Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reserve Inspection

65 F

I run double deeps. Just did a pre-winter inspection.

TOP BROOD BOX: (Old frames & old wax)
10 - no brood, some bread, some uncapped honey
9 - no brood, a few CB mummies, some uncapped honey
8 - no brood, a few CB mummies, some uncapped honey
7 - no brood, mostly bread & uncapped honey
6 - no brood, all bread + empty superceedure cell
5 - no brood, all bread
4 - no brood, slight bread
3 - no brood, some honey, some bread
2 - no brood, few CB mummies, tad honey
1 - no brood, half honey, half *unknown* (perhaps bread with a white crust??)

BOTTOM BROOD BOX: (new frames)
10 - no brood, 80% honey
9 - no brood, half honey, half uncapped honey
8 - 1/4 uncapped brood (some rice grains), few CB mummies, half honey
7 - 1/4 capped brood, Few CB mummies, some uncapped honey, half honey
6 - some uncapped brood, 1/4 honey, several bees with withered wings
5 - some brood, half honey
4 - no brood, mostly honey, some bread
3 - no brood, all honey
2 - no brood, all honey
1 - no brood, all honey

Note - the bread has that wet look.
Note - Green mold showing up again on wooden ware

Seems to me that this is not right. I thought the hives should be filled with plenty of honey, some bread, and a fair amount of brood. I have a SBB and a vented top. There is a hive top feeder though.

I asked around on the forum and they think this is fine actually. Not as much weight in Mary's boxes as I would like but maybe not critical either. Myrina's boxes weigh a ton. She should be fine.

Also they said that the Queens lay few eggs from October to December. Apistan should be installed during this time. Before the Queens starts to lay for Spring build up again. I'll get that in the next dry & warm day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Queen Bee on the GROUND!

Yowzaa! I found who I believe is Mary herself laying on the ground today. She was under the hive covered in a handful of bees; some were dead. She must have fallen out yesterday when I was flipping the brood boxes. She spent all night outside with some attendants fighting to keep her alive. It was 44 degrees last night.

This is how I found her

I picked her up and put her back in her hive. Her bees flocked to her and helped her back inside. She should be fine. Or so the people at the forum say.

Someone said to me 'It was a good thing you went back to follow up today'. Well, that's not completely true. As it turns out I was in the back shooting Fall pictures for a friend. I thought a picture of the hives would be nice. I then knelt down to shoot off the pict. And right in front of me I found the small clump of Queen Mary & her forlorn Court.

So to Terra, Thank you for saving Queen Mary. Without your request she would likely have died soon. I may continue to have 2 hives due to you. Again, Thank you.

Back home with her daughters

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Screened Bottom Board, Hive-top Feeders

Big day today. I replaced the solid bottom board on Mary with a Screened Bottom Board. Poor ventilation last winter led to condensation in the hive. I installed hive-top ventilators this summer. Now with the SBB there should be a slight chimney effect in the hives. Yet with the Inner cover still in place I expect no trouble with too much heat loss. Myrina will get hers as soon as I make one.

The view from below the SBB

The debris on the solid bottom board was disgusting. Mummified brood, Wax Moth larva, Just a terrible mess. I hope the SBB works as well for me as it seems to for others in the Club.

Debris on solid bottom board
-Train Wreck!

I was worried the the temps around the brood might be too low in the cooler weather so I flipped the brood boxes (these poor bees got such a stirrin' today!). When all was done everything looked good but soon after I saw some Robing taking place. I quickly popped in the reducer to control it. Eventually the girls sorted themselves out and everybody went home.

Alright! Break it up, break it up!

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Also today I added the Hive-Top Feeders to both hives. I already like these things for numerous reasons.
  1. No more refilling jars every day
  2. No more storing syrup in the fridge. All of it goes into the hive.
  3. I can refill the feeder without exposure to the bees.
  4. The syrup in HTF's will be warmer than in entrance feeders.
  5. The syrup is closer to the bees.
There will be more reasons I'm sure. However there was an initial issue. HTF's must be put in a super. I first tried a medium honey super. It left too much room above the feeder. This extra dead space would (I think) draw heat away from the bees. I do not have smaller supers so I made some. I used 1 x 4's to make 2 of them. The box leaves only 1.5 inches of space above the feeder. I hope this is enough but not to much.

Hive-Top Feeder in it's new super

Mary's girls found the HTF before I closed the lid. Myrina's, however, had some difficulty in finding it. I had to drip some syrup down through the feeding slots onto the brood box. A few girls followed the trail upwards and found the feeder. Good to go.

I am also mixing a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar for each gallon of solution. This prevents mold from growing in the sugar. It has been recommended to me to also add some essential oils: lemon grass & spearmint. I've seen this mentioned positively in the forums and have ordered them.

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The club meetings are great. I'm learning more all the time plus getting my questions answered. I plan to take a beginners Beekeeping class in February. I'm going to get my neighbor to take the classes with me. She loves the bees and sits them for me when I'm not home. I'm planning to put hives in her yard anyway.

It looks like I'll be able to split both hives next spring if they're in good condition. That will give me 4 hives total. Since they are both down in numbers from such a rotten year (or my crappy handling) I'm thinking about insulating the hives for winter. It should decrease the cold stress plus give them an earlier start to spring. We will see.

Picky bee wants her bottle back!