Nov 23 2017

Girls out – hmmmm

So today we got what we call a chinook wind, which means in the middle of a winter spell, we get a warm wind from the south and the temp goes drastically up. Sometimes for 1 or 2 days, but often it will go up to the 60’s only during the day, and then at night  it freezes – which is just a killer for the bees if that happens in the dead of winter (that’s what happened last January) because they break their cluster during the day and then don’t have time to get back into their warm cluster before it hits freezing again.

Today however, we got the wind last evening, and it was about 40 overnight and right now at 11am it’s 60 degrees outside and sunny. All the snow is melted and it feels like spring.

I saw some girls flying so I went out on to the bee deck to get a closer look at what’s going on.

All three hives have a pile o’dead bees in front of them.

The yellow hive is quite busy – girls flying in and out, at least 50 or more in front of the hive, some orienting themselves, two were dragging heavy dead bodies across the front porch and dumping them unceremoniously onto the patio.

In the blue hive, there was one lone girl who went in to the upper entrance and in the orange hive there was one lone girl creeping into the lower entrance. Hmmmmmm.

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Oct 25 2017

Tucking the girls in for winter

Yesterday at 3:00pm it was sunny and 60 degrees and calm and the girls were out in force flying about. So I decided to go ahead and winterize them since it will be one of the rare warmer days we have.

The blue hive and the yellow hive were extremely busy, with lots and lots of bees coming and going quickly, bringing back in very dark orange pollen. The blue hive must have just had a hatch out because a lot of bees were in front of the hive orienting themselves to the front of the hive in a big “iron cross” pattern. Up and down, back to center, left to right, back to center, up and down, back to center, left to right, back to center.

blue hive nearly all decked out for winter. Just need to close up the bottom sides and back

blue hive nearly all decked out for winter. Just need to close up the bottom sides and back

However, the orange hive – not so much. There were 5-6 bees at a time going in and out the bottom or top, but not nearly enough as there should be. Oh well. It is way to late now to be looking at tearing apart the hives in this kind of weather, and mashing them together with another hive. I’ll just have to hope they’re still doing as well as they were last time I looked. This is the hive that was treated for mites, so hopefully they didn’t have such a load prior to treatment that it was harmful going into winter.

This year, I got new hive insulation and cut it custom so that I can quickly wrap and unwrap the hives each year.  Usually I staple roofing paper all around, but that means that on a given warm winter day, if I want to take a peek down into the hive, I can’t remove the top box because it’s stapled in place. With the new method, I can get in and out and not destroy the winter insulation.

I cut panels from 2″ polystyrene to create a 4 paneled box around each hive. The front panel is shorter so that the front door and the upper door are not blocked at all. Then I wrapped bungee cords really tight around to hold the panels in place. There is a final panel on the top with at least a 3″ overhang around all sides so that if/when it rains and snows, the moisture will fall off outside the hive panels and now down the walls.

I then put cement paving stones and bricks on top to hold the lid panels down, hopefully, in a swift wind.

all 3 hives have their winter jackets and hats on. Good luck, girls!

all 3 hives have their winter jackets and hats on. Good luck, girls!

I still need to go around the hives at the hive stand level and put some sheets along each side of the hive stand and over the top-back of the hive stand to keep the wind out, since I leave the hive bottom open all the time with it’s wire floor.

I also closed down the hive entrances with hardwire cloth and push pins so that they still get air circulation, but the opening is only 2″ wide.  This made them a little aggravated when I did it (I did this first) but by the time I got done winterizing, the bees were going in the small opening on bottom and top.

Here is a video of the blue hive with their busy little girls going in and out and orienting themselves to the hive. The noise of the airplane overhead is competing with the girls busy buzzing.

It’s now up to the bees and God to get them through the winter. There’s nothing this old beekeeper can do, except take a peek into the winter and plop a feeding patty on top if they’re short of food.

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Oct 01 2017

Blue hive inspection Sept 29

So last Friday, around 10:15am I got around to inspecting the blue hive. It was sunny and about 61 degrees when I went outside and the girls were out flying about.

