Final Tasks for Winter

Its getting to be about that time of year where there isn't much else I can do for the hives but button them up and hope for the best!  That isn't entirely true, of course, but it is too cold to feed sugar syrup any more.  One hive ended up absconding in late September, my strongest one all year is now worrying me a great deal, and the hive that started off the year by killing its first queen before she was even out of the queen cage is doing the best by far! I guess those bees know what they were doing when they put out the assassination order.

The Beginning of Gecko Condo

In the 14 years that I have been keeping and working with reptiles I have accumulated quite the mish-mash of cages and other housing   What I really want to do is reduce some clutter and build an atheistically pleasing housing that can be broken down into separate parts, has some ability to change its capacity, is easy to clean, can hold its humidity fairly well, and can hold multiple animals at once. Systems like this exist to be purchased but are crazy expensive. See these two samples:

Bee Studies - Pollen and Hive Health?

Earlier today I spent some time with Charlie Nicholson going through what was my strongest hive and the only one to produce any harvestable honey for me this year.  I say was because the hive seems to be dropping off every week in health.  There are fewer and fewer bees and they are taking very little of the heavy, 2:1 sugar syrup I am feedign them to try and get them to build up more stores for winter.  Maybe I shouldn't have harvested any honey from them, but at the time I was not only excited to harvest but the hive seemed to be doing just fine and have plenty of time to build up for win

Down One Hive

It appears the year of crazy queens has reached its finally.  The middle hive that was having problems was doing so-so after I requeened it back in July.  The queen had a good laying pattern and was doing what she could, but despite her laying efforts the workers drew out very little, if any, new comb.  I have been feeding them a light, 1:1 mix of sugar syrup all year to try and get them to draw out comb but they never got past a handful of frames.  Rather than stay in what I assume was a horrid living situation for them they decided to abscond from the hive.  Its the end of September and t

Extracting at Philadelphia's 2nd Honey Fest

I did my first extraction yesterday at Philadelphia's 2nd annual honey fest for a crowd of honey enthusiasts attending the festivities at Bartram's Garden in West Philadelphia.  There was a great turn out and lots of kids stealing tastes of honey while I was removing the cappings. 

Trying to Save a Hive

The hive I swapped to the middle a couple months back is not doing well.  I learned they were queenless several weeks back and despite giving them frames with brood and eggs from the other two hives they have failed to make a queen on their own.  I am installing a queen for them today that I picked up at my last bee class this morning.  I am worried for this hive, not just because they have been queenless but because they have only drawn out about 4 frames of wax on their own.  I am going to need to feed them like crazy if they have any hope to survive the winter at this point in the season

Six Weeks into Keeping Bees

I did an inspection today, good news and bad from it. The contrast between these hives amazes me every time. I fully understand now why they suggest beginners start with at least two hives.  If I only had the problem hive I am pretty sure I would be beeless by now and out of luck for the year, as well as extremely frustrated with a new hobby.  Instead I have a fabulous first year challenge!  The hive that has been having queen problems appears to be ok. They have accepted the third queen and she is laying.

Queen Woes

The regicide hive continues to have issues.  I do not know what the workers were thinking when they convinced the attendants to murder their mistress, but it appears all their plans have gone awry every since.  Though switching places with one of the outer hives has helped population in this hive, it has just caused population problems due to drifting in the now center hive.  In an attempt to fix this I have staggered the hive positions a bit and slightly altered entrance angles.  I hope it will be enough.  I don't have all that much room to work with, so I need to make do.  One of the chal

Guard Bees and Queen Problems

I wish I brought my camera to inspection today. I saw two cool guard bee acts. For the first there was a horsefly hanging out a couple of inches away from the reduced entrance on the bottom board. A bee flew out of the entrance and rammed right into the fly butt first, getting rid of the fly while the bee squirmed on its back trying to right itself.  The second was a bee escorting a hive beetle out of the front entrance of the hive. It was just pushing it along and herding it until it got the thing out the door. Pretty neat to see them taking care of things like that.

What have the Bee's built in 16 days?

Its been just over two weeks since I put the packages in my three new hives. The two outer hives are doing great! I am really worried about the middle one that killed its first queen, however. I was able to get a new queen in there that was excepted by the package of bees I had installed a week earlier.  this middle hive has far fewer bees, maybe 2/3 less than the other two hives. I did see eggs, but only a very small number. I didn't see any larva so unless I missed them that means the queen has only been laying for a couple of days.

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