Day by day blog: aka exterior inspections - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    Default Days 45 & 46 - 50% and bee scooping

    Day 45
    Monday, May 1, 2017

    This was my birthday. Just a brief night visit to the bees. This is turning into a fetch Tiggy routine as well.

    Day 46
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    I opened up this hive this morning because I've been anxious to understand the "Bald Brood" a bit better. From what I have read, a linear pattern could mean a wax moth is eating the caps?? So it does look like a bit of a linear pattern, a line of three or four here or there.

    Thinking about how well the bees are doing, from feedback I got from Michael Bush, who designed the hive I am using, I am thinking in terms of percent volume of the hive. My guesstimate is the hive is 50% comb right now. They had fully drawn out "D", not got further than "S", which is being further drawn out from a couple of days ago.

    I am very puzzled about the flow. But I can see that they are bringing back pollen, so I think that is a good sign.

    I want to say a word about bee scooping and putting bars back. What works for me is to angle the bar back in, the far end usually. It is still a slow process of tapping the bees until they decide to go elsewhere, whether back down or on top of the bars.

    Then I use my turkey feather brush to "scoop" the bees up. No brushing at all. Instead I very gently nudge them with the edge of the brush until they clamber onto it then I move them elsewhere. This definitely agitates them less.

    Stupid cat. He hopped on top of the hive while I had it open!!!

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  3. #62
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado USA
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    19

    Default Re: Day 14 - how to bump bees

    Trish, do you use follower boards in your TBH? Phil Chandler's system uses a follower board with a 4- 6" gap at each end of the hive, so that you can just lift the follower and see what the bees are doing without disrupting them or moving any bars. Of course, this only works if you have the entry holes on the front (long) surface of the hive.

  4. #63
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    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    Cool Day 47 - slo-mo cam

    Day 47
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    Today I discovered the slo-mo function on my iphone.
    http://moonpathblog.org/bees/slo-mo.mov

    It starts at regular speed for a few seconds then goes slo-mo. You can see at the regular speed the bees are very active and noisy. It was around 6 p.m.

    In slo-mo you can see how clumsy they can bee when trying to land. Several crash landings and fails.

    I think I can tell when they have nectar, their proximal abdomen looks amber.

  5. #64
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    Default Day 48 nope

    Day 48
    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Didn't go see the hive today, too pooped from work and various meetings after work.

  6. #65
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    Default Day 49 - the elusive tulip poplar and bee brush cam

    Day 49
    Friday, May 5, 2017

    It was the second rainy day in a row, and the temperature has dropped forty degrees. I looked at the hive around 6 p.m. The bees were not that active. Strangely there were a few hanging out at the entrances and they looked sluggish. But there were a few zipping in and out of the hive as if they had someplace to go.

    I saw a bee on the lid and figured it would be better off inside the hive. So I used the "scoop" technique and plopped her in the left entrance. I used a gopro camera. This isn't the best example of "scooping" hopefully I can post something better tomorrow. You'll notice how she grabs onto the feather, I think this is instinctual.
    http://moonpathblog.org/bees/beescooprescue.mp4

    I've been obsessed with tulip poplars. Never seen one before, but apparently these are one of the main honey sources for bees in Georgia. Finally I saw a few along the Yellow River, which I live next to. There is no way I would have noticed them driving, in fact I have driven by these trees numerous times and not known that they were tulip poplars. It took a flat tire and walking home from Tires Plus to notice them.

  7. #66
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    Default Day 50 - hive inspection with gopro cam

    Day 50
    Saturday, May 6, 2017

    Today I did a hive inspection with a gopro cam mounted to my left hand. I figured I could review the video for details I wouldn't be able to see with my eyes. Alas, the resolution wasn't good enough. I think I might try this again with a bigger camera. I mean take pictures, not mount a big camera to my hand!

    I counted seventeen bars of drawn comb today, two of which were partial. The bees had not gone any further back, they were building up the next to the last bar, which was the last bar I had moved forward at the last inspection. They had started making comb on C. So they are moving forward.

    I can see that the front hive inspections will get more difficult as they move forward because it leaves me less maneuvering space.

