Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bee Log - December 21, 2013

I paid an impromptu visit to 7 of my hives today. 4 of them were active and taking cleansing flights in the 48 degree (F) weather (Flora, Catherine, Jezebel, & Helen). The other 3 were quiet and not responding to my knocks (Guinevere, Beatrice, & Isabella). Since I didn't have my hive tool I couldn't get Beatrice & Guinevere open, but Isabella's was easy to open.

Inside I found a grapefruit-sized cluster, frozen dead. I located the dead queen, as well as a single queen cell that looked like it had been used and was getting dismantled. I'm not really sure what to make of it. I didn't see it in any previous inspections, so I don't know for sure when they tried to raise a new queen. I know the queen survived the cutout, but she must have been failing (hence the lack of recovery) and they tried to requeen. Unfortunately either the queen was poorly mated or never mated. It must have happened really late in the season.

Dead Queen Isabella and used queen cell

I also took a peek under the lid on Queen Jezebel's hive. They still seem very strong and have a good sized cluster. They've been weighing really light (80 lbs) and I'd hate to lose them to starvation so I added 2 more frames of honey that I took from Catherine last September, bringing the weight up to 92 lbs.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bee Log - December 6, 2013

Winter is coming.

No video today. Just posting some log information.

We've had 1 week of very cold, below freezing temperatures, but it's been dry. Today we got our first snow fall and are expecting some bad weather for the next few days. I took weights and checked on my hives this morning. Temperature was 24 degrees F.

One thing to note: The hive weights increased 2-6 lbs over 3 weeks ago. I suspect the hives have not gained weight, but instead the scale measure +5% in freezing temperatures.

I installed the bottom boards on all hives except Catherine & Guinevere.

I also noticed that the hives with quilts didn't answer back when I knocked on the hives, but I could hear them inside. I don't know if the quilt damps the vibration or has some kind of acoustical affect that either makes my knock less disturbing or just more difficult to hear their responsive buzz.

Beatrice: (quilt) 78 lbs. Quiet but still seems to be alive. I could barely hear a soft buzzing within the hive. No mess of dead bees on the bottom board.

Queen Beatrice - Very little mortality

Catherine: (quilt) 93 lbs. Sounds good.

Dulce: 116 lbs. Sounds good.

Elizabeth: 120 lbs. Sounds good.

Flora: 140 lbs. Sounds good.

Guinevere: (quilt) 84 lbs. Sounds good.

Helen: 150 lbs. Sounds good.

Isabella: (quilt) 59 lbs. Might be dead. Lots of dead bees on bottom board. I couldn't hear them inside. I'll open it up on the next nice sunny day.

Queen Isabella - Large die-off

Jezebel: 80 lbs. Quiet, but still there.

We'll see how well they survive the coming weather.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bee Vlog - November 23, 2013

Free hive plans provided by
"In the Beekeeper's Workshop"

I'm building 5-frame medium nucs, but these hive plans can be used to construct any hive size and are very easy to make. The minimum tools needed are a table saw with dado blade, rip cutting blade, & cross-cut blade (although I use a miter saw for the cross-cuts). A power stapler is a nice tool to have too, but isn't required. Nails or screws can be used instead, but may make assembly a little more difficult.

Video Link