Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wax Moth & Mary

At 60+ degrees today I went into both hives to remove the HTF's. Lots of crystallized syrup. I broke it up on to a cookie sheet & left it for the bees. However, in Mary I found 4 frames infected with Wax moth. 2 frames in the top box & the 2 adjacent frames in the bottom box. The frames had pollen & some uncapped honey. The frames had to go into the freezer; which would leave a substantial hole in the hive. So I broke Mary down to a 1 brood box hive. All I had left to do was pick the 6 additional frames to remove. I left Mary with 5 honey frames, 2 pollen frames, & 3 brood frames. She has a smaller population so the 1 deep should be better. It may be that she had too small a population for the 2 deeps leading to the wax moth problem anyway. When I checked her 4 weeks ago I saw NO Wax moth. I thought After a few freezes I wouldn't need to worry about Wax moth any more. Oh well...

Wax Moth web & frass ^

Wax Moth mining pollen ^

Wax Moth webbing ^

Mary with 1 deep & the crystallized syrup ^

Myrina looked fine with a good population and plenty of reserves. I also closed off 6 of the 9 holes in each of the vent covers on both hives. 3 holes should be enough to vent the humid bee breath. I'll monitor for condensation throughout winter.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Quick Look

A cool 48 degrees & sunny today. An OK fly day for the bees. I went down to the hives to check activity. I closed off the entrance. Then waited to see what the foragers were bringing in.

Mary's girls were bringing back some wax from that old frame I left out. No pollen. Plus I checked under her SBB and still see signs of CB. I will lay a stone pad beneath the hives this winter to reduce ambient moisture near the hives next year.

Mary's girls coming home almost empty handed

Myrina's bees, of course, were returning from somewhere with some bright orange pollen. I have no idea whats blooming but something is. Even our mums are gone. I'll guess at somebody's potted flowers and leave it at that.

I count 6 with pollen

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Also I took their Fall pictures:


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And Myrina

Both have double deeps, HTF, Inner cover, Vent box, T-cover, & a tin top sheet. Mary has her SBB while Myrina has a Solid BB. Myrina will get her SBB as soon as I make it. Winter will see even more reduction.

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The November meeting was last night. We hosted a panel of 3 experts to pose questions to. Two local guys and one man from N.C, a Bob Cole. Mr. Cole made the point that we should be raising our own Queens. That plus what else I've read convinces me to do just that. I'll need to read much on the topic this Winter to make a successful try at it.

That and 2 splits will make for a very interesting year in 2010.

aun Aprendo

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honey Harvest 2009

No I'm not joking. Earlier this year i set out a Swarm trap; Nuc, pheromone, & one capped honey Deep frame. I had placed one extra honey frame in the freezer in case I needed it. And there it stayed. The Wife found it tonight while cleaning out the freezer. A whole deep frame of capped honey. That's it. My entire honey harvest for 2009.

Well I don't believe this requires an extractor (Ha ha) so I used the Mash method. I've not done this before so it would be an experiment. Cut the comb into a pan and mash to a pulp. Pour into strainer and place on top of large saucepan. For a handful of frames I would prefer this method to spinning. Much less equipment.

So now the honey mash sits draining into a pot. Tomorrow I'll jar it. Should be 2 lbs. worth. Plus I have another wad of wax. Which will be added to the bur comb wad and processed. There might be several ounces of the stuff now. Cool.

A little honey & a little wax

Now let me look a gift horse in the mouth. The honey is what I call brood honey. Coming from a brood frame the honey gets made in cells used for brood rearing. To me it gains a distinct off flavor being in the presence of cocoons and what-not. However, we will definitely use it. Most likely in cooking than in tea.

I suppose I could use it on the bees. I don't remember which hive it came from but neither hive had AFB or EFB this year or last.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wax vs. Green Mold

I've have trouble with a Green mold that keeps appearing in Mary. It beat up some honey supers last year (click here to see) and recently go into my new T-cover this year. I always assumed it was a moisture problem. I did everything I could to vent the hive and still the mold came back.

I posted the problem in the on-line Bee Master forum. Many good responses also dealing with moisture. Then finally one beek mentioned that new wooden ware may sprout mold if the bees have not properly sealed the surface with propolis/wax.

BOOM! There it was!

When I thought about it all the wooden ware that came down with the mold was new. So I need to make sure all the wood is treated by the bees or someone else. Like me.

The current victim is the telescoping cover on Mary. It's a year old but the bees never waxed it. So I took it upon myself to wax it.

Notice that you can see the inner outline of the hive

First I washed off the mold with bleach then dried it. Then warmed up the wood underside under a lamp. While that was happening I melted some bees wax & got a metal scraper. When all was ready I removed the lamp and poured the wax onto the T-cover. To keep the wax soft as I spread it I used a blow-drier. I did not coat to the edge of the T-cover. I feel that exposed wax may attract Wax Moths. After a good coating I put the T-cover back under the lamp to help the wax melt in. When completed the T-cover went back out on the hive.

Wax soaking into the wood

I remembered Michael Bush's article on how he wax dips his hives. So I got the idea to hot wax the inside of my previously painted equipment. If this works (no more mold & no added pests like Wax Moth) I'll be sure to do this in the future when the bees don't do it themselves. I imagine that a strong & healthy hive will have no problem with this task. Mary on the other hand has always limped a little.

aun Aprendo

Monday, November 2, 2009


I put the Apistan strips in today after lunch. I realize they should have gone in on the 15th but I just learned that. I will pull them out mid December.

Myrina's deeps weighed a ton. Good sign of reserves there. Mary's were light as usual. Neither hive is taking much syrup right now. What little syrup that's left is beginning to crystallize.

I'm looking into top entrances right now but have not decided yet.