7/20 hive check

The 4-H’ers came out and we checked the two remaining hives (Ba-bee-lonia was moved to a different location away from the strong hives). We saw lots of brood and tons of stored honey and pollen. We didn’t see the queen in Tardis but saw eggs and larvae so we’re sure she’s ok. They still haven’t started on the honey supers but hopefully we’ll get a frame or two.

Unimatrix zero was just as strong but the bees have done a lot of work in the medium super. Nothing capped but lots of uncapped honey. We actually spotted the queen in the deep super!! In the weeks we’ve had the hive, this was the first sighting.

The class’s overall luck is holding. So far the only person to get stung is me!

On a overall “farming update”. We’ve brought in a bunch of peppers and the tomatoes are going nuts. Neighbor Chris D. Came over with some fresh eggs from his chickens. Totally yummy awesome. Farming rocks.

7/19 Hive Split

Big fun today!

A few weeks ago Matt’s hive looked like it was going to swarm.  He added a new super and it gave the girls a place to spread out.  I asked if he would give me a split from his hive and in the name of crazy bee science he agreed.

I’ve been really interested in getting a Russian queen primarily for their ability to over winter. I found Mikes Bees and Honey and ordered me up a a buzzing laying comrade.


Our Russian queen arrived in a queen cage with a few attendants to see to her traveling needs.

Although the UPS guy was a bit freaked out to be delivering a buzzing package, she arrived at my office in perfect shape.  With queen in hand and help from Payal (4-H club member extraordinaire) we (Me, Matt and Payal) made our way to the Apiary.

We had to go through 4 supers of mostly honey in Matt’s hive before we got to good frames of brood.  We spotted his queen along the way. Finally we grabbed three frames of brood and bees and put them in Ba-bee-lonia.  There were still a few bees left from before but so few and so long without a queen that they didn’t mind us one bit.  We’ll see how well they play with the others.  We hung the queen cage between two of the frames, added an entrance reducer and a top feeder and closed her up.

I’m going to watch the top feeder to make sure it doesn’t mold in our current heat and attract ants.  I’ll also get the ant moats on it today. If they are taking feed and it gets yucky, I’ll switch to an entrance feeder but I’m afraid of the new hive getting robbed.


Hive Check 7/7

Checked the hives after being away for a week in Spokane Washington to visit Grandma.

Our goal for this hive check was to check the overall health and to see if we were going to be able to add honey supers to the hives.

Amazingly there are still bees but won’t be for long.  The goal is to get them to build out as much comb as possible so we can either do a spring split or just install a new package come Spring time.

Saw the queen and she’s been busy.  Lots of brood all at different stages. The top deep super was about 60% full mostly with pollen and uncapped honey but there was some capped honey.  Also found brood at the bottom of a lot of the center frames.  There was quite a bit of burr comb and I got rid of most of it but couldn’t bring myself to eliminate all of it.  It would have meant sacrificing quite a bit of brood.  Once the colony is at full strength I’ll clean it up.  I had to unstick the frames from each other and did clean off the tops and bottoms of all frames.  I added a super and will just need to watch it to make sure I get the queen excluder on in time since I know the dear girl does like to climb.

Unimatrix Zero:Brood brood brood – lots of it.  Also a lot of capped honey and pollen.  It’s odd to see how well established this community is seeing as there is always such little activity at the entrance whenever I visit.  I added the honey super here too.  I wasn’t expecting this hive to do this well but after seeing how filled out the deep super was and how much brood there was, it seemed like the right thing to do.

We may see 2013 honey!

Girls reclaiming honey

Girls reclaiming honey

From left to right - Ba-Bee-Lonia, Tardis, Unimatrix Zero

From left to right – Ba-Bee-Lonia, Tardis, Unimatrix Zero

Mosquito Abatement!

We signed up for notifications when the mosquito abatement sprayers were going to be making the rounds.  This afternoon we got the automated notifications.  Of course I’m out of town but Matt (a squatter in our Apiary) was kind enough to go out and cover the hives.  The chemicals used aren’t supposed to effect the bees since it only kills bugs that are flying.  Since our bees don’t fly at night and the sprayers don’t come around until midnight, we should be ok.  Matt sent me a pic of our girls tucked in for the night.

covered hive

hives covered in prep for the mosquito abatement foggers.