Friday, May 30, 2014

Beehive Inspection, Queen Karma - Bee Vlog - May 30, 2014

Queen Karma is getting her first inspection. It's been a month since the swarm was installed in the hive and they're going to need more room very soon. To stay in front of what the bees need I'm adding a box.

These bees look really good. Every frame was full of brood. I also like the color variation I see among the workers. This is a good indication that the queen is well-mated and has a good mix of genetics.

Video Link

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hive Entrance Experiment - Bee Vlog - May 29, 2014

I'm trying out a modification to my hive entrances. Instead of using the full width, or even reduced entrance, of the standard Langstroth hive, I'm drilling holes in the boxes to be used as entrances or ventilation. I've seen other beekeepers do this too but never gave it much thought or credit. But last year when I gave a hive a box with a hole I noticed that the bees preferred to use the hole. I thought there might be something to it, so I'm trying it on all my hives.

There are several reasons I think this is a good idea:
1) It mimics the knot-hole-style entrance of a bee-tree.
2) It's small and easy to guard, but...
3) Even though it's small the bees seem to have no trouble using it. It doesn't seem to act like a choke point.
4) With a hole in each box they'll get better ventilation without making it too drafty.
5) I can close off holes as necessary to more easily "reduce the entrance" during the dearth.

I don't know why I was so hesitant to try this. I think I didn't like the idea of drilling a hole in my woodenware. But if I ever need to resize or patch a hole I can simply glue in a dowel plug. It's no big deal.

Video Link

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bee-friendly plants - Bee Vlog - May 26, 2014

Our backyard has been taken over by chickens who like to eat all the plants. I've been busy building a fence to confine the chickens to one area so that we can plant a better garden with more bee-friendly plants. We're trying to make the backyard more welcoming to pollinators.

Video Link