Archive for the ‘lesson’ Category

More Swarm Traps Deployed – Queen Rearing Failure


2011
03.24

Deployed two swarm traps at Bertils place, and two at secret location of Kcets, and two near HS. Only have 5 traps left to place out of 30.  Found 1 old trap at HS that had been busted open. Looks like the pest of Teenagerus Destructor. Might have to hang higher if in their territory.

 

The first batch of queen cells I put in for rearing on the Bloody Mary hive were destroyed. Looks like I missed a queen cell Bloody Mary had and it hatched first and destroyed mine.  Not laying eggs yet. I started another batch 3-23-11 on the left Lang hive. Hoping for the best.   As a backup, I made 3 splits off of the red hive. I really like those bees, calm and disease resistant. 5.1 mm cell builder.Queen Rearing Early March - Graftless method

Predicting Honeyflows and Swarms with Soil moisture maps


2011
02.14

There are good years, and bad years.  Would it be nice to know how this year will be in advance? Well, it is possible.

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There is a great way to see how good your spring crop could be. Because your spring honeyflows are heavily dependent on water. Sometimes beekeepers forget that even though they see flowers blooming, there may not be nectar in the flower.  If the soil is moist, you should have lots of nectar. By the same note, if you have a great honeyflow, you will have lots of swarms in your area.

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To find out how your Spring is doing, go check out how anomalous your soil moisture is on the map.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Soilmst_Monitoring/US/Soilmst/Soilmst.shtml

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Last year, we had our best year in over a decade, in terms of honey and swarms. That was because we had anomalous wet spring weather. In fact, it was so wet, we had the best morel mushroom season in 20 years!

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Doing Cutouts


2011
01.22

Cutouts are simply removing unwanted hives from places humans deem unacceptable. Normally the wall of a house, or the eve of a barn or such. They can be a traumatic experience for both bee and beekeeper alike. In this podcast, I cover some of the legal, political and technical issues of cutouts.

Winter losses do some good.


2011
01.18

If you are in Texas, the end of Winter is nigh. I saw the first Dandelion bloom yesterday.  A quick check of the outyard showed lots of activity, but old man winter did cast his shadow, and a nuc had died out. Winter losses are part of beekeeping, and part of the selection cycle to kill off weaker strains.  In the big picture, it is how bees get stronger.

Have you found a Bee Tree?


2010
08.13

One of my readers found a beetree. He had interest in cutting it down to get the bees. This is the nth time I’ve encountered this. It is tempting, and I’ve cut one out myself. But now that I know better, let me pass on some wisdom. This applies if the tree does not have to come down, or the bees don’t have to move.
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“On the beetree, I wouldn’t cut it out. The colony has only a 50/50 chance to live if you cut it out. Plus Small Hive Beetle infests fast and lowers that 50/50 even further.
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Also, It serves 2 purposes for you;
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1. It is breeding survivor stock bees, which are important as the mites are killing off weak strains of bees.
2. It serves as a mother colony throwing off swarms every year.
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I’d build 4 swarms traps and put them on all 4 sides of the bee tree at a distance of 200 yards or so. You WILL catch swarms due to these traps, and some will be from the bee tree.”

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Varroa mite check


2010
08.12

Around August, it is a good idea to do a varroa check in your hive. You can either do a mite drop over an hour, or a drone comb check.

I harvested some honey from my Yellow Top Bar Hive. I got a 4 sq inch section of drone in the honeycomb that I cutout. So while I had it, i opened up 30 cells and found a single mite in every 3rd cell. One cell had 2 mites.

How to Start Beekeeping in the Fall


2010
08.04

I got asked again today how to start. Here’s a synopis of my response:

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You’ve asked the ground zero question – “How do I get started?”. I get this one alot.

It is late summer. You need to get your ducks in a row for next spring.

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1. Order Bees – they will deliver in April next year. If you wait, they won’t have any next spring when you order. I recommend BWeavers near you.

2. Buy a smoker, bee jacket, gloves. Dadant, Brushy Mountain, or Mann Lake all have them.

3. Get on beesource.com and beemaster.com forums. Very newbie friendly. Look for questions you have, there are already years of answers.

4. Prepare the spot where you will put your bees.  Make it cow proof.

5. This winter Build several Bait hives for your property, you’ll catch many swarms out there, I’m fairly sure.

6. Buy and read “Idiots guide to Beekeeping”. It is actually fairly in depth and detail, way above Idiot level.