Farming is hard – 6/8 hive check

Today we went out to check the hives and see where we’re at. Jake’s friend “A” was with us to help out. Our goal was to remove the top feeder from Unimatrix Zero and put Ba-bee-lonia on a hive stand with the legs in oil moats to keep the ants away.  Also we wanted to remove the pollen patties that we put in (since the bees didn’t want them) and if they were moving up into the deep supers.

We checked Ba-bee-lonia and almost immediately saw we still had issues with this hive. For starters there was a supersedure right in the middle of frame 4 and there were a TON of drones.  I think if I were a real beekeeper I’d shake out that hive and be done with it… but I’m not.  We’ll see if their soon-to-bee new queen succeeds.

We then moved to tardis (it is bigger on the inside).  This hive is awesome.  There was a bunch of burr comb full of honey between the brood chamber and the deep super.  I scraped that off after taking off the super.  The center frames on the super were being drawn out.  We spotted the queen on frame 4 as she was looking for an open cell to lay an egg in.  After spotting the queen, we closed up the hive.

Finally we looked at Unimatrix Zero.  This hive showed growth but also hadn’t expanded to the super yet.  “A” spotted the queen on frame 6.

6/9 Update

Checked on Ba-bee-lonia and there were no ants.  I looked inside of Tardis and it was TEEMING with carpenter ants.  They just moved next door! I moated the last two hives.  Will check again tomorrow for ants.

Bee's out on a pretty day

5/26 Hive check

Today we decided to add the deep supers to the hive bottoms and give them a little feed to try to egg them on.  Pretty sure if they don’t get building there won’t be a chance of us getting any honey.

Hive #1 -Ba-Bee-Lonia

It still has a lot of drone cells and although we didn’t see the queen I saw a lot of cells with single eggs dropped right in the middle.  We also say a LOT of ants.  We’ll keep an eye on it.

Hive #2 – (Tardis)

This hive is in awesome shape. The brood chamber is about 60% built out.  Spotted the queen on frame 3 doing her royal duty

Hive #3 – (Unimatrix Zero)

This is the hive we started from the nuc.  Looks like it’s going to be big hot mess #2.  When I installed it I saw a hive beetle and wax moth larvae.  More alarming was a single supersedure cell.  I wans’t two worried because a queen was probably introduced to the hive after the split.  But when I opened it today I saw two more so I’m thinking the girls are trying to make a new queen for a reason.  Other than that they are building out quite nicely.

I fed pollen patties to all three hives to try to get them to the top of the deep supers.

Hive #3 the Wisconsin Adventure

I picked up the nucleus hive just outside of Green Bay today.  A nucleus hive or “Nuc” is a mini beehive – queen, drawn comb with honey, pollen and brood and a little over 10,000 bees.  At some point during my 3 hour drive home the Nuc sprang a leak.  So about 20 of the bees were riding up front with me.  I pulled over at the Mars Cheese Castle opened the trunk and taped that sucker back up.  Good times.

When I got home I was in a big hurry and went to grab the nuc out of my car.  When I did I squished a bee with my thumb…  Now I’ve been stung twice.

The pictures below were from the installation process

Nucleus hive

Nucleus Hive on the bottom board waiting for the weather to clear enough to install.


Pulled the middle five frames to make room for the cuc



Girls taking a flight from their new home

Bee Club meeting #3

We all met up on Saturday at 2pm.  We learned about diseases and pests that effect the hives.  Then we put on protective gear, lit all three smokers and hit the bee yard.

We went through our first hive (Ba-bee-lonia) and saw comb, pollen and brood from frame 3.5 to frame 8.  Really odd looking comb.  We saw a LOT of drone cells and some worker cells (capped) so we’re really not sure if we have a laying worker or a good queen.  We went through the hive twice but didn’t see her.  Almost everyone practiced pulling a frame and inspecting it.

Next we went through Jamestown and spotted the queen on frame 4.  Good brood patterns and some pollen and un capped honey.

Pictures to follow

Eggs, Larvae, Honey & Pollen

Did a quick hive check with the boys and on our first hive (From this day forward to be known as Ba-bee-lonia) we saw all the best stuff – eggs, larvae un-capped honey and pollen. We started to see drawn out comb starting at frame 2 but wasn’t drawn out enough to be useable until we got to about frame 4.  We didn’t see the queen and stopped when we saw eggs and larvae (it was in the upper 50’s and I wanted to keep it short).

Halfway through the hive check Jake announced in a very calm voice “Dad.. I literally have a bee in my bonnet”.  Sure enough, somehow one of the girls got under his veil.  We stopped everything and gently removed her from her prison.

The larvae were pretty far along so I’m hoping we didn’t get a laying worker from the queen’s absence.  We’ll see if we can determine what’s up when we do a full-on hive check next weekend with the 4-H class.

The newer stronger hive (Jamestown) Had eggs, pollen and honey.  We didn’t see any brood but stopped after we saw the queen and eggs since at that point we knew everything was OK.

I noticed some mold starting to grow above the top feeder of ba-bee-lonia and will address that as soon as it warms up.  Since nectar is starting to flow the bees are not taking a lot of syrup anyway.  Probably time to remove the top feeders anyway.

Queen and Massive Changes

Ok.. so it’s been awhile since I posted but in the last 24 hours crazy stuff has happened on Gordon’s Farm.

The queen we ordered on the 25th never showed up so in seeking advice, the apiary we used for the first package offered us a replacement package with a new queen at wholesale prices. Keep in mind, at this time of year, there are NO bees to be had anywhere. So yea Long Lane!!

No sooner than I agreed and hung up the phone, after 8 days in the mail, our replacement queen arrived alive!! I’m not holding out a lot of hope for the first hive but since she arrived we put her in.

I drove downstate and picked up the new package and installed it in the 2nd hive. So when all is said and done, we may finish the summer with 3 hives instead of two! I’m excited to get the Nuc on the 18th and install it with my 4-H group



We did our queen check yesterday and she didn’t make it!

About half of the candy plug in the queen cage was missing and she was dead in the bottom. So we ordered another queen from fastbees.net which we should have on the 29th at the latest. The queen is dead.. God save the queen

Busy Little Bee

I’ve tried to stay away from the hive and to just leave them bee but I went to have a peek the other day and saw tremendous amounts of activity around the hive. When I first arrived I saw that there was one lone guard bee watching the entrance to the hive. She was making just about everyone check in before they were allowed to pass. I opened the top feeder to peek in and there were TONS of bees drinking syrup.

We’re going to do a hive check tomorrow to see if the queen was released. I better make a fresh batch of syrup because it looks like they’ll go through a gallon pretty quickly!


The Girls Have Arrived!

Me and the boys hit the road at 6:30 this morning to drive downstate to pick up our 3lb package of bees. We occupied ourselves during the 6 hours of driving (3 hours each way) listening to books on tape and the Ramones.  We got back in time to get setup for our 4-H club and discuss the types of bees (queens, workers and drones).  We talked about how there wasn’t any nectar flow yet so we’d need to feed the bees “syrup”.  So we thought it would be interesting to have a taste of what the bees were going to eat.  Most found it yummy.  We also tasted a few types of flavored honey that Cy Kennedy had given me.  Then it was time to play with the bees!!


Checking the queen

Pouring in the subjects