• Tag Archives hive inspection
  • Bee Diary: 2012

    Spring                                             New Beltane Moon

    One of the new colonies is queenright for sure.  I saw the white, curled up worker bee larvae resting in their cellular incubators.  The other colony, I’m not sure.  It looked like there were some very early larvae on one frame, but that could have been my hopeful squinting, too.  I’ll have to check it again on Monday or Tuesday.

    I did drop one frame, loaded with bees, during this hive inspection.  They spilled out onto the ground and an angry buzzing commenced as they tried to figure out what happened to their warm, comfortable work space.  Oops.  Haven’t made that particular mistake before.

    There was plenty of smoke though and these bees seem, like last years, docile, not overly aggressive.  I’m glad, because I prefer using only the veil and regular garden gloves.  That way I don’t get overheated and my hands are easier to use.


  • Bee Diary: August 6, 2010

    Lughnasa                                     Waning Grandchildren Moon

    Hive inspections today.  The package colony, the youngest of the three, began life here in late April.  Now it has three hive boxes full of brood and honey, a honey super full and has two near empties for the rest of what the summer offers.  I’m pleased I’ve gotten honey from this colony so soon.  The parent colony still has two full honey supers, a third nearing full and two near empties.  The divide has expanded itself to the necessary three hive boxes for overwintering, but early on filled the third hive box with honey.  Since then it has shown little interest in the two empty supers I put on a month or so ago.

    The upshot of all this, at this point, is that we will have honey.  How much depends on the nectar flow over the next couple of weeks, but enough to justify purchasing extracting equipment.  It also means that I have two strong parent colonies going into next spring, the divide and the package, assuming, that is, that they survive the winter.  My mentor indicated that some people “knock the old queen on the head” in a parent colony, then requeen it.  If I decide to do this, it would see me next spring–again, assuming winter survival–with three parent colonies.  That would mean that in May I would have six colonies instead of four.

    Right now four seems about right for what I’m trying to do.  I don’t have commercial intentions, though I may sell some honey.  I want honey for us, for friends and family, for gifts and I want to continue learning about bees.  I’ll decide over the next few weeks.

    After extracting the honey, I also have to check my bees for mites and nosema.  A bridge not yet crossed.

    Also spent time in the vegetable garden where I found my onion crop ready for harvest.  I pulled them out, whites reds and yellows, put them on another raised bed, now empty of its parsnips, so they can cure in the sun for three days.  Then, some weeks on a screen drying further and finally downstairs in the storage room cum shop.  Picked green beans from the plants I put in between the potatoes and also gathered in some swiss chard.  Greens tonight.  New potatoes aren’t ready yet.  I look forward to them.  Potatoes fresh from the garden are like a different vegetable.

    Under my new schedule I’m supposed to work out now, but I’m going to do it after the nap.  At 4:00 pm I claim an hour of my birthday present from Kate, a massage at the oddly named, Massage Envy.

  • Bee Diary: May 24, 2010

    Beltane                                          Waxing Planting Moon

    Discovered an important aspect of bee-keeping this morning.  When the temperature is 87 and the dew point is above 70, it gets really, really hot in the bee suit.  Hot 05-24-10_bee-diary_6701enough that by the time I finished I had begun to get dizzy, sweat literally dripped off my forehead and face.  I couldn’t get the bee-suit off fast enough.  Came inside, sat down and drank a couple of glasses of water, didn’t move.  Better now, but whoa.

    (a frame of honey from colony #1)

    Colony 1 has begun to produce honey!  The top honey super has several frames full.  The second, bottom super is not as full.  I’m not sure whether I should put on another honey super or two.  Need to poke around in the bee literature.  Colony 2 has filled up the hive box divided from the parent colony (#1) and has begun to build comb in the new hive box.

    While inspecting this colony, I transferred all the new frames and foundations to a new hive box.  When I put the current one on, I didn’t notice I had failed to drill an entrance hole in it.  I took one out with a hole and switched the frames into it, then closed up colony 2.  Its primary job is to fill two hive boxes and make honey for overwintering.  Beyond that it may make some honey late in the summer, but maybe not.  Either way is good.

    The package colony, #3, has drawn out a good bit of comb and has made progress with larvae, honey and pollen, but is not yet ready for the second hive box.  That goes on when 80% or so of the frames have drawn out comb filled with those three.

    Two stings today, both happened when lifting frames.  I inadvertently placed my index finger on two different bees.  It is not a big deal at all now, a nuisance.

    The smoker stays lit for the whole operation, too.  That’s a big and important advance for me.  My movements have slowed down and my inner world has a much calmer 05-24-10_bee-diary_6702aspect to it.

    (colony #2 with its hat at rakish angle)