Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New hive stand and mite count

Yesterday I finally had a chance to put some cinder blocks and 4X8's in the bee yard and get the hives off the tables I have been using. They needed to be closer to each other and still be able to let the mites fall far enough down to not re-invade the hive.

While I was at it I did a mite count and found about 25 mites in Demeter and 12 in Luna.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CSX swarm

Today I did a quick check to see how things were going in this hive and I saw eggs! I hope the workers hold in there till more brood hatches.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Luna update

I'm not sure if the queen I put in or if one of the queens that hatched out of the swarm cells is laying, but I only pulled one frame and it was half full of larvae so I closed her back up and added another medium. It seems like baiting up really helps. I pulled a frame of nectar out of the existing medium and switched it for one of the new frames in the box going on top.

Second swarm

Monday I received another call for a swarm pick up. It just happened to be about 1/4 mile from my work, so I grabbed a box from out back and went to the house w/ the swarm. It is a small swarm, about 1.5 grapefruits worth. Maybe 2lbs.

They were attached to this magnolia branch. I held the box up to them, sniped and off I went after about 15 mins to let the stragglers join them.

I put them in the Top Bar Hive and they honestly just don't seem to be to happy w/ this new home. I have a ball of them that keep hanging on the screened underside and they aren't making any comb even after I gave them a foundation starter strip. I need to put together some more equipment and see if they would be happier in the nuc for a while.
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

First swarm caught today

I was called today by Cindy Bee of Metro bee club to go get a swarm. The swarm was at the CSX train station. The swarming bees had caused quite the excitement there. 4 toll booth like stations with a poles on either side to keep the trucks from getting to close to the booths are located at the entrance. They clung to one of the poles and even started to build comb!

I had to work today, so they had to stay in the nuc till I could get home and installed them in a 10 frame deep.

They had build two rows of comb on the inner cover and were working the two frames of comb that I had put in the nuc for them.

Wish I had taken my camera. It was so exciting and they seem to have settled in their new home. I'm feeding even thou the flow is stating here.

They seem like calm happy bees.

Edited: Thank you to Miss Robin at the CSX station for sending me these pictures!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4/14/2009 inspection

Demeter is going full strength. The bottom brood chamber that was empty, I reversed a couple of weeks ago and now it is full of stores and brood! I put on a empty medium with some starter strips and popsicle sticks to give them some room to move up. Hope I don't have to bait them up since I'm in shortage of medium drawn out comb.

I'm not so sure about Luna. I did see one frame with some larvae in it, I didn't see the queen. I hope when I check in another couple of days to see more brood. They weren't moving up into the second box so I pulled a frame of stores from the bottom box and put it in the top box to entice them up.

Got stung twice on my ankle. That makes 5 time this year. Think I will put up a counter for stings.

Swarm catching kit from Cindy Bee

*A regular hive body with screened bottom board, inner cover and top cover.
*Ratchet strap for hauling (do NOT use bungie cords, they slip)
*spray bottle for sugar water
*scoop - milk carton works well and you can cut it so it has a handle
*white sheet or pillow case - don't use a nappie towel
*piece of cut foam (such as comes from a cushion) to block the entrance way
*clippers (be sure to ask before cutting anyone's shrubs or tree limbs)
*cardboard box (in case you can't handle a full hive body set up) with brood chamber-sized foundation and frames - a box that computer paper comes in works well. Cut an upside down horse shoe-shaped hole where the side meets the bottom and let this flap be the ramp they can march into.
*lemmon pledge as an option - place a small dab on your finger and run it along the inside of the box just above the flap you've made.
*a bee brush
*of course, your veil
Note: don't smoke a swarm. It won't do much except upset them and cause them to fly around. Just scoop or shake them into the box and place the sheet at the entranceway so they can march in. The first several scoops should go into the box with the lid off. Then replace the lid and let the rest march in after you've shown them the entrance way. For a while they'll want to keep collecting at the old site where they last smelled the queen. Be patient and keep gathering them and releasing at the entranceway. Wait about 35-40 min. or longer if you have the time so as many as possible will go in. You'll never get them all unless you leave the box and retrieve it after dark.
Ratchet your hive together tightly, block the entranceway with the foam and let the homeowners know what to expect ( a small fist-size returning clump that will hang for a few days or return to the parent hive). If the homeowner asks if it costs anything you might ask for gas money or a contribution to the Metro At. Beekeepers' Assoc. (We are a 501c3 organization so their contribution is tax deductible).
Hope that helps,

