Saturday, April 26, 2008

Warmer weather - time to check bees

I looked at all my hives yesterday. I found all five of my queens and saw nice solid laying patterns - large patches of cells completely filled with eggs and larvae. They had stored syrup in both the newly drawn comb on the plastic foundation, and in the drawn comb I'd given them. I'll continue feeding - the dandelions have not bloomed very much yet.

All the new hives looked prosperous, with new cells drawn on the plastic sheets. I have seen the light: I love the plastic foundation sheets. The bees go right to work on them. They save a lot of time futzing around stringing wire and embedding pure wax foundation.

Today I'll remove the restrictions at the openings of my hives.

I look forward to reading your comments - I'd like to hear of your experiences of looking into your hives.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cold Weather

This cold weather will be very hard on the packages, especially those that were installed on foundation.  I am expecting some losses in the group.  There is not much to do other than wait it out.  Tuesday (tomorrow) looks like the best day to look at your hives.  If you have not already done so, check to be sure the queen has been released.  I would not check for eggs.  The less disruption the better.  Also, I have switched to medicated syrup because nosema is likely in this cold weather.  If others are interested, I have an extra bottle ($50) that would make 20 gals.  I could sell half a bottle.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cold Weather

WARNING: For those starting with the foundation sheets (most of you) - be sure to keep an eye on the sugar syrup jar. Maybe keep a second full jar in reserve at all times so you can quickly swap out a jar that's low or empty.
Most likely, the bees don't have much drawn comb to store syrup in; they will starve if they have nothing coming in.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So how did it go??

We can learn from each other's experiences.
Let's hear yours! Please take a few minutes to COMMENT on the thread below.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eat, drink, and Bee Mary

Hello Everyone,

My name is Mary McIvor and Dave has asked that I make an occasional post as one of the newbies to beekeeping. I am so excited the bees are coming tomorrow--I feel like an expectant mother!

I have so many questions and I also have concerns about how to tell how my hives are doing. My idea is that we share information about what we are observing with our new hives and discuss what we find. Maybe this way we can tell if we are doing okay by our bees. Dave and Craig, feel free to let us know if you notice anything in our posts that concerns you or, even better, that you find promising!

The second benefit I see is that it might encourage us to keep better hive records. Let's wait until after the next weekend to give everyone a chance to watch your bees for a week or so, then you can comment on this post.

This week's request is that you give us some feedback about how much sugar water your bees are consuming.
  • Are your hives feeding at the same rate?
  • It would be helpful if you could estimate how many quarts per week, so our units are the same.
  • After a few weeks, it might help us determine when the bees have discovered a nectar flow, as consumption of sugar water should decline.

  • If you can also give your general area, we may even be able to track differences between hives in various parts of the Methow.
Thanks so much and happy hiving! :)


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Note from Craig to Dave


I've been puzzling about why it seems that feral hives that are
established, say in the side of a house, a tree trunk, etc. seem to
have a better survival rate than mine. In Carlton, out of four hives
I know of, one in a log was destroyed by a bear, one in a wall was
poisoned by the owner (to my dismay), and two were removed from
houses by beekeepers.

I can't think of a single wild hive that was lost due to winter kill.

Is that your observance also?

If so, I've been wondering why.

Perhaps the process of honey removal in the fall is a major factor.
Imagine coming home in October to discover your wood pile mostly
gone, your house ransacked and holes in all the walls to let the wind
blow through. Two weeks later it is winter.

If there is anything to this, perhaps fall is the wrong time to
remove honey.

Why couldn't it wait until the spring?

The only down side I can think of is possible crystallization over the
winter. It seems like when I take honey off of dead outs in the
spring, most of the remaining capped honey is OK, only uncapped is
crystallized. However, I say this from memory and am not really sure
how true that is.

Another management technique would be to take off early honey, say in
mid-August and then leave the hives heavy over the winter. Say four
boxes high.

In the spring, remove dead outs and strip whatever seems excess for
the survivors.

What do you think?


P.S.: Iif you think there is anything to this, you might post it on the
blog. Perhaps we could do a study with the class.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Upcoming sessions

April/May planned events (updated April 17):

1. Distribution of the second half of the woodenware order: sometime late April to early May. Each hive should have two brood boxes and two supers. Most people only picked up one deep brood box and one shallow super.

2. Next field trip to Dave Sabold's apiary to examine the progress of the newly hived package bees, and answer questions about management of your own new bees. Time TBA (to be announced)