    I did this inspection in the morning. Later in the day, around 730 p.m. (still light out) I showed the hive to my cousin Chung and his girlfriend. It was his grandfather that was one of my first inspirations to be a beekeeper. I let her wear my suit and Chung wore a veil, no jacket. I didn't wear any gear at all, as I was planning only to open up the back of the hive to show them a honeycomb. A bee did land on my face but it didn't sting me and eventually went away.
    Last edited by Yunzow; 05-07-2017 at 04:41 PM.

  8. #67
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    Default Day 51 - exterior nothing unusual

    Day 51
    Sunday, May 7, 2017

    Around 4 p.m., just observing the exterior. Nothing special to note. The bees were very actively buzzing around the hive and bringing back pollen, about every other bee.

  9. #68
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    Default Day 52 - cat on the roof

    Day 52
    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Stupid cat!
    DSC_0119.jpg
    I wish he would get stung already so he can learn his lesson!

    Anyways, this is a decent shot of my hive, which is based upon the plans Michael Bush has on his website. You can see the blue duct tape which I used to stop the carpenter bees, the plastic cardboard I stapled to the lid, and how the lid is per Mangum, with spacers between the lid and top bars. The entrances are on the right side of the hive, three entrances, two on the left and right corners and one in the middle. The bars are left-over cedar from 1 by 4's I bought for building a playset, with triangular cleats glued to them. About half the bars are 1 and 1/4 inch (for brood) and the rest are 1 and 1/2 inch; these specs are per Michael Bush. I don't use a follower board and I've fed the bees twice, using raw honey, during the first week of install and not since then.

    I have the hive located on a dam which situates it between a small seven acre lake and about six acres of woods on the other side of the dam. There is a huge drop off going into the woods, which the Yellow River runs along. There is shade during the morning and afternoon and partial shade in the middle of the day. The axis of the hive is north-south, with the entrances south.

    This is in the middle of a low-key subdivision within a suburb of Atlanta,
    Last edited by Yunzow; 05-09-2017 at 01:13 PM.

  10. #69
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    Apr 2017
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    Fort Collins, Colorado USA
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    Default Re: Days 15 - 17: the move

    Having just finished building my second top bar hive, I can so totally relate to your story, VanBow! I'm a very bad measurer, apparently, and not so good with woodworking tools, either. I used Phil Chandler's free online plan, and his book, Building a Top Bar Hive - which was (should have been!) a relatively simple process. I made mine with an eco floor, so I didn't have to miter the bottom board cuts. I wanted to change the top bar dimension to 19 inches so that it would match a Langstroth, but once you start changing one dimension slightly - as you found out - it changes everything! So I went ahead with the 17 inches, as he proposes. They turned out pretty well. I think his sequencing of tasks in building the box is most helpful, and worked out pretty well. I also, yesterday, decided that I needed to put an observation window in both hives, so took the first one apart and took it up to my very kind brother in law to make the cut out (I had tried using a jigsaw myself and... um, no.) I recognized how much easier it would be to just monitor the bees a bit without having to open up the hive. I learned how to cut plexiglass, and lost less than a couple of cc's of blood in the process. I did hinge the gabled roof and used lid supports - I really recommend it, if you can, because they now open and close so easily. I wasn't going to do that at first. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your story - it's great, and really funny!

  11. #70
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    Default Day 53 - bee in web

    Day 53
    Tuesday, May 9, 2017
    just before 6 p.m.

    The bees were rather noisy and quite a few flying around the front of the hive. I was intimidated. It was ninety degrees after what had been a cloudy previous week followed by a cool mornings. It was in the 40s yesterday morning!

    I saw a bee caught in a spider web just under the hive.
    http://moonpathblog.org/bees/beeinweb.MOV

    It was struggling mightily and getting nowhere. I rescued it with a stick. I put it on the roof. It didn't move for a while as if it were resting. Then it crawled away to the entrance. I think its wings were still stuck together.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  12. #71
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    Default Day 54 - drones

    Day 54

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017
    around 6 p.m.

    Not as busy outside the hive as it was yesterday though the temperature was perhaps hotter.

    I noticed drones entering the hive. I take this as a sign that the hive is doing well, or else they wouldn't let them in.

