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Author Topic: Huge hello from Oregon  (Read 6445 times)
Denise
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« on: April 12, 2006, 05:46:52 PM »

Greetings!
My hubby and I are brand new to beekeeping this year and jumped in with both feet a few days ago. We are still waiting for our packaged bees (delayed because of the rain in CA), but we did get an existing hive already in progress from someone he works with. Aparently he had been a beekeeper and his hive died out some time ago. The hive sat empty until last fall when a swarm took up residence. He is moving and asked if we wanted the whole kit and kaboodle. Well, he brought it over this past Sunday and we let them settle in and reset their GPS before taking a peek. We did so yesterday and found an absolute mess. He had put 2 honey supers on (in addition to the 2 deeps) and the 2nd one only had 9 of the 10 frames. Bee Space Disaster. It was awful. It looked like Duraguilt frames that just came apart down to the plastic. The bees did the best they could but they HAD to come out. I felt terrible about causing Armageddon in the hive, but it had to be done. The comb was in hideous shapes and sizes filled with brood and honey. These bees were incredibly tolerant of our ripping and shredding of their home. They were calm as can be. I was quite a bit less calm because I felt so bad to cause such an upheaval for them. We looked hard for the queen on those bad frames but didn't spot her. We just shook everyone off each frame back into the main part of the hive. What a way to be introduced to inspecting a hive! I took a look at some of the pupa and we do have a good case of Varroa mites to deal with.  huh  At least we know.
We stopped at that point and put a new super on in place of the cruddy one and closed up the hive. They had enough for one day. We will go back in and check the 2 deeps when they have a chance to calm down and get things rolling again. I have a bad feeling we will find more problems with those as well. My poor girls!
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2006, 06:53:07 PM »

>the 2nd one only had 9 of the 10 frames.

That's standard for a honey super if you're going to extract because you want the combs thicker to be easier to uncap.  But you have to have it draw before it works well.

> Bee Space Disaster.

Spacing between honey combs is not a constant.  The bees sometimes build comb 2" or more thick, so it's not really an issue of beespace here.  In the brood nest it really ought to be between 1 1/4" and 1 3/8" spacing between combs.

>It was awful. It looked like Duraguilt frames that just came apart down to the plastic.

Once the bees chew the duraguilt (or duracomb)  down to the smooth plastic they will never build on it.

> The bees did the best they could but they HAD to come out. I felt terrible about causing Armageddon in the hive, but it had to be done. The comb was in hideous shapes and sizes filled with brood and honey. These bees were incredibly tolerant of our ripping and shredding of their home. They were calm as can be. I was quite a bit less calm because I felt so bad to cause such an upheaval for them.

Actually if you pull the super and set it on end so the sun and wind are blowing through, you'll find they will usually go back to the hive in a fairly short time and you don't have to deal with many bees.

> We looked hard for the queen on those bad frames but didn't spot her. We just shook everyone off each frame back into the main part of the hive.

Good plan.

> I took a look at some of the pupa and we do have a good case of Varroa mites to deal with.

How many mites in a typical pupae cell?  In a drone cell?  In a worker cell?

> Confused At least we know.
We stopped at that point and put a new super on in place of the cruddy one and closed up the hive. They had enough for one day. We will go back in and check the 2 deeps when they have a chance to calm down and get things rolling again.

Good idea to let them regroup.

> I have a bad feeling we will find more problems with those as well. My poor girls!

Quite possibly.
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Denise
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 01:54:39 AM »

>Once the bees chew the duraguilt (or duracomb) down to the smooth plastic they will never build on it.

Oh my, they sure tried. Most of the comb wasn't attached to the plastic, but to the wooden frame. So basically, there was a space under the comb on top of the plastic (if you can picture THAT!  shocked ) Some of the plastic was missing chunks and that made things even worse. I think those frames had seen way better days. The comb was in weird waves, chunks and shapes and looked funky.

>That's standard for a honey super if you're going to extract because you want the combs thicker to be easier to uncap. But you have to have it draw before it works well.

