Thursday, May 27, 2010

no queen cells

I think I know why I am having a hard time with the bees in the nuc drawing out a queen from a worker cell.

I went into the nuc today and the bees were PISSED! Even with smoke, they shot out and started smacking the veil. I had them stinging the gloves and my jacket too!!!!

They are queenless, and they are hungry. I have tons of honey in the nuc, but apparently there is a shortage of pollen. Because of this, the bees have been sacrificing eggs to eat. I have added a pollen patty to the nuc and will be sprinkling some dry pollen substitute in tomorrow, along with a fresh frame of eggs. I don't want to open feed due to the honey flow being on.

Maybe I will be able to get them to draw out a few queen cells now that they have tons of sugar water, honey and food.......

Anyone else have any ideas?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mead update

I have a few good recipes that seem to have turned out well. And one or two that have some serious pucker factor tartness!

To give everyone an update, I did a lot of racking into secondary's a few weeks ago and taste tested everything. I was a little drunk by the end of it just on taking about 2 shots worth of each.

The chocolate tastes very mellow with a hint of chocolate. It will be one that sneaks up on you and when you get up to get just a little more you will have to sit back down!

The Joes I made is VERY pithy but good. I added 2 cups of OJ out of the carton into secondary to bulk age. It will be pretty good too. Cinnamon made it spicy hot.... I think it might need a dash of nutmeg or something. Not sure yet.

The strawberry chocolate vanilla is VERY strawberry sweet, then goes to a slight pucker. Very nice contrast. The straight up strawberry is like a punch in the mouth pucker. It is like munching on straight cranberries fresh from the farm.... WOW! I am going to have to k-meta/sorbate and backsweeten it. I cannot stand to drink it. I am puckering just thinking about it.....

Friday, May 21, 2010

NC Master Beekeeper

Here is a link detailing the process and requirements that I am going to be doing.
NC Master program 
Journeyman is the second level of beekeeping certification, and the one I am currently working on. You have to do a certain number of community service hours, have 2 years experience as a beekeeper and take another test.
Then I will take the Master level and the Master Craftsman. It takes 5+ years in all...

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I got my certificate today verifying I am a Certified Beekeeper with the State of North Carolina. I now get to work on the next level, Journeyman. You need 2 years experience and community service hours.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Orientation flights

Every day around 3-4pm the bees all come out in masse force to orient on their hives. The first time I saw and heard it, I thought they were swarming and I was going to loose a bunch of bees. I sat and watched one lone bee (VERY hard to do when there are that many). It would fly out around in a lazy loop and come back in.

Here is a video.... You can hear the crow in the background. I scared him off the porch when I went out. He was having a mid day snack on my bees.... :(   I have noticed a TON of birds hanging around. Cardinals, Jays, Titmice, crows, robins and others all grabbing a quick meal.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hives update

I now have 6.5 hives total. 4 at the house (with a starter nuc to see if I have drones around here for virgins to mate with) and 2 out at the airport where I work.

The hives at the airport are standard white. I did this to be able to keep my equipment separate for separate yards in the event of an outbreak of AFB or something. I will not loose everything this way.

The first carni I got has done quite well. I am now on the second honey super. They have drawn out and filled all but 2 frames. 4 frames are capped already.

The middle hive was a late nuc from Hawaiian Italian breed. They are just starting on their first honey super.

The hive closest to the house is doing okay. The replacement queen has JUST started laying…. Dunno what that is all about. They have plenty of stores, but if she doesnt start laying faster, they will miss the end of the honey flow.

The other swarm has about 3 frames in the top box drawn out. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

spoils of war

It started at 9:00 and went until 2 pm. This cut out was a lot of work an in 95 degree heat, it was not fun. We had to cut into the house due to tiling on the inside and they were sort of below the floor.

I have no idea if we got the queen or if we got to all of the nest. I have a feeling that I will have to go back in a day or two and tear off more siding and cut more wood off of the house. There was a small bee-run that either went to the back of what we exposed, or a whole new area.

I did end up getting a ton of honey covered bees, who knows if they will make it. I also got what will amount to about 3 gallons of honey!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

cut out part 2

I got on site this morning at 9:30 and with the help of Greg (local beekeeper from Kernersville) and the maintance director of the complex, we dove right in.