Blue Hive – Queen Hjemmelaget

Queen Hjemmelaget, pretty and golden and slim

Queen Hjemmelaget, pretty and golden and slim

I got everything ready, took 2 sorting boxes out to the hive and got the smoker going, and knocked on the front door and the under the lid.

The girls were busy, again a little “fall” anxious – not stinging but a little protective, zooming out to see who was under that veil and what they were doing in their hive. I spent as little time as possible so I wouldn’t open their hive to robbing.

There were 17 frames full of nectar and 5 heavy frames of pollen. There were 8 frames of bees, 2 frames with open brood and 1 frame with capped brood. I found Queen Hjemmelaget in the 2nd box 1 frame from the left.

I went ahead and moved her to the bottom, and put the other frames with brood down there with her, along with some pollen. She has an expansion box on top of her and I moved a basically empty box on top of the 2 honey boxes so they have nectar/honey closer down on top of the brood.

I did find in this hive a little bee just trying to hatch out. When I first saw it, there was just a tiny hole in the capping and a little antenna sticking out and wiggling around. By the time I got a glove off and my Iphone out, she had chewed around and around and made a bigger hole and was trying to wiggle her way out of her cell.  I’m sure she got out eventually. This video shows her struggling to get out and one girl after another walking all over the top of her until she decides to go back in her cell and wait out the traffic.

I went over to the bee supply place on Saturday morning and talked to The Wiz and one of the other guys and showed them pictures of Hjemmelaget and fat Sleipe.  He said Hjemmelaget was just a beauty and even though she looks Italian, he’s sure she’s not because there is not an Italian hive within miles of us. He said he bets that if I look next spring, she’ll have a developed a dark tail end on her, which means she is partially caucasian.

Then he looked at Queen Sleipe and said she was fantastic – very huge and she was a “tiger” queen.  That means she is basically 85% caucasian and 15% Carniolan.  This hive started with Queen Innfødt last year, who was one of the local Mt Spokane caucasian bees that I bought. Then during the drought/heat wave/smoke, she left the hive and they made their own queen – making Queen Sleipe.  So Innfødt had strong enough genes that her eggs made a queen that mated with a Carniolan and created a “tiger” queen.

That means I have a truly local caucasian “tiger” queen, which is a 4th generation local queen now in hive. This is what I really want. Caucasian bees are what are known as “old world” bees – originating from the Caucasus mountains in Russia. They winter over well and were bred and developed by the WSU bee breeding program with the USDA to try to reintroduce more diversity and strength for over-wintering from old world populations.

Yeaaaa girls! So from now on, if I have to buy a queen, I’m going to try to continue to buy Mt Spokane bees so I can keep this caucasian strain alive and well in my hives.

 

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Sep 27 2017

Now the rain is gone

So it rained basically solid for a week after the longest drought ever here. Then it quit over the weekend and it’s been getting slowly warmer and warmer each day – in the low 70’s and will be in the high 70’s by Friday.

I was hoping that there were still things in bloom and not everything had completely died and dried up because, if things are still in bloom, then that rain should have produced a ton of nectar. I was anxious to see if my girls actually were bringing in more food and nectar than they had on the last inspection.

They have certainly been zipping and sparkling in and out and over my yard every minute the sun’s been out this week. So they appear to be very busy and intent on going somewhere.

This morning at about 10am I noticed them flying and zipping like crazy so I went out to get through as many hives as I could in the now warm weather (turned out to be 2 hives – the sweat factor kicked in so I’ll do the third hive on Friday).

I went out and got two sorting boxes out to the beeyard, took all my tools out, took out my new notebook for writing observations in the yard that my niece gave me, took out a container for wax and propolis, and decided to start with the orange hive.