    Not much pollen coming in this afternoon though. Who knows why....
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  13. #72
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    Jun 2016
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    Geauga, Ohio
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    Default Re: Day 54 - drones

    Couple things you might be interested in - the amazing activity you saw (relative to more "regular" days) sounds like an orientation flight. Let's see, looking back, you started this 3/21, and we are now 6-7 weeks past that time - right on time for the some of the first young workers to start flying. They only take 20 or so days to emerge from the brood comb, but they take another 20 days to mature enough to fly and forage. Before they are full-fledged foragers, they make orientation or practice or maybe even strengthening flights - it's probably all three!

    These flights seem intimidating, but if you watch one bee's path, it is in a figure 8 or other meander around the front of the hive. The flight path doesn't get perturbed by your presence or by other bees, just by the wind. And none will have pollen or swollen/amber abdomens.

    Watch for drones soon - they sound so much louder it's alarming!!!

    As for the pollen to non-pollen bearing ratio - this will reveal where the colony has the greatest need. If they are bringing in a lot of pollen, it means their nectar/honey stores are high enough that the nurse bees are finding that on their own from hive stores, and instead "clamoring" at the foragers for pollen with each entry. The foragers will shift to that from their feedback. If few are bringing in pollen, then the nurse bees are instead "rewarding" foragers who bring in nectar by relieving them of their load very quickly. So it can mean they have enough pollen packed, need nectar - or that they are low in nectar/honey stores. Only an inspection can distinguish between those possibilities.

    This also can indicate a nectar flow is on. If so, then they will be building new comb very quickly, and it is important to be checking the hive weekly to prevent cross combing. Best way is to insert empty bars between the brood area and the nectar/honey area. If there isn't a clear difference, then about 3-5 combs into from the last comb. Also between each of the rear honey-storing combs is a good way to give them space. If you are giving them space only in the brood area, to prevent swarming, then keep 3 frames of brood together, insert bar, then another 3-4 bars together - you don't want the nurse bees to be too spread out when needing to keep brood warm, like when the temp drops 40 degrees in 24-36 hours! Ah, spring...

  14. #73
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    Default Re: Day 54 - drones

    Thanks, as always, for the tips, Trish!

    I had heard about splitting the brood, but reluctant to, the three bar thing makes sense.

    Now to figure out how to keep the cats away!

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    Couple things you might be interested in - the amazing activity you saw (relative to more "regular" days) sounds like an orientation flight. Let's see, looking back, you started this 3/21, and we are now 6-7 weeks past that time - right on time for the some of the first young workers to start flying. They only take 20 or so days to emerge from the brood comb, but they take another 20 days to mature enough to fly and forage. Before they are full-fledged foragers, they make orientation or practice or maybe even strengthening flights - it's probably all three!

    These flights seem intimidating, but if you watch one bee's path, it is in a figure 8 or other meander around the front of the hive. The flight path doesn't get perturbed by your presence or by other bees, just by the wind. And none will have pollen or swollen/amber abdomens.

    Watch for drones soon - they sound so much louder it's alarming!!!

    As for the pollen to non-pollen bearing ratio - this will reveal where the colony has the greatest need. If they are bringing in a lot of pollen, it means their nectar/honey stores are high enough that the nurse bees are finding that on their own from hive stores, and instead "clamoring" at the foragers for pollen with each entry. The foragers will shift to that from their feedback. If few are bringing in pollen, then the nurse bees are instead "rewarding" foragers who bring in nectar by relieving them of their load very quickly. So it can mean they have enough pollen packed, need nectar - or that they are low in nectar/honey stores. Only an inspection can distinguish between those possibilities.

    This also can indicate a nectar flow is on. If so, then they will be building new comb very quickly, and it is important to be checking the hive weekly to prevent cross combing. Best way is to insert empty bars between the brood area and the nectar/honey area. If there isn't a clear difference, then about 3-5 combs into from the last comb. Also between each of the rear honey-storing combs is a good way to give them space. If you are giving them space only in the brood area, to prevent swarming, then keep 3 frames of brood together, insert bar, then another 3-4 bars together - you don't want the nurse bees to be too spread out when needing to keep brood warm, like when the temp drops 40 degrees in 24-36 hours! Ah, spring...
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  15. #74
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    Default Day 55 - orientation flights

    Day 55
    Thursday, May 11, 2017
    around 7 p.m.

    I did observe the orientation flights that Trish was talking about. This can be a little confusing if you are trying to gauge how many bees are coming back with pollen, because lots of bees are returning, some never having left the immediate vicinity! As it got later, there was less and less orientation going on.

