Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Solar wax melter

 I used a styrofoam cooler I had laying around in the garage, painted it black and put a piece of plexiglas on the top.  Inside is a large glass bowl with about 2 inches of water on the bottom, a piece of hardware cloth to hold the paper towel over the bowl and then the paper towel.  Then I add the wax capping that have been cleaned by the bees and then rinsed.

Robber screen

There is not much of a nectar flow right now in hot and dry Atlanta.  The split combo looked like it was having some robbing issues from Demeter so I put on the robber screen to help them fend off the other bees.
By moving the entrance to the top of the screen and leaving such a small entrance they can now effectively stop the robbing without an all out war.

Mortician bees hard at work

After the combining of the two splits I noticed a large amount of dead bees in front of the hive.  There must have been more of a fight about the combination then I first thought.  It took the mortician bees a couple of weeks to get them all out.  Sorry girls, but after 3 tries to get them to make a queen they were bound to parish if something wasn't done.  I think it was the best solution.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

High school inspection

Today Zack, Jason and I did a quick inspection.  It was scorching hot so we were brief,  but the bee club hive is doing well and we will continue to feed them to get them up to par for winter.

The CSX hive is so impressive.  Two deeps full of brood and two mediums full, but not finished being capped, of honey.  I pulled two frames of eggs and larvae and one frame of capped brood to add to Demeter just for insurance.

When I got home I put the three frames in Demeter and I'm even more convinced that there is a virgin queen, but it still doesn't hurt to give them a boost of young workers.  Max and I watched a baby worker hatching on one of the frames I pulled out it had just a few capped brood left to hatch.  Here is a youtube video of an emerging bee.

Queenless and bee math

Friday I went into all six hives that I have at my house.

  • The CSX split is fine, but not building comb and building up as well as I would like.  I will continue to feed them and try to get them where they need to be for winter.
  • Both packages that I started this year are doing fine, but I will continue to to keep feeding them as well.
  • The combined split is doing well and should be able to over winter without any further help
  • Demeter is queenless!  I did find two superseder cells with capped worker brood around them.  Bee math tells me that if indeed this was a superseder by the hive the queen had just hatched since the queen takes 4 days less to hatch then worker brood which was still surrounding the queen cells.  It takes about 2 weeks for the queen to orient to the hive, do her mating flight and start to lay.  I will check again in two weeks to see if a queen is laying.  

This bottom queen cell looks like it was distroyed by the first emerging queen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bee club hive check and honey extracting

Today Zack and I had a look at the Bee Club's bees. My hives at home aren't drawing much new comb, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that almost all of the deep we installed them in was drawn out.  Not the straightest of comb I have ever seen, but it was drawn.

Zack has been feeding them 1:1 sugar syrup every week for the past couple of weeks and it looks like it's paying off.  We added another deep and plan to keep feeding so they have a nice strong colony to go into winter with.

After we added the other deep to the bee club bees we checked on my hive's stores.  We pulled six frames of capped honey and replaced the frames with drawn out frames that I had on hand.  I needed some freezer space to put more frames, so I pulled out all the capped frames in the freezer and started extracting.  What a messy process!  All of the frames I extracted weren't wired at all, so I wasn't sure how they would do in the extractor.  Most of them did fine, out of 15 probably, 12 made it intact.  I think I got about 4 gallons.

The frames were decapped and then spun in the extractor on both sides.  Then the extractor is emptied into the strainer bucket to catch any wax cappings that got into the honey.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Long live the queen!

Queen spotting is such a hard thing for me.  I usually start looking right into the cells instead of doing a glance over the whole frame to spot the queen.  This doesn't work so well.  Today I went into two hives hoping to get a look at the queen and I did.
Notice the lack of stripes and the long graceful body?  How could I miss this???  Also, if you double click the picture, you can see new eggs in the cells.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Combining hives update

It has been a little more then a week since I combined the queenless split with the other split I made from Demeter.  It looks like all went well.  I saw brood where there was none in the queenless split and didn't see much in the way of a fight when the two hives met.  All that was left of the paper I used to separate the two is the rim of paper that was between the two boxes.