Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hive Inspection April 27th

Did a (mostly) full hive inspection today.  The bees have been quite busy.

Here is my original hive (alpha):

And here are a few pictures from the container hive I removed (beta):

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cleaned up the new hive today

Hard to believe how fast time goes.

Since I have last posted, I have been very busy!  I got a swarm/baby hive, did a small removal at a neighbors house, and had a newbeek come over to learn!  I will post about each individually after this post.

Today I went in and "renovated" the hive that came from under Andrea and Max's shipping container.  They had seriously crosscombed the frames, due to me not having the hive level when I placed it in the apiary.  My fault.  I was trying to figure out how I was going to remove and straighted up the comb... and the idea of rubberbanding the comb to frames was not very exciting.

I found a webpage from The Garden Academy that has a "Rescue Frame" made with fence wire.  Freaking genius.  I made 7 of these frames up and ended up using all 7 of them today to straighten up the hive.  I only lost about 1 piece of comb the size of a deck of cards.  To be honest, I didn't try to hard to save that for the hive since it was capped honey and looked so tasty.  It's in the fridge right now :)


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Michael comes to visit the bees and learn (March 23rd)

Michael from the Tucson Beekeepers Facebook group came over this morning to learn some of the basics of beekeeping.

He brought beer :)

We got all suited up, went over the finer points of lighting the smoker (and keeping it lit).

I opened up both the hives I had.  The oldest hive is kind of a mess, there are undrawn frames in the bottom and top, and things are in general disarray.  Nothing new there.  Needs to be fixed up, I think they want foundationless frames.

The new hive (cutout) is looking really good, except for it not vbeing level.  The bees always build up and down, so it's something I am going to have to fix before it gets out of hand.

Had a beer with michael after we were done, and a good chat.  He's a good guy I think.

I like teaching people new things =)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hive removal from Max and Andrea's place

One of the neighborhood friends had a swarm move in underneath a shipping container a few days ago. I stopped by yesterday afternoon to take a peek, and I saw comb... They are building a hive.

Got an old hive body and filled it with frames, drilled two holes on opposing sides, screened one from the inside and attached the shop vac to it. Sucked the bees out from under the container and they were then trapped in the hive. Removed the comb, which got pretty damaged by me pulling it out and it sitting in the sun. it went in the comb bucket. I put the hive in the apiary (next to my other hive).

I went back to Max and Andrea's later and there were no bees at all, anywhere. Successful removal!! And some free german bratwurst for my efforts :)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lots of orientation flights this afternoon!

I went out to watch the bees for a few minutes today, they were really busy at the entrance of the hive.  Lots of bees circling then taking off, looks like they got a new wave of foragers!  That's exciting, I am hoping it means the hive is getting stronger. 

I will get some pictures next time I open the hive.  I think it will be wednesday morning.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

First visit to a large apiary today!

A local beekeeper let me volunteer some time today, and showed me around his apiary.  We checked several hives (about 10 I think) and got them fed to get them strong for the upcoming mesquite / creosote / palo verde blooms.

I also worked on my hive today after I got home, and removed the last "wild" comb out of the hive, and wired it into a frame.  I can now pull out all the frames in the hive for inspection, and was able to fit a 9th frame in the hive!

I rearranged some of the frames, and added a second super on top.  I put some of the drawn frames (including the one that I had removed from the bottom) in the top super, hopefully they will start to draw out the top box.

Also gave them some sugar syrup to hopefully encourage some comb drawing!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hive inspection

Looks like there are more bees in there now.  I didn't do as thorough of an inspection because they seemed a little defensive (I actually got stung once).  I had tried to tape my sleeves closed with electrical tape which is black, and i think they got mad at the tape (I got stung on the wrist by the tape).

So, I closed the hive back up and put the honey sugar patty on top of the inner cover.  There was one bee that was doing some funny stuff by the honey patty, I took a video and put on youtube.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Feeder removal, brood checking.

I removed the empty feeder bottle today, and while I was at it I checked the empty super I put on last week....

Not a frame was touched, all empty still.  The other frames in the brood box I had cleaned up were not touched either.  I decided to remove the empty super since it was not in use.  Once they start to draw out the other frames in the brood box, I will put the super back on.

I was able to remove every frame today except for the middle one.  That middle frame basically has 3 combs attached to it and I am pretty sure that's where all the brood is (hard to tell since I can't see between combs very well).  I pried in the frame very slowly, and the "wild" comb didn't seem to be very stable so I thought it would be better to leave it be.

I completely forgot about taking pictures of the frames while I had them out.  It was my first time handing frames that had busy bees on them, and I would of felt horrible if I dropped the frame or something because I was trying to take pictures...   Maybe next time!!

It was nice to be able to remove all the other frames though.  I can't wait to get them out of that messy hive box and into something more manageable.

I think I am going to make some honey / sugar patties tonight and try to get them in the hive in the next day or two.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Opened up the hive the other day (Tuesday the 23rd) and removed 4 frames (the 2 outer ones on each side) in an effort to clean up the uneven frame spacing. I enjoyed the work, being close to the bees and not having any issues. I was able to put an extra frame back in bringing the total to 8 frames.

Here's some pictures:

One side with nice drawn foundation.

This is the other side. Nice comb, but it's not on the foundation.

All the burr comb and cross comb I removed.

This is the gap between two of the brood frames, there is another comb between them that the bees built to make up their "beespace".

I put this frame in before I took the messy cross comb frames over to the garage to clean them up, and the bees evidently decided to measure out their new foundation right after I put it in!

My next time opening the hive will be to try and get the brood frames separated out (if possible) and get another frame into the hive, or maybe all the frames into the hive (10 total).

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hive removal from my boat last year, April 25th 2015

Took Mark and I about 4 hours all said and done to get everything out of the boat.

Thanks to Mark for doing this and letting me assist.  He took home some honey and comb =)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

First hive inspection in 2 months or so.  Looks like they are still alive!  I think most of the comb on the outside of the hive is empty... Hard to tell since I can't take out the frames without lots of destruction, due to the frames being spaced out (I bought the hive like that... Didn't know until I got it home and opened).  I love these bees though, and they apparently don't mind me much when I poke around in there.

Don't ever put the lid on without filling up the hive body with frames!!!

I added a new deep hive body on top with 10 frames of foundation.  I want to encourage them to move out of that filled body ASAP because it's really hard for me to tell what's going on inside, and I don't want them to swarm.  Have to get them out of this hive box so I can clean it out.  Makes me sad that I can't pull out frames and look!