Sunday, June 29, 2014

Splitting Queen Helen - Bee Vlog - Jun 28, 2014

It's time to split Queen Helen. My friend Wil is going to be using one of the splits for a trap-out. When the trap-out is finished he'll be returning the nuc to me.

Queen Helen's Origin.
How I made the nuc boxes.

The strategy I have in splitting this time of year is:

1) Keeping the hive strong through the nectar flow to maximize honey yields. (Not necessarily for me, but to make sure the bees have enough honey for winter.) The main nectar flow is now drawing to a close and drones are still available to mate with the new queens.

2) I want to make more hives from queens that have proven to make strong hives and can survive the winters here.

3) I want to try overwintering nucs and see what I can learn through that process. Ultimately this is the type of strategy I would like to have going forward: raising queens in the summer + overwinter the nucs = strong hives for the spring.

4) Having a break in brood rearing may also help reduce the mite population. This is not my main purpose, but it's certainly a part of it. Especially since I've been suppressing their swarm instinct. This is an opportunity to still let them "swarm."

Next week I'll check on the splits to make sure they've created queen cells and are raising new queens.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Swarm Trap Success! - Bee Vlog - Jun 14, 2014

It worked! I get more excited about catching swarms in a trap than I do when I chase them and catch them manually. It takes a little more preparation, but it's so much easier. And when it works it's very validating. They actually chose to live in a box I built for them!

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Here's the video showing how I built the traps.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Transferring Bee Hives - Bee Vlog - Jun 5, 2014

A super fun day hanging out on the FreshP homestead. In this video I show the process of moving and transferring a hive. A typical process when installing a nuc (nucleus hive).

This swarm was caught 5 weeks ago and has been living in this 10-frame medium box and growing very nicely.

If moving the hive to a new location you can let the bees get to know the new place before making the transfer. That way, the move is less confusing for the bees. You can let them re-orient to the new home for a day or 2, or even 45 minutes if you can't wait that long.

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In this video, FreshP and I talk about prepping the hive bodies:

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And in this video FreshP shows how to make some really awesome lip balm:

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bee Tree - Bee Vlog - Jun 2, 2014

There's a bee tree located along my usual route to work that I can drop by and monitor. It's also only about 1/4 mile from where I had caught 2 swarms. I wonder if the swarms came from this colony.

Someone tried to seal up the entrance with spray foam insulation, but it looks like a squirrel or other animal reopened it making it livable for bees again.

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