Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lost more hives and pollen

It was 60 degrees yesterday and I was able to go into all of my hives to check them. I have lost 2 more. All of the hives had queens from strachan and were carniolians. They all absconded or underperformed and froze. I had heard nothing but good about them. Oh well.

A bunch of the hives had already worked through their honey reserves and I had to put candy boards that had a pollen party embedded for this spring. By the time they eat through the sugar block, they will be needing the pollen for buildup. I will have to post a picture later of what they look like.

I also noticed 2 different types of pollen they were bringing in. I can't figure out what is blooming for tem to use. It is gray and dull yellow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

losing bees left and right

I had an extraction call in an apartment complex.... Turned out to be yellow jackets. I was not too thrilled to find them in the attic space above the heated apartment. I informed them they needed to call a pest control company.

I still have 12 hives. It is wierd as some of them are only half way through their rations and some are onto the sugar I put on top (to make sure they didnt starve over the winter). We are having a really warm winter and I think a few hives have not figured it out......

Either way, I will be concentrating on recouperating my losses and making honey to sell instead of selling nucs. I will probably end up selling 2 or 3 extras anyway. But, this year I am planning on honey and removing old comb and replacing it with new comb.

I replace 20% of my hives comb every year. That equates to about 1/2 a brood chamber. It takes a lot of sugar or honey to replace that. I am hoping that we will have a good honey flow and I can get them to replace it fast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Been a couple of months

I have not forgotten about any of you out there who read my blog. I have been busy with the job search and life.

I decided to not do my regular powdered sugar shake this fall for three reasons. First, I forgot. Second, I decided a long time ago that I wanted stronger bees and I didn't want to help the weak colonies. Third, by the time I remembered I was too busy to do it.

Well, I have already lost 4 hives out of my 16. I have no nucs left to replace them with. They all absconded with brood in the comb which all died. I do not think it was foulbrood as it did not pass the ropiness test or the smell test that confirms it. I think it had to do with mite loads or CCD. While feeding and preping for winter I noticed a few hives that had LARGE numbers of bees with deformed wing virus (a condition caused by mites). More bees were like this than usual. I think the sugar shakes helped last year (and I will be doing them from now on if I want to keep my hives).

I have fed out all of the honey from those hives and am storing the frames in the garage. The ones with dead brood will be culled and turned into wax blocks next year.

I have the entrance reducers on and all of the hives should be ready for winter.  I will be placing candy boards on top of some next month around christmas, and sugar on newspaper on the tops of the frames on the rest. I just want to make sure I have some bees this spring to make splits from and try to sell.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2 months with no post

I do apologize to everyone about not posting very often. I get caught up with life and forget.

So here is what you have missed:

The two hives with the Kona queens got a type of paralysis virus. I am no longer in favor of the Kona Hawaii queens. tons of dead bees and tons more quivering clinging to the frames and inside the hive.

I requeened them both and sterilized everything each time I went in them. After a month or two they seem to be doing better. There is no cure, just have to get lucky and get some new genetics.

Cutouts galore!
This one was in a rent house and had been there for over 10 years!

The one below was in an old tree on a golf course. They didnt want to kill them, so they called me.

I did it for free. The reason it was free? They understand the importance of bees and are paying me to keep some hives on their property. I just have to share the honey from them for their chef to cook with (but mostly for them to eat).

And lastly I have a friend who works for a water company and they said there were honey bees in the meter box.

I did this one for free because he is a good friend, and also because they were just going to kill them if I didn't get them. Turned out that the meter reader freaked out and sprayed them and didn't tell anyone. I only got a handfull of bees.

Onto the honey harvest!

In all I ended up with 91 quarts of honey! that is after making 10 splits and quite a few queens! It took me about 3 days to process it all.

It is a beautiful golden yellow color. I have quite a bit left, but I am getting ready to sell a bunch to the local grocery due to the new organic and local food push we are having around here. I am a part of and I will be able to get about 2$ more per pint!

But, I have a problem.... or a blessing. I am not sure yet. I managed to keep it at the perfect temperature to cream it (by accident).... And now about half of the jars have creamed. No, not crystalized, creamed. I have about 40 quarts of creamed honey in jars!

Mead me:

I am in the process of making 4 new types of mead. Sweet and dry versions of blackberry and cherry. Both were fresh picked and are doing well. I cannot wait to try them, but it will be next year before I can!

That's what you have missed over the last 2.5 months summed up in a post!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Honey processing

I still have 5 medium supers to extract. I have about 12 gallons of honey so far.

