Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dawn Got the Queen!

This morning I went to the farm to feed the bees and check on the new hive from the bee tree we cut out on Sunday.  I was tickled to see that we have the queen and she is starting to lay in the new comb!!!  I am planning on putting this colony in an Illinois super hive all made up of medium boxes and frames.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tree Bees to New Home

This morning I drove to the farm with the bees that Dawn & I rescued from the fallen tree yesterday.  Being that at present I am out of deep hive boxes but have several medium honey supers that I likely won't use this season, I decided to make this new hive an Illinois Super Hive where all of the boxes are Illinois (or medium) sized.  Before placing them in my cypress nuc I noticed more than the normal amound of dead bees in the bottom of my vacuum box...I may have set the suction a little high on the vacuum yesterday.  There were a few bees left from when I emptied the nuc a few weeks ago, so I used HBH to help them combine with less fighting.  Well, in a couple of days I'll look to see if we got the queen or not.  I also checked on the bee yard, and I noticed that several sugar water jars were empty already after filling them just yesterday!  I also placed hive beetle traps in Hive #1, as I've noticed a few around the inner cover when I have opened the hive the past couple of times.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Storm vs Bee Tree

Today I received word about a bee tree at the home of Sheila Rogers in Effingham that did not fair very well against a recent storm.  The old tree had a poor root system and blew down.  However, before the tree could be cut up and hauled away it needed an old hive of bees removed.  Dawn and I tackled the task yesterday with myself working the chainsaw and Dawn manning the bee vacuum.  Below are the photos of the interesting event.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hive Inspections

This morning I went up to the farm for a detailed inspection of my hives.  A quick summary of the hives are as follows:
  • Aaron has one hive that is going well.
  • I started out this morning with 12 hives, but hive #3 was abandoned, so I'm down to 11.
  • Hives #1 is doing well and has a honey super on top, but they have not started filling it with honey yet.Hives #4, 5, and 11 are very strong and need to have a second deep box placed on top.
  • Hives#2, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12 are somewhat weak, but I'm going to try and build them up with sugar water.
  • Hives #8 & 10 had no queens in them, but I found two frames with a queen cell on each, so I placed on in each hive.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bee Vacuum Plans

I've had several people ask about my bee vaccuum and how they can make one for themselves.  The plans are at and are located at  It is a good weekend project that is worth the effort!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Busy Day Creating Hives

Well, today was quite a full day at the farm as far as bees are concerned.  I broke down the mating nucs and starter hive until after the Montana trip.  I had 2 queens from the 12 successful grafts, and I gave one to Aaron for starting his hive, and I placed the other in one of my hives.  I also grafted another 12 cells on 3 frames to set up in hives that don't have queens so they can raise their own.  All said, Aaron has one hive and I have 12 hives.  Again, it was a very busy day, my mind is swimming trying to keep everything straight.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Strange Times in the Bee Yard

This evening Aaron & I worked the beeyard prepare to set up the new queens into their own hives on Saturday.  However, things were definately not as I expected.  First of all, several of the mating nucs were abandoned and I only found two queens in them!  Then when I checked on the starter hive, it was overflowing with bees but they rejected all of the queen cells!  The last I checked they were raising 7 queens, but the bees even removed the wax from the queen cells.  When I checked on the regular hives in the beeyard I found something interesting in Hive #8 where I had placed one of the virgin queens that had been abandoned by the bees in her mating nuc.  Instead of finding the marked queen that I placed in there I found a laying queen with no mark!  Where did she come from???  Plus, I also found a large queen, what's up with that?    I then looked in Hive #2 where I had marked a queen but she dropped into the tall grass, and guess who I found???  Yes, my marked queen that I dropped!  She must have lost enough weight that she was able to fly up and get back into the hive; I know she wasn't in there the day after she escaped.  So, all in all it was a very strange day in the beeyard.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Housekeeping in the Bee Yard

I stopped by the farm before a quick trip to Arcola and did a little housekeeping.  I placed extra deep frames in some of the hives as a couple were getting conjested and I didn't need a swarm at this time.  I also moved four of the newer hives onto a large hive stand that Dad made by adapting an old table he found.  The Virgin Queen that I place in Hive #8 was still in the California Mini, but the bees were trying their best to free her.  All in all, the hives are looking good.  Yesterday, I also check on the newest batch of grafted queens in the Starter Hive and it looks like they are raising 6 or 7 of the ten I grafted.  That starter hive is also busting with bees.  It will make the start of 1 or 2 hives after this bunch of queens are capped off.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We Have Virgin Queens

I stopped by the farm mid-afternoon to do a quick check around the beeyard, including the mating nucs.  I found all the queen cells empty, and some of the nucs with queens while others had none; of course they could be out mating as it was mid-afternoon, but those flights are typically short with an average length of only 13 minutes.  I did find one mating nuc with a queen and no bees; they apparently abandoned that nuc and joined another.  I decided to take that virgin queen, mark her, and place her in Hive #8 which was the Kull Extraction.  I was originally going to place her in Hive #2, but upon investigation I found brood and a large queen!  What?!?!  How did she get there?!?!?!  The only thing I can think of was that she was part of a swarm that usurped the hive.  Anyway, I decided to mark her and when I was placing her in the hive she flutter-jumped onto my bee suit and then promptly fell into the tall grass....NOOOOO!!!!  For those who don't know, that is a death sentence to a laying queen.  She is too large to fly back to the hive, and I couldn't find her anywhere.  That bummed me out the rest of the day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Grafted 10 More Future Queens

Since my new queens are now emerging I thought I needed to get another round of Queens in the hopper.  I left for the farm early this morning and found some nice larva in the hive containing the Court House Swarm.  If figure that this swarm, which likely came from one of the two wild hives at the old Effingham County Court House, is from good survival stock.  These colonies have been on their own without any help for several years, so they are likely resistant to disease, mites, and cold.  I grafted 10 larva and placed them in my starter hive.  Also also caught Queen from that hive and marked I should be able to see her a tad bit better!

This evening I also had the opportunity to help a couple of brand-new beekeepers capture a swarm out at Network Center.  Rick Russell and Stacy James had receved word about a swarm, but it was down in the fork of a tree.  I met up with them at 8:30pm when all the bees were gathered together and I used my bee vacuum to suck them up, then we transferred them into a cardboard box for transfer.  They plan to install them into a topbar hive.  It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tuesday Night Swarm

I received a call last night from Lee Delhoudt informing me that he had a swarm hanging off one of the pine trees near his house.  Late in the evening I took my grandson Elijah and headed out to capture the swarm.  Elijah was present for the Court House swarm capture, but this was his first swarm being suited up as my helper.  Lee took lots of photos while I vacuumed the bees.  This morning I was on the road at 5am to transfer the bees into their new home at the farm.  I placed some drawn comb into the hive to help them want to stay put, and I also filled up the feeders on the various hives.  Today is also a special day....the queens should start emerging!!!