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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Days 15 - 17: the move

    Yuzow, something I did was print out inspection sheets where I would fill in what each bar "had" and thoughts for next time, etc. Usually I fill it out after the fact because I can't inspect and write!

    On the bottom I added the days it takes a worker to become capped (9), to emerge from the cap (20), and then to mature enough to out and forage (40 or so). If you look at those days, it takes nearly a month for a drone to go from egg to flying. So if you are seeing drones at your hive.... they did not come from your queen. This is very exciting! it means that you have a feral (or managed) hive nearby! Drones apparently have a habit of finding "any port in a storm" and are not too picky about which hive they go into.

    About inspections - it is harder to move fast, especially at first, and the longer you take the more stressed the bees can be.

    First, I'd say watch this video by Randy O - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcfqTx4_FAo - he talks about what it takes for the bees to become defensive. When I inspect, I try very hard to avoid sudden jerks, bangs, or quick large moves. It makes my inspecting slow, but I don't have too much trouble with the bees become defensive - until I get to the brood nest. It's typical for my one hive (feral lineage) to have a handful start headbutting about the second bar into the brood nest (so maybe the 15th bar). That is as aggressive as they get. I have heard of bees covering the veil and stinging goat skin gloves - haven't seen that yet thankfully!

    Second, you can set your hive up so you either go in the front/brood side first, or go into the back/honey side first. My entrance is on the narrow side, so I have set up an empty bar at the front so I can go into the broodnest first, so that helps reduce the time it takes me to get to the brood nest. And reduce the time I need to open the hive to get my questions answered. BTW you should not have many entrances - just one - like a bee tree. Otherwise your bees are vulnerable to being robbed by other bees. This will make them cranky.

    Third, I make sure I rehearse my purpose before I go in. Is it to check for eggs/brood? Then I can go in the brood side. Is it to check their stores, or add space between honey and brood areas to reduce the urge to swarm? then I go in the honey side. I do a full inspection at the beginning of the season, but then I will just do partial ones.

    Good luck, keep working on your technique. It will get easier!

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Days 15 - 17: the move

    thanks for the tips about the drones, that is very interesting.

    That is a good video, too. I enjoyed it but it sure put Bodhi to sleep!

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post

    First, I'd say watch this video by Randy O - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcfqTx4_FAo - he talks about what it takes for the bees to become defensive. When I inspect, I try very hard to avoid sudden jerks, bangs, or quick large moves. It makes my inspecting slow, but I don't have too much trouble with the bees become defensive - until I get to the brood nest. It's typical for my one hive (feral lineage) to have a handful start headbutting about the second bar into the brood nest (so maybe the 15th bar). That is as aggressive as they get. I have heard of bees covering the veil and stinging goat skin gloves - haven't seen that yet thankfully!

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 31 "the flow"

    Day 31
    Monday, April 17th, 2017

    I'm very puzzled about the nectar flow. Hard to find details about the flow in Georgia. I think we might be in the middle of a flow?

    I did see that the bees were very eagerly visiting my neighbor's apple tree. I can only hope that they are my bees Well it the closest most obvious pollen nectar source to the hive right now, so I figure....

    You may notice elsewhere I started paying attention to the dead bees around the hive, see: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ey-Bee-Biology
    I figure, maybe some clues to the health of the hive?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Days 15 - 17: the move

    Hey Vanbow,

    I checked out your build blog. I'm very impressed with the 2 inch thick boards!

    Also, I have to admit I was very daunted by designs requiring precise measurements and cuts because I suck at precision, that is why I went with the Michael Bush design. I'm not sure if I did it how he might have, because how I did it did involve some intriguing spreading of side boards AFTER they were nailed to the bottom board....

    Quote Originally Posted by VanBow View Post
    Oh, oops, forgot to answer your question about what type of hives I have. Kenyan, custom dimensions.
    Attachment 32281
    (My hive build journey can be found here.)

