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Discussion Starter · #302 ·
I'm curious AR1- why mulberry?

I would have assumed hickory or hornbeam.
Hickory is fairly rare in our woods, so I leave them be. Hornbeam is nearly non-existent. I have seen ironwood occasionally. Mulberry is a very tough, flexible wood and has the advantage that it is a weed. I could cut it all day and never hurt the population. Also it makes nice long smooth branches that require minimal trimming.

Back when I was making bows, I used hickory and mulberry and elm. All work fine. I also use hackberry. I didn't happen to spot any good elms, but I did get one hackberry (another weed).
 

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Discussion Starter · #303 ·
Most of the wife's stuff is up and growing. Have sweet potatoes in the kitchen window but not in the garden yet.
Have not got the ground worked up yet. Me and the wife both independently scattered random seed in the same place independent of each other with mine being tobacco and so now I need to let all the stuff grow long enough for me to tell which plants are tobacco. :)

Cheers
gww
Tobacco will be the last to sprout! And it will stay tiny for a few weeks after that.
 

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Mulberry is a very tough, flexible wood and has the advantage that it is a weed. I could cut it all day and never hurt the population. Also it makes nice long smooth branches that require minimal trimming.
Makes sense- I just wondered if I was missing out on a forest secret. Sounds like you are making the best of an abundant resource.

Thanks for the clarification.
 

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Discussion Starter · #305 ·
Long day yesterday. 12 hours at work then a 4-hour training class. Pretty beat but too wired on coffee to sleep so I stopped by to see the bees. They are moving up strongly into the new medium, lots of new comb and nectar stored, even a little capped already. Lots of dark gray and black colored drones.

No signs of eggs in the top box. I can add another super any time now at this rate. I'll probably go back today and peek under the hive looking for queen cells, and add that new top box. They appear very healthy, active, bright and shiny, good wings.

Still no activity at any of the bait hives. We are approaching the main swarm season, and I would expect scouts by now.

In other news, the garden looks good, lots of new sprouts. Watermelons have finally decided to sprout, and also a few of the cantaloupes that I had almost given up hope on. The warm, dry weather is helping.
 

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Still no activity at any of the bait hives. We are approaching the main swarm season, and I would expect scouts by now.
I had very heavy scouting yesterday in the back - and the darn thing did not come. Stupid fools! LOL
Cold and rainy for the next two days.
So now I hope they make up their minds by the weekend already and just show up with the suitcases on Saturday morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #307 ·
Took a peek again today. Looks nice. Decided not to add another box just yet. The brood box still has some unused frames and the super also has several. Did not tip to look for queen cells. Cool and very windy today (wool socks back on) so I decided to leave them alone.

Replanted sweet corn. Very poor germination in the purchased seed, so I overplanted the rows with my own saved seed. Also put in some Indian corn. Other stuff looks Okay. Deer nibbling some things. Saw some tobacco sprouts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #308 ·
It's late May for Pete's sake! What's with this 'patchy frost' and 'lows in the 30s' Shinola?
Of course I took the insulation off earlier this week...

Drove down to Champaign today and it was 40s the whole way. I think the highest temp I saw today was 54.


TONIGHT
Cloudy early in the evening then becoming partly cloudy in the late evening and early morning then becoming mostly clear. A 30 percent chance of showers in the evening. Patchy frost after midnight. Lows in the mid 30s. North winds 10 to 20 mph. Gusts up to 35 mph in the evening.​
SATURDAY
Sunny. Patchy frost in the morning. Highs in the mid 60s. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph.​
SATURDAY NIGHT
Clear. Lows in the upper 30s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.​
SUNDAY
Mostly sunny in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. Highs around 70. East winds around 5 mph in the morning shifting to the southwest in the afternoon.​
SUNDAY NIGHT
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 40s. Southwest winds around 5 mph.​
MEMORIAL DAY
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 70s.​
MONDAY NIGHT
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #309 ·
Starting to see a few bees in the garden. Been very rare this year. They are browsing the onion flowers and ignoring the clover. Nothing on the swarm traps but ants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #310 ·
Visited the farm today. 70 degrees and clear skies. Bees look good, actively moving up into super, making comb across the box on most frames except the outer two on one side. Heavy with nectar and a little capped honey. Quite a lot of new unfilled comb so I didn't add a second super. Some of the frames were completely used up for nectar storage, but a few of the frames had center arcs of unfilled cells that may be intended for future egg laying.