Orange Hive – Queen Dagmar

You can see Queen Dagmar is clearly carniolan with her chocolate brown body, long and full and svelte. She's surrounded by her little girls and is on a frame that has some new nectar and a lot of polished and cleaned cells

You can see Queen Dagmar is clearly carniolan with her chocolate brown body, long and full and svelte. She’s surrounded by her little girls and is on a frame that has some new nectar and a lot of polished and cleaned cells

So Queen Dagmar is a bought Carniolan queen and she’s doing quite fine.

I started up the smoker, put some burlap in and smoked the front door and under the hood and then gently opened up the hive.

The bees were not agitated and very busy. They were a little defensive, which I expected because it’s fall. They weren’t trying to sting me or anything but they did venture out to look at me in the face and spent some time buzzing around my head. Mostly, they just kept to business.

There was a lot of new, still quite liquid nectar in the hive. 16 full frames of nectar in all and 4 frames stuffed and heavy with pollen. So that’s more food than they had prior to the rain and the nectar frames are much heavier and fuller than the previous food frames before the rain. There were 8 frames of bees, which is more bees and 2 frames of capped brood and 3 frames of open and tiny brood with fresh eggs. I found Queen Dagmar in the 2nd box in the middle of the box.

There were 7 completely empty frames. I moved these up to the top box so the 2 boxes of honey would be close to the bees and brood and they can top off the food. I moved the queen down to the bottom box and surrounded her by brood and food.

I closed up the hive. Because the boxes got moved around, I had a different box on top than was previously on top and this one doesn’t quite seem to fit with the lid. I had to kind of bang the hive lid down to get it to sit flat. There is also a kind of gap between this 5th box and the 4th box which was making bees gather along this wide crack and try to get in the hive. They can’t get in, but they continue to gather and try so I finally put a big ol’ piece of duct tape across the crack.

here in dead center is a girl with just ginormous pollen bags on each leg. Notice how the edges of both of her wings are starting to shred - she's been busy all summer and will very soon end her days somewhere out in a field with little shredded wings. See the girls around her who have crisp, defined wing edges

here in dead center is a girl with just ginormous pollen bags on each leg. Notice how the edges of both of her wings are starting to shred – she’s been busy all summer and will very soon end her days somewhere out in a field with little shredded wings. See the girls around her who have crisp, defined wing edges

I then noticed that there was a LOT of kind of aggressive flying around the back of the orange hive and also underneath the screened board. This went on for quite some time, all the way to the end of the inspections and cleanup. I don’t know if having the hive open for that length of time this late in the season started to promote a little robbing situation with the bees next door (in the yellow and blue hives).  I watched for about 20 minutes and this activity continued only at this orange hive – not at all at either of the two other hives.  Here’s a video of the activity.  

I finally decided I wanted to calm them down so I put the shower head on the hose and basically made it rain down from on high over the orange hive for a good 5-7 minutes. That stopped the activity and it didn’t start up again.

Yellow Hive – Queen Sleipe

Sleipe is anything but svelte. Her body is bloated and has shield like segments. Notice the fluffy, small, gray bees to  her left - these are babies newly hatched out

Sleipe is anything but svelte. Her body is bloated and has shield like segments. Notice the fluffy, small, gray bees to her left – these are babies newly hatched out

These girls were also pretty busy and working hard, not agitated but not just calm and lazily working and gently humming like there were earlier in the summer.

There was also a lot of new and runny nectar in this hive. There were 17 frames of nectar, which is a lot more than prior to the rain, and 4 fat frames of pollen. There were 5 frames of capped brood and 2 frames of open and tiny brood and fresh eggs, which is more than last time. There were 8 frames of bees.

I found Queen Sleipe in the bottom box in the center, so I left her there and surrounded her with the brood frames. I moved the box that had 7 empty frames to the 5th position so the two honey boxes would be close to the girls.

