Monday, August 15, 2011

looking for a queen

I got an email back from John Zawislak with a couple of sources for a locally raised queen. I sent off an email to one,I'm waiting to hear back from him.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

No brood

I looked in my hive today just for the purpose of looking for the queen. I still haven't seen her and I still have no brood. I sent an email to John Zawislak the state's head beekeeper to get his input. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This can't be good

I opened up my hive today for the first time since my last post. Let me back up a bit. Last Monday I went to an organizational meeting for a new local beekeepers association. During the chit chat it was mentioned that we may have to feed our bees all winter because of it being so dry now that there isn't enough necter flow for the bees to feed on.

So, when I opened my hive I noticed the honey supers weren't full. In fact there was very little capped comb. When I got down to the bottom or brood super that's when it looked bad. There was no brood at all. It's almost like I've lost my queen. I'll need to ask around to see if this is common for these conditions or if I need to just start over next spring.

This is the kind of thing that being in a beekeepers association will help me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

From the ground up

Last week my bees were bearding, which means they were hanging out on the outside of the hive. Being new to all of this I didn't know what to make of it so I looked online and found that bees will do this for a number of reasons. Maybe they are hot or it's humid in the hive or possibly they are getting ready to swarm. So I ordered another hive just in case. I was planning on getting another hive this fall anyway so I just got one early

I thought today I'd start photographing the pieces of my hive and assembling them for the benefit of my followers that don't have bees.

This is the hives stand. I'm putting my hive on cinder blocks so I don't really need this but I think it makes the hive look complete. It's only real purpose is to get the hive up off the ground.

This is the screened bottom board. Some bottom boards are solid this one allows for ventilation and allow debris to fall through. The white board you see has a grid printed on it. That's for checking for Verroa mites. The Grid helps you keep track of where you have looked

Here's the bottom board on the the hive stand.

This is a super. It's just a box with no top or bottom.

This is a frame. There are several types and sizes of frames but you match the size to the size of your super. I have medium supers.

This is foundation. I'm using pure beeswax foundation but there are plastic frames and foundation. The black lines you see are wires imbedded in the wax for support.

See how thin the foundation is?

Here's the foundation in the frame. The foundation has the hexagonal shape of the comb cells embossed into it just to give the bees a start. I'm not sure why it's made like that bees already know how to make that shape.

This is a super with the frames in it. I'm using 8 frame supers. Some beekeepers use 10 frame supers.

Here's the super on the bottom board. If I were actually setting up this hive I would put another super with frames on. One for brood and one for honey. Then add another later when the bees had drown out and capped most of the cells.

This is the top board. Think of this as the ceiling of the hive. Notice the notch in the back? That's for ventilation if needed. I can slide the top forward or back to open or close this.

The top board in place.

This is the top to my hive notice it has a ceiling built into it? Most hives just have a flat top. Mine are english garden style so they have the pitched copper top.

This is it all put together. Again if I were actually setting this up I'd have a second super on it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New photo

I changed the header pic to one of my hive after I put on the second honey super. A three story hive. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

busy as bees

I opened up the hive today. I wanted and needed to look at the super I put on a while back. I worked all night and was tired so I didn't take any frames out I just looked down on them and could tell they were pretty much all drawn out and some capped.

I have a picture of my hive with the extra super on it but evidently I haven't down loaded it from my camera yet. Maybe this weekend. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

nothing new

I haven't bothered my bees in a few days so I really have nothing to say. I saw this comic and thought it was funny.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

three story hive

I added another super today. I also looked at the beetle trap. No beetles. I also looked at the grid board, no Varroa mites either. Yea!

To answer Carla's question from the last post. A capped cell is where the bees seal or cap a cell in the comb. In the honey super it means ripe honey. In the brood super it means a larva is pupateing. A super is a box with four sides, no top or bottom that hold the frames of comb.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Got honey

I installed my beetle trap today. It just sets on top of the frames in the top super which is the honey super. I took out a couple of frames to look at the comb and they nearly full of capped cells. I'll put on another super tomorrow. I really hadn't planned on doing that until maybe next spring but the bees have been busy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

no news.

