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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Did a road trip to see Ike at Forest Hills Woodworking last week.
    He is now carrying foundationless frames so that will save on shipping costs.

    Its been dry around these parts with a t-storm or two giving us a tinkle once in awhile.
    All five colonies are coming and going with a purpose and there must still be some kind of nectar flow going on.
    Currently they are bringing in a pale yellow pollen and am seeing lots of clover.

    I've got three supers on the 8 & 10 frame Deep hives and 5 supers on the other 8 frame Medium.
    In another week I may be adding another super to the 8 frame medium.
    That hive has been the most productive so far.
    They are all still building comb but it has slowed down a bit.

    I noticed a light colored honey in Spring and now it's changing to a darker color.
    Our garden has the most flowers we've ever seen on the cucumbers and tomatoes.

    Photo taken with iPad and edited in the Camera+ app.

    Last edited by Allen; 07-13-2012 at 08:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Venango, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    My hives have still been bringing in nectar, but it is slow. We have not had much rain either. They are forcasting rain for us Saturday thru Thursday for us. We will see if we actually get any. Mostly what I see them working right now is the clover. The thistle is just starting to bloom and I am seeing them on that now also.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,294

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Necter is slowing way down here but what a great years it's been i went from 3 hives to 17 in 2 month and i wanted more bee's and i got them . I'm seeing goldenrod and the thistle starting to bloom and the white clover is dieing out . I have not took any honey yet but i'm trying to build them up for winter and the three hives from last year all swarmed i think i got them all 6{swarms} in total and one i took may 1 is crazy strong and all my queens seem to be doing well. Third year and i'm learning alot making queens and finding them when you look for them is realy a cool feeling. It adds up cash wise real fast but at this stage of the game i have what i need and if i can get 10 or more through winter i should do well next year.
    I sure love my bee's

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Did a hive inspection this AM.
    Bee populations have increased and all are bringing in nectar and capping honey.
    Some frames still need to be drawn out and there is some comb made back in June that is waiting to be filled.
    The workers are starting to push the queens down into the lower supers.

    More deep supers may be added in a week or so if production continues.
    Might be getting a mated queen from Dennis Keeney soon to start a Nuc.
    Keeping fingers crossed...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,294

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Your going to start a nuc now? I figured it was alittle late . Good luck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Thanks.
    I thought it was too late also but then got to thinking about the Fall flow.
    It's started early around here and we've been getting plenty of rain so the flowers are blooming.
    We also have the resources now with four 10 frame hives to make one Nuc and maybe two.

    The Nuc will have 4 frames in the bottom box which will already have most of the work done to them.
    It shouldn't be a problem for the bees to draw out a second box on top with 4 more frames.
    The Nuc will eventually get wintered on top of one of our 10 frame full-sized hives.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ted-about-Nucs!

    Worst that can happen is we lose them.
    If they survive then we'll know what to do next Winter when we over-winter double Nucs on our other 10 frame hives.
    Rather make a mistake with one than six or eight.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,294

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Sounds like a good plan i to have a couple splits i made to see if i could make my own queens in JULY are building and they only have about 6 frames as of last week but where building fast plus i am feeding them even with a flow on they still are taking syrup . I have 17 hives and only had 3 last year but had a great year for building up numbers that for sure. Good luck what a great hobby.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    Did a road trip to see Ike at Forest Hills Woodworking last week.
    He is now carrying foundationless frames so that will save on shipping costs.
    Do you happen to be able to post a pic of what the foundationless looks like?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Here ya go. Wanted to show several angles of the top bar.



