July Splits


Visited outyard 3 days ago. The bloom is effectively over. Horsemint and Indian Blanket are done. There are sporadic blooms, but not groups of blooming flowers, and the fields are definitely brown.

The swarm trapped hive I set up by the trap is still small. Like 3 frames. I gave them 2gal of sugar syrup.

I did two walk away splits – one from the Corey queen hive, one from a mother hive split hive. 5 frames each. And each given 2gal sugar syrup. The donor hives given 2 gal sugar syrup.

The crop for the year looks poor. maybe 10# of horsemint honey. Not going to pull it. Not worth cleaning the extractor for that.

The two main hives, I did not split. As I was out of sugar syrup and time. I’ll split next trip, before Pennsic. The quantity of sugar syrup I have to mix is getting a bit much. I think I’ll need to move to a 55gal poly barrel with a giant oar.

I split in spring, now in July, and I will again in September. Count at outyard is 8. Home apiary is 2. I’ll split the homeyard this week. That should take me to 12 again, after a decade of low numbers. Then I’ll feed them all thru August and do another round of splitting in September.

Swarm trapped hives absconded


Highly unusual, both the swarm trapped hives I had absconded, abandoning brood. Normally brood is a solid anchor to keep them there. In one case, I tried to straighten a crosscomb and it collapsed which is likely why they absconded. In the second case, I don’t know. Maybe rob out? Not likely.

As for the bloom…Horsemint is king but Indian Blanket holds on. I see surplus honey finally being produced in the production hive at the outyard.

In the home apiary, the blue hive has 5 frames of bees, but has chimney-ed the brood nest into the Dakota super above. I’m really ready to get rid of the last Dakota super. But not till after season, apparently. I was able to see the queen and mark her.

The red hive has 6 frames of bees, so another 2 weeks before I give her a super.

Indian Blanket has peaked and slowly fading.


Horsemint is getting underway. I made it to the outyard today to move the 2nd swarm catch of the season. I got chiggars picking it up, so I’m reluctant to return the swarm box to the same location.

I checked on the hives out there. Found one hive with supercedure cells, I’m going to leave them in place and assume the bees know what they are doing. It is from a hive with the Corey mite resistant bees. So I’ll be at 1/4 genetics pretty fast.

Noticed the swarm trap that caught the first bees of the season had orphans in it and they were still at 20+. Enough to possibly fight off a new swarm.

The first swarm hive had abandoned their original comb and began building crosscomb. Very annoying.

Quick inspection check in the home yard


Blue hive has a Dakota super on it, annoying me. The other dakotas have all been cut down to mediums, even the frames. The dakota has some honey, perhaps 3-5 lb or so. And some crappy looking drone patterns in the honey area. Thought at first I had a laying worker. I also removed the miller feeder. I really need to give them a pail feeder to regulate the syrup intake. Even put in a medium in between the deep and the dakota so I can remove that damn thing.

However, in the deep there are several full frames of brood on the way. Looks like Corey’s mite biter queen is laying away! However, they still have not built out 3 or so frames. I do not like my chances of making honey this year with that hive.

As for the red hive, it has 4-5 frames of bees and most brood is capped, so I expect them to grow 2 frames of bees per week. So June 4 they should be a full 10 frames. These bees are a split of the old hive, so I have no idea on mite resistance, but they were fairly gentle.

I noticed swarm trap #19 had caught a swarm near the creek. I’ve moved it to the truck after dark and will haul it to the outyard tomorrow. That will bring me up to 7 hives out there. If they don’t have brood already, I will steal some from one of the hives. That should keep them from absconding. I’ll throw on a boardman feeder, too, even though there is a honeyflow on. Swarms anchor better with food and brood. I’m likely putting it in a deep because I have lots of those after my big deep build.

Caught First Swarm of 2024 and Horsemint blooming


Got to the beeyard today at noon. Blue skys 10mph breeze. Not to hot, nice. Saw Firewheel still in full bloom on roadsides and at outyard. Also saw the first of Horsemint blooming.


And I also caught a swarm in one of my 3 traps. That swarm was immediately put into a medium and put next to the last nuc I made.

Saw the first Horsemint of season.

