Friday, May 31, 2013

Lots of things going on (and not going on)

The good news is that all four hives are thriving and need more room.  The other good news is that the swarm trap has a swarm residing in it now.  The bad news is that I've been in bed for two weeks with a strained back.  I'm up and about now with a walker, but not ready to work on hives yet.  Hopefully by Monday I'll at least be able to suit up and point and Dad will be able to do the lifting and manipulations.

Went to the Cherokee Beekeepers Association last night and we had a fairly good crowd.  The presentation was Ten Ways To Kill Your Bees Dead.  I agree that the presented methods will definitely kill your bees.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nectar in Tennessee - Where? When? How?

Here's a great chart I ran across that describes what blooms when and other information.  It lists the normal start and stop month.

The link for the page is here:

Nectar Chart

I tried to post it here, but I don't know enough about formatting to make it fit.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Odd Comb That Just Won't Behave

When I installed the nucs, one of them had a large chunk of comb they had built.  I tried laying it outside the entrance to the hive, but they didn't leave it.  Afraid of hurting the queen, I put a shim on top of an inner cover and put the comb on there, hoping they'd go down into the hive in a day or two.

Went into the hives today and the come was bigger and had brood.  There was also brood down in the hive.  That queen really gets around!  So I gently hive-tooled the comb off of the inner cover and pressed it onto the frame in position #8 (it was bare plastic frame).  I hope they take care of it all and they are happy now.

As an aside, I tried out my big magnet in my suit pocket and it holds the hive tool in the "always ready" position. It's kind of hard to get off sometimes, but it's a strong magnet.

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The good news is that all four hives are buzzing happily along, building comb and laying eggs and drinking syrup.  I am hoping the temperatures will straighten out (it was down to 40F last night) and they'll start taking care of business making comb, bees, and honey.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Installing Nucs in the Rain

Friday, Paul Barris, the WRCB TV weatherman said we were in for unheard of amounts of rain this weekend.

I worked all night Friday night. I got a call Saturday morning around 10:00 from Holcomb's Garden Supply in Chattanooga that my two nucs were in and could I come pick them up.  Luckily for me, Dad said he'd go down there and pick them up for me.  I was able to go back to sleep for a little while.

I got up around 1:00 in the afternoon and started thinking about what all I needed to do to get the nucs hived.  Looked outside and it was pouring rain.  Oh boy.

Got two rubber mats to set the hives on, found some cinder blocks (only two per hive, I'll have to get four more next week), bottom boards, deeps, frames, telescoping tops, feeders.  Couldn't find any entrance reducers.  I've got to come up with a better way to keep track of supplies and inventory!  I'll try to swing by the Co-op Monday and pick some up.  I've put robber screens on as an interim measure.

Dad showed up with the bees.  Two waxy-cardboard-type 5-frame nucs.  One nuc had 3-frames and one had four frames.  I didn't get to do a detailed inspection because of the cool, rainy weather.  But there wasn't any queen cages, so I assume that they're working nucs.  Hopefully I'll be able to peek in sometime this coming week and see.  There was some burr comb built in the nuc boxes with bees all over it, so I put that wax in the hives.  I didn't want to take a chance of missing the queen.  I'll have to clean that up when I can get in there.

I put top feeders on the hives and filled all the feeders up yesterday.  It may be a couple of days before it stops raining and the bees can get out.

Hopefully everything will be ok.

Nucs before installation:

Nuc leaned up against the hive for stragglers to walk in:

Now I have four hives!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Swarm Trap Installed

I ordered a swarm trap the other day and then I started reading up on them.  Well, you learn by your mistakes, I guess.  Most of what I read was that the fiber-type of trap doesn't weather well and is hard to get the bees out of.

At any rate, I got it up today, in the woodline around the corner from the hives (about 75 yards away).  I don't know if it will attract any bees or not, but I figured it would be worth a try, since I'm still learning about all things bee.

I got the trap and bait/lure from WT Kelley's.  There's about a 2-inch hole in the bottom.  It's supposed to resemble a knot hole in a tree.  Maybe it will work.  We'll see.

Top Feeder Repair/Maintenance

When we installed the packages, I used the Mann Lake top feeders with 1:1 syrup, lemon juice, and Honey B Healthy.

We put one on each hive.  A couple of days later, they both had a lot of bees in the syrup.  Many had drowned, and some were flying around inside.  I didn't know how they got in to the syrup.  It's screened off and seemed to work well last year.

As a stop-gap measure, I put the Brushy Mountain top feeder on the 10-frame hive and filled it with syrup.  They don't make that kind of feeder for 8-frame (I sure wish they did!), so I went back to the entrance feeders on top of an inner cover with a box around them.

Tuesday, I got a silicone-calk-type of tube gun and ran a bead of silicone around the screen edges, hopefully sealing the route the bees were taking into the syrup.  I put one on the 8-frame hive to test it and to make sure the silicone wasn't harmful to bees.

This also shows the neat new cart I got to pull boxes and frames from the hives to the shed.