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!

--- --- ---

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.

--- --- ---

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!

No comments: