Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inspection 3/20/2012

Hive # 2/ Oahu:  One deep, 3 frames of eggs, expanded to 2 mediums.  Medium combs full of honey, pollen and brood, but no eggs.  Numbers moderate.  Hopefully numbers will increase as brood emerges.

Hive #4.  4 mediums.  bottom medium mostly empty comb.  Saw queen on exposed wax.  Put her back into the hive.  Alot of funky comb, alot of eggs.  Very strong numbers.  Expanded as much as possible.

To do at next inspection.
#1. Do nothing.  Still waiting on them to rear a queen from when they swarmed on 3/15/12
#2. Do nothing.  Per post above, already expanded and found positive signs of a queen.
#3. Check to see if queen is laying and needs another super.  This is the swarm
#4. Check for evidence of queen to ensure I didn't hurt her. Expand if needed.  Rework funky comb supers.
#5. Check and see if super should be added.  Probably needs to be expanded
#6. Do nothing.  Waiting on them to rear a queen from when I split them on 3/15/2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Queen Cells on 3/15/2012

I inspected Hive #5 and #6 (Lanai & Hawaii).  Lanai, has their originial queen.  A deep and a medium, with lots of eggs.  Numbers are light to moderate but appeared to have enough bees to remain healthy and strong.
#6 Has VERY strong numbers.  They are already bearding in the evening.  I put an empty medium on top of the deep to give them more space.  There is no queen, but I found 4 small queen cells.  Probably 3 days old.  The nurse bees were tending to each one.  The ones I found were on the bottom of frame # 5 (from left to right), on the bottom rear corner. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Swarm Season 2012- Sunday March 11th.

While creating a swarm lure on my back deck, I witnessed an amazing event....an actual swarm.  Ironic, I know.
I am apparently a week behind schedule as I didn't plan to do my splits until next weekend.  But I quickly caught up.  The swarm pushed me into action, and now I have 6 hives, not four.

1)  Hive Kawaii:  This is hive #1.  This hive swarmed, so it is now a queenless hive.  Numbers are strong and with 4 supers completely drawn.  Eggs were present, so they have the ability to rear a queen.  Drone bees present too.  I did not go all the way through the hive, but checked top 2 supers only.  Started feeding b feeder on 3/12.

2) Hive Ohau.  This is hive #2.  I did not check this hive.  One deep, one medium super.  Moderate activity at the entrance.  Need to check this one.

3).  Hive Molokai.  Hive number 3, with back to the fence. This is the swarm from Kawaii.  Bottom medium is empty with a few empty frames.  This is the box I caught them in from behind the fence.  I took a medium with several drawn combs, with brood, honey and pollen and put on the top.  Started feeding sugar water with b. feeder on 3/12.

4).  Hive Maui.  Hive number 4.  I did not check this hive.  moderate numbers at the entrance.  4 mediums.

5). Hive Lanai.  One deep and one medium.  Has eggs, and fully drawn combs of pollen and honey.  Strong numbers.  I assume this one is queenless from the split.  Activity at this hive is lower than usual.  I assume bees are heavy at Hawaii because the queen is probably there.  Need to check for a queen cells in a week possibly.

6).  Hive Hawaii.  One deep.  Strong numbers.  Eggs, honey and pollen.  Split from Lanai and put right next door.  But large numbers returning to this hive, possibly due to the fact that the queen is there.  Will check next weekend to check for eggs or a queen cell. 

Sunday, February 24, 2008

First Inspection of 2008

Today I inspected both hives for the first time this year. There was alot of activity, so taking pictures was out of the question this time.
Hive Abernathy is somewhat weak right now, but they made it through the winter and with some luck they will get stronger soon. Some brood, but not much. Honey stores okay too, but not much. On the agenda for my next inspection for this hive:
1) Inspect to make sure I didn't kill the queen. Had problems while doing sugar shake and may have hurt/killed her...or upset them to the point that they killed her out of disruption.
2)Determine what to do about the fact that the deep is empty. Either wait for them to move down or convert to mediums completely for this hive.
Will probably try to move to deep so I can combine medium/shallow brood configuration to deep box and get rid of the shallow super since I have mostly deeps and mediums.

As for the Nienhaus hive...it is absolutely boiling over. Alot of over crowding, but didn't see swarm cells.
1)Need to convert to deep/medium and get rid of the shallow on this hive too.
2)Need to inspect that queen is still laying.
3) Inspect that they are working the empty frames I placed today (2/24/08).

