Monday, September 17, 2012

Bee Vlog - September 11, 2012

No inspection, just Bee Zen.

What is it about watching bees busy at work that is so relaxing? Sit back and enjoy 10 minutes of Bee Zen meditation at the entrance of Queen Beatrice's hive. I recommend adjusting the YouTube settings to hi-definition & full-screen.

Video Link

And another 10 minutes with Queen Anne's hive.

Video Link

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bee Vlog - September 10, 2012

After about 48 hours with the bee escape in place, the honey super still had 100+ bees in it. I'm not sure if it was because the weather had cooled a little and activity slowed, or if it's typical for so many bees to just stay behind. I tried blowing them out and brushing, but the method I finally ended up using was "blasting" with a leaf blower. That's not something I'll be doing ever again. It didn't really seem that effective (the bees can hold on really well) and it seemed to be doing more harm than necessary. Next time I'll be more prepared with an empty box and just use the brush.

A couple frames of comb were extra thick, so to restore proper frame spacing I tried "thinning" the comb by cutting off the faces. Another big FAIL. I ended up just harvesting that entire frame via "crush and strain" and I'll save the honey for any emergency feeding during the winter. (Yes, I tasted it. Yes, it's DELICIOUS!) The rest of the frames were given as-is to Queen Beatrice.

After I got the honey super into the kitchen I spotted a nasty little varoa mite. So there's no doubt that Queen Anne's hive has mites. Every beehive has mites, so I'm not too worried. I don't know how bad the infestation is, but I don't see any signs of weakness or disease in that hive. Again, I won't be treating and I'll just leave it up to the bees to deal with them their own way. It may seem cruel to just let it happen, but I think it's more cruel to treat with pesticides that can also harm the bees. I also believe there's no real helpful or effective treatment.

Video Link

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bee Vlog - September 8, 2012

Hive weigh-in:
Queen Anne: Unknown (very heavy)
Queen Beatrice: 89 lbs (+4.4 lbs from 2 weeks ago)

Today's inspection involved mapping out the hive and relocating a couple frames to move the drone comb out of the center of the nest. I'll be moving some honey from Anne to Beatrice, so to clear out the extra honey super on Queen Anne I'm using a bee escape board. I'll come back after 24 hours to check on it.

If I just wanted to keep the 2 hives and not do any expansion in the spring then I'd be fine with leaving the honey where it's at and leave Queen Beatrice as is. It would be a good experiment to see how well they were able to survive through the winter with just the stores they gathered themselves.

However, I do want to expand next spring and I want to make sure Queen Beatrice makes it through the winter. It seems like Queen Anne has enough stores to spare so I'll be taking some of it and sharing it. Of course, doing this also runs the risk of taking too much away from Anne, so I'll be keeping a close eye on them through the winter to make sure they don't starve.

Video Link