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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tore Apart Birdhouse

Today, I did several bee chores including cleaning out a dead hive that was infested with wax moth (YUK!).  This was quite a chore that including scraping out the old wax, scrubbing and scraping the frames, and using near-boiling water clean the plasticell foundation.  Maybe it would have been easier to just have bought new frames!

I also took apart the birdhouse and removed the bees and comb...boy was it packed!  The honey was also amazing...I thought it tasted like sweet white wine!

Finally, I disassembed the observation hive and placed the frames in the swarm box with the Deters swarm.  We'll see what happens in the next few weeks.  Either the queen will prove herself, or they'll have to be combined for winter.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Late Swarms

Recently, I received two more phone calls regarding bees, one from Doug Deters in Teutopolis and the other from Kenneth Wolf in Neoga.  Doug found a small swarm under a kiddi wading pool building a come on a weed near his house.  Kenneth received a call about a swarm in a birdhouse, but he wasn't prepared for it and offered it to me.  Saturday morning would be the big day.  After an early morning trip to take Aaron to Urbana I stopped by Neoga on the way home and met XXX who had a swarm in the neighbor's birdhouse.  The best part of this capture was when he said I could have the birdhouse!  I just stuck it in a box and took off....what an easy removal!!  I dropped the birdhouse off at the farm and then headed towards Teutopolis.

Unfortunately, when I looked in the transport hive that contained the swarm from Draves, they were basically all dead!  I'm not exactly sure why; possibly because I didn't give them  a feeder than night I dropped them off.  It was a sad sight.

I then ran over to Teutopolis and met with Doug who showed me the small swarm they found.  I placed it in a transport nuc and brought it to the farm.  I placed it in my swarm catcher nuc with some sugar water inside the box to see what they would do.  They are awefully small, but we'll see what they do in a day.

This afternoon we had the Girl Scouts out to the farm, and I wanted them to have a chance to see the bees up close, so I installed plexiglass in the new observation hive I bought at the HAS conference and loaded them with a couple frames of bees from one of the hives.  It turned out pretty good, though I need to trim the glass a little.  The girls had a lot of fun watching the bees!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Late Season Swarms

Tonight was a busy time after work.  Dawn received a call from Drave's Archery about a swarm outside their building hanging on a fallen tree branch.  I stopped by after work and found a small swarm; the owner said it was four times the size a few days ago, unfortunately I didn't receive the call until today.  I placed the swarm in my transporting nuc and headed home to pick up the family for the big event of the day.

Sean Wallace had called a few days ago about a hive that had built comb up in a tree in the back yard of one of his properties.  Dawn, Aaron, Dad, and I went to remove the hive and comb up about 12-15 feet up in the tree.

Here is the hive where you can see the ridges of honey comb under the bees.

In this photo you can see how we tied the honey comb into open frames to be placed into the nuc.

In the photo, Dawn is on top of the ladder vaccuuming the remaining bees after all the comb was removed.  Larry is holding the bee vac because the hose wasn't quite long enough.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Boxes & Dead Hives

I spent the afternoon today conducting a big inspection of the hives.  This was prompted by several factors including buying new hive boxes from Jason Weaver down at St. Peter.  So now all my hives have two deep supers to build up with honey for the fall nectar flow.  I also found hives #3 and #10 were dead or nearly dead.  They had not been doing well for quite some time, so this didn't surprise me too much.  I installed the last mating nuc into the site of Hive #3 and the new Buzzard Swarm into the site of Hive #10.  They each received fresh boxes and frames.  The frames in these new cypress boxes have white plasticell foundation with a deeper impression to encourage the bees to draw out comb better/faster.  We'll have to see if that works, but I do know one thing for sure, the swarm really took to the new frames!

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Equipment

What time is it when you have too many bee swarms?  Time to buy more beekeeping equipment.  After more success than I planned on when I was building hive components over the past winter, today Aaron and I drove down to rural St. Peter, Illinois, to buy deep hive boxes and frames.  Jason Weaver builds quality boxes out of cypress wood and orders frames from Dadant.  10 hive boxes with frames equals more money than I wanted to spend, but it will hopefully ensure my new swarms will have enough food for the winter months.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August Swarm Capture

Received phone call today from Allison Buzzard from Beecher City that she had a bee swarm in a tree in her yard she wanted removed.  So, after work Aaron, Seth, and myself headed out to capture the bees.  As you can see in the pictures, it was a pretty good sized swarm and the boys had a lot of fun working with the bees and the bee vaccuum...this was Seth's first swarm capture.  Allison was a bit nervous at first, but she joined us after some encouragement and learned quit a bit about the bees.  We then took the swarm to the farm and placed them in a nuc with sugar water available until Saturday when I'll put them in a regular hive.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hive Inspection

Well, it had been quite a while since I saw the bees (Boy Scout trip to Montana from July 17 thru August 3), so today Dawn & I went to the farm to inspect the hives.  All are doing well with the exception of Hive 8 which has no queen.  My plan is to combine the nuc that I have with Hive 8 since the nuc has a queen.  I desperately need more deep boxes and frames for the goldenrod flow that is just starting.  Time to place an order!