Archive for July, 2010

Back from Brazil, and checkup on the Outyard.


2010
07.31

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I’ve returned from my expedition, and a bit weary. However, I wanted to check on my bees so I dropped by this morning before the heat was unbearable.  I saw that there are a few Indian Blanket flowers at end of bloom.  I found some hives still put on a bit of honey in my absence,  so dearth may not have started, but I’m not sure. I plan to try queen rearing next month when the fall honeyflow starts. I’ll split most of my Lang hives to make nucs to over winter.

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The cat-house TBH is now badly crosscombed. Not sure how they snuck up and built out so fast. I left them alone after the cutout fearing they may abscond or die off. However, they are now at 12 bars.  I might wait till January when their numbers fall to cut away the cross comb. Or I will attempt it again when I have more time next week.  They acted a little hot this time. Not sure on their genetic worth.

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The Yellow TBH has surprised me and built out 3 more combs of honey. Need to harvest that soon. A little cross combed amongst the honey, but easy fix – i’ll just harvest next week again.  I chose to make a summer split on it. Took a frame of eggs, a frame of half honey a brood, and a frame of sealed brood.  I plan to sell TBH nucs next year.

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The hot hive on the end is now entering the 2nd super. I think the numbers are still climbing. It filled a medium, and when Wes and Cory came to harvest, I had wes put a super on it. The super was put on upside down! Whoops. I flipped it, but the bees drew out about 2 combs, I’m not sure if they will cap it off, or build new comb and move it. We’ll see.  Also, they get feisty fast, I may have to requeen this hive, but it is such a good producer.

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The cooler hive is queen less, there is a sealed and an unsealed queen cell. I’ll see how they behave in a month or so. They were only at about 4 frames of bees. I had to re-repair 2 frames that I botched in my rapid retreat during the vicious attack last month. Low stores. Perhaps they will survive the August dearth. If they don’t, I won’t cry.

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The all Medium hive is set with resources to survive winter.It now spans 2 mediums with the brood next just clipping the bottom of the top medium, the rest is all honey.

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The nuc TBH by the yellow TBH is doing well. Saw eggs and stopped. I like this genetic line I have for the Red, yellow and Nuc TBH. Calm, good producers, early spring ramp up.  I will use this strain as my breeder line.

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Plainview hive had eggs, swapped out the comb near the edge with comb next to edge.  Only 7 frames I think of bees. Unsure about this genetic line.

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Hive count: 4 TBH, 6 Lang, 1 at Bertils

Harvested, Dearth Starting, and Robbing noticed


2010
07.16

I took 2 friends, Wes Chang and Cory, out to my outyard and we robbed the bees. Only 2 top bars. Took a minimal amount of honey, only 3 bars. 2 from yellow hive, 1 from red hive.

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Noticed a tornado of bees robbing on the plainview hive, so I smoked it and then reduced the entrance.  Don’t know how bad they were hit. I’ll check upon my return from my expedition.

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Opened the hot hive on the end, Wes didn’t want to get near it.  He came close and got popped him thru his veil.  They began to drop into my boots, then crawled up my suit. I just hate that, so I backed off and closed it up. I did take note that they filled up a medium.  I’m estimating 50 # of honey.

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Looks like indian blanket is finished. That was the major source that I can tell, so dearth is starting. That explains the plainview hive robbing issue.

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Moved Bait Hives into Hive Bodies


2010
07.12

I moved two hives in swarm traps into hive bodies.  One small one large. The small one was cute, the size of a Honeydew melon.

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I checked on the other hives. Two langes have filled mediums full of honey, and recently. Perhaps in the last 2 weeks, so we have a strong honeyflow going on…perhaps horsemint? Time for a harvest soon.

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Bait Hive Crashed


2010
07.08

Swarm Trap bit the dust

2 days ago, I went to move my bait hive traps that caught swarms in the last 2 weeks.  The trap at the settlement pond apparently blew or rocked off its support nail on the tree and crashed. All I got was a broken trap, full of wax moth larvae, and the left over wax.  Threw it in the solar wax melter.  Just wanted everyone to know you need a strong nail to hang these off of.

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Bee Attack


2010
07.07

Whew. I did the cutout on the water cooler hive that Frank and I took to my apiary.  Took about 2 hours.  In the last half hour the bees got real angry, which is abnormal, normally they have the wind taken out of their sails by then.  Then they launched a full bore attack. I took about 20 stings through my beesuit before I had to retreat to the truck. Years ago I got in the habit to leave my keys in the ignition and the truck unlocked just in case. Finally, years later, I had to use the truck for safety.  I got home and had welts all over, I was a sad sight in the mirror.

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Needless to say, I’ll be pinching that bitch of a queen when I find her next, then killing off the queen cells for 4 days. After that I’ll give them a frame of eggs from a milder hive.

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The good news is the hive had dozens of pounds of honey. I crushed and strained mine, and saved Frank’s honeycomb for him to do the same.  I think I should get a little more as I took the brunt of the attack to get our honey.

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Bait Hive Caught another Swarm


2010
07.01

We’re getting a bit of rain from a approaching hurricane. Haven’t been out and about much. But nice to have rain in what is normally a baked hell here in Texas. I expect the honeyflow to extend due to the moisture. The rain keeps the blooms and nectar flowing. Cross your fingers.

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Checked the backyard swarm trap. By God, It has caught another. I almost want to laugh. That brings my 10 traps up to 6 swarms.  Far better then the 10-20% catch rate predicted.  The humor is that the trap I put in the front yard was a good trap. The trap in the backyard was a screwed up trap that I got the dimensions wrong and frames don’t fit it right. Too small, as well. But it has caught 2 small swarms this season. I’m really liking these traps at the house.  That’s 4 swarms at my house in a residential neighborhood.

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I asked Mann Lake to sponsor my beekeeping channel. It makes perfectly good sense for both sides. I have a concentrated beekeeping following and they need that. They are a good company as well.  Got to give them kudos for their speed to fix my minor order error.