Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend Check-Up

I needed to put the wet frames back on the hives, so I went into them today.

Hive #2 looked very similar to how it appeared a couple of weeks ago, perhaps they have put up a little more honey, but they seem to be holding their own at this point. It is in four mediums.

Hive #4 - after taking two boxes of honey off of the hive last week I hurridly placed a box of foundation on top to make sure they had something to do (and didn't think about swarming). Looks like it was a good move - they were pulling comb all the way across this box and had already put up a substantial amount of honey. I did go down to the third box to see what was going on there. I just pulled up a couple of frames, the ends were packed with honey, but by the third frame I saw a bunch of brood, so I just left this box alone. I put the new foundation box back on top of it and then put a box of wet empty comb on top. I would not be surprised to take some more honey from these girls in a week or two.

Hive #3 - I finally got into this box. I had run out of time two weeks ago so had not been in this box in over a month. It looked ok. I was hoping it was going to be busting but it was just ok. It was in three boxes (all I am using now is mediums). The top box had full frames of honey in the middle frames with a couple of empty frames on the edges. I went down to the second box and it had brood in it, so again, I left it alone. I put the other box of wet frames on top of this hive to give them some roon in case they want some breathing space. Not sure what to expect from this group, should be interesting to see.

I did extract the honey from the frames I took out a couple of weeks ago, I have about a 5 gallon bucket of honey to put into bears - but hey, I am out of bears! I bought 397 of these two years ago!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The bees stole my honey!

After the inspections on Sunday, I put the coolers of honey on my back porch to be extracted later. I have done this several times before so I had no concerns. However, my wife called me at work on Monday to tell me that there were bees all over the coolers and all over the back porch!

When I got home - what a mess. Bees crawling over the coolers and a mass of bees flying around. I really wasn't sure what was going on. My wife told me she had pushed the top down on one of the coolers because she thought it was open. I took the coolers (after netting up) to three seperate locations in the yard to see what was going on. One of the coolers actually did not seem interesting to the bees and looking inside looked fine. When I opened the cooler my wife had closed the top on, I found that it was full of bees. Also, the third cooler, I found out had tiny holes where the handles were attached and the bees had found them. In both cases the bees were robbing the honey out of the combs and taking it back home :\ The cooler with the handle holes had lost about half of the honey that was originally there, two of the frames were completely empty! The other cooler obviously got slowed down when my wife shut the top completely so I did not lose as much. So after smoking the coolers to get the bees out, I took out the frames and placed them in other coolers and took them inside the house.

Hopefully all of this honey is back in the hives and I'll get it next time :)

September Surprise

It had been over a month since I had gone into the hive - so it was time.

Hive # 2 is in four mediums. Top box, some honey, some empty space. Next box, brood and honey. Second box, brood, pollen and honey. Bottom box - pollen. The hive seemed OK, but not overwhelming. I am a little worried about its long term survival, but it is OK for now.

Hive #4 - Holy Schmolly. This hive is in five mediums. I had put an empty medium on top of this hive last time because it was doing so well. Well - they had packed out this hive competely. There was comb built between the frames and even on the inner cover. As I tried to take out the frames they was even comb built attaching them to the frames below. They were heavy as stome with all the honey. After emptying the top box into coolers I went to the next box - and it was packed too! Same story second verse, packed with honey from top to bottom. Well, after emptying this box I was out of coolers, out of light and out of energy - it was a lot of work to get this honey out. The next box looked like it also had considerable honey but I am guessing that it also had brood in it, but that look will have to wait for another inspection.

Hive #3 - I never got to it! It still looks like it is doing ok, lots of bees going in and out. It may be a little cramped, so I need to get in there.