    The bottom is solid.
    I don't use anything on the frames except double horizontal wires in the deeps.
    And new frames get placed between drawn or foundation based frames which help keep new comb straight.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Thanks for that Allen. It seems that they're very similar to Kelly's. I was hoping that there wouldn't be a "flat" on the bottom of the top bar but rather a point.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Oversight on my part.
    They are Kelley frames and the bees don't seem to mind the flat area on the bottom of the triangle.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Allen, I understand that the bees don't "mind" however what I'm finding out (using them exclusively) especiall on a flow it's hard to keep them going straight. I know that you can put a empty frame between a brood frame (although mine aren't solid brood. Some honey on top that's capped or not) and inbetween 2 capped honey frames and they'll draw it perfectly. I had one hive (a full strength hive) draw 2 frames so that one was just touching the frame next to it and the following comb was 1/2 on one frame and 1/2 on the next frame. My was that fun to get worked out!!! I'm going to be trying a bit of a different strategy next time. I'm taking a strip of comb perhaps 1/2" wide and kind of smashing it on the frame so that there's about 1/2" lip down of solid wax. I had some frames that for one reason or another were bad and cut the comb out of them and left about that 1/2" of comb at the top. Even though they didn't draw it straight the first time I just smashed it so that there's a 1/32" or so thick piece of wax coming straight down to give them the best comb guide I can think of. I'm not sure how it'll work, but I'm going to try it. If anyone has other thoughts I'd love to know how you keep them straight.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    I stopped in to see Ike this past weekend. I bought 10 of the foundationless frames. I asked him if he plans to make his own anytime soon. He said he plans to next spring. I've been making my own the past couple years using the Mann Lake grooved top/bottom boards with wood strips cut on the table saw to friction fit in the groove. I keep them in place with a drop or two of glue. They have been accepted great, no waxing, just straight into the hive (only one or two so far with anything but perfect comb). I told Ike I would compare my experiences with the Kelley frames to what I have been using and report back in a month or so. I think now is the time to influence Ike to make a product that will fit our needs. I would sure rather buy local from Forest Hill than to buy from a catalog and still have to deal with starter strips.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    I couldn't agree more with buying local. I'd love it if he would start making them, but the problem with Kelly's frames from what I see and have experienced this year is the starter strip isn't enough it seems. If I catch a swarm then it's usuall fine, but if I am adding a box to a hive then it is often not enough. I have had several hives draw comb and join 2 frames together. I have to cut a lot of wax / nectar away to "help" the bees draw it straight. I'm honestly considering going with a wedged top and just nailing the wedge in and seeing how that works. I haven't bought any yet, but I also like your idea of the groved top bar w/ a ripped "wedge". That may work great also. If we can help Ike to go this rout I'm definitely up for it. Regarding Kelly's frames. . . If you put them inbetween 2 capped frames then you're fine. If you bring a couple frames up into a new box that has been where I have gotten into trouble.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    I feel the Kelley frames will be problematic too just from looking at them. I only bought them after Ike said he was planning on making foundationless frames in the spring. I told him I would compare to mine and give him the feedback. Heck - I have 100 un-assembled groove top frames waiting to put together. If, in the end, I can buy something local, a small investment and collaboration is well worth it.

    I have 4 hives with pretty much all foundationless comb - they only messed up about 4 frames total out of about 150.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    I first started the Kelley frames in between foundation and everything seemed to go ok.
    The problems I noticed were with Deep frames when adding the next super.
    Some frames from below get moved up as bait comb and I'd insert empty Kelley frames in both Supers.
    Sometimes the bees would continue to draw out the frames on either side before going to work on the new frames.
    This was always on honey frames.
    It has not happened with the Medium frame hive.

    If there is a better set up then count me in to let Ike know we're interested in what he can make.

    What improvements do you suggest for Ike's foundationless frames?

    Btw, I added two horizontal strands of stainless wire in each Deep frame for support and had no issues with the heat.
    The Mediums didn't get wired and they stayed together also.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    I'm sure the kelley frames work reasonibly well, especially when placed between brood comb, or capped honey frames. The starter strip on them is kinda rounded off, I think you may see some comb once in a while being drawn on an slight angle, and possibly having different sections overlapping (especially when they start from each side and meet in the middle). I have seen that before. The ones I have made are pretty simple really, I just don't like cutting the strips on the table saw - every once in a while one will splinter and fly - definitely a job for eye protection!

    Below are a couple pics of mine. I've been using the Mann Lake grooved top frames. I just set the table saw to cut strips that slide into the groove and glue them with a couple drops to keep them in place. Once they build them out, they are in to stay. Mine probably stick down from the top bar about 1/4 inch. I do not use wax at all - the bees have started building on the strip every time.

    I caught a swarm early in the year. They were in an 8 frame medium box with one brood comb and 7 foundationless frames like these. When I retrieved them of the 7 frames, they had a couple fully drawn, a cople half drawn, a couple a third drawn, and one just started. All frame perfect.


    IMG_1773 (800x600).jpgIMG_1774 (800x600).jpg

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    Thanks for the pictures!!! I have said before as many others have also. . . a picture is worth a thousand words. I also appreciate your explenation on how they draw it out.

    On another note. . . Does anyone know how late is too late to rear queens in our area? I see some of you are in Chester Co. but what experience do you all have in this? I have 2 hives w/ queens in process and looking at the calendar inspection on the latest seems to be early / mid next month. Is this too late? I had a batch of queens that 1/2 of them didn't pan out so well. I have some good queens but not "enough" to overwinter what I wanted this year. Any thoughts?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    The Nuc appears to be bringing in more pollen than the full sized hives.
    They have been moving with a purpose the last few days.
    Am seeing them bring in a yellow and bright orange pollen.
    About a quarter mile way I found some cosmos sulphureus with honey bees on them.

    We had our largest artisan show of the year www.facebook.com/ArtisansattheFirehouse just down the street at a historical building with cleomas out front.
    We noticed honeybees working over those flowers while attendees were walking by with no clue.
    Got to use it as an educational opportunity while talking up our future sales of raw honey.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Penn Colony Update: Summer

    What is going on in the PA region? I have seen some nectar being stored, but not in any kind of volume. What is everyone else seeing?

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