Transferred Nuc to Deep


Home apiary had a nuc I made some weeks ago. I saw lots of traffic in front of it and feared it may have been a swarm about to emerge, so I immediately gearred up and moved it to a deep. However, they hadn’t even finished building out the 5 comb. So they are now moved, but a tad early. Gave them some wax foundation, and will check on them in a week.

Releasing VSH queens


Yesterday I visted the outyard. Clearly the Firewheel bloom is dominating the roadsides. The outyard itself doesn’t have much Firewheel, but the property across 278 does.

I checked on the 3 hives I put in queens. They have escaped the queen cage and are loose in the hive. The one that had not escaped yet, was the nuc that I couldn’t find the virgin queen. She never made it back from mating flight I guess. So I took off the electrical tape and will let her chew out.

I put 2gal feeders on the nuc I took from the mother hive and gave it another frame of brood from the initial nuc. Also gave 2 gal feed to the mother hive.

Installing Corey Stephen Queens and confirmed Honeyflow


Coreys famous mite resistant queens arrived safe and sound, 4 of them. But I have storms coming in and it is overcast. Sometimes you have to beekeep at bad times.

In the home yard, I opened the nuc I made and the queen is now laying in there. Left them alone.

Checked the bigger hive that had a failing queen and to my surprise, found several opened queen cells, and several queens piping away. Well hell. I pinched 3 queens and not sure I got them all! I will have to get in that hive again tomorrow. I put in a queen cage but taped it with electrical tape. I’ll check it again in 3-4 days after the storms. Pinch any more queens I see and release the new queen. As a safety, I took 3 frames to make another nuc and transported it to the outyard and added a queen there.

In the outyard, I noticed that Indian Blanket bloom as begun, the honey flow is underway. I only brought sugar water for the 2 nucs. Storm gusts were blowing in and the bees were unhappy. It was a bad day of beekeeping for me.

The nuc I made last time at the outyard has had the queen hatch, I couldn’t find her and I injudiciously put in the caged queen, we’ll see how that goes. I may move that queen over in a couple of days to another hive perhaps. Having another unfound virgin queen makes me nervous.

I went thru the main mother hive 3x and never found the queen, but neither did I find eggs. I think they are queenless. I did find 2 queen cells unsealed. I cut them out. But I’m nervous again. As a precaution, I isolated a single frame where I thought I saw a black queen. I made a 1 frame + honey nuc out of it hoping to get the old queen out of the mother hive. Next visit will tell me if it has a queen or not. But I put the last varroa resistant queen in the mother hive. I just don’t feel comfortable about it.

Wrap up – 1 queen in the old home hive. 1 queen in a nuc split from home hive and placed at outyard, 1 queen in the last outyard nuc, 1 queen in mother miracle hive.

Firewheel bloom in full East of Austin


Drove to Houston 2 days ago, from the highway, I saw the Indian blanket/Firewheel bloom is full on East and South of Austin. It mostly disappears suddenly 50 miles from Houston, but that may be due to high grass obstructs the view. Or possibly the warmer climate, the bloom has passed already by.

Another visit to the outyard, first Fireweed seen


Visited the outyard. Took another split out of the miracle hive to slow it down, took 2 brood 1 honey. Shook some bees, too . Put them in a Deep, with one of my new hive tops with the pail feeder hole and a donut 2gal bucket with 1 gal of feed. Leaked bad for 60 seconds then pulled vacuum.

Noticed they miracle hive was lighter this time. I think they consume syrup faster as they get bigger. I put 2 gal on both it and the first split, and a galleon on the new nuc.

Outyard hive count to now 3. Home count 2. Expect to split in summer and Sept as well. Hoping for 15 hives by December. Would like to requeen all hives to get some Stephens Mite resistant queens and be treatment free.

Spotted the first Fireweed/Indian Blanket at the outyard. This is an important honeyflow plant. I don’t know if there are enough around the outyard for a crop, but I sure do know Horsemint is a main flow.

Also noticed a Striped Bark scorpion on some top bars I was picking up. This is the type of scorpion that stung me 3 weeks ago or so.

I also spotted bees working Antelopehorn Milkweed. That is a known honeyflow. The Texas Honeyplant book says March, but I see it mid April in Williamson county.