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Days 15 - 17: the move

    Thanks! It was definitely daunting, probably not the best choice for a first carpentry project. The roof is really the thing I'm least happy with, I just can't get it on and off without shaking up the hive. Not sure how I could've handled that though since I think even if it were hinged it'd shake it a bit, and I wanted the gabled roof for ventilation since it's so humid around here.

    You inspired me to do little "lessons learned" posts after each hive inspection so that I can learn from my mistakes. This was my first one: https://vanbow.wordpress.com/2017/04...ssons-learned/
    First year beekeeper with two Kenyan Top Bar Hives.
    My bee journey can be found here.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Days 15 - 17: the move

    Hello, Vanbow,

    what kind of lid do you have? From your blog it sounds like it has sides on it like a telescoping cover?? I had a very simple lid 4' by 17" or so, just barely covered the bars, but then I followed Mangum's advice for lid spacer for air flow because it gets very hot down here, and I added some plastic cardboard to make it longer and wider. I think I will switch back to the simple lid for the winter because that will retain heat better when it is cold.

    I think I got lucky with the queen cage thing, because I did put it on the bottom board, but then it created another worry - why are they all clustered on the side wall? That sorted itself out after a while...

    Thanks for blogging too! I appreciate it. I am still trying to figure out the most basic things, which the bee experts kind of gloss over.

    heart,
    Thomas

    Quote Originally Posted by VanBow View Post
    Thanks! It was definitely daunting, probably not the best choice for a first carpentry project. The roof is really the thing I'm least happy with, I just can't get it on and off without shaking up the hive. Not sure how I could've handled that though since I think even if it were hinged it'd shake it a bit, and I wanted the gabled roof for ventilation since it's so humid around here.

    You inspired me to do little "lessons learned" posts after each hive inspection so that I can learn from my mistakes. This was my first one: https://vanbow.wordpress.com/2017/04...ssons-learned/

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 32 - Queen Bee

    Day 32
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    It just rained, in the afternoon. There was a cloud of very noisy bees hovering around the entrance. In contrast to yesterday, only seeing a few bees pop in with some meager pollen, the rest of them seem to be just buzzing around.

    I am practicing how to light and keep the smoker going. Newspaper and pine straw doesn't seem to work for me. I had my best results with sage. Will keep trying because pine straw is in abundance and free but sage is not.

    queen bee brush.jpg
    I just wanted to share what I use for a bee brush, Sharon made it from turkey feathers. Here it is modeled by my queen bee
    I feel all mystical about that brush, gathering "bee medicine" from brushing the bees. The darkness draws their attention when provoked and they will attack it but their stingers just poke through the barbs.
    Last edited by Yunzow; 04-18-2017 at 05:48 PM.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 33 - Queen Bee2

    Day 33
    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    The most important part is I persuaded Sharon to join me with this inspection. Though she has been supportive, she really hasn't been that interested in seeing the bees. She brought the camera along, which is nice but of course the battery died immediately!

    This is the first time I did a mid-afternoon inspection. I had the day off for various appointments.

    I was looking forward to doing an inspection today but the weather was no good so I was feeling pessimistic, but luckily after lunch the sun came out.

    I did just a partial inspection, the very back and the very front. Looks like just shy of 13 combs, two of the thirteen are partial combs. It would appear to me that they are on track for 14 or fifteen combs by Saturday.

    I was able to see some larvae for the first time! There were some capped cells as well, kind of higher on the comb not lower, I think that might have been worker cells?

    So there are still four empty bars up front. Perhaps this is good for swarm suppression?

    Per Les Crowder i flipped the last two bars. I don't know if that was entirely necessary...

    I almost burned the house down with my smoker practice. I was experimenting with some sweet grass, which I do not recommend btw. When I thought it was done smouldering I put it next to a piece of sage. A couple of hours later the sweetgrass was all gone and the whole sage bunch was smouldering. It burned a black spot into the shelf. Yikes!
    Last edited by Yunzow; 04-19-2017 at 08:02 PM.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 34 - the apple trees and scary bees

    Day 34
    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    Today when I checked the hive, nothing out of the ordinary. They are bringing in a lot of pollen. I assume the ones without pollen are bringing nectar.

