Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Last Six Weeks

I've been checking the bees every 10 days or so. The Buckfast hive had queen cells between the upper and lower deep bodies which I unintentionally tore apart when I checked on them the end of June. I don't know if they successfully raised a queen or not. Usually when I open the brood nest they go berserk and are very defensive for days afterward. In deference to my family, I haven't checked so I don't know if they're thriving or not. There seem to be plenty of foraging bees, however, and they don't show the obvious signs of queenlessness--although if I see laying workers next time I open the lower deep hive body I'll know. They're not making much in the way of surplus honey, though.

The swarm hive--carniolans from a neighbor beekeeper--are thriving. Lots of bees, lots of surplus honey--I added a second super today--and lots of brood. I can't even explain how awesome it is getting free bees.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Supersedure in the Works

The Buckfast Hive is thriving, but no need to add more supers yet. I couldn't check the brood nest as yet another thunderstorm moved in.

The carniolan swarm hive looks to replace the queen. She's not laying in a very good pattern, and I saw some swarm cells. They need to finish drawing comb in all the frames and I hope during the basswood flow and later on they'll have enough winter stores, unlike the bees that previously occupied that hive also replaced their queen.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Bees Old Bees Swarm Bees

The Carniolans I hived after I captured their swarm have set up housekeeping and seem to be thriving. They're drawing comb, and since it was a little cool I didn't check the frames so I don't know if they're raising brood yet. I added a second deep hive body.

The Buckfast hive swarmed last week. I didn't see the swarm leave the hive, but I saw them leave the maple tree they clustered on when my wife said, "What's that airplane sound? Oh, my God, your bees are swarming." Yes they did, honey.

I checked on them and the new queen has been released. I didn't see her, but I did see queen cells on the bottom of the frames on the upper deep hive body. Hmmm.......Have to figure out what that means. I'll check them in a few days and see what's what since it's supposed to warm up nicely and I can have the hives open for more than a few minutes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Swarm Capture

A fellow beekeeper a few blocks away called me and told me her carniolan hive had swarmed. In her neighbor's backyard the swarm landed about twenty feet up in a crab apple tree. We cut the limb, put the bees in a box, and I hived them in my vacant hive. This is the first time I've done this, and I hope I got the queen. Not only that, I hope they set up housekeeping. The pictures show the swarm (poor, blurry picture) and the remnant branches and empty box next to the hived bees.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Requeeing Adventures

Popped open the buckfast hive for requeening with a more docile Italian. The bees were much calmer than usual, and I went frame by frame noticing capped brood, and open brood. No queen, though. Then I saw a queen cell and unmistakable signs of queenlessness. I popped in the new queen and I'll give them a couple of weeks and see what's what. I was really excited to capture video of the waggle dance, however. With all the blooming fruit trees around here there must be a lot to forage and I saw dancing bees on every frame. I also but a queen excluder and two honey supers on, and am looking forward to the basswood flow in a few weeks.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tetra Bee

Sprinkled more Tetra Bee (4 tbls) on the frame edges of the brood nest today. Should've done it Friday, but it was cold with rain which turned to snow. Not going to open the hive and chill the bees. Today was sunny and 50ish so they got themselves medicated. Really a strong and thriving hive. Little do they know I ordered a new queen from Bee Weaver Apiaries. They're just too hard to work with their nasty, aggressive ways. A hot hive to be sure.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dead Bees and Live Bees

The Italian hive is dead. R.I.P. I knew they weren't strong enough to make it until spring, but on a warm Valentines day they were active and out on cleansing flights. Last Sunday--84 and very warm here--I saw no activity although the Buckfast bees were out in force. I pulled the Buckfast hive apart and medicated with Tetra Bee. They are still feisty so I have a new queen on order for delivery May 11, but all was well and they looked very strong. I shot some video of these guys but formatted the card before downloading the files. DOH!

I pulled apart the Italian hive and scraped out all the dead bees. I'm going to keep it as an empty spare in case the Buckfast hive swarms again seeing as they are full of honey and new brood. Dead hive photos below: