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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don't Expose Your Weiner to the Bees

Now, before your mind goes where it shouldn't, let me make known that we have a Daschund or Weiner Dog.  With that bit of clarity in hand, today Dawn and I went to the farm to check on the bees and see if their were making queen cells after the 3-way split last weekend.  We also brought along the dogs because they enjoy the farm so much: Sammy (black lab) and Molly (The Weiner).  We thought the dogs would run about while we were working with the bees, but Molly (aka - The Weiner) stayed pretty close to us. 

As we were checking the original East Hive we found the bees were quite upset with our presence and began getting defensive and buzzing all about.  At this point I noticed Molly running on the back side of the hives and when Dawn called her she was covered in bees.  Dawn quickly wiped the bees off of her and threw her into the truck for protection.  She ended up getting around a dozen stings and was reacting to the pain and venim with panting, vomiting, and diarrhea.  We spoke with the vet on call and he recommended 25mg of benadryl unless she was going into anaphylactic shock, then we would need to bring her in, but that never happened.  With the benadryl in her system she had a very calm night, which Dawn appeciated!  So, the lesson learned today is "Don't Expose Your Weiner to the Bees!"

As for the bees, West Hive is doing OK, but I think I need to replace the queen this year; we found her in the upper hive box, but she does not have a strong laying pattern.  Now for the splits, the original East Hive will be East 1, and the other two splits going east will be East 2 and East 3.  East 3 is where the original queen is located as evidenced by lots of young brood and no emergency queen cells.  East 1 and East 2 have emergency queen cells going either capped or almost capped.  Also, East 1 has the drone frame and the drones are doing well!  Lots of drones coming online to help with future mating.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

3-Way Split Today

While at the farm today I decided to split the East Hive.  It has been doing well and is a lot stronger than the West Hive.  As I dug into the hive I found lots of bees and lots of brood.  I found three frames with 1-day old larva and decided to try for a 3-way split.  I never found the queen among all the bees, so I made sure each hive had a frame with 1-day old larva for raising queens as needed.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Swarm Trap

Today I put the finishing touches on a swarm trap.  It is based on a design I saw at the bee school in Henderson, Kentucky, last month.  Basically, it is a 5 frame nuc with a 1 inch hole in the front, a detachable lid, and an arm for hanging.  I hung it behind the farm house with some drawn comb in it to see it any wild swarms will take an interest!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

East Hive Bustin' with Bees

Dawn & I did an inventory on the bee hives today.  The West Hive has not been very active, but also they were low on bees following the two cold spells earlier this year.  I didn't find the queen but did find larva and capped brood.  As for the East Hive, they were bustin' with bees in the middle of a warm afternoon.  We found larva and capped brood in both boxes, and Dawn found the queen who suddenly crawled into Dawn's hand!  I also found drone capped brood and larva on both the drone frame and the frame immediately above it.  I'm considering splitting this hive tomorrow, since I won't be available to check on it much over the next two weeks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Killer Honey!

Tonight my daughter, Jessica, and I went to Joe Sippers for some java and daddy/daughter conversation when I received a phone call from Eleanor Balson, state bee inspector for this area, asking about the beekeepers meeting.  It turns out she had her weeks off and had driven to Effingham, so we invited her to Joe Sippers for some coffee before her long drive home.  Eleanor had recently returned from Brazil where she spent 7 weeks helping with their bee industry in the back-country.  She showed us some facinating photos, but most interesting to me was the fact that they raise and care for Africanized bees (i.e. "Killer Bees").  She told us how they have to use huge smokers to keep them somewhat under control, and when you work with them it seems like the entire hive empties out onto you!  She also brought some killer bee honey for Jess and I to sample....very good honey from the native flowers....and yes, I would describe it as "Killer Honey"!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Workin' Like Bees

Today I took advantage of the beautiful, sunny, windy weather and painted several of my hive components that I have been building.  Below is a photo of 7 starter hives ready for bee occupants.