Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Plagues of Egypt

Bees on the left are my bees and the one on the right is one of the robbing bees.

Monday, August 17th 2009

Hive #4 has had a rough time of it. Laying workers, resolved, fourth installed Queen has survived (Queen Makeda). I inspected the hive and found wax moth infestation, which seemed to have happened overnight. I noticed the hive was very active, more so than usual. I was heading to work and didn't do any investigations but I had a gut feeling that something was wrong. When I arrived home, I put on my suit and that's when I found the hive was being robbed by large bees (see photo) and four frames infested with wax moths. I removed the frames, brushed off the bottom board that was covered with moth or beatle larvae. Then I changed the entrance reducer to allow only one to two bees at a time, wetted a sheet and put it over the hive, draping the sheet to almost the ground. Damage control. I will make replacement frames and figure out what to do with the moths and beatles.

My other three hives are at my parent's place and I keep one hive, Hive #4, in my back yard.

Picture of Honey


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harvested Honey - August 9th, 2009

Sunny, humid, 96 degrees. Approximately 2pm. The Summer was cooler than average and we had lots of rain. The bees were docile and not at all aggressive.

Inspected Hive #1 (last year attacked twice by bear and queen was superseded this past Spring.) The colony had been weak in June and I found lots of brood, honey, and bees. Very nice. There is a minor problem with small ants that have decided to build a nest on the inner top cover. I brushed them off and my dad cut back the grass and bushes to discourage them. Because this hive was so weak we hadn't planned to rob it and didn't install a queen excluder.

Hive #2 - "Blonde Bees" Cordovan Bees. I bought this colony this year and they are so productive we were able to harvest honey from this hive. Just one rack because this breed needs lots of honey through the winter because the queen continues to lay eggs heavy throughout winter, which means they need a large store of food.

Hive #3 - Found some queen caps, lots of brood, and honey. Harvested honey from this hive. One of the racks had honey and bee bread. We were able to separate the honey from the bee bread, and I will use the bee bread to feed the colonies during the winter. I will make a pollen patty out of it and it will be a treat for the bees during the cold winter months.

Queen Makeda Accepted!

August 9th, 2009 - Inspected 4th hive to check status of the queen. I had gone through the laborious process of eliminating the laying worker(s). Installed the 4th queen on July 23rd and inspected the hive July 30th. After a week the queen was still in her cage and hadn't made a dent in the candy. I released the queen in the hive and the bees began to ball her so I picked her up and tried to put her back in the cage, however, she flew off. Ack. Thirty minutes later we had a torrential downpour. I thought that was the end of the queen and the hive.

I was surprised to see that Queen Makeda was in the hive and everything was as it should be. Even through the bungling of the beekeeper, she reigns in her kingdom.