I have no idea what Queen Sleipe is – she’s homemade. She is grossly huge, and striped like a tiger. She looks completely UN-Italian but she doesn’t look Carniolan either. And she’s just – huge.

this is a beautifully packed frame of pollen in sorts of oranges and yellows. You can see bits of bee bread in some cells that hasn't been packed down yard yet

this is a beautifully packed frame of pollen in sorts of oranges and yellows. You can see bits of bee bread in some cells that hasn’t been packed down yard yet

I started sweating and dropping a couple of drips on the hive, and the girls really do not like that. So I closed up the girls and I’ll work on the blue hive on Friday.

Here is a cool Slo-Mo video of the activity at the front door of the blue hive.

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Sep 17 2017

I’m shockified

So I got back after being gone for a week and knew I needed to look at the hives to see how they’re doing. Honestly, I figured after 3 weeks of smoke, 2 hives trying to make a queen with nothing at all showing for their work a couple of weeks ago, and the record breaking days without rain (hence – little nectar), and treating the orange hive for mites, I’d be lucky to have enough remnants to combine them all together for the winter.

Ends up, I was shockified. Basically, except for the fact I’m nervous about their winter food stores (I’m always nervous about their winter food stores), they managed to do pretty well on their own. Here are the results.

Since it was overcast and 67 degrees, on the cool side with just a tiny breeze, I decided to go out at about 1:30pm and inspect the hives. I was able to get through all three hives.

Orange Hive – Queen Dagmar

There are 5 boxes on this hive. I smoked the hive and lifted out the top two boxes. These are fairly heavy with honey, I’d say over half, but not staggeringly heavy. Clearly, they’ve been eating their stores.

All in all, there were about 14 frames of food, along with plenty of pollen. There were 5 frames of brood, some capped and some uncapped. There were about 7 full frames of bees. I did sight Queen Dagmar right in the middle of the top of the 3rd box, just under the honey stores. Here is a video of Queen Dagmar. Just as I looked, she had pulled her backside out of a cell and had laid an egg. If you look at the end of her body, you can see her ovipositor sticking out of her bum as she scuttles around trying to find another good cell to lay in.

I carefully left her in her box, surrounded her with the brood frames and pollen on the two sides and set her aside. On top of the first box were the dried up and stuck Mite Away strips I’d left there. There were gobs of tiny dead red mites all over the strips. I peeled them off and put them in the garbage and found 2 frames of fresh brood underneath them. I moved these next to the queen and carefully moved her and her box down to the bottom position and placed the boxes that were light on top of that, then the two honey boxes.

Yellow Hive

This hive has 5 boxes, and the top two had a good amount of food, again not chock full. Throughout the hive, there were 11 frames of food and 3 of pollen.  There were 7 frames of bees. there were 3 frames just covered in capped brood and 2 frames with open brood, both small and eggs.  So clearly there is a home-made queen in here somewhere. I looked through the frames again and couldn’t find her after the second look. So we’ll call her Queen Sleipe, which means “sneaky”.

I moved all the brood carefully to the bottom box, empty/lights on top of that and then the two honey boxes.

Blue Hive

This hive has 5 boxes and the top two again had a good amount of food, but not full. There were 13 frames of food in the hive. There were 11 frames of bees. There were 7 frames of both capped and uncapped brood and I sighted the new home-made queen in the middle of the 3rd box just under the honey frames. She is clearly an Italian (bummer) as you can see in this video of her. But she’s been laying up, good for her. Again, I very carefully moved her and her box to the bottom, surrounded by her brood, with 2 light boxes on top and then the two honey boxes.

She’ll be Queen Hjemmelaget, which means “homemade”.

 

So a pleasant surprise – 3 queens, two of them homemade, doing pretty well. I’m not happy with the amount of honey in the hives, especially as the queens are now laying up for winter and we need a lot of honey for the babies hatching out. So unless some miracle occurs and we get a lot of rain and blossoms in the next 2 weeks, I’ll check how heavy their food is in 2 weeks and I may pop some heavy (2:1) sugar water on just to supplement them in October.

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Aug 29 2017

Blue Hive – Queen anyone?

Today at 9:15am at 75 degrees I went out to check on the blue hive. I got the smoker going, had a sorting box ready. Even though it was already warm out, there was cloud cover so the bees weren’t really flying that much and a lot of them were in the hive.