The top super had 10 frames, the next had 9. It was pretty strange. But then, the guy who had the hive really wasn't paying much attention by this time. He just wanted to get rid of it.

>How many mites in a typical pupae cell? In a drone cell? In a worker cell?

It looked like at least 3 and 4 mites per pupae in several worker cells. Yuck.
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2006, 06:20:58 AM »

>Oh my, they sure tried. Most of the comb wasn't attached to the plastic, but to the wooden frame. So basically, there was a space under the comb on top of the plastic (if you can picture THAT! Shocked )

I've seen it thousands of times on Duragil, Duracomb and even on the ebossed plastic.  Yes, I can picture that.  Smiley

> Some of the plastic was missing chunks and that made things even worse. I think those frames had seen way better days.

At least the foundation had seen better days.  The frames are probably fine.

> The comb was in weird waves, chunks and shapes and looked funky.

Yep.  And that's with foundation.  Smiley  I usually don't use foundation and usually get better combs than that.  Smiley

>The top super had 10 frames, the next had 9. It was pretty strange. But then, the guy who had the hive really wasn't paying much attention by this time. He just wanted to get rid of it.

I put 10 in when they are undrawn foundation and nine or even eight in when they are drawn already.

>It looked like at least 3 and 4 mites per pupae in several worker cells. Yuck.

You have SERIOUS problems.  I'd buy an Oxalic Acid vaporizer and vaporize them onece a week for three weeks.  You MIGHT get it under control.

http://bwrangler.madpage.com/bee/goxa.htm
http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln/
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Denise
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2006, 02:20:04 PM »

Thank you so much for the info! We need all the help we can get as we learn. I just don't want to learn at the expense of the bees though! I would rather ask before we do. So I will be asking all kinds of questions.

Our packaged bees are in today and we will be picking them up later this evening. Wheee!  Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2006, 06:10:54 PM »

Denise:

First the good news (I believe) you have found a very helpful resource here in the forums to get you through even the toughest times - welcome aboard to you and hubby!

Similarly, I had a swarm who found some extra supers and drawn comb in my shed, I brought this up to a viable and thriving hive, gave it to a member here and it ended up needing varroa treatment but I think was otherwise well.

Sometimes the best intentions just go sour. I hope that your packaged bees stay healthy and become all that you dream them to be! I just read they have arrived locally - best of luck and smooth installing.

http://www.beemaster.com/inst2004.html might help a little - it's just a quickie photo tutorial I did to show an easier way of getting the bees from the shipping box. Most people (not mentioning any names  rolleyes ) bounce them around like a ping-pong ball in a cracker box trying to get every last bee out - I don't think causing such turmoil during installation is harmonious to a hive's first impression of their new beekeeper.

____________________

Keep us posted on how things go - you have plenty of help here and rest assure that NO MATTER WHAT PROBLEM YOU RUN INTO - there are people here who have had the same or similar problems. And there is always plenty of opinions, the best opinions are ALWAYS the ones that make the most sense to you - use your common sense, and if you ever need greater detailed answers, don't be afraid to ask - there are plenty of great beekeepers here from wanna-bees to commercial level, having so many opinions to read is the most powerful feature of the forums.

Welcome again!!!
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2006, 01:06:46 PM »

Thank you for the welcome! I'm glad to have you as a resource as we get into our new hobby. I'll have lots to ask about! Books are good, but it's better to have people to ask who have been doing this for awhile.

We picked up the girls yesterday afternoon from the bee supplier. It got COLD last night (about 30F), so we decided to wait until tonite to hive them. They are still in their package on our enclosed porch. Our "garage" is an old brooding house for chickens so that would be way too drafty. We live on an old egg farm so we don't have your typical house-with-a-garage setup. 2 chicken houses, brooding house and a granary. Plenty of things for the ladies to get pollen and nectar though. The cherries, apples and plums are in bloom. If the dang rain ever quits, they might be able to make use of it.  rolleyes

It's supposed to be dry and about 65F today so we should be able to get them into their new home.  I'll get pics and keep you posted!