Nothing new to report. It's been so rainy I didn't want to open up the hive. I want to look at the brood comb again and put in a beetle trap. We are supposed to have nice weather for the next couple of days so maybe.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

No more freeloading

Today I looked in on the bees. Literally...I took the top off the hive and looked in. They have the comb fully drawn out in the honey super so no more feeding. They will now have to gather necter for their sugar water fix. No more freeloading!

Last night was the final class in the beginners beekeeping class. It was nice to be able to have things explained that I had only read about. I asked the teacher if bees built queen cells just for the sake of building them. He said they will sometimes build the cups just to haave them on hand but unless they need a new queen they won't have larva in them. Now I need to look for the queen again.

For anyone in Arkansas interested the contact info for instructor is...

Jon Zawislak

University of Arkansas

Cooperation Extention service

2301 University Ave.

Little Rock, AR 72204


He says email is the best way to get a good answer because he travels withhis job so much.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

One week later.....

This morning I opened up the hive for the first time in the daytime. It's been one week so I wanted to see how things were progressing and also look for the queen. After smoking them and taking the top off I looked at a few of the frames in the honey super. The comb is being drawn out nicely. I set the super off and took a couple of frames out of the brood super. This makes room for me to just slide over the rest of the frames as I inspect them. I saw capped brood cells and larva in different stages of development. Everything looked good except.......I also saw queen cells and I never found the queen. Now,not finding the queen isn't bad. Sometimes it takes even an experienced beekeeper a couple of times to find her but not finding her AND having queen cells being built means to me that I've lost my queen and they are in the process of replacing her. I'll ask the instructor Wednesday night about it. Have I mentioned I'm going to a beginners beekeeping class? It's being given by the University of Arkansas County Extension service. The instructor is the "head beekeeper" for the state. I started putting it all back and when I was trying to put the honey super back on I must have mashed some bees or angered them is some way because I got stung twice. I think it was my fault for getting complacent with the bees. I was handling the frames without gloves and the bees didn't seem to be bothered by it. I should have smoked the brood to drive the bees down and smoke the honey super to calm those bees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Here's my hive.

I've added a picture of my hive to the header now I'm going to try to add a pic to the body of the post.

Success! See the bees with the yellow leggings? That's pollen. I've been calling them my little freeloaders because they've just been drinking the syrup in the feeder but now they are starting to forage. I've wondered if they were actually drinking that syrup or if they tiny carboys they were putting it in to make their own brew.

The bees R buzzin'

I haven't posted in a couple of days basicly because I haven't done anything except feed the little freeloaders. I did notice today when I filled the feeder that there were several landing on the hive with pollen on their legs so I know they are now starting to forage.

For those wanting viuals I tooks a couple of pictures today. the next step is figuring out how to post them on here. I suppose I'll need to upload them to Flicker and then link to them. If anyone has a better way please let me know.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day two...the facination continues

I looked first thing this morning and the feeder was nearly empty. My feeder is a quart size liquid feeder that I put a sugar water solution in. This gives the bees something to eat until they start foraging for nectar. I said "I thought they were supposed to be asleep at night, not drinking." Mom said "It was Saturday night. They spent the night drinking." So anyway, I poured in what syrup I had mixed which was about a half quart. A little after noon I refilled it again. I've read that it's a good idea to put some sort of weight on top of the hive to keep the wind from blowing it off. I have a nice English garden hive with a copper top. I didn't want some tacky looking brick on top so I came up with another idea. I tied a brick to each end of a cord then draped it over the top. I let the bricks hang just off the ground. My hive is on cinder blocks to get it up off the ground so the bricks are hardly noticeable. Tonight I put on my long sleeve white t-shirt and veil, lit the smoker and went out to open the hive. I took the top super off which had some bees in it. This is where they will store the extra honey. In the bottom super where they will raise brood was full of bees. The guy I got them from told me he gave me the second swarm he caught because the first one wasn't as big as he wanted to give me. I thought that was very nice of him. :) I need to order a few things to make the job easier. One being a frame perch so I can hang a frame or two and not have to set them on the ground. You just can't help but look at the hive even from the window. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Adventure in one

I picked up my hive today just before sundown when they had all gone in for the night. I got them home and put the honey super on with all the frames. It's dark now and I'm putting this together with my Dad holding the flash light. I didn't smoke the hive or have any protective clothing on and only got stung once. I think that was because she was on my vest and I brushed my hand aginst her. The temp was in the 50's and a 99% full moon.