Friday, April 26, 2013

4/25 Cherokee Beekeepers Meeting

I attended our local beekeepers meeting last night and got to meet the state apiarist Mike Studer.  He gave a very informative presentation on bee treatments for mites, small hive beetles, etc.  We had a great crowd of over 50 people.  The prized door prize was donated by our president Jim Gentry.  It was a garbage bag full of "guaranteed to burn" smoker fuel.  Turns out it was pine tree needles.

Mike Studer showed us a innovative new type of hive top that is supposed to be helpful in the battle against small hive beetles.  In the winter, the solid top is turned down so it's like a migratory cover.  But in the summer, it's turned over and the holes in the side allow light in to drive the beetles down where the bees can corral them and the screen allows for better hive ventilation.  No bee supply company is making/selling them yet, but maybe me and Dad can make one (or several).  The pictures are not that good (it was dark and the flash wasn't cooperating) but the first one shows the screen side, and the next two show the sides with the slits for light and air to come in.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Package Installation Part 3

I took the bottom boxes with the packages out and all seems well. I put the packages and empty boxes in front of the hives so that stragglers could go into the hive. Syrup is in the feeder on top of the hives. The queens are in the middle of the hives with the cork out and the candy hole up. I plan on going in Friday to check the queen release.

As I said previously, the Kelley packages are not tight fitting at the top. Here is a picture of what it looks like after the can and queen box is removed:

Now that I know, I'll know what to expect in the future. If anyone else plans on ordering from WTK, keep this in mind and be ready.

So now I guess I'm back in the bee business! I guess I feel kind of like the bees do when the hive is queen right.

Package Installation Part 2

Short story:

1.  The bees are in the hives.
2.  Phone-Camera battery was dead.

Long story:

Got the bees home. Sprayed them with a little sugar water (the sprayer didn't spray very well, it doesn't like syrup). Took the wooden lid off the first one and the bees just poured out. The wooden cover of Walter T Kelley packages isn't a tight fit around the can, and the queen cell is stapled to the top, and there's lots of room for the bees to get out. It took me a while to figure out that I needed needle-nose pliers to get the can out. Once I got a grip, the can came right out. Then we got the queen box out (Dad was helping me). Took a knife and got the cork out. Put an empty deep with the package inside on the bottom. Put the frames with the best comb in next. There's a top feeder with syrup on top.

Repeated the above steps (it was a little easier this time, now that I knew what to expect) for the other hive.  So now I have an 8-frame and a 10-frame hive.

I'll go down there in a little while and remove the bottom box and package. They should be all out of it by now (or in a little while). Hopefully they'll like their new homes. It's got to be better than riding around in back of a truck in a package! They sure are buzzing around now.

I've got the phone charging now. I'll take some pictures of the Walter T Kelley packages so you can see what I mean about the gaps.

Package Installation Part 1

It was around 7:30 when I got the bees this morning at the post office. It was 40F outside and I thought that was a little cool to be fooling around with the bees. So I parked my car in the shade and left the bees in there. It's now 52F and warming quickly. I'll be doing the install in a few minutes.

Here are the first pictures of the packages at the post office and in the car:

There doesn't seem to be many dead bees on the bottom. That's a good sign. More pictures as things develop!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I have two packages of bees that were shipped from Kelley's yesterday. I got a call just a minute ago from the Post Office in Knoxville, TN. They said whenever they get live animals, they give folks the option of coming to pick them up or having them delivered. Since I had gone to the Post Office down the street here and made arrangements, I told them to go ahead and send them on and I'll get them in the morning (around 7:00 am).

I wasn't expecting that and I call that exceptional service. A tip of the hat to the USPS!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Preparing for new bees

I am expecting two packages of bees from Walter T. Kelley in a week or so, and a couple of nucs in May.  I have two hives assembled and in the yard but needed to make some room in the shed so we assembled two more hive boxes yesterday.  When we get them painted, we can set them outside.  Here's the new wood:

It's all 8-frame.  There's four deeps and four mediums for two hives, plus tops, bottoms, etc. I'll have to get some more, but this will get me started.

All the trees and flowers are really blooming now.  I'm anxious to get the bees and get started this year.