    My neighbor has an apple tree in bloom. I have noticed bees, hopefully my bees, depending on the time of the day. I was staring at the tree looking for bees, of course, my neighbor was curious what I was up to. His kids asked "what is he doing?" I said, "I'm watching for the pollinators, bees." Thinking what a wonderful experience to share for the next generation. My neighbor replied anxiously, "you see bees??"

    Oh yeah, people are frightened of bees. Doh!

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Day 34 - the apple trees and scary bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    what kind of lid do you have? From your blog it sounds like it has sides on it like a telescoping cover??
    Yes, I believe that's what it would be considered. It slides down over the top and rests on those two bars on the ends.
    Here's a picture before I put the plywood on:
    img_20170324_124939209.jpg

    Your turkey feather bee brush is fabulous! Love it! Very smart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    Oh yeah, people are frightened of bees. Doh!
    Oh man I keep running into this. I didn't realize it'd be so hard to find helpers! Also because of where I had to put one of the hives the bees fly across a path to part of my backyard and I was walking a friend back and she was ABSOLUTELY MORTIFIED. For some reason I didn't expect people to be afraid of them unless they were helping me open up the hive (which I do find intimidating) but no, they're just scared of any bees at all. It's sad. Hopefully I can help them overcome their fear. Glad to see your wife decided to join you! I'm hoping my husband will eventually be bold enough to as well.
    First year beekeeper with two Kenyan Top Bar Hives.
    My bee journey can be found here.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Day 34 - the apple trees and scary bees

    Oh, I see it fits like a house roof, I think you said that was for ventilation? Way beyond my skillset to make those kind of cuts!

    It definitely took some coaxing to get Sharon out there. Once she was there she was fascinated. Bodhi, on the other hand, is always game.

    Quote Originally Posted by VanBow View Post
    Yes, I believe that's what it would be considered. It slides down over the top and rests on those two bars on the ends.
    Here's a picture before I put the plywood on:
    img_20170324_124939209.jpg

    Your turkey feather bee brush is fabulous! Love it! Very smart.


    Oh man I keep running into this. I didn't realize it'd be so hard to find helpers! Also because of where I had to put one of the hives the bees fly across a path to part of my backyard and I was walking a friend back and she was ABSOLUTELY MORTIFIED. For some reason I didn't expect people to be afraid of them unless they were helping me open up the hive (which I do find intimidating) but no, they're just scared of any bees at all. It's sad. Hopefully I can help them overcome their fear. Glad to see your wife decided to join you! I'm hoping my husband will eventually be bold enough to as well.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 35, night 36 - night bearding

    Day 35
    Friday, April 21, 2017

    I've seen this described elsewhere so I guess it is "normal". It was definitely past midnight, so technically Saturday a.m. The bees, a clump of them hanging outside the right entrance, perhaps numbering about a hundred. Not doing much, at least a couple of layers of bees. Curiously, the left entrance there were perhaps twenty, and some were noisily ventilating, perhaps only four or five bees. The middle entrance maybe ten or so, hanging out within the entrance. It was a warm day earlier so....
    Last edited by Yunzow; 04-24-2017 at 12:47 PM.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 36, 37 - I miss my bees!

    Day 36
    Saturday April 22, 2017
    Earth Day

    Day 37
    Sunday April 23, 2017

    Over the weekend, I only saw my bees for a couple of minutes on Saturday morning. Nothing much going on, just bringing in lots of pollen in the morning.

    It rained heavily on Sunday, most of the day. I was curious to see how my new roof was handling the rain, but I could not because of child care issues.

    I miss my bees!

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Big Grin Day 38 - Night watch bee rescue

    Day 38
    Monday, April 24, 2017

    It was a long day. I was running late so I forgot to let the chickens out in the morning. So they had maybe an hour of sunlight when I let them out when I got home.