Blue Hive

The girls were busy and after all my banging and brushing them off frames, a little grumpy but who wouldn’t be? This hive started as a 3X3. I removed the queen excluder for the winter season.

There were 20 frames of bees (again, a lot were in the hive), 1 heavy frame of pollen and 20 frames of nectar or capped honey. There was no queen I could find, no small larvae. However, I did find one frame that had about 25 fresh eggs laid. None of these were multiple eggs in a cell so I don’t think they are workers laying.  There was no sign of any of the previous queen cells left.

I removed an entire box of empty frames so this hive was left, like the others, with 5 boxes for the winter. Again, it’s only been just over two weeks since the queen cells were still whole, so it may take a while for a queen to start laying well.

 

IF this hive has a good queen and she starts laying well, and IF in 2-3 weeks the other queenless hive is still queenless, I’ll probably combine them together for the winter.

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Aug 29 2017

Yellow hive peek and orange hive treatment

So yesterday at about 9am at 74 degrees, I went out to the bee deck with my smoker, a jar with alcohol (in case I needed to inspect for mites in the yellow hive) and a package of Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) for the orange hive.

I smoked the orange hive lightly. Then I removed all the boxes down to the bottom box. Yesterday, I had moved all the little brood there was down to this bottom box with the queen.

I smoked it pretty good to get all the bees off the top bars. I then put on my rubber gloves because you can’t touch this stuff. I snipped open the plastic packet, pulled out the two treatment strips. They’re a solid gel wrapped in a fragile biodegradable paper. I then laid the two strips across the top of the bottom box, at a 90 degree angle to the bars. That drove all the bees down into the hive.

I then placed all the boxes back on top. Now I just let it do it’s work over the next week or so. There may be some bee loss due to the gases in this treatment. I use it because it’s the most gentle (you can use it even with honey supers on the hive, unlike the other treatments). It is a chemical, but with a mite count like I had in this hive, it’s either treat and disrupt, or guaranteed to lose the entire hive to mites.  The lesser of two evils.

I then proceeded to inspect the yellow hive.

Yellow Hive

This started out as a 3X3. I ended up removing the queen excluder and one entire box that was full of empty frames. So it ended up 5 boxes.

There were 17 frames of bees, 3 very heavy frames of pollen, and 14 frames of nectar or honey.

There was not any queen that I could see, although she may still be svelt and hard to find. There was no evidence at all of a queen – not an egg or brood anywhere.  There were no eggs at all, so no workers laying, either.  There were remnant stubs of the chewed out former queen cells. That would seem to indicate a queen got out and the workers chewed the rest of the cells. It has been only just a little over 2 weeks since I saw all the capped queen cells.  And it could take a new queen 4 weeks to get mated and get her mojo going. So I’m still going to give her more time since she has a lot of bees in here and a lot of food.

The girls weren’t aggressive, but there were 3 times I had a guard bee buzzing angrily in front of my face veil and wouldn’t go away until I smoked myself. There were a lot of bees in the hive and I was having trouble getting frames out without disturbing some and trying not to squish them.

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Aug 28 2017

there’s trouble in Mudville

I inspected the orange hive yesterday morning as the bees came out, about 8:45am at 72 degrees.

I got the smoker going and had a box for sorting.

This hive started as a 4X2 hive. The top two honey boxes were set aside. I permanently removed the queen excluder as I won’t be extracting any more honey from this hive and just let them make their own honey into the fall.

There was an “expansion” box of empty frames which was still completely empty so I removed this from the hive.

Orange Hive – Queen Dagmar

There were about 9 frames of bees, all busy and non-aggressive. There were just 2 frames of capped brood, and these were pretty much wall to wall with some pulled out randomly. There were 3 frames that had open brood, tiny brood and eggs. That doesn’t seem like a lot of brood for getting ready to go into winter. I did see the queen scuttling about in the bottom box 1 frame from the farthest west wall. There were 2 frames very heavy with pollen and 13 frames of nectar.

