May 4, 2004
Here is the installation of C1&C2 on April 28th, 2004
- read the previous log for further details.
Here we are in May already, the beekeeping year has started JUST ABOUT everywhere, although several members of the forum STILL DO NOT HAVE BEES because of (at least in one case) too much rain in the South, allowing poor feeding, slow queen production and few packages to be had.
I guess my delay wasn't so bad, at least C1&C2 are in place and out flying regularly. Today they were bundled up though with overnight temps in the high 30s again and a high today of 62F. It's May and probably the coldest May in many many years in this region.
I can't expect miracles from the bees - I'm happy to see them flying about when they can and both taking the sugar-water, although C1 is stronger at taking and storing the syrup.
I had hoped to get into the hives today (day 5 since installation) but it is too cold to play with such things. I know 62F isn't THAT cold, but it is windy and late in the afternoon by time I get home from work and I'd rather wait until tomorrow and hope it's warmer than today, making the whole inspection process a bit easier on me and the bees.
I'm a firm believer in doing any activity involving the bees when MOST are out foraging and when the weather complies to such foraging is not a windy cool afternoon when I want to see if my queens have beem released.
Now... if another day or two goes by and it doesn't get any warmer, then I will have to go in because you just can't wait forever to see if your queens are ok - each day you lose is a day you can't make up later, the calendar just keeps on turning and TRUST ME before you know it, you will be reading Octobers logbook entry.
That is a very important point, don't drag your feet too long, the bees have a tight schedule that requires colony growth, honey storage, good queen selection and prolific development that requires YOU to decide if "The queen" is going to do the job of getting to the Fall successfully or will she need to be replaced.
Being a beekeeper is very much like engineering a train - you really don't steer it, you just keep it on track! That is your job, to let the bees do BEE-STUFF while you direct the show behind the scenes. You are the magician, not the trick. Don't wait until you can't take a frame from the hive to discover that burr-comb has been built-in so tightly that you need to destroy the hive to disassemble it - keep on top of things, interact with the bees and let them get to know you - and in return, you have friendlier and more responsive connection with your hives.Later the same day
I had seriously thought about opening the hives but it never did warm up all that much - so we see what tomorrow brings. I don't mind it being a little chilly but the wind today was very strong and returning foragers are not very good aim when trying to flop on the landing board, they usually end up banging against you in their first attempt, not to forget that the VIEW is different from when they left - the hive is opened up and they are looking in to the top (often with a full super or wo missing) and their little minds start thinking jiggy - lol. Nope, sometimes you need to let them be.
But it was a good day for the FORUM, lots of posts and I even covered my own history (2 years worth) of Apitherapy - bee stings for pain relief. Here is the link if you want to read about the topic http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=542
I will say that I found it very helpful.
We are up to 110 members with 1680 posts in 10 weeks, that is awesome really! Our first member from Poland joined today, gaining another country is always cool in this "International" Forum - I'm proud to use the term International here honestly with the membership being from all points of the globe I think we are building a collection of thinking that will greatly aid all of use in our bee yards.
I'll never forget when I went to boiler training at Carrier School in Syracuse, New York, where I stayed 5 nights at an Embassy Suites Hotel and lived like a king for that stay: we had an Iranian in the class and we used the words "Boiler Stack" often in the class - now here is this poor fellow who was struggling with English and he heard this word STACK for the first time in his life being used over and over again; finally he raised his hand and asked "Is this Stack thing anything similar to a Chimney?" and we all learned that day that some terms are local, that is VERY TRUE in beekeeping too.
Keep in mind when you are posting in the forum that you are speaking to many people around the world, some may not know what a SUPER is and many have never used anything other than home made skep or other nuc like boxes. It's easy for most of us to hit the Dadant's Online Shopping Cart or whomever you buy from and a few clicks later you have your shipment on the way to your door, often pre-assembled and ready to throw over the bees: don't assume MOST of the world works that way, is doesn't.