    Even this late, there were plenty of bees coming back for pollen, which is cool.

    As it got later, I was paying attention to the sound the hive was making, which was getting louder and louder. It is mostly a tonal drone with occasional upwards shifts in tone. This is one of those bee mysteries that I don't think I really want to get to the bottom of, but I like to experience.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  16. #75
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    Default Day 56 - Guard Bees

    Day 56 / night 56

    technically Saturday morning, May 13 as it was very late. There was a heavy rain on Friday, in the early evening a brief powerful deluge followed by no rain for a while, then another powerful deluge. I was wondering how this would affect the bees.

    I am so glad I built that overhang, based on Mangum's idea of having the lid be raised up off the top bars. this allowed the bees to beard around the entrances and not get wet.

    I could see that some of the bees still had pollen in their baskets, like the really hard bits to get out!
    There were many roly-polies all over the outside of the hive. I think they were just trying to keep dry.

    I want to talk about guard bee behavior, just because I didn't see any typical behavior tonight. Usually, a guard bee or three would accost my flashlight. Not tonight. Maybe they got washed away.
    The bees around the central entrance were very loud, and some were flapping their wings outside the hive. I didn't see what purpose that would serve???
    Last edited by Yunzow; 05-13-2017 at 04:34 PM.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  17. #76
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    Default Day 57 - hive inspection

    Day 57

    Saturday, May 13, 2017
    5 p.m.

    I really had it in my head that I was going to harvest honey today. Naive it turns out.

    The bees haven't made much progress going away from the entrance, not build any new bars. I would say they are adding to the last two bars, and those two bars are definitely filled with honey. The third bar from the end has eggs and sealed brood.

    They are building new comb towards the front, so now there is a small comb on B, so that is eighteen bars total, at least two of those are partial combs.

    So the bees are still building comb, but not that fast I would say.

    I couldn't see much of the bald brood going on. This afternoon inspection, I get some good light from the sun in the west. I could see eggs very well.

    I want to mention a technical thing. After the inspection last week, I was fretting about where to put the first two combs, that had festooning bees, while I was inspecting the brood. I had through about rigging a filing crate. But then, doh, just leave the back open and put them in the back of the hive temporarily....
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  18. #77
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    Default Day 58

    Day 58

    Sunday, May 14, 2017

    Nothing much. I did an evening inspection. One guard bee got very attached to me, even in the dark. It was crawling on my neck at one point.
    Last edited by Yunzow; 05-15-2017 at 12:29 PM.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  19. #78
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    Default Day 59

    Day 59

    Monday, May 15, 2017
    late afternoon

    Bees were busy with orientation flights around 6 p.m., many bees buzzing around the front of the hive. I still don't have a good sense of "the flow", but I can see drones returning and the guard bees letting them in, so I assume all is good.

    Later around 7 p.m. the activity around the hive has died down, just bees returning from forage.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  20. #79
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    Default Day 60- Videoblog

    Day 60 - Videoblog

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    I took my goPro to the hive. It doesn't take the sharpest image, but it is super simple to use and easier to get into tight spaces.

    Sorry it looks like it takes a while for this video to download!

    http://moonpathblog.org/bees/videoblog1.mov

    The first segment is a slo-mo with the camera right above the center entrance.
    The following segments are from a partial hive, inspection, just looking at the honey bars.

    You can see that the very last comb is capped on one side and the one next to it has even less honey, none capped.

    There is a shot of some burr comb.

    More later!
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  21. #80
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    Default Day 61 - video: orientation flights

    Day 61 - video: orientation flights

    Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

    I'm posting this video of orientation flights because this can be very intimidating to experience, more so if you don't know what is going on. By the way, this video can take a while to load before it starts.

    http://moonpathblog.org/bees/orientationflights.mov

    I used my goPro again, on wide angle setting with 60 fps. That is the other thing I like about goPro for bees, at least, the high frame rate, most digital cameras record at 29.97 fps.

    I edited the video so that it is in half-speed. This helps to see what the bees are doing, easier in slow motion.

    You will see that most of the bees are zig-zgging in front of the hive. This is in contrast to experienced foragers, when leaving the hive they simply shoot straight out. This can be a little hard to distinguish from returning foragers, because sometimes they hover a bit around an entrance before they land.
    Last edited by Yunzow; 05-18-2017 at 01:15 PM.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

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