I did my fall mite inspection. I had a quart jar half filled with alcohol, and managed to gently scrape 1/3 – 1/2 cup of bees from the frames with open brood into the jar and put the lid on. Of course, this kills them – which is a shame. But it’s better than losing an entire hive to mites because I couldn’t see the mites on a sticky board or I relied on a “sugar shake” which is completely unreliable in my experience.

I then put the hive back together with just 5 western boxes, the top two with honey.

 

I then went inside and shook and swished and shook and swished the jar with the bees and alcohol for about 2 minutes. I poured them through a screen that was just small enough not to let the dead bees through, but would let anything else through and onto a white pad of paper towels so I could see any mites clearly…and…boy howdy! Just right there on the paper and on the sides of the jar about 25 mites. I didn’t even bother counting.  With 300 bees (1/2 cup), the count should be 5 mites or less.

No wonder she’s not building up very much. I had taken a video of the girls in the hive and here it is.  If you look carefully at the video right when there are 7 seconds left to play and to the end, right in the middle of the screen you can see a girl with a very reddish-brown round mite stuck to her back shoulders. It’s the size that a giant rhinoceros beetle would be on our backs. I didn’t know this would be on the video, but after I realized there were mites, I scanned the video on slow motion carefully and found this poor girl.

So I called around and found a feed and tack store that carries Mite Away Quick Strips, ran over and got a couple of packs (enough for 4 complete treatments).

This morning, when I inspect one of the other hives, I’ll install this treatment on the orange hive.

Here is a video of the girls working the Russian sage in the front yard. You can see just hundreds of bees flickering around in the sage.

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Aug 12 2017

Letting the girls have their heads

So yesterday, Friday, at 8:20am, at  70 degrees, and smoke in the “danger for all persons” zone, I went out and did a quick 30 minute inspection of the hives to see if putting on the liquid feeders prompted the queens in the yellow and blue hives to get their mojo going.

Yellow hive, flip side of the frame. Lots of queen cells built on this one

Yellow hive, flip side of the frame. Lots of queen cells built on this one

It was so smokey the sun didn’t really look like it was up yet so there were very few girls flying even that late in the morning. I knew going in that the hives would be pretty crowded with bees and they might get grumpy.

I started the smoker – which kind of felt counter-productive.  But if I needed to calm them down, I’d have it. I did need a few puffs a couple of times just to get them to stop coming up to my veil and taking a very close peek at my eyes. They weren’t aggressive or thwacking me, but the guards were doing their job.

You’ll be looking down into the hive box with the top bars and down between the frames just absolutely jam packed stuffed with bees. Then a couple of bees will just come flying right up between the bars, straight out, and right up to my veil in front of my face and buzz around looking straight in at me. Like an inch from the veil. So I just lift up the smoker and make a little light puff at my face and they go away.

Yellow hive on one side of the frame. This is actually 3 queens cells all stuck together with walls between them.

Yellow hive on one side of the frame. This is actually 3 queens cells all stuck together with walls between them.

I spent a lot of time coughing and choking out there because of the smoke in the air, not the smoke in my smoker.

In both hives, I just moved all the feed boxes off to the side. They both had 3 boxes pretty darn heavy with nectar and honey getting cured. 

Then I just moved quickly through the 3 brood boxes, starting in the middle frames because that’s normally where you’d find the queen if she was moving (chimneying) up.

In each of the hives, in the bottom box, there was 1 frame of eggs and tiny brood from last time. The Blue Hive had a frame filled half with tiny 2-3 day olds floating in royal jelly, and the Yellow Hive had a frame of fresh eggs and 2-3 day olds that I stole from the Orange Hive.