I love the forum, I know there are many members with much more knowledge about honeybees and beekeeping than I do - that is one of the major reasons I thought the forum so important to offer, it allowed you to hear different views and decide for yourself WHICH made sense for you! I try to be right all of the time, no one is though and knowing that is at least a step in the right direction - it keeps the forum real by adding the simple words "In my opinion" or "I believe" before anything that is INDEED opinion.
Until NEXT POST HERE - see you in the forum. As of 10pm est, I'm thinking that tomorrow is a go for queen searching. Keep your fingers crossed and with a bit of luck, all will be well in my humble bee yard.
More coming... Don't go away!May 5, 2004
INITIAL INSPECTION COMPLETE:
Great news to start off my 2004 Beekeeping season - I beat the rain and got to open up C1&C2 and both queens are released, both were seen and plenty of eggs in C1 - C2 is busy and enjoying life, but I didn't see eggs yet in C2 - but I'm happy enough to have queens in both hives alive and well.
My guess is that C1 released the queen 2 to 4 days ago and C2 maybe yesterday. Of course C2 may have a weak queen, we will know soon, now that they are out of the queen cages, I don't mind interacting regularly with them!
In both hives the workers were building queen cells - this is VERY COMMON - you need to realize that "until the actual queen releasal" the hive was theorethically queenless, this simple comfinement of the queens is a trick often used in queen rearing boxes at professional and commercial levels of beekeeping.
But I spotted a bunch, probably 1.5 frames of eggs in C1 and again C2 queen is happily walking around looking stuff over and well escorted as she does. The hive demeanor of both is EXELLENT.
MIND YOU... this WAS NOT A PHOTO OPERTUNITY - you don't mess with the camera until you know the queen is ok and moving about in the hive - the camera will be used next time I promise, but this was the (slightly delayed) initial inspection.
Interestingly enough, this is the first time in over a decade that BOTH QUEENS were in the UPPER SUPER - remember I gave them 5 frames of honey each, along with drawn comb in 2 supers: 8 frames total drawn comb and two frames with undrawn foundation to allow for the fitting of the queen cages with the "stupid little metal straps" that came attached to the queen cages.
So both queens were in the upper super, easily explained by the cold weather and amount of food placed up there. It may be necessary later to use excluders to get them back down bottom where they belong - this is an adjustment on my part to make up for chilly weather. We are still in the high 30s and low 40s at night, I expected to see them up top and sure enough they were there, where the food is!
I just like to keep everyone updated, I do have a several schools who are following along again and they will be interested in the successful installation of C1&C2. Glad to start off in pretty good shape, I'm not sure the strength of the queen in C2, I'll be happier when I see eggs - but for now, we are doing very very good!May 9, 2004
I got back into the hives today and was very pleased. It is great Spring day here, warm, lightest of breezes and sunny. I smoked both hives well, waited 15 minute and went into both colonies - finding both queens easily and tons of eggs and larva in both. No Pupa cappings yet, but that really gives me a clear idea of the releasal dates of the queens and any delay in laying due to the weather.
C1 queen is puffing up nicely (queens do get larger and paler in color as their reproductive systems kick into gear) and C2 is busily laying in very nice patterns.
The demeanor of the hives is exellent - both went about their duties as if I weren't there! Lots of drawn comb, and a great deal of pollen stored and they both are taking sugar-water nicely, although C1 still has the advantage over C2 in THAT department. Now, after seeing that both hives are in GREAT SHAPE, I can conclude that C1 is taking the sugar-water faster because I placed additional space for them to store it when I divvied out the frames of drawn comb.
So all is great at Beemaster's yard, behind schedule only due to the weather and shipping delays, but right on schedule in hive growth since the releasal of the queens.
NOTE: The neighbor (and their new puppy) got to see C2 queen up close and personal and even the furry smell of a puppy didn't excite the bees - that is really a good sign of hive health and well being.May 13, 2004
I had spare hive parts in my tool shed, forgot to close the door and came home after work to find a ton of bees "I ASSUMED" to be my two colonies robbing any excess stuff from the old used frames.
