Friday, September 24, 2010

Mead 2nd shot

I am making a few tweeks to the previous JAOM orange:

Joes Ancient Orange Cinnamon Clove Mead

Filled 6 gallon carbouy to just under top line

3 ½ gallons water
1Qt OJ
1/4 tsp orange extract
5 large naval oranges cut into 16ths then halfs
5 pinches nutmeg
4 cinnomon sticks
7 cloves
18 lbs clover honey (1.5 gallons)
1½ cup loosely packed Sunkist raisins
2 packets fleschmans baking yeast (4.5 oz)
2 tsp Fermax nutrient

I am also going to try a pina colada mead.

3 gallon carboy
12 lbs honey (got carried away and forgot to stop at 9)
2 20oz cans crushed pineapple
1 can 13.5floz coconut milk
1/4 tsp coconut imitation extract
1 tsp Fermax nutrient

Extra pineapple
3 gallon carboy
9 lbs honey
4 20oz cans crushed pineapple
1 can 13.5floz coconut milk
1/4 tsp coconut imitation extract
1 tsp Fermax nutrient

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

lot in a few days

I have done a lot in just a few days. I have fed up all of my weak hives or hives low on stores. I will continue to feed pollen patties for 2 more weeks.

I finished marking all of my bees yesterday.

This one is from a swarm I cutout from an apartment in reidsville a while back. I marked her last years color because she is at least 1 year old.

Yesterday, I went into one of the airport hives and the queen was gone. This is the problem hive. I don't have any idea what is going on, but this is about the 4th time this season the queen has dissapeared with no queen cells present in the hive.

I am making one last effort before giving up on them completley. One of the late splits I did was pretty low on bees. I decided I would do a newspaper combination on the two of them. Late last night I attached a front moving screen to the one here at my house. This closed the bees up inside. I moved this hive out to the airport this morning. I added the queenless hive ontop of the queenright hive with a sheet of newspaper between them. I also have removed all of the frames that were from the cutouts, or even looked questionable in the problem hive.

I opened up the drone cells to see how bad the varroa mites were. wow....

I count 8 mites. Only having about 1 frame of capped brood in a whole hive condenced the mites into a very small area.

All of the frames I removed are being melted down and I am going to make candles eventually.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

queen marking

I am going to spend today marking the rest of my queens. Since I am doing this by myself, I cant take pictures.

I marked my first queen last night. I decided I would try one of the nucs (small starter hives). This way, if I screwed up, it isn't that big of a loss. I was very nervous about handling the frame without gloves and then grabbing the queen out of the middle of the workers without gloves. My heart was going a million miles a second in anticipation of getting a bunch of stings on my bare hands, or hurting the queen.

I found her in the second hive body and set the frame aside. I took off my gloves and went for it. I got her with my dominant hand, let her grab my left thumb then gently pinched her legs (minus the front leg so I wouldn't damage her front leg. Queens measure the cells with the front leg. If it is damaged, she wont lay).  I carefully dabbed some blue paint with a Sharpie paint pen on her thorax. I then blew gently on her to dry her off. 

All that was great until I went to return her. They balled her and tried to kill her! I had to throw my gloves back on and dig her out of the pile of bees. I put her on a frame with honey and corralled her with a push in cage. she had 2 very young bees to tend to her. I put that frame back in the middle and closed everything up for the night.

I came back today and let her out. The bees were so happy to have her free. I guess the smell of my fingers, me blowing on her and the paint made the workers think she was a foreigner.

Today's nuc trial went better. I donned my neoprene gloves and tried again in a different nuc. I got the queen, marked her with my gloves on and then put her on a frame with a push in. I let her dry in the shade for 10 mins. I came back and let her loose. The bees were just fine with their newly tattooed queen.

Now I need to do this with 5 more hives....

I need to get a hairpin roller style queen cage to let her dry in so I stop damaging the comb and brood with a push in cage.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hive tracking tool

I am now using a free service called Hive tracks.

It lets you visually build your hives with components the hives have on them. That is a nice feature because I do not have to remember what I have on each hive.

It also lets you select hives to be requeened, when the queen was introduced, her race, ect.

You can also generate inspections and reports on each hive. The hives are all shown and weaker ones are colored yellow to red depending upon the strength of the colony.

This is an awesome tool. I hope it stays free.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back from Panama

I am back from my trip to Panama. I had a great time with some of the most fun people in the world.

Once I got back, my mother wanted to dig up and give me a bunch of flowers to plant in my yard. It has taken me 3 days to plant them all. I had a car full of plants and assorted spiders that I am still finding in my car! I am adding another expanded flower garden that I should get done this weekend.

I helped my father pickle and bottle jalapeno peppers. As a reward I got a whole flat of them to take home. There are more peppers than I know what to do with.

I also had to clean my 90 gallon reef tank and my 29 gallon tank. 2 weeks of neglect took 3 hours of work. Plus, I had more corals to put in that I brought back from Atlanta.

On to my bees:

Inspecting 8 hives that have not been inspected in 2 weeks is a lot of work. I checked 2 at the airport when I was there this past weekend and the swarm cutout from reidsville is awesome. Good pattern, stores and bees. The other hive is hot. I have had nothing but issues with them. Lost 2 queens trying to keep them queenright and they finally raised their own. I went back to feed them a few days later, but I was in shorts. Big mistake. I cracked the bottom box to throw a pollen patty on it and immediately got hit by 5 workers on my left leg. They shot out of the crack and stung me! I got 2 on the right leg before I was able to run back to the car.

Most of the hives are awesome. One is so calm I worked it without smoke or a suit. That hive has a great brood pattern and nice pollen rings and honey rings around the brood in the frame. I am 99% sure they are carni's. They are all dark workers with the exception of a few Italian looking ones.

I also have 2 hives that are mean as can be at my house. They chased me around outside for the next 5 hours if I went to work in the yard. Next spring, I will be re-queening them with a queen from the super calm colony.

I have fed all of the hives 1.5 gallons of sugar water to make sure they have enough stores for the fall and winter. The nucs are up to 1 gallon.

I have also noticed a TON of wax moths around the hives hanging out on the outside. Good thing the hives are strong.

In all, I have 2 nucs that are doing well, 3 hot hives and 8 hives total.

Mead update:

I racked the chocolate mead into a new carboy. It is very creamy chocolate tasting, but bad alcohol after-bite. It will take some time to mellow out.

I bottled the last strawberry mead, and it is AWESOME! It is a bit on the sweet side, but it has quite a complex flavor and aroma. My best one yet.