Should we give them sugar syrup anyway?
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2006, 01:40:08 PM »

Feeding the bees once hived is very important for FAST wax production - I have read that it takes about 8 pounds of honey (or sugar syrup) to convert into 1 pound of wax production in a hive.

To give yourself the most egg laying space and pollen storage as the brood needs immediate feeding, you need lots of wax, so feeding them until you see them NOT taking the syrup - which is often 2 to 3 weeks.

A 3 pound package of bees will take about 1.5 pints of syrup a day as it builds up comb. It really is a real construction symphony they do - balancing storqge for food and brood in a way that makes the most use of all resources is quite magical and typically conducted by the 2-3 week old workers who do most of the in hive duties. They "readily" or "Reluctantly" accept what the foragers bring to the hive, this gives the foragers a heads up on whether they should continue to bring back what they brought back last time, or to gather something different.

Sounds like you'll have ideal temps for installing today. Talk soon!!!
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2006, 11:27:50 AM »

We did it! They're in the hive. Not without quite a bit of scrambling and cursing on our part. "Where's this? Where's that? Dammit!" I made 2 trips to the house. The shipping cage didn't come with a lid. Great. Beekeeping For Dummies makes a great lid. The queen cage didn't come with a candy plug, only a cork one. Great. We improvised as best we could with something else. We will check in a few days and see if she has been released. If not, we can let her out ourselves. They should be used to her by then (I hope).








Lots to do around our place this time of year. Apples, plums, cherries and pears are all in bloom.
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2006, 11:59:45 AM »

Denise GREAT JOB!!!! and GREAT PICS - and I wonder if knew I took the photo on the cover of the Beekeeping for Dummies book?? I hope you had it cover up  wink

That was a project I did in 2001, there are a few dozen pics of mine in the book - sadly all black and white (not sure why I didn't get into the color center section) but I was really proud with the cover - and the last printed page (the photo on the Bee Culture Magazine) that's mine also - that cover is a phony though, it was made strictly for the Dummies book, I've never had a photo in Bee Culture - yet Smiley

Just some insider info that I thought you might find interesting. Again, best of luck, glad the weather was with you too. Keep them posts coming!!!!

By the Way... I'd love to have a yard/property that huge and spacy - wow!
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2006, 01:06:44 PM »

You did that picture on the cover!? I love that one. The colors are so gorgeous. The Dummies book is my favorite of all the ones I've read for information. It's got humor as well as good info. It did get sugar syrup on the cover, but it washed right off.  Tongue

We have 5 acres and are surrounded by lots of orchards in addition to our own. There is a cherry orchard down the street well within the bees range. There are also lots of filbert orchards to get pollen. There's no shortage of that! We have plums, apples, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, pears and grapes. Our output of fruit has been low in the last few years because of the lack of pollination. Hopefully our girls with help with that this year. Go girls!!
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2006, 02:35:49 PM »

Thanks for the kudos on the photo - Howland personally thanks him for making him a very rich man (with the book in its 11th? printing) meanwhile, I just glory of occasionally sharing my 15 minutes of fame Smiley

I'll never forget that day. I took a full frame of brood and pollen and stacked it onto my open mailbox so that I had good sunlight into the cells - I used an Olympus 3000 digital camera with macro lens. I knew the second I took the photo it was the cover shot.

There is a bit of digital magic-try to the photo (nothing to disappoint your image of it being a sweet photo) but there was a second worker bee in the photo (just her head really) and I covered her head up with a cloned cells from a part of the picture ( the ORANGE CELL at the center left position is the cells I took from the upper right cell nearest the workers right wing tip. If you look close you see this is the same cell (and a small chunk of the green cell next to it) but the colors are 100% real, nothing was doctored other than removing the workers head.

