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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Return to the Brick House

Dad and I made a return trip to the brick house east of Charleston to try and capture the remaining bees including the queen.  We had word that the bees were still there and hanging in a ball where we had removed the hive.  What Dad and I found was the remains of the swarm rebuilding honeycomb and raising brood.  Dad and I carefully vacuumed the bees and set them up in a hive at the farm.  The original swarm we captured had mostly died out.  I will check on them next weekend and look at adding some bees from another hive to their numbers along with some brood so they will hopefully build up supplies and survive the winter months.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beekeeping at Old Settlers Day

The Crossroads Beekeepers had a great booth at the Effingham County Old Settlers Day today.  Myself, Dick, Len, and Cathy ran the booth and had a fun time talking with all the people who came by to see what we were up to.  I brought my bee suit, smoker, and a display board on the history of beekeeping among the settlers.  Len and Cathy brought antique bee equipment and an observation hive of bees.  Several people took information home about the club and expressed an interest in becoming a beekeeper.  What a fun day!

Dick getting ready for the day.

Cathy showing off her and Len's bees.

Nice looking display!

The focus point of the booth....BEES!!!

Len's antique bee equipment.

Kids of all ages love bees!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crossroads Beekeepers

We had a great turnout for the second meeting of the Crossroads Beekeepers.  We met tonight at 6:30pm at Joe Sippers Cafe in Effingham, and had 16 in attendance.  There were 9 beekeepers at this meeting plus those interested in feeding bees or wanting to learn more about beekeeping in general.  There was a wealth of experience at the meeting and it was fun to listen to all the tips offered from those with decades of beekeeping under their belt.  I also gave a short presentation on bee friendly gardens.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wild Hive Capture: Charleston IL

This afternoon Dick Loy and I met up with Craig Clendening of Lerna and drove to a farm in rural Charleston to capture a wild beehive in an old brick farmhouse slated for demolition.  We met up with the farmer, Paul, who explained how the house was built around 1865 and had been in his family for years.  He believed the bees had been in that part of the house for 30 years.  The house had a double brick wall construction, and last Fall when he started initial demolition work he discovered a large hive between the brick walls.  Today we found a large hive with tunnels throughout the comb as well as tunnels through the rotting mortar.  While we found brood, I don't think we found the main brood chamber, but we didn't trust the old walls enough to knock out more brick.  We quickly wired up the brood comb and some of the honey comb to empty frames and placed in the brood box, then we vacuumed up as many bees as possible.  Dick and I then transported the hive to the bee yard and dumped in the vacuumed bees after dark.  I don't think we got the Queen, so I plan to go up later this week to check them over and order a Queen if needed.

Building Hives at the Farm

Yesterday and today I've been building hive components at the farm in the woodshop.  So far I have one brood box hive completed for hopefully accepting a wild hive I hope to capture.  Regarding boxes, I have five brood boxes assembled and painted.  I also cut out the parts and made all the assembly cuts for 7 more brood boxes and 14 honey supers.  Now comes the time of assembly!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Workers Laying Eggs

I came across this video from TheOhioCountryboy regarding how to tell if a hive is without a Queen and the Workers are lay eggs.  This may be what Dick and I saw the other evening.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bee Updates

Lots of bee activities over the past few days...let's see if I can remember everything!
  • I have been working on building six more hives up at the farm for expanding the operation next year.  So far I have all the wood bought, have built 5 bottom boards, built and painted 5 brood boxes, and have cut out the parts for 7 more brood boxes. 
  • I also spent some time getting into their hives this past weekend, and the Queens are still going strong.
  • While up at the farm (we were camping with the extended family) I drove around the conservation acreage and saw lots and lots of Golden Rod!  Probably 50 acres of Golden Rod!  It was thick and ready to start blooming.  I'm hoping that this will finish off the honey box on the East hive.  Also, the West hive has been very active with a lot of bees (only two brood boxes with no honey super), so I decided to throw the honey super that I spun out the other day on top of the hive to see what the bees do with all the Golden Rod.
  • On Saturday and Sunday I met up with my cousins from Texas who came for the Baker Reunion: Woodward, Woody, and Tim Baker.  Woody is a beekeeper and brought up a jar of East Texas Wildflower Honey to swap for some of my clover/wildflower honey.  His honey had a full and complicated flavor...very unique and good!
  • I also met up with Dick Loy last night to check out his bees and to look at a super of bees left over from an extraction.  It was rather I pulled out a few of the frames all I saw were Drones!  Hundreds and hundreds of drones with only a few worker bees mixed in.  We were wondering if the hive this box came from had a False Queen, a Worker who takes on the role of a Queen but since she is not fertalized she can only have Drones.
  • Finally, I received a phone call last night from Lance Faulk, an old friend from Altamont, who told me that I beat him to the punch.  He apparently was getting ready to start a bee club and was even going to name it Crossroads Beekeepers, but hadn't started it yet.  While reading the news on WXEF he read about our club and decided to give me a call....he hopes to be at the next meeting.
  • Oh, I almost forgot, but I have bottled and labled 48 8oz bottles of honey.  I gave one bottle to Mom and Dad, and sold 2 bottles to Pastor Wallace.  I guess now it is time for some financial returns on the investment!