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 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.