Also, the original image had the bee facing to the right, not the left - here is the original cover layout www.beemaster.com/bkd.html - this photo here has been seen by very few people - I'm happy to share it with you Smiley

I'm wondering ( a question on my main Beekeeping Course page, did you find the link for the 2001 beekeeping logbook season?) I'm asking because it was my own BLOG like FULL SEASON of beekeeping mixed with a huge part of my personal life, including mentoring a young boy, going through some very serious health issues and also following as I did these photos for Dummies) I'd like to know if my page is laid out well enough that new visitors are finding all the content. This 2001 logbook was intensively created and I think some of my finest writing, I'd like to know if it is getting read. Who better than a new beekeeper searching out all the info they can on the hobby Smiley Please let me know.

Here is the beekeeping course main page http://www.beemaster.com/honeybee/beehome.htm

the link to the 2001 season is there somewhere - lol. I hope you have found it, but here is the link if not. http://www.beemaster.com/honeybee/beelog.html and I hope that if you have NOT read through it, you will find lots of important thoughts about GETTING INTO THE HEADS OF THE BEES and other great newbie stuff - stuff the personal content that I take pride in - I helped raise a young boy from 12 to 18 from a dysfunctional home, we have trips detailed in my TRAVEL SECTION also where he and I went to Washington, DC, actually even went flying a parachute type airplane on his 16th birthday.

Sorry for babbling. I enjoy the chat of an intelligent lady with the passion of a new beekeeper - I have always said "I am not lucky... I'm blessed!" and I do believe that. My wonderful wife Tracey found beekeeping to bee wonderfully interesting and in the install photo tutorial SHE was the camera operator Smiley

Lastly, 5 acres is unheard of in my part of the country - I live on a 105X55 lot in the center of a small town pop. 3500 and the whole town (Lakehurst, NJ) is 1 square mile. A new home on a 120x80 lot (2 bedroom 1.5 baths) sells in the $350K range - I just don't know how a young couple, making less than $40K a year each, can even afford a mortgage, let known eating.

I can only dream of a few acres upon retirement, somewhere warmer but not hot, hilly or mountainous - I'm 14 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and I haven't been to it more than a dozen times in my life - oceans, beaches and such really don't interest me - give me woods, animals and elbow room from neighbors.
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2006, 05:03:43 PM »

I've been browsing the web for several months now anticipating the arrival of our bees looking for info. Your site is the best one I've come across. I did find your beekeeping course and the blog in my browsing and that was how I found this forum. I really liked the way you had everything laid out. It's thorough without being overdone or dry. Some are just too technical or just plain blah. I did the same before I got my chickens. I read everything I could find before the peeps arrived in the feed stores. When people hear what we have they go "chickens and bees?" Quite the combo.

I'm the camera operator in this endeavor so it looks like I'm not doing much except reading! I made the multiple trips back and forth to the house to get forgotten items. As well as handing him this and that. It's a bummer to try to find a piece of candy wearing a full suit, veil and gloves. Kind of clunky.  rolleyes  

I'm kind of passionate about what we are doing. These are living things that I respect and want to do everything we can to help them out and not hurt too many in the process. That was why I read every book I could get my hands on to get more than one perspective. My favorites were the ones that were about life with bees. The Queen Must Die by William Longgood and A book of bees by Sue Hubbel were excellent.
One of the things I really liked about the Dummies book was Howland's respect for the bees. He refers to them as "the ladies" and "the girls" and says several times to take it easy and not squoosh anyone.  I know sometimes no matter how careful, some do get smooshed, but he cares. We watched one video where the guy must have mashed dozens and really didn't care or mention to be careful.   huh

I'm blessed myself to be able to live where we do. I love my elbow room and lack of neighbors. I don't know how people can live 4 feet from one another. Hillsboro is building thousands of new homes that are butted right up against each other. We call them Rapunzel Towers because they are tall and thin. Blah. We are now fighting to keep what we have thanks to a new ballot measure recently passed that may endanger our quality of life out there. The law said you couldn't build out there, but they are trying to change it so they can. The LAST thing we want is a subdivision near us. Makes me ill to think about.  Greedy people suck.
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2006, 06:00:11 PM »

Just a final thought about space - I have 12 acres directly across from my house which has been rezone to residential and 22 town-homes will be there - I'm sure within a year. You are right, it is sickening.

