sound is audible.

Couldn't spot queen

I opened the hive to see the progress of the queen cells. They both look to be empty. Not sure what happened. If the cells actually produced queens wouldn't they be darker? Didn't spot the marked original queen, but did spot eggs and larvae. I believe I should build a nuc box so I can be ready to do a split if needed.

Beekeeping Quote

"There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Using essential oils for honey bee mite control

My goal is to have chemical free bees. I know that using essential oils are considered among some as a soft chemical treatment. I think what is realistic is treating only when really needed, not just a set schedule.

My beekeeping friend John sent me this wonderful link from W. Virgina University about research on essential oil treatments for mite control.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Todays findings

I opened the hive body today for the second time since installation. I didn't see the queen, but did see eggs, larvae, pollen, mostly uncapped honey, lots of capped drone cells and what I believe to be two queen cells. About 7 frames are drawn out, I believe I will wait another week to add another hive body. I did open the brood nest up some by putting a blank frame of foundation between the stores and the brood nest on either side. The newest bees should be emerging right about now.

16 days for queens
17 days for drones
20 days for females

Quite a lot of debris on the bottom board, below the screen. I need to get a tray to go under the screen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Crinkle sound in Lang

Micheal B. of Organic beekeepers list said that the crinkle sound was propolis. Interesting.

Hive check

I looked in the Lang yesterday and removed the empty queen cage. Four frames of pollen and uncapped honey and most importantly eggs! I didn't see the queen but didn't look very hard for her, I know she is present.

Shook the remaining stragglers from the TBH into the lang.

Refilled the bowls with sugar syrup. Bowls are placed on top of inner cover in empty super.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The queen is gone

I have only been checking the TBH by looking threw the observation window. I opened the hive today and checked and my fear is right, no queen. I need to look in my trees and see if I can find the swarm, if not I will be using this hive to make a split. I should have gotten the right size hardware cloth and put it over the entrance to keep her in. I still say something wasn't right from the beginning w/ this hive, but I'm unsure what.

I have some lemon balm that really is strong. Maybe I will rub that inside the hive and see if I can catch a swarm.

Live and learn!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Crinkle sound in Lang

When checking on the syrup level in the Lang I noticed a strange crinkle sound. I will have to see if I can find out what that means.

TBH is failing

I'm afraid that the TBH is failing. I check it yesterday and the queen had been removed from her cage, but only a small amount of bees remained. About 50 dead bees on the bottom of the hive and no pollen being brought in. I don't know what went wrong.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Total difference between the hives

The first time I had bees I only had one hive. Having two hives this time has given me the chance to notice the very different behavior. The lang hive is still calm and I noticed bright pollen being brought in today.

The TBH is still way more active and aggressive. The mass of bees was still in a ball around the queen cage early today, but later today when the sun was directly on the hive, the bees were flying around in a unorganized manor and the mass of bees had dispersed from the queen cage. Didn't notice any pollen being brought in.

Neither hive seems to be consuming much of the sugar syrup provided.

Intalling Packages

I had the pleasure of taking a class and receiving two packages from Don AKA the Fat Bee Man on Saturday.

One of the packages is nice and calm and has pretty amber stripes. This package I installed in the lang hive.

The other package is much darker, maybe more Italian, and from install on has been more aggressive and active. This hive was installed in the TBH.