Blue Hive. Here are a couple of queen cells and in the middle are two queen cups being formed with fat larvae. You can see a few fat, bug-eyed drones on this frame

Blue Hive. Here are a couple of queen cells and in the middle are two queen cups being formed with fat larvae. You can see a few fat, bug-eyed drones on this frame

Neither hive had any fresh eggs or babies. Neither hive had a queen that could be found. Both hives had several frames of pollen being brought in and both hives had a lot of bees – at least 16-20 frames. But both hives, on the previous frames of eggs, were building new queens.  So clearly, there were no queens in these hives and the girls are making some.

I’ve put a couple pictures here of each hive making their queens. I believe the open queen cells are queen cells being still built and being capped over the large queen cells, because they don’t look “torn out”, rather they have smooth edges like they’re being built up. So there is no apparent hatched out queen yet. But pretty soon – those ladies only take about 16 days from laying to hatch out.

When I previously talked to the Wiz about this I was worried there wouldn’t be enough drones for a good mating if I let them make their own queen. But he said not to worry. His “drone yard” was active and had tons and tons of drones and he’s 5 minutes from my house so these girls should get mated well.

Blue Hive. Here you can see a fat queen cell; a big fat drone with gigantic eyes that meet in the middle; and a not quite capped off queen cup with a fat white larvae inside. You can see how these queen cells really do look like peanuts and they're the same size as a big peanut.

Blue Hive. Here you can see a fat queen cell; a big fat drone with gigantic eyes that meet in the middle; and a not quite capped off queen cup with a fat white larvae inside. You can see how these queen cells really do look like peanuts and they’re the same size as a big peanut.

So I’m going to let them do their thang. Give ’em a week to  hatch, 2-3 to get mated and get their mojo going. If at the end of September, they’re not building up like they should for winter, I’ll just combine them either with a good queen if one of the hives has a good queen going, or buy a queen and combine them so they can get ready for building up for winter.  But I’ll let them just be on their own for now.

Go Girls!

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Aug 05 2017

My bee suit smells like a sweaty old man

So I got a call from the Queen Bee and she talked to me about the hives. She agreed completely with everything The Wiz recommended.

She said she thinks sometimes we get to impatient when something goes wrong and just run out and buy a queen to fix it all. Give the bees 2, 3, 4 more weeks to get themselves figured out.

If you end up at the 11th hour (into late September) with 2 dwindling hives that made no queen, just combine them and get a queen in there and feed them. They’ll either make it or they won’t.  But in the meantime, they might have made themselves right.

She said she’s lost queens and lost whole hives in crippling heat like this.

Hive management

So at 6pm tonight, at 90 degrees and 21% humidity, along with choking smoke, I went out for just 10 minutes to make the swap and feed the bees.

I pulled down my bee suit from it’s hook and when I stepped into it – wheeew. I’ve been in and out over the last few weeks in this stifling heat and it smells all sweaty and icky. I’ll have to wash it one of these days when the weather finally cools down.

here are the two hives with their front feeders attached

here are the two hives with their front feeders attached

I got into the orange hive and went straight to the 2nd box, in the middle, and pulled out a frame that had a mix of capped brood, small larvae and tiny larvae. I put in an empty frame and shut the hive up again. Thanks, Queen Dagmar.

I then smoked the yellow hive and pulled all the boxes off the top and down to the 1st/bottom box. I pulled out an empty frame in the middle, plopped this frame with mixed brood down in there, and closed up the hive.

I then put a 2:1 sugar syrup solution in my front feeders (called “boardman” feeders), popped them in to the front of the yellow and blue hives. I always cram 2 shims under them till they’re firmly in place so they don’t slip or fall out.

I’ll see what happens in a few days.

 

I was completely distracted by one of the biggest bumblebees I’ve ever seen in my life and uploaded this video of her. I could hear her go by sounding like some army helicopter. She was landing on the cosmos flowers and the whole flowers were wobbling and swaying trying to hold up her weight. I don’t know if you can tell in this video but that flower is a good 3 1/2 inches across and that bumblebee is the size of my entire thumb (not just the end – the whole thumb). Turn your volume up – you can hear the big BUZZZzzzzzz when it leaves the flower.

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