 You can see two different types of honey in the picture above.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Preparation for this weekend

Guess what I am getting ready to do:

Monday, May 23, 2011

new cutout

I got a call about a cutout from a second story overhang on a building the owners were trying to sell. I got everything ready on my day off, and got delayed until 6pm. I got there and proceeded to start the extraction with the intent of quitting if it got too dark. The extraction went until 8pm and I called it for the day. I then came back to finish the cleanup the second morning. In all it took about 4 hours. That seems to be the running time for me to do an extraction without destroying the house.

Enjoy the pics:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not posting much

I have been busy with my new job and not had much time to do anything else.

I have started on a yard project to make it look better. Under the mulch is the weeding cloth so I wont have to worry about weeds or grass deciding to grow back through the mulch.

I have done all of this in about 2 days of 3 hours of work each day plus a trip to Atlanta to see my parents and get some free plants!

Yes, those are a few bee hives and nucs in the background...

Friday, May 6, 2011

HUGE swarm cutout

I got a call from a guy who had bees that moved into his front porch awning. They were about 12' up and he wanted to have them removed.

 Above is the hole they were using to make a hive inside the porch covering.

 Most of my tools. I am missing my sawzall and my drill and hole bits.

The bees were massed in a 5 gallon bucket mass just to the right under the flooring. I used my beevac from ground level to suck them all up. I a, pretty sure I got the queen. In all I got 3 medium supers worth of bees! I will have to go see if they like their new home on Sunday.

Friday, April 29, 2011

swarm call

At about 2pm today I got a call from a lady about a swarm of honey bees in her mother's holly bush by the house. She said they always go there in massive numbers each year around this time. They fit the profile of what she was saying, so I drove over.

It was only a ten minute drive. What she failed to tell me was that they were LIVING in the ground all around the house and had been for years.

They were ground dwelling pollinator bees. Not honey bees. Oh, well.... I guess I have to add: "are they in the ground every year" to the list of things I ask them on the phone when they call swearing there is a honey bee swarm in their yard.

In other news, I have 7 nucs that have successfully made queens. Carni, italian and carni x italians are the types. 4 or 5 are already claimed. I would have had 10, but one froze because it was too cold and not enough bees. One went queenless and didn't make a queen, so they became laying workers. And one made a deformed queen. 

The bee yard at the house has 3 more nucs than the following picture:

I need to move the hives out to the apiary that has only 3 hives. I also need to find one more apiary location somewhere close so that I can keep 5 hives max per apiary.... That means I have 15 hives now!

This picture is of the apiary behind the airport. I have 2 more full hives there and 2 more nucs....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No Time to Rest

I am sorry I have not posted in a long time. I have been really busy.

The bees are bringing in nectar and making honey. 4 of the hives were about a week away from starting the process of swarming, so I have made a bunch of nucs and splits.

I need to make another split from one of my hives I have at a different apiary, but I am going to wait a bit because I have carni queens coming from Strachan Apiaries next week. I will just split it up the day before and make a few nucs to put the new queens in.

This is what my bee yard at the house looks like:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brew day

I decided since everyone loved my last beer I would brew some more. I am doing the same as last time, it is an India Pale Ale but it is on the fence between IPA hops taste and pale ale hops taste. It is really good.

I am also trying my hand at a hefeweizen. I found a recipe that I thought would be nice and got everything together. I decided to use liberty hops. It comes in a packet like this:

Here is a picture of the malt and the first hopping together in the wort that is about to start boiling again:

This is the yeast I am using:
Yeast comes in several forms, but the dry form keeps longer.

Above is a picture of the IPA I am making.... It is bubbling away. It should be ready in about 2-3 weeks. The hefeweizen I am making should be ready in about the same time.... 100 bottles of beer is what I am making.

On a side note, I had a helper (Mac) who was nice enough to lend a hand on the IPA and bottle 3 different versions of my mead. He bottled my chocolate blend, pina colada and plain meads. He did a fantastic job from cleaning and prepping all the way through filling and corking. I have to give him a big thumbs up! Thanks Mac!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bee Tree Cutout

I got a call today from a gentleman who had cut down a tree and found a hive of bees in it. He wanted to keep the bees and become a beekeeper. My role was to sell him a full hive of equipment and remove the bees and place them into it. I am also to assist him in the future with some questions and how to inspect the hives.

Walking to the tree I noticed this bee foraging... I figured I would snap a pic real fast.

All of our stuff was loaded onto a trailer to be brought into the woods to get the bees.

The tree was quite large. The gentleman would not go anywhere near it without my spare suit on.
 You can see the enterance here:
We guessed at where the bees were and where the comb went... The bees were all in the other half like we anticipated and this was all empty comb with some honey reserves still in it.
I cut out some brood and pollen and honey and placed it in a hive body. I brushed and smoked the bees down into it. We found the queen and made 100% sure she made it into the hive. I put the hive there to get the returning bees. I am comming back tomorrow night to move the hive to the guys house.