Monday, May 14, 2012

Queen Arrived

I gotta call at 5:45 am this morning from the post office!  They said your bees have been received.  So I go to the back door of the post office to pick up my lady!  I was pretty sure she was going to be dead on arrival.  She was shipped out on Wed. of last week and she was supposed to be here no later than saturday.  So I got her in the truck and the first thing I do is open the package to check if she is still alive.  To my surprise she is still alive.  After that I add a few drops of water onto the cage so the attendants could feed her. 

Got home and added her to my hive.  It was pooring down rain and wasnt the best time to open the hive but I needed to get her in there asap.  Not only for her health but also the health of the hive.  In a few days I will go in and make sure she is still alive and possibly laying eggs. The only thing I noticed was I ordered a marked queen and she came in unmarked.  No big deal but would have been nice to have her mark so I could Identify her faster.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Queen on Order

So I ordered a new queen for my bee yard.  This queen is a VSH(varroa sensitive hygienic) queen.  I plan on keeping a few of these hives in the yard but not my primary stock.  I will be cross breeding them with my Italians and home of the survivor stock from a feral hive behind the house.

I'm getting this queen from a Farm from East NC called Mott Bee Farms.  Check out the link to their web site.

My plans are to get a few more splits. I will try to get at least 7 to 10 hives going this year.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Inspection with my Brother-in-Law

So I have tried really hard to get my brother-in-law involved in beekeeping.  He has thought about it and has the equipment to do so but no bees.  So I gave him a tour of my hives while I was doing my inspection.  I was great to bond with a family member over something you are very compassionate about.

All the hives are doing great. Im really excited about our newest hive we have started and we are still waiting on the queen to arrive.  She should be shipping out tomorrow.  I added the feeders back on top of the hives just cause the tulip poplar did not last long and the ladies harvest all the clover they could out of our clover patch.  With that being said, Dad cultivated the entire clover patch and we are going to start our buckwheat.  Buckwheat is very desirable to the bees and make a dark honey.  This can be grown all the way up to the first frost.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Making More Boxes

So I know its not the best time of year to be doing this, but I started on making a few more boxes.  I hope to be expanding a few more hives this year.  The past couple years that I have been making my boxes I have just mad my corners of my hive butt up against each other.

I have ventured into the box joints for my corners and love them.  It is more work but looks 10 times better and will more sturdy.
I got the plans off of build it yourself page.
Normally you would make a 3/4 wide joints but my table saw would not accommodate that wide of an dado blade, so I half that and used a 7/16" dado. This is what a corner looks like.

I will make a few medium supers and going to make a few nucs also.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fat Bee Man (fbm)

There is a guy on youtube and on the web called Fat Bee Man.  This guy is amazing in the bee industry.  He has a website called Dixie Bee Supply.  Any one looking to go organic?  This is something you need to watch and check out!

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Caught a Swarm...... Kinda

So today I went out to remove one of my swarm traps out of my backyard and to my surprise I found a small swarm of bees clustered on two frames.  At one point I didn't even know that there was anything in it.  I didn't even put any protection on of any sort.   So this was a little odd.  I wouldn't even call it a full swarm.  Anyway, I took them to my bee yard and looked for a queen.  No queen and no eggs in sight.  So I dropped in a couple of frames of brood, pollen and honey.  This will make the existing bees stay and also help with the bee population in the hive.  So my next step is to order me a queen or let them raise their own queen.  I takes almost 3 weeks for them to make the queen and have her laying egg.  This will take time that I don't wanna wast so, I ordered my queen from a bee farm called Mott Bee Farm.  They are fairly local and offer a VSH (Varroa-sensitive hygiene) Queens.  I really want these bees in my yard, so I can start to cross mate all my queens.  This will improve the fight against Varroa Mites and also reduce the potential of robbing.  

 So I have expand to 4 hives!  I plan on making more nucs and start breeding my own queens. 

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Checking hives

Checked my hives today and was a very good inspection. All except for the mishap of dropping so comb on the top bar hive.  I found egg in all hives and plenty for honey storage and some pollen coming in.
I dont have any pics of the hives this week but I did take a pic of where they are getting most of their nectar source.  Dad planted some crimson clover last fall and is amazing!  All you can hear is Buzzing in the air.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Inspection 2012

Today went very well. The girls were on their best behavior.  I inspected all three hives and out of all of them only one of the hives didn't have their queen released.  So I released the one queen myself.  The two hives that had been released, I also found eggs!

The first hive is my Top Bar Hive. This was the hive that didn't have the queen released.  They were eating the candy to release her so I helped them out.  They were building comb on 2 bars and it looked great!!

The second hive I inspected had released their queen and found eggs in many cells!  This is a great sign for just being in the hive for 3 days!

The third hive I found that it was the same as the second but better.  These girls were storing lots of honey!  I also have a second super so they can start drawing comb out.

I will not inspect them for another week or so.  I got a few pics to share with you.  Dad took most of them and also operated the smoker.  This is just what the doctor order!  When I grow up, I want to be a beekeeper.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Well went by the bees today of feed!  It was a rainy cool day so this was perfect for house cleaning and sucking up some go oh sugar water. I gave them about a gallon of sugar water.  I will go into the hive tomorrow to check to see if the queens have been released.  If they haven't released her, I will.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Back In Business

Well we are back in bee business!  It feels great to have bees back at home!
Let talk about how it went.

I installed 3 hives.
First Hive was a little tricky. This hive was the top bar hive. Everything went well till I forgot to remove the cork from the queen cage after dumping the package of bees on top of her.  So I had to dig her out and remove the cork so she could be released.
Second and Third hive went well and this time I remembered to remove the cork! lol

This season started out with a great experience.  Looking forward to learn how to work a top bar hive and hopefully be able to harvest some honey this year.
The Second and Third hive have mostly drawn out comb, so that helps with them getting started.
The next time to check on them will be in 4 days to check if the ladies like their new queen and released her. Pics of the new hives will be up as soon as I get some taken.  I left the camera at home.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Starting Over

Well this winter was a total disaster! Got Mice in all my hives.  I learned a few valuable lessons.

One, I need to elevate my hives higher.
Two, I need to add a mouse guard
Three, Never move your hives just a couple hundred feet, if you need to move them move them miles.

So I am starting over! This time Dad and I are going to get 3 hives.  We get our Bees on the 16th of April. Im so excited!

This year I will be experimenting with a Top Bar Hive.
Here is a pic of it.