Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Lost Colony

So it's Friday morning March 27th and I get a call from a local logger about a Bee Tree. He says they didn’t realize there were bees in it until after they cut it down. They then dragged it up the hill and left it far enough away from them to continue working. By the time I got there the bees were all over this guy’s equipment, specifically the skidder that dragged the tree. Yet I was still able to walk up to the tree, now a log, and check out the colony. Lots of activity, no swarming, still located in the log.


At this point I call the local Dadant shop. (I’m still new to this and do not know many people personally yet). I ask the guy there (Mark) if he can direct me to any other local person who can collect these bees. He gives me a name and I make the call. I end up talking to Larry about collecting the colony. Larry seems like a great guy and is willing to come out to get then but let me take them home. We discuss the options and decide to meet the next Monday at the site and get to business. I hand up with him and begin to figure out how much hive equipment I’ll need to get to house the colony.

The weekend passes with warm temps and Sun. Up until Sunday night when some predicted rain turns into the worst snow we’ve had in years. Then the temperature drops to a new all time low never recorded in this area since records have been kept. The snow and cold last as long as the major power outages. Four days.

Did I mention that the Bee Log is lying on its side on top of a windy treeless hill?

Well it was, and still is except that it is no longer a Bee Log. They’re gone. Frozen or gone I’m not sure; probably the former. I called Larry and let him know the status of our bees. He took it better than I did. Not his first rodeo. I also told him that if I locate any more colonies he’s the one I’ll call to come get them. I generally work over eighty-thousand acres so there will be more.

It’s just a damn shame about this colony.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Inspection 3/9/9

The girls have had a great week with temp's in the 70's. The Red Maples & Daffodils have bloomed to start the pollen season. The pollen of which seems pale in color. All the rain we had from December to now has replenished the creek and both seep ponds. So it looks like the year will start well enough.

Mary. The Apistan strips have been in place for 45 days so today I took them out. She has changed some, I think for the better. First she had a nice clump of brood near the center of the Winter bee mass. This was unfortunately ripped apart when I separated the hive bodies. Yet that brood alone was more than I saw back in Fall when I tried to re-Queen. Also, The response to smoke has improved. instead of all the bees scrambling out of the hive onto the ground they mostly stayed inside. Some still bailed but only a few. The great majority went deeper into the hive looking for honey. That is the response I like to see. It's more like the productive hives I had last Summer. Added to her was a new telescoping cover. I am very suspicious of a ventilation problem in Mary. As I opened her up I noticed that the bees were already venting on the bottom board. The other hive was having no such problem. Also there was the Winter moisture issue. I had a good bit of water condense in the hive and spill out the opening.

Myrina. Again the Apistan strips came out. She is still the same. I detected no problems in her and she is still mean. Every time I hit them with smoke they take to the air to find the culprit. I could not find any stingers in my suit so she seams at least docile. Just aggressively docile!? I had to stop smoking her just to put the hives back together so no bees would be crushed.

Now is the time for any medications to be used. This is the first time I'll be doing that. I've read some and talked some to local keepers. I am somewhat nervous about it but should start soon.

The hives generally looked good. The girls had plenty of honey left in reserve. My occasional feedings with the entrance feeders worked well. I had purchased a bag of Megabee last fall to make patties. They never finished the few I gave them. I may give them the rest of the bag as dry this Spring to get rid of it.

Now it time to figure out what I want to do this year.