I'm at the point (I think) where if the owner of the property offers us good dollar for our home we might just take it and get away from here - this after living in my home since I was 5 - ugh. It is an older home (180+ years old) but in relatively good shape considering, but as I get older and with bad knees, having a nice modular with locked in neighbors spaced nicely sounds like heaven as I approach the thought of these town homes.

Glad that you found my site navigational - that was a serious goal of mine, nothing worse than having a site filled with content and you can never 1) find it at all or 2) never re-find it once you have found it. I try to always make my pages so they are only one click away from a main hub page.

The idea of keeping the content interesting, hopefully humorous and entertaining was important too - as you said, there are lots of stuffy sites or pages that seem to be aimed at preschoolers. I have always tried to keep my writing at level where all ages could gather results without being taxed mentally or talked down to.

I enjoy writing which is a blessing - having a free flowing writing style makes doing these pages and posts (especially those in the forum) much less labor intensive and frankly much more fun to do.

Again, glad you found the site and lots of neat stuff will be coming over the Summer - the biggest is more features, lots more space, and plenty of new features for members. So we'll be growing as your bees do.

About Howland's respect for EACH bee in the hive - I have spoken to Howland hours, dozens of hours on the phone and we really spent much of that time honing ways to reduce death through poor inspection and extraction methods. Showing EVERY BEE that it is thought of as meaningful life comes back to you as Karma - I really believe that. Respecting them is the best way to have bees that learn you are just another bee doing a different job at the hive.
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2006, 10:51:10 AM »

Got my first sting yesterday and we weren't even near the hives.  shocked  My hubby wanted to show me the difference in the temperments of the 2 hives. If you walk around the one we inherited, they don't even notice, but the new hive with the package bees will dive-bomb you. So he came back to where I was standing and one got tangled in his hair. This has happened to me twice so far and both times he admonished me for "freaking out". I just shook my head to get her out so I would get stung in the scalp. He did the same thing and she came my way at Warp 10. Hit me right in the face. Smack! I got lucky because the stinger didn't stay stuck and she just ricocheted right off. It did burn and hurt and swell up, but wasn't as bad as it could have been. I got some ice on it and the swelling went right back down. Whew. Up until now, I've never been stung. Ever. Not sure how that happened. I've always ran from yellow jackets and other hornets every time. They are just too mean and unpredictable.

At least now I can say I've BEEN stung. But did it have to be my face? Sheesh!  rolleyes
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2006, 11:41:05 AM »

Quote from: Denise
If you walk around the one we inherited, they don't even notice, but the new hive with the package bees will dive-bomb you.


Sounds like you got some mean bees.  I would keep an eye on them.  Just walking around the hive should not cause them to get angry.  Since they are a package, their numbers are down,  and.  the good news is,  these bees are not offsprings of your current quuen,  so hopefully they will get better.  Have they released/accepted the new queen?  Sometimes hot hives don't easily accept a new queen.
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2006, 03:33:10 PM »

I'm wondering too about where you approached the hives from and even hairsprays, deodorants, soaps, and other things that may not agree with a package which hasn't settled in yet.

First, stay clear of the front - I hope you are feeding them already too. Keep to the back and sides and if you are doing stuff with the chickens, it might be alerting the bees too.

But as Robo said, these bees and that queen are NOT blood relatives, the life span of workers is 5 to 6 weeks typically, and if you assume HALF your package are bees at least half that age, then within 2 weeks your bees will be slowing down and dying off.