Tipped the brood chamber over to look at the underside. No queen cells evident, but quite a lot of drone comb. I cut out a chunk of drone comb about 4" X 4". This was quite mature, with drones actively chewing their way out of some of the cells.

I opened all available drone cells (about 50) and a dozen or so worker brood. I found one dead drone that appeared nearly mature. He was wingless, but no mites were in his cell. All of the remaining brood appeared healthy and not a single mite! This was quite gratifying. I have not seen a single worker bee with distorted wings this year, nor a single mite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #313 ·
Drones flying a lot today. Just yesterday I saw no drones flying. Aggressive today too, several dive-bombed me repeatedly, unusual behavior for this colony.

Transplanted a half-dozen tomatoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #314 ·
Several queen cups, but no larvae in them that I could tell, but it's a start. Also a tiny patch of brood in the upper medium. It wasn't enough that I would make a split off it, but good to see. I anticipate splitting soon.

I added a medium, mostly with drawn or partially drawn comb. I put it under the top medium, hopefully to encourage them to start using it sooner. If I'm lucky there will be some brood there and splitting will be easy. The top medium is nearly full of nectar except the very outer frames, and they are building comb on those. A small bit of capped honey.

I cut off some chunks of drone comb again. This time I did spot some mites, but the vast majority of the drone brood was clean. No mites on the small bit of worker brood, but it was only 20 or so cells. I got to watch a mite running around on comb can catch a ride on a drone. Slick. Poor boy got smushed along with his rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #315 ·
It's getting really dry, to the point the corn leaves are curling. Weather report says rain the next few days, but they have been wrong the last few times they said that. Garden needs a few good rains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #316 ·
63868


My niece's kid, with his first bees. Apparently his grandpa set him up. I'd like to meet the guy, sounds like a good grandpa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #317 ·
2 days ago I added a medium into the middle of the stack. They are already filling some frames with nectar and building new comb! While continuing to work the top box. Pretty happy, especially considering the very dry weather.

Even happier, tipped the bottom over and found two queen cells with larvae inside. I can see a few more cells but can't tell if they are filled. Plan is to let them get capped then split.

Put a swarm trap out along a power company access road. This road is also a public hiking trail. And there are beehives nearby. This is prime swarm season around here so I am hopeful. The trap is disguised...visible if you know right where to look but invisible otherwise. A frame of comb and lemongrass oil. Looks like if I got off my backside and made some traps there are many places I could put them.

Thinking about building vertically oriented traps rather than horizontal. Easier to hang from trees.
 

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ar1
I have no doubt that you have made many more splits then me but I would be pulling that queen and some bees now and let the rest finish the cells. No sense in letting her leave.
Good news and good luck.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter · #319 ·
ar1
I have no doubt that you have made many more splits then me but I would be pulling that queen and some bees now and let the rest finish the cells. No sense in letting her leave.
Good news and good luck.
Cheers
gww
That's the rub. I would like to pull that queen, but unfortunately it would be difficult to do without risking harm. That hive was from a late swarm that went into whatever equipment I could find, so it has mixed deep and medium frames which the bees decided to completely cross comb together, in two mediums.

So my only safe hope is that the queen starts laying up top, which she has a little. If I could actually find her in the top two boxes that would be easiest, I could simply isolate her into a nuc with a few loaded frames and then split the remainder. So far I have not seen her once this year.

Second chance is to cut out some queen cells and use them to make a split with the top box. Two of the queen cells look pretty easy to get out.
 

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I have never had luck with this but you might try smoking from the bottom hard enough to try and run her up and use no smoke from the top. I am usually so scared of bees that I just smoke everywhere but have had this advised to me in the past.
Good luck
gww
 
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