Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bee Vlog - June 24, 2013

A swarm call was posted up on Facebook and after seeing that it was located just around the corner from my house I just had to take it.

This swarm has been sitting in the tree looking for a home for 3-4 days. I should have taken that into consideration before shaking them out of the tree. I've dealt with swarms before in this fashion with no problems whatsoever, but this one was less tolerant and I took quite a few stings on my arms and hands. Because of this, I'm naming this one Queen Jezebel.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Bee Vlog - June 22, 2013

A quick inspection for Queens Flora & Beatrice just to check space. Flora is ready for another box, while Beatrice is slowly making progress in the top super.

I moved Queen Helen from Outyard #1 to Outyard #4 so I can have a minimum of 2 hives at each outyard. The move is less than 2 miles so I'm keeping them closed up for 3 days to force them to reorient and reduce the loss of foragers returning to the old site.

Then Queen Isabella gets her first inspection where I get my first exposure to wax moth. Nasty stuff! The wax moths where already invading the comb from the attic where I rescued them. And with more comb than the colony could guard the moths were starting to take over. The bees had done their best to try to chew out the cocoons, but hadn't finished the job yet. So I made it easier on them and just removed the mothy wax and reduced their living space to a more manageable size.

I put the mothy wax into the freezer to kill the larvae and any eggs. I'm debating if I want to just melt down the wax or save it for baiting hives next year. Maybe I'll save the better looking stuff and melt the rest.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Bee Vlog - June 8, 2013

Queen Guinevere and Queen Dulce are ready for a new box. In this video I show the details of how I "pyramid up" to expand the brood nest and encourage the bees to move up into the new box.

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The trap-out experiment is at an end. The hive in the wall appears dead or trapped and will soon be dead. There were a good number of survivors in the hive body, but they are queenless. Rather than take eggs from a strong hive and basically create a split, I decided to just add these bees to another smaller colony (Queen Elizabeth) that could really use the boost in population. I used the newspaper method of combining the 2 colonies and will check up on them again in another 7 days.

It was interesting to observe the difference in behavior of a queenless colony. They still worked together and were loyal to the hive, but they were also less active, less interested in working, and almost seemed melancholy. They were still foraging, but at a less active pace.

I left the mesh cone in place just in case there are still remaining bees in the wall that are alive and work their way out. They'll either find a new hive to move into (there are some hives just across the field) or they'll die off. There won't be many though. I'll return in a couple weeks to clean up the cone and window and seal things off.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bee Vlog - June 1, 2013

We had another cutout to do today. This one was in the attic space of a townhome. It took a few tries to figure out exactly which wall/attic cavity was being used. It was a huge hive with the potential of getting much bigger.

Removal went smoothly. There was quite a bit of honey, so everything got very sticky. We found the queen, Isabella, and caged her up to keep her safe. In the end we filled 2 medium hive bodies with comb (all 20 frames) and 2 buckets with bees. We moved the hive to their new home, released the queen, and emptied the 2 buckets into the hive, giving them a 3rd box for additional expansion.

One thing I love about doing cutouts is seeing how the bees organize their comb in a "natural" setting. One thing I really dislike is the attitude I sometimes feel towards the bees. When you're working in an uncomfortable situation, struggling against the sticky honey and awkward arrangements, taking stings here and there, you start to feel a little like you're at war. It's you vs the bees. I don't like that feeling and I don't want it to change how I work with the bees, so I try to leave that attitude at the job site and not take it home with me.

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