    After dinner and helping Sharon out, I visited the bees in darkness.

    No night bearding tonight! Definitely a cool day and a cool night, cloudy most all of the day until the last couple of hours.

    Most of the ventilation is occurring on the left entrance.

    I got accosted by a guard bee several times. She would head butt the flashlight.

    I saw a house bee dragging out a dead bee. She fell to the ground with the carcass, but then still struggled to move it further.

    I found a bee on the roof of the hive, far from the entrance. She looked sluggish. I picked her up with a leaf and then placed her just on top of a bar I have roofing the entrance holes.

    I noticed a guard on patrol, just down from where I put the rescue bee. They do seem to have a specific patrol, with well-defined paths and circuits.

    The lost bee found the entrance! For a while, she perched at the top of the entrance hole, as if she couldn't believe what was happening. Then eventually, after a few minutes of the guard bee head butting my light, I saw her go into the hive, lost among the waving antennas, the pulsing abdomens, and buzzing wings.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 39 - Peace offering & what not to do on an afternoon inspection!

    Day 39
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Let's just get what not to do out of the way.

    It starts with, I just got off work, around 5 p.m. got home. After fail with the dogs still crapping in the hall even after I put them outside, I go to the bees.

    My new lid with the plastic cardboard seems to collect water in the little tubes, so when I lifted it water spilled out. Not a huge amount, but noticeable. We'll see if this is an issue or not??

    I examined the back first. So they had built a partial comb on R. Looking further in, I did find a "bad comb" right next to it, bulging on the right side of the hive. So I went one further bar in, took that straight comb out and put it where R started off at. I did have to shave off a little bit of comb because Q I think it was had formed a small burr with R on the left side. A few bees fell to the floor and I got a little wax stuck on the hive tool. That is going to be my peace offering.

    Then I tried to open the front. I will not do that again at this time of day unless I really must.

    So I have a small gap between the first bar A and the front board. For entrance reducers I have two identical lengths of rectangular wood, with an open space between them in the center of the hive width, together with a bar for the "roof", which goes on top of the gap, this forms three entrances. Basically a center slot barely two inches, and two side entrances just bigger than a half-inch openings.

    So I lifted the "roof" of this entrance which immediately multiplied the size of the entrance opening by a factor of almost ten. Then I was trying to grab B with leaving A in place. It was very tight in there. Once I got it out, I noticed that the bees were very loud all of the sudden and there were so many all around me, like they were looking at me, watching what I was doing. I also realized my left hand (bare) was blocking the right entrance, which is their favorite entrance right now, so foragers were rapidly accumulating.

    So, I nervously closed up the hive, without being able to see if they had come any further forward.

    Oh well, I'll check that out Saturday morning!

    My lesson, fine to do an afternoon inspection deep in the back of the hive, where the activity levels are fairly constant and consistent so the bees aren't going to have many guards there. The front is filled with much activity, comings and goings and they sure do notice real fast.

    But this is not news to most of you that have heard any basic advice about hive inspections!

    I should mention if I didn't say it I probably didn't do it. For example, at no point did I light or use a smoker.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 40 - sick!

    I was sick today in bed all day so I couldn't visit my bees! Too bad, it was a bright sunny day, so I am sure they were busy.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Day 41 - Cloudy day inspection

    Day 41
    Thursday, April 27, 2017

    I wasn't expecting to, but I opened up the hive. It was a cloudy day. So my first intention was to merely observe what was going on.

    And I could see some foragers returning, some with fat pollen loads. So....

    I opened up the front of the hive. This time, I left the entrance largely intact instead of lifting up the "roof" bar. Because I was planning to lift out only one bar at a time. I knew this was risky in other ways, and I did end up decapitating a bee. "Off with her head!"

    But I confirmed that the bees were building comb on D! So that means they are building comb on 15 bars, (13 full bars and 2 partial bars). I suppose they are doing well, not in general, but for a first year colony.

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