Gypsi's bee story - in one place
March 1, 2011. A local beek installed a hive, 1 deep, 1 super, bees (I do not know how many) on 4 cinderblocks under my giant elm tree, insisting that the hive had to have shade. Showed me how to fill the bordman feeder, got paid $300, went home.
Originally Posted by sqkcrk
I dutifully filled that feeder. As needed. With 1:1 sugar water.
Late April, the hive went hot, granted except for very early morning and late at night, there were no humans near the hive, on a fenced lot. I got stung 3 times in one week, my helper and I barely got my trailer pulled out through the gate, it took a smoker and they were dive bombing the smoker. That would be Easter weekend.
May 3rd, a LOT of bees in the air above my pond on the lot. A vast buzzing cloud. I called the beek, she said they were swarming. I declined to pull equipment out of that area. I did not have a suit. I called and ordered it that day. The bees settled on a branch near the pond, and were there for the 2 days it took for my suit, and the super I was told to order, with foundation, to come, they left a few hours before UPS got here.
I opened the hive and added the super, but didn't really inspect a few days later. I offered to pay the gal what I charge for a consult, $65, to come and show me what I was dealing with, but she wasn't interested.
I kept filling the bordman, til the beek told me no, I should not. I am gone a great deal in spring and early summer. In early July, there didn't seem to be as many bees. I think I finally opened the hive then, in my suit. Everything looked ok, I want to say 3 to 5 frames of bees, the super I had added was empty. And this was DEEP shade, my elm is huge.
The bees looked angry a week or so later, I looked and saw ants climbing the hive. I got the beek on the phone, my pest control guy on the phone, and got on here and elsewhere and researched keeping ants out. Lots of cinnamon applied, all seemed ok.
At the end of July, it was just too quiet, no bees coming or going. I put on a suit, opened the hive, it was full of wax moth larva, one bee flew off.
I called the beek, she didn't answer. Filled a stock tank, dunked the worst frames in it, put all worms in a bucket for my chickens, took til 10 pm to clean the hive up. But I did it. There were bees buzzing the boxes on my truck a couple of days later.
I was charged $300 for that hive. When she finally got my message, the beek offered to trade me, her eqpt (she had me dump dishsoap water on it), for another hive. She also told me I just had to use HBH, that she did and it worked, and so on. I and my friend with bees drove out at 5 am, and picked up the hive, took her eqpt back. When we got it back to my place it moved to a sunnier spot, (without consulting my mentor) sun til noon. (although a couple of weeks later I moved it to full sun and built a vented top) And this time I opened it and looked. Super had empty plasticell frames, old ones, and one side of one frame had comb. Deep had 2 frames of bees and comb. It was August 3rd or 4th.
I bought a country rubes sbb with white counting mite board, and coated that board with olive oil. Mite drop in 24 hours: over 100. On 2 frames of bees.
You do not roll bees in sugar and dunk them in alcohol when you have almost no bees. Or at least I don't.
I made a lot of mistakes. I didn't know to dust or sift the powdered sugar over the frames, I painted it on the bees. I spilled sugar water. I had robbers attacking when I was taking pictures of my vented upper screened spacer - some one has a name for that gadget. I posted a pic and some kind soul on here told me they were robber bees. I removed the bordman, experimented with different feeders (home depot bucket style), I learned how not to have them leak, I chased wax moths out, built wax moth traps, painted the bees with more dried powdered sugar, moved the hive to still another sunnier spot, etc. The number of bees went up, not down. I built a robber guard, I used duct tape to mount it (that's sure changing, gonna have screws and pipe strap with a cut out to allow it to slip over a screw on the side of my box and lock on)
Most of the battles are on posts on here. I even caught a swarm, it was robbed out at the end of September
I was robbed out October 4th. With 7 frames of comb and bees before the robbery, I had just pulled the super off, dropped its single frame of comb down with the other 6, and reduced real estate. Mite drop on the same board after 48 hours: zero. The prior week (when I didn't have time to check it daily) I think the mite drop was 3.
Mark, I do not know everything about bees, but I have darned sure had my hands sticky, and with the help of some people on bee source, who posted a pic when I asked to see one, and looked at mine, I made a fair amount of progress. And the beek who gave me the warranty hive, well I have never heard a word from her since. And I haven't called. Still have half a bottle of hbh, might use it in bait hives.
Gypsi (and I will warn my friend about his honey, but he didn't buy it at the grocery store. It is labeled pure Texas honey, I think he's getting it at the herb shop.) I get mine (to eat myself) from the feed store. Don't know if Burleson Honey Hut is on beesource, but it is theirs.
Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.