Archive for April, 2024

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.

My Bees stopped flying during the Total Eclipse


So today was a total eclipse in Austin, TX. The totality fell over my house. The sky grew dark, and even though we had clouds, I was able to see the eclipse. The birds went quiet and the bees stopped flying.

In other news, I’m seeing Indian Painbrush popping east of Austin, I think our honeyflow is near.

I spoke with a beekeeper one county south of Travis. She said that they have supers full of mesquite honey, so apparently mesquite flow this year is good.