Within 2 weeks of that, the nursing bees (at least all in hive bees) will be from your new queen and 2 weeks later ALL the bees (give or take a few thousand) that start foraging are FROM your new queen - hopefully they will take on a much gentler nature, that of their mother (fingers crossed)

Sometimes though - you just get a nasty bunch of bees and queen replaceall may be the only cure - but THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT - this is something a month or two from now you'd take in to thought if you still had nasty bees.

Remember to give them a few days to get the queen loose from the queen cage, during the first 4 to 5 days I do NOT go into the hives at all - some people disagree and many have VERY DIFFERENT METHODS, I'm just stating that I leave them alone for about 5 days, my thinking is to cut down on internal anxiety in the hive - if they had JUST released her and I'm in their with the smoker blaring, pulling frames up and flipping them around, surely the bees are in a more alert mode and COULD cause Balling off the queen, which is basically ganging up on her and stinging her to death.

This 5 day window is important I think, observing them from the side, feeding them (externally with feeder jars or internally with i-hive feeders) either way is important - but give them room to check out the new home, plan what is going where and the queen will be feed through the screen of the queen cage fine as the work her out through the candy block.

Remember the swarm was a family, they can adapt easier because they were homeless but established as a family - the package has that additional job of queen acceptance which is FAR from perfect. Hygiene (especially sweat or animal pet smells) really can trigger bad responses, a good practice is to come at the hive after a shower with a good neutral soap, a full and warm-burning smoker and again, know where to place stuff before removing them - having a super filled with brood and no place to set it is leaves the bees very skeptical at the way the beekeeper is doing their job.
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Denise
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Location: Laurel, OR


« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2006, 05:04:01 PM »

Oh wow! I really didn't think at the time that we are covered in dog-smell, work-smell and perfume/aftershave. We had just gotten home from work when this occurred so that may have played a part in their defensive stance. I don't blame them for being a bit on the touchy side since they have been uprooted and stuck into a new hive with an unfamiliar queen. We are good about staying away from the front entrance though. It's quite the busy airport and you would get crashed into. That was where the one that got tangled up in my hubby's hair came from. She was heading to the closer hive for a landing and hit him instead.

The queen cage did not come with a candy plug, just a cork.  huh  We pulled it out and put in our own candy. The plan is to check on them on Saturday or Sunday.(weather depending) That hopefully will have given them enough time to settle in and get used to her. If they haven't been able to get thru the candy, I will just let her out manually at that point. Like you had said, these are not her offspring, so hopefully they will have a different temperment when she gets started laying. She is a Carniolan and they are Italians so we will see what happens. I will check their feeder today and make sure they have plenty. It's kind of a bummer when they are surrounded by nectar and can't make use of it yet!
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"I saw me life pass before me eyes. It was really boring." - Babs, Chicken Run
Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2006, 06:39:04 AM »

>I don't blame them for being a bit on the touchy side since they have been uprooted and stuck into a new hive with an unfamiliar queen.

Except these things all have the opposite effect on bees.  It's what makes them docile and easy to get a long with.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Denise
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Gender: Female
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Location: Laurel, OR


« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2006, 01:06:56 PM »

We checked in on the packaged bees on Saturday and Her Majesty the Queen was released!  They were able to eat thru the candy we had put in place of the cork. I guess Milky Way works.  rolleyes  They are still drawing out the comb, so we will check in a few days to see to be sure she is laying. There was a really pretty chunk of burr comb I got to keep as a souvenier.
We also went ahead and opened the other hive that has the older boxes so we could determine how bad the brood chambers were. It was a nice warm day, but kind of breezy. That left quite a few of them home rather than in the field but they were easy to work with. It wasn't as bad as the honey super had been. The frames were in better shape. Lots of brood in a nice tight pattern. That was good. Lots of uncapped honey too. They are hard at work. We did remove 3 yucky frames that were chewed down to the plastic core and had holes in them. It was impossible to see the queen. There were so many bees on the frames. Amazing. It's like a living parchment. Bees bees bees. Wow.
Yup, we're hooked.
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"I saw me life pass before me eyes. It was really boring." - Babs, Chicken Run
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