Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Swarm #2 for 2014 - Bee Vlog - Apr 29, 2014

This swarm was in the same location as the one from yesterday, but was just easier to get to. I think there were actually 2 swarms in this tree, unfortunately I wasn't able to catch it on video. While gathering the cluster that was on the low branches I saw another cluster up on the top of the tree. At first I thought the queen had flown up there and they regrouped on the other branch. So I snipped it down and added it to the box. I saw the queen and promptly caged her.

Later when I got the box home I heard piping coming from the box - a sound queens make, usually before they do battle. When I put them in the hive all seemed just fine, and I kept the queen caged up. A couple hours later I went to go see how they were doing and I found a dead queen that had been ejected from the hive.

Later in the evening when I went into the hive to release the queen from the cage I found that she had already been released. I think I might have accidentally let it pop open when I was trying to push it into place in the comb.

So now I'm thinking there were 2 (or more queens). But I can't be sure until I get back into it and look for a queen in a few more days.

Video Link

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Swarm #1 for 2014 - Bee Vlog - Apr 28, 2014

My first swarm of the 2014 beekeeping season! It was in a tough location, but with the help of my friend Don we were able to get them into the box. The queen was flying around and didn't want to settle in. I wished that I packed my queen clip because I had many opportunities to catch her.

Video Link

Friday, April 11, 2014

CCD or Abscond? - Bee Vlog - Apr 10, 2014

I got a call that there was a swarm by one of my beehives today. When I got there the swarm had moved on, but I found that my bees had either absconded, or fell victim to the mysterious CCD. Was it my bees in the swarm? If so, why would they abscond and leave the queen behind? They seemed fine a month ago with pollen coming in. Very strange.

Video Link

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Swarm traps are done - Bee Vlog - Apr 5, 2014

I'm building my swarm traps out of medium 5-frame nuc boxes this year so that they can be more than just a single-use piece of equipment. Here's the video where I built the boxes.

Half of the swarm traps have been painted on the inside with a propolis wash. It was very easy to do. Just dissolve some propolis with grain alcohol, paint inside the box and let it dry. All of the traps are baited with 2-3 drops of lemongrass oil and have a frame with drawn brood comb. No honey, to avoid attracting ants.

Now it's time to get those traps out there! If you build it, they will come.

Video Link