Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wylde Center apiary certification

Wylde Center apiary has just been accepted by Certified Naturally Grown. This really didn't change much as far as how the bees are being worked, it just means that I have to start keeping track of how old the brood comb is. It must bee changed out every 5 years. Dee Lusby said "the comb is the liver of the hive". That has always really struck me as an important truth. Some of the comb at the garden still has "nasty" written on it by Curtis Gentry. He knows more about bees then I ever will, and that was his system. I think brood comb shouldn't be in the hive longer then 3 years, but sight of how dark it is, is my system. So for our garden official system I'm going to mark the frames with the International Queen marking system. Different numbers of the year are assigned a color. White 1,6 Yellow 2,7 Red 3,8 Green 4,9 Blue 5,0 Two of the three hives were new last year with new comb, so that is easy. The hive that was pre-existing, I will start moving old comb out to the sides, and then replace with new foundation and, color coding. One of the other changes is to have two other beekeepers, that practice natural beekeeping, come and inspect the garden hives. In turn, I must do inspections of other Certified Naturally Grown apiaries if called upon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

How to extract honey the easy way, Crush and Stain.

For some reason I can't get the slide show to go forward to back no matter how I arrange the pictures. So here is the info, backwards!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Goldie, the broody hen

Goldie is a big, buff orpington hen.  When she runs it's like a Wallace & Gromitt character.  Her genetics that give her those wide hips and fluffy backside, are also why she's become broody.  Broody is when a hen just sits, and sits on eggs waiting for them to hatch.  This started about 4 days ago.  She even slept in the nest box.  I called my chicken mentor, Allen Goodwin, and asked some questions about this process.  I decided it would be fun to hatch some chicks the old fashioned way, broody hen.  I don't have, nor want a rooster, so Allen donated fertile eggs for my cause and said I could bring him the roos and he would make soup, er take them from me, since we live in city limits.

First, Goldie had to be moved from the nest box into her own space.  If I had left her in the next box several things could have happened.  First, she was causing a traffic jam for laying.  Second, when she left the nest box to eat or drink, she might get confused and sit on the wrong eggs, and let her eggs get chilled.  Third, when the babies hatch you don't want them to be raised off the ground so they wont fall.

The process takes 21 days, so 3 weeks from now we will see how many hatch.

Goldie sitting on 8 fertile eggs

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Biggest swarm ever, 40' up in my tree

Late in the season last year, I made a split, which I wasn't even sure if it would make it through the winter in one deep. This spring it has surprised me by taking off with great speed. I have added 3 boxes on to it and just checked the other day that they still had storage room. What I have been doing since I have been so darn busy is checker boarding my brood. Checker-boarding is freeing up brood space by inserting empty frames. BBEBBEBEBB. B=brood, E=empty frame. I heard the noise and wondered which hive was going. To my suprise, once again, it was this hive, not the hive that is bearding and 7 boxes deep, so you know I haven't dug all the way down into the brood.
Off they go!
WAY up the tree right next to the hive.
It took me a while but I managed to hoist a hive with some drawn comb up the tree to try and entice them to move in before it rains (fingers crossed, knock on wood, ect) tomorrow. I didn't put any stores in there and that was a mistake. I'm not doing redoing the hanging of that hive so I will have to hope that the drawn comb is enough lure.
Look for the orange strap lower right and bees upper leftish. Long ways apart.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sugar Mixes

I don't have a formula for mixing sugar, nor do I do a different ratio for different times of year.
Here is a slide show of mixing sugar.  It's super easy.

Click Here for slideshow

Monday, April 2, 2012

Beekeeping task that I detest

One of the things I can't stand about beekeeping is the equipment clean up.  Assembly can be boring, but cleaning out frames for new foundation is just the worse.  I was complaining talking to my bee buddy, John, about how flimsy the frame cleaner is.
My hand was so sore after just a couple of frames.  I hate to say, but my solution has been to just keep buying more frames since my bee yard keeps growing.  

John asked about my solar wax melter.  I do have one, but it's a Styrofoam cooler painted black and can't hold actual frames.  It's for crush and stain comb.  John built a wax melter that I thought was awfully big.  The kicker of this is that, if you put your frames in the wax melter, it cleans all those places that I would have to scrape with the frame cleaner.  That sold me, big or no, scrape free is too good to not do.  So now I'm waiting on the off season free shipping special.