The floor was cut into a piece about 5' x 5' and we pried it up. There had been a serious honey bee hive in the past that took up most of that area, but a mouse got in there and made a mess of everything.

The bees were still in "swarm mode" as they had only been there about 4 days and had just started comb building. I vaccumed up what I could and then shook them into a hive body. We then put the moving screen on top and set the body over the area they were living. A lot of them moved up into the body, but there were still a lot on the outside. We vacuumed up the outside and filled the hole with foam sealant. We sucked up a bunch and went back inside and sucked the rest up.

I then took the complex's shopvac and sucked up all of the nasty mess that the mouse caused and threw everything of mine in the car and headed out at 12:30.

The only major issue was when I was working with the bees I had to lift the wood and I squished one of the girls into stinging my finger. She got me good.... It feels like it is going to pop with swollen pressure.

I got a phone call on the way to the new apiary about a house that has a hive in the wall that has been there for 10 years. Easy access too. I am going to tackle that one on saturday morning. Now all I have to do is try to find another hive and woodenware because I am out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I am going to be doing my very first cut out tomorrow (5/13/2010). The hive is between the first and second story in an apartment. I have a paper from the complex saying that I am not responsible for damages or repairs or cleanup. The maintance guy is going to help me get it done.

I would say that there are a few bees in this hive......

Mark from Mark's Bee Havin turned me onto this one. He will probably be helping me tomorrow off and on between his work and personal life. This job is going to take the better part of the day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Carni install

I have placed the carni replacement queen in the hive that has run amuck. I will be going back in on sunday to ensure she has been released and everything is okay.

She was not cooperating for a photo, but you will be able to spot her a mile away with her blue dot!

I took the queen cells I found and placed them in the nuc over the railing. I am going to see if the virgin will get mated and start laying there. I am not sure there are even drones within a 3 mile radius of me, so this will be a good experiment.

The bees are REALLY pissy and easy to excite. I guess being without a queen will do that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Watson Queenless

Well, for the last 2 nights Watson Hive has been really testy and upset. I went in today to see what was up and found 2 queen cells. I went and grabbed a nuc and set those aside, getting ready to try to make them think they already swarmed. I then saw 2 more and set them aside.

I searched every frame 2 times in search of the queen. I couldn't find her. I decided to look for eggs. A lot of the middle frames that should have brood had pollen in them. I then saw bad patterns amd miss-shapen eggs and a few in the bottom of the cells together. Then it dawned on me. The queen failed and they were replacing her.

I put the queen cells back in the hive VERY carefully. I hope they can raise one. This hive was the strongest. I hate to lose this queen. She was a good girl, but I guess she used herself up. Now I hope there are good drones around here for her to mate with. I would try to Inseminate one of the virgins, but I have yet to start that project and dont want to risk losing the strain completley by doing something stupid while trying to inseminate.

So much for getting honey off this hive this year. I just put the honey supers on and they just started drawing them out....... Now by the time the queen hatches, mates and the pupae emerge, 90% of the honey flow around here will be over.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Honey supers!

Added honey supers to the first two hives Watson and Holmes. Added broodbox to middle hive (3rd hive). I will post pics soon.

Still feeding 1 week on, 1 week off. The swarm hive seems to have hit a lull and I found 3 hive beetles in the top feeder which got smashed.

I have two hives I need to name. Any one have suggestions?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

hive inspection

I went out on the porch last night to let the dogs out to the bathroom, and I was barefoot. As soon as I stepped out, I stepped on a bee and got stung on the toe. So now it is all swollen and hurting. I was wondering why they were in front of the porch door. I looked in front of the hives and the one closest to the house was bearding a bit. There were about 100 bees out on the front just hanging out.

Today I went into them because I was worried they were too crowded. The queen in each hive was in the top box and on the outer frames. I was not even looking for her. I found the queen in each hive really easily. The queen in each hive has laid in every cell possible and I will be able to put on my honey supers in about 5 more days. Busy busy!

The 2 carni hives will probably be able to give me some honey this summer, the 2 Italians will probably just be them drawing frames and winter stores.

I took off the feeders for a week to force them to use some of their own stores. I am going to add them back today to get them drawing comb faster....