Do another sugar shake on both hives.

In the meantime, need to feed both and put together new equipment for this spring.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good Morning Ladies...this is your wake up call!

So after this week I've decided I really need to blog this bee stuff. It is recommended that beekeepers keep notes, and I'm learning why.
Primarily to keep record of what worked in the past year with each hive, how each reacted to what I did. Just as a way to remember all the stuff that goes on with each hive, because they are both very different in many ways and similar in others. I'm now having to back track on some things that I did last summer in order to begin this new season, and can barely remember some things. But keeping record will also diary the great benefits of keeping bees.
PN, a local beekeeper, has kept bees for around 45 years. He has told me that the longer I do this the more I will realize what I don't know. And that I will consistently learn. Which brings me to Sunday.
Sunday was a nice day. 55-60 degrees and sunny. So after 2+ weeks of temps below 55 degrees, the bees in the Nienhaus hive decided that they really had to poop. (You hold it in for 2 weeks and see how fast you bust through the bathroom door.) Anyhow, they were just wild with delight and flying all over the place. Hive Abernathy....ummmmm nothing. Not one bee. So I lifted the lid to view inside.....nothing. There weren't even any bees on the sugar water I gave them a couple of weeks ago. So at this point I'm worried. So I do what any good respecting beekeeper would do right? Exactly...... I tap the entrance (there are actually 2 entrances, but more on that some other day), trying to get a guard bee to come out. No luck. Unless you count the lethargic bee I saw on the landing, walking very slowly, barely clinging to life (and the edge of the hive) and then fall to the ground to die a slow death. Great.....the only guard bee left in the hive just died....and I didn't seem to help. So I got aggressive and tapped the side of the hive with a stick.
Lesson 1, never tap a hive with a stick (or anything for that matter). Lesson 2, never tap a hive with a stick (or anything for that matter). Lesson 3, wear good running shoes when you forget lessons 1 and 2. Because when I opened the lid....(this should be lesson #4)....they were alive. And boiling out. And not happy. So I learned that 2 hives, with identical locations, temperatures and sunlight will react differently. They know when to get up...and don't need a wake up call from a stupid human.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home at last!

This is a picture of me with my girls in late May. As you can see I am quite happy. And I can assure you that I am much happier than the bees. Their journey began as a swarm. Cindy Bee, the Georgia Beekeeper of the year, rescued them and was kind enough to give them a new home. In my deep boxes. After they had settled down a bit, Cindy called to tell me it was time to pick up my bees. Like most new beekeepers, I was excited and nervous. Very nervous. I had read about bees and talked to beekeepers about bees, but was still unsure what to expect. I met Cindy at her place after work, but it was still too early to transport the bees. So a plate of great Mexican food and a bee sting later it was time to begin. (Like a morom, I mentioned to Cindy that I hoped to get stung soon, just to get it "over" with. Well, she asked if I wanted to get stung on purpose in order to get it "over" with. What do you say to a generous woman surnamed BEE?....btw, the sting didn't hurt nearly as bad as I imagined it would). Anyhow, after stuffing the entrance with foam and securing the hives I was off.

As you can see, I'm not alone. Linda, a very kind and helpful Atlanta beekeeper met me at the site and helped me carry and place the hives. Without Linda's help and words of encouragement I probably would have wet my pants. I was super excited and nervous at this point. And as you can see, she took some pictures of the event as well. After removing the foam and feeding them (just to help them settle down), I watched them for a few minutes. I was, am still am, so grateful that I have finally been given the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful experience. The hives are names Nienhaus (on the left) and Abernathy (on the right). They are located just a few minutes from my house on an organic garden. I found Rashid Nuri after a few calls to my county extension office. Without the generosity of Cindy, Linda, Rashid, my neighbor and awesome friend Grendel and my partner Bryan, I doubt that I would have been able to step up and finally persue my little dream of keeping bees.

This summer has been a whirlwind. And alot of learning and worrying about bees has occurred since. Much of which I will journal here. My next step is to begin the process of getting more hives for my backyard (after seeing that bees aren't aggressive, and actually somewhat docile when they aren't being aggrevated Bryan has agreed to let me have hives out back). Hopefully, I will be more sure and worry less about the process. But I doubt it.

However, first I have to prepare my honey for the annual honey contest in September. Despite my late start, I was lucky enough to harvest about 40 lbs. of honey my first season. But as fantastic as harvesting the honey was, it truly is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the enjoyment I've had in keeping bees these short couple of months.