Grant park swarm

Last week I put myself on the swarm list at my bee club. On Friday I got the call that there was a large swarm of bees in grant park. The sky was getting dark w/ the storm moving in so I knew I needed to move fast before they moved. I went over my supplies with Cindy Bee, who coordinates the swarm list, had to make some adjustments. Got dressed and load up my jeep. Chloe, my daughter, got suited up to take pictures and we drove the short drive to the park w/ my heart pounding. They were gone when we got there. Bummer!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A queen for a queen...

Today was nice weather, so I couldn't stand it any longer and had to see what was going on. The queen has been released and I even saw her when I was changing position of a frame that wasn't in Housel position. The nuc that they were transfered out of was holding the one frame I needed to remove to put in the queen cage in the 10 frame.

Usually when bees are installed you leave the package or nuc box sitting near and they join their hive with in hours. The last two days I kept seeing bees in the nuc, so I thought it was just them eating the nectar that the nuc frame had. Today I took a good look at the bees in the nuc and low and behold was a unmarked queen. I knew something had to be keeping them there.

The supplier told me that the nuc came w/ a marked mated queen. I'm not sure if that was the case. It seems to me they came w/ two queen cells, I put the unmarked queen in a package cage with some attendant bees and some honey. Not sure what to do w/ her. She didn't look to be in great shape. Slow moving kind of out of it. Maybe she lost the fight of the two queen cells, maybe she won, but was hurt anyways. Maybe, just maybe the supplier was right and the marked queen took off and left the virgin queen.

Since I belive that they have eccepted the new queen I think I will make swarm lure out of her.*

* Swarm lure made from unwanted queens... This method came from Dee Lusby and was developed from an idea of Butler.

Dee's method... is to take unwanted queens, not old ones that are about to expire, but viable young or virgin specimens and steep them in a jar of alcohol. Dee comments "The alcohol really takes on a good color if left for years with queens submerged within. Also, we get more scouting bees with virgin queen lure and more drones in swarms that are eventually hived."

To use this "ticture of virgin queen" as a lure, it is dabbed on woodwork of bait hives... Three or four drops from an eye dropper when the bait hive is made up and a few more drops after six weeks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cold temps in April

It was a high of 47 today and Demeter was still doing quite a bit of flying. Luna was quite. Hope all is well.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bee buddies and Luna's new queen

Last year when I went to Lula, Ga for a organic beekeeping class and picked up 2 packages of bees and I met John. John has been such a help to me, he is a new beekeeper as well, but always has time to talk over the situation, lend me equipment when needed and keep me on track as to treatments. We have different styles that complement each other, I'm a little to let nature do its thing side and he's very much what should we be doing now kind of guy

Yesterday he drove to Lula and got new queens for himself and I. He also gave me a super deluxe hive tool, a cool red light to check the bees out in the dark (bees don't see red). Some wedges to help hold the queen cage in place and some new nitrile gloves.

I came home and installed the queen in Luna in not the most favorable conditions. It had been overcast and raining on and off. Got stung once on the leg through my jeans and once on the stomach through my shirt. The sting on my leg wasn't bad but my stomach is still swollen, red and angry. I didn't get the tight throat feeling, but did get extremely itchy hands and feet. Took a benadryl which helped greatly. I also moved them to a 10 frame deep and I'm preparing a Medium to go on top of the deep ASAP.

Hope putting in a new queen was the right move, but in reality I like the calmer bees that this new queen will produce. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Luna could have swarmed

I spoke to the supplier today and he said he thinks that my nuc swarmed. I don't think so from the number of bees in the hive, but could be totally wrong.

This partly happened because I put them into a deep nuc and then put the medium on top with foundation. I'm trying to go to all mediums, so that is why I didn't have a 10 frame deep laying around. The second factor is all the rain and cold weather here has prevented me from looking and managing them in a preventative manner. UGH! No flow for this hive this year. Dirty words!