Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Speaker Swarm" rescued!

A friend of mine called me the other day about what he was a honey bee 'nest' in a junk floor speaker in his backyard.  I came over and took a peek.  Yes, it was a honey bee swarm that had taken up residence in a large floor speaker.  It was incredibly hot and they were bearding up on the out side.  I opened the speaker and the comb simply fell off as it was melting.  I put a board on top of it to give it some shade and came by later that night.  It was pretty cool and the bees were inside the speaker box.  I simply picked it up carefully and took it home.

The next day, I waited until it cooled off a bit and then re-hived them into a proper 8 frame box.
Quite a mess at first
I carefully opened the speaker box and dropped the 'main ball' of bees into the 8 frame box.  As you can see they were quite confused at first at this.

I sprayed sugar water (1 to 1 mix with lemongrass/peppermint/thyme essential oils) on the frames in the box and provided them with plenty of syrup.  You can see my 12 jar inner cover/feeder.  The jars are sitting on 1/8th hardware screen so I can change out a jar without disturbing the colony.
Up close view

Here is an up close view.  They were fanning like crazy!

About an hour later, they settled down quite a bit.
They have consumed about a quart in a half of syrup in one day.  The heat really brought out their activity
Settling down now

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dealing with Sparrows Eating my Bees !

I have noticed that my neighbors Cherry produced a lot of cherries this year and this attracted lots of house sparrows and starlings.  Well, the cherries are done now and these little 'marauders' have moved their feasting to my bees!  I am using my yard for breeding queens too so having these birds here is a serious threat to my operation.  What to do?

I came up with this last night.  I purchased a hawk plastic statue and now my yard is as quiet and bird free as it can be!

I will move it around a bit so they don't get used to it being there.  Now, my bees can forage and fly with one less predator so close to their home base!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bee Bucket Watering Idea - Update

The other day, I was working in one of my out yards that has a water access problem.  A neighbor complained that the bees were in his horse trough and had asked me to do something about it.  I put my 5 gallon water bucket to work!

The bucket needs to be 'topped off' or refilled about every 2 weeks or so.  

So, when I can dropped by I noticed about 5 to 8 bees drinking on the sponge.  I grabbed my cell phone camera but a few flew off but as you can see they seem to like this.

I put in a few ounces of mineral salt to water mix.  We have not heard any more complaints from the neighbor!  I'm not too worried because I will 'bribe' him in August with some honey !  :-)

They seem to use this a lot!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The New Moose Meadow Apiary Honey House and new Bench !


I recently had a friend and former student of mine carve me a beautiful wooden bench with our our Apiary's initials.  We set it up today and are making fine progress on the Honey House with the plumbing and electrical work being done now. In August, we will be up and running extracting honey!
New sitting bench!

Libby likes the new bench

Making great progress and getting ready for Fall Honey Extraction !

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Working with 'Foundationless' frames

I've read recently how they bees like/prefer to make 'their own' comb.  However, we all have seen how they will go 'freestyle' and muck up a box pretty fast with bur comb and other strange wax creations!

So, here I'm working with a medium frame and a simple strip of wax foundation.  I just glued it into the groove and let them have it.

To help guide them, I just place this frame in between to already drawn combs.  This helps keep things straight and as you can see they  know just what to do.

Medium frame with a starter strip of foundation

Monday, June 20, 2016

High Quality Queen Raising WSU Workshop

This was a fantastic training opportunity where a great deal of valuable information was passed on.  We spent time in the Apiary and built cell builders using the Cloake and Swarm Box methods.  We also grafted larvae and were able to select just the right age of larva for successful grafts.  I had a great time!

Dr. Sue Cobey discusses the fine art of setting up a good cell builder!

Breeder Nucs 'staged' for frames of brood and bulk or 'shaked bees'

The guys were very interested in it's construction!

Sue Shows how to tell Drone Maturity and Quality 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Flow Hive Inspection !

This week I got the privilege of helping a mutual beekeeping friend do an inspection of a Flow Hive.

Our mission was to check the hive and to give it another deep super - if needed.  The hive was building nicely and it was interesting to see how the apparatus works.

This hive started as a Nuc and was coming along nicely - with lots of eggs, brood at different ages and 2 frames of solid capped brood.  We have it another deep to build up.  So, there are now 2 deep supers with the Flow Apparatus on top.
A very nice spot with straw bales to provide some protection from the wind

This is the 'rear' side of the Flow  Apparatus.  The collection 'frames' have a drain port as shown here

Top View of the  Flow 'Super'

The Queen Excluder is a MUST.  She must not get into the Apparatus

The owner is using some 'foundationless' frames  that were being built nicely!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Swarm Adventures

We just experienced some wild fluctuations in weather recently.  A few days ago it was in the 90's.  Then, we had some rain with cool weather.  Today, it became very nice in the 70's and the swarm impulse must have been strong.

A handy ladder for staging the swarm box

Good Size swarm - basketball ball size
Couldn't resist a 'selfie' with my new hive!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Bee Water Bucket Idea

I have struggled with different types of bee watering devices with limited luck as I don't like to see dead bees floating because they don't swim well.

So, I've come up with a cheap and easy way to do this.  I take a 5 Gallon bucket and cut out a piece of foam padding to match the circumference of the pail  This 'floating raft' stays moist but they bees can still land on it, drink and fly away with no danger of drowning.

Plus, I can add mineral salt to the water and they can get their necessary minerals as well.  The foam also keeps it from evaporating too quickly.  I have yet to fill it or top it off yet.
The bees like it!