After moving them out front of the house, shaking them from the frames and noting that none flew back to my hives, I went on a queen search and sure enough, I found her. There is now a Colony Three (C3) at Beemaster Central. Something I didn't want, but something I have and will take good care of.
I've spent the last two hours moving the queens of C1&C2 down into the lower boxes of their respective hives and made a good healthy looking hive for C3 - ugh.
I have to return the completed hive to the shed so all the returning foragers find their way into the hiive and then tonight MOVE them over to when the other hives are.
If I never ordered bees, a swarm NEVER would have captured me - lol. But $142 worth of bees in my two main colonies are all doing great - lots of SEALED BROOD TOO today in BOTH HIVES, so all is well here. I just got more than what I bargained for, big time!
I had trouble finding an outer cover and finally found it tucked under my over-turned canoe for some reason - lol. The C3 colony is still in the shed, active about 3 time more so that C or C2 but bee count in C3 is much greater too, although they have very little food and no brood - I do have a frame of honey, drawn comb (3 frames total) and a feeder hooked up and getting them plenty of sugar-water.
Tonight though, I will be moving them over by the other hives - I couldn't do it without an outer cover. Speaking of which, I proiced Telescoping (I alway loved that word - as if there were some mechanical properties to it's functionality) outer covers and without mentioning names, I saw prices from $14.95 to $28.95 for the exact product. I will say shopping around is a BIG MONEY SAVER in this hobby, luckily I found the one I knew I had, so all I need to do is wait until dark, and move them to their new location and make sure the shed is closed up tight the next few days.
A final point I feel I need to repeat:
I choose to NOT have any advertising in the forum or on my website, not mine, not anyones. That makes this uniquely different from any other beekeeping forum, most of which are there to create a NOT a membership but a customer data base and I never want to go there. I want you to enjoy this forum and website on face value, no motives other than education and communications.
I only say that because I try to read every post, I can't possibly answer them all, but I have a good idea what is the mood of the forum - I deleted a post resently because of it's commercial nature, not just because it was commercial in nature, but because the posting member made no effort to be active in any manor other than post his commercial - that's negative mojo and not what our friendly and active forum is for.
We have a TRADING POST FORUM and I hope if you are looking for a unique item and can't find it, or if you have something to sell then please use it, beats staying here with people you know than going to an on-line auction that you are taking a chance with.May 14, 2004
Some insight to my latest bee issue - if you haven't read, I now have a Colony 3, a swarm that found my stored old supers in my shed and they are a strong 5 or 6 pounds of bees and today I got to move them over by the other hives.
I went in the shed after finding a outer cover and I opened the inner cover and pulled a frame that seemed very busy and sure enough as soon as I lifted it in the air (no smoke - but these are happy bees) I saw the queen walk over the top bar and go airborn in my shed.
I told before a nightmare of having a virgin queen go out to mate from my observation hive just to return and land on STICKY FLY TAPE - it was horrible - ugh. So I had all kinds of thoughts popping in my head.
I watched her walk up my 4 foot level that was leaning against something, just out of my reach - buzz over to a tall stand and quickly waddle to the rear out of reach without moving stuff and possibly squishing her. I had a dozen or so bees flying around the shed and couldn't tell if she were one of them cause it was dark in there and I stepped out hoping to see her land on the entrance board, but no such luck.
I walked back into the shed and looked down and there she was WALKING ONTO MY BOOT - lol. I picked her up by the wings, tried to get her into the entrance and she crawled up my finger and arm with a small army of workers following like a line of ants to a picnic.
I got her again, lowered her to the entrance and finally she walked inside without me booting her on the butt with my finger. I shook off the others and got out of there feeling much better about the whole thing. What a day - lol. After sundown, I finally got to move the hive to it's new location - I just now checked and only a few workers looking for the hive in the shed.
Patience is a virtue and practically MAGIC when dealing with your bees - work AROUND and WITH them, not THROUGH them and you'll usually end your bee day with a smile.