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Author Topic: Hive Cleaning - my next project  (Read 1801 times)
beemaster
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« on: March 13, 2006, 05:57:42 PM »

It was a beautiful day here in New Jersey, hi was almost 80F and sunny. I got home at 3pm and noticed the feral bees, which were stealing pollen from our pan of bird/squirrel food, had found my hives (note: if you missed it my two colonies didn't make it through the Winter) and these feral bees are gaining in number as the salvage the remains of the honey stores.

This is where I remind you of "The Swarm That Found Me" a post from 2 seasons ago when I had a box of frames which a swarm had moved into INSIDE my tool shed all on their own. Those bees migrated (with the help of Big Rog) to Richmond, Virginia.

I'm wondering if I'll get "lucky" and this feral hive(s) will scout out my hive boxes and move in? I say feral because I honestly do not know of any other beekeepers within many many miles.

I wouldn't mind catching a swarm or two, but if they decide to move themselves in, all the easier for me. Then, it's observation and medication if needed.

But back to my first point, I cleaned up the frames, removed all burr comb basically and all dead bees, brushed out wax crumbs and have everything as SPIFFY as I can. For a few days, I'll let them salvage what they can, hoping they may move in. If not, I'll board up the entrance and start working on plan two - finding or ordering bees. If I guessed, I'd say I have about 10-14 pounds of sealed honey total in each hive, so there is a lot to pick at.

I made up my mind that I will make the effort to have bees again this year. I hate to miss a season and especially after slacking off last year and having my hives suffer from my poor beekeeping habits.

That's why I say, Beemaster is a moniker, not a title - I'm JOE BEEKEEPER and I make all the same bad decisions and mistakes that we all come here to try and resolve. I refuse to let my own sloppy habits repeat themselves again, to do so is to accept failure in a vocation I passionately try to propagate through our forum and the beekeeping course. Speaking of which, I have been actively tweaking and adding to the Beekeeping Course Homepage, adding links to many of the forums, both to entice new members and to give visitors access to all the great content found here in the forums.

So, I'm back to a clean and honestly healthy looking 4 supers filled with fully drawn, clean smelling and pliable comb. The frames are scraped clean of excess wax and they are secure at the nails and easily inspectable. Now to give the foragers a chance to waggle-dance this jackpot of honey and ample housing to the rest of their hive(s) and WHETHER absconding or swarming I may just net myself a colony or two yet.

Wish me luck and wish me healthy bees, or at least bees I can treat and make Winter-ready next October.

P.S. I communicated by email with Big Rog, he is doing okay, but he has many things that has residence over his time on the Internet and in the forum. He is working a lot and he says hi to everyone. I hope he rejoins us soon, I miss having him here with us.
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2006, 07:57:12 PM »

Hi There Beemaster

You know I had that happen last week> I had two hives die off and one left. Went to check my surviving hive and a swarm had moved in one of the hives. Went to leave, spotted a swarm on a bush about a hundred feet away, hived it - two swarms in one day how lucky. Now I have three and two packages coming in april yippeeeeee!

kirko
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2006, 08:06:35 PM »

Beemaster, how long have you been keeping bees?
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beemaster
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2006, 08:36:24 PM »

Kirk:

That is incredible, such good luck - obviously all your planets were aligned that week! That is the kind of luck I'm hoping for, so I see it isn't impossible  Cheesy

NewBee:

I started when I was 14 (give or take a few months) and I've had bees about 20 of the last 34 years since I started. The most hives I've ever maintained was 11, but I can only fit 3 max on my small property.

I also helped out two seasons with a pollinator who handled cranberry bogs in my area - much of central-southern New Jersey is cranberry/blueberry crops.
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2006, 08:51:37 PM »

I had 3 here in my yard, 1 died. I am going to have 5 total this spring. I have 1/2 acre total, but use half as my beeyard. How small is small? I am wondering if 5 hives is too much for a 1/4 acre.
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2006, 11:22:05 PM »

NewBee:

Good questions and I think the answer DOESN'T lie in your yard, but the foragable foliage, flora and fauna - I need to look up that fauna part  embarassed  It really does make a difference since honeybees (at least in my experience) tend to forage away from their hive, but my property is so small, they have little choice but to look elsewhere. The also seem to forage away from the hive so not to attract attention to food sources. I have seen bees (other than mine) in my yard take off and fly to unknown spots far to the South of my property into the Great Pinelands of NJ.

Meanwhile, my bees take off and then fly up and away, they rarely just hop from my hives and land on plants, flowers or trees in my yard.

I have a sustainable Spring to Fall crops for many hives, between the thousands of acres to the South, garden centers to the North just 1/2 mile away, cranberry bogs to the west about 1 mile away and a sizable lake with lilypads half way to the bogs and also many wetlands, streams and ponds. The big yield of pollen in the late Spring is Locust trees which are plentiful - this is my main crop of food for the hives SECOND run of brood.

It is important to know that EVERYTHING (there are NO EXCEPTIONS in this Universe of ours) "Cycles" including the WAVES of hatching brood, the emptying of their cells and the laying of a new egg, then it starts all over again. CYCLING is a great topic to discuss in the DARKSIDE FORUM, it is interesting, how everything from heart-beats, breathing, planet rotation, musical notes, radio frequencies, bumps in the roads ALL CYCLE - everything does, everything.

If your local pollen and nectar "occupies and overlaps" your warm seasons, your bees can flourish - but it is something you need to discover yourself.

I think using Google's satellite mapping is a great way to spot possible hot-spots that can serve as grocery stores for our bees. I'll upload a photo of my area to show you what I have around me as soon as I get to mark a map, probably tomorrow after work at 3pm est. You'll see how I can justify many hives, but as you see I need to better tend the ones I have first.

In my case, I have a 105x55 lot with a 40x20 home, 37x9 motorcoach and 2 sheds each 8x10. That leaves very little room for hives, that's why 3 is the limit - before the motorhome I could justify more, but there is a give and take to what available space I have.

More later, I want to talk about this more - please add any comments, I think it is a good topic. Now, it's 11:15pm and I go to work in 6 hours, goodnight   wink
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2006, 02:13:23 AM »

Wow mate you sound like a coiled spring! Its all ready to go! Those bees must be nuts if they dont move in.
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2006, 04:44:47 PM »

I was thinking too many hives (too much bee traffic) in one small area.
I know bees will forage a couple miles, I will soon find out if my neighborhood could handle 5 hives. There is a couple of beekeepers about 2 to 3 miles south of me.
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2006, 06:33:12 PM »

NEIGHBORS are a totally different topic - you can often have only one hive and that is one too many to a uneducated or Leary neighbor - bee traffic isn't much of an issue as long as their flight path doesn't intrude on people activities.

My side walk is 10 feet from my hives, it forms a "T" where the sidewalk is the top of the T and the flight path is the vertical line. The bees "ping" off of you and go about their business, no one has ever gotten stung, but lots of bees do bounce off of you if you stand there on the sidewalk.

I can only speak for myself, but two hives is plenty under my situation, if I had additional hives now, I'd move them to the back yard where they are less noticeable to the neighbors.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2006, 07:44:31 AM »

>I was thinking too many hives (too much bee traffic) in one small area.

I have about 25 in my back yard, but I'm out in the country.  If you count nucs it gets up around a hundred at times.
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