May 7, 2018.
Bees are back!
Two ordered packages came in the last week of April. This year we got one per hive as opposed to one and a half recommended by Warre in his book. The reason for it was that one of the hives swarmed almost immediately after we installed them and the second shortly thereafter.
We are still feeding them with syrup, but can see pollen coming in. Must be getting the pussy willows and box elders in the area, since there does not seem to be anything else. This morning I noticed some creeping Charlie flowers, something else for bees to eat.
I was reluctant to get bees this year, but I am glad we did. Love having them around!
So we did not check the bees in August. They were beesy enough, so we left them alone. In September things were not much different from the July check. The smaller White hive still had the odd configuration of comb being built in the top box, but there were bees on it and some honey. The larger Green hive now had similar odd shaped comb in the top box, also with bees and honey. We decided not to add any more boxes and closed the hives. We placed little wood blocks to reduce the entrance.
I usually look in on the hives on my way to the barn every few of days or so. Everything seemed to be well for a couple of weeks. Then I noticed an unusual amount of wasps around both hives, but mostly around the larger one. The smaller, White hive, appeared to be fighting them off, but the Green one seemed to be quite overcome. We checked the hives the next day. Sadly, the Green hive was empty of bees! We harvested all the little honey that was left in it. The White hive got a fancy specially made entrance reducer and is doing ok as of today, I watched the bees kick the butt of an occasional wasp that manages to get in.
Rather sad news. I like having bees round, but I was ready to give up at this point. But if we give up, we won’t learn. So there will be more bees next year. And we’ll put the fancy entrance reducer sooner next time.
Below are the picture of hive checks for July. First was done on the 15th , the second at the end of the month, on the 30th. The white hive is weak, but we can see pollen coming in, which supposed to mean there is brood inside. It was a bit more active on the second check. But it was so hot, one of the honey combs fell out! And there is a ton of drones. Not sure what that means. They also started building the comb from the bottom up, which is unusual, that’s this odd looking bit on some of the lower pictures. So our options included either requeening the White hive or to leave it bee and see what happens. We decided to leave it. A bit of a bummer that now we’ll have to wait till next spring to see if we were right or wrong.
This month check revealed some work going on. S0 we supered both hives, instead of nadiring. Can’t tell by the pictures which one is which, sadly, but things are definitely moving along.
However, about the end of the month i noticed that the white hive (used to be vanilla) does not have as many bees going in and out. So it must have swarmed. Sigh…now to wait 3 weeks to see if the new queen is there and laying.
Hopefully will have good news in July.
May 31, 2017.
We got bees again!
This year we ordered three 3lb packages of bees from Wolf Creek Apiaries in Tennessee. We did just what Warre recommends and split them between 2 hives. We ended up with an extra queen, which we gave away on craigslist. The bees were installed in the hives on May 12th. We had to do it quite late in the day, after Frank got home from work. Bees were asleep and were not happy to be rudely shaken out of their boxes. But we survived nonetheless…
This is how packages looked on arrival.
And this is what we were able to save from the old hives.
They are flying again!
Let’s hope these girls age going to be more successful!
March 31, 2017.
I took this picture of the Chocolate hive on March 28th. The bees were flying! We got all excited, especially since to Vanilla hive appears to be dead.
But today the hive was still. So I am thinking that it did not make it after all. ;(
Trying very hard not to get discouraged. Frantically looking for bees, which in most cases sold out. I am thinking that if we won’t find bees on such a short notice this year, we’ll have to skip it this time. Sad, but true.
November 16, 2016.
We attempted hive checks at the beginning of October. There was still brood in the transfer boxes. Being the weather was and still is rather warm, we are going to leave them for another week or so. Chris at the Warre Store recommends leaving only one box full of honey for the winter. I am not so sure how I feel about it, what if they will starve? But at any rate, we should be able to take the transfer box off and put on the quilt and the roof. Without the transfer box Vanilla Hive has four boxes and Chocolate has three. And we can always feed the honey back to them later in the season. Should be better that sugar syrup, I am thinking.
We also tried to put the entrance reducer we have bought from Warre Store. That did not seem like a great idea, as the girls could not find the exit. So I took the contraptions off. We really should have put the entrance reducers earlier, I am just hoping the hives did not get robbed.
Oh, and we have been checking the hives about every 3-4 weeks. We put mite screens too. There were no mites in 24 hours the first time we put the screens. We did it a few other times and forgot about them for a few days. When we took them out, there were only 3-4 mites on them, so I am guessing we have a very mild infestation.
Sigh…there is such a lot of guessing here. But at least they did not all die or took off.
August 19, 2016.
May 22, 2016.
Mostly pictures. I will update the page with the story and yet more pictures some time later, hopefully soon. 😉
Thanks for visiting!