Friday, January 28, 2011

busy as a bee

I have been busy on a new construction project for my cutouts.

I have been building a new version of the bee vacuum. I use it for cutouts to gently suck up the bees off the comb as it is removed from a structure such as a house or building.

 I added suction reducing holes in the sides to allow me to better regulate the amount of vacuum force that is removing the bees from the comb. Too much suction slams the bees into the tube and bounces them around and then slams them into the wall of the super both of which can kill them.
 I added a plexiglass top to allow me to see how the bees are doing and if I have the suction too great.
The middle white super has older drawn comb in it to give the bees a head start. All I have to do is remove the top and bottom of the vac when done, and place the middle on a bottom board and put a top on it and I have a hive ready to go. I can also add supers to the vac if needed for larger cutouts.

I am not going to give away all of my secrets for the vac, but it does have a few ingenious ways for collecting the bees and storing them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New toy

I decided to break down and try to make things easier.

I went ahead and bought a motor conversion kit for myself, seeing as I will have 15 hives in 4 yards this spring. I got tired working with just 3 hives that made any honey last year.... I cannot imagine hand cranking for 20 mins for every 9 frames. I should have at least 180 frames of honey this year, so you can imagine how long it would take to harvest!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It has been a little over 2 weeks since the last post. I have not fully gotten over the crud that I got just before christmas. The doc says it will linger for a while.

We had a warm day 2 days ago. Warm enough for the girls to get out and fly some. I figured it would be perfect to make them some pollen substitute to ensure good brood numbers coming into the spring.

As with everything in beekeeping, I tried to save some money and bought the powdered versions of 2 different substitutes. You can sprinkle it on the frames, or make patties with it. I also got lucky to get some spent brewers yeast. I decided on 4 cups of brewers yeast, 2 cups of the tuscan bee diet and 1 cup of the generic substitute from brushy mountain. I added 2 bottles of corn syrup, a little water, some honey B healthy and some apple cider vinegar.

I used my hands to mix it. You want to talk about a mess.... imagine 7 cups of peanut butter. That is what it looked like and felt like. I couldn't get it off my hands or anything else it touched.

After I got them on the wax sheets and rolled out, I took scissors and cut them into useable strips. I froze what I didn't use and put 2 strips on each hive right above the cluster. 4 or 5 of the hives immediately started eating it. All of the hives were mean. It is cold, the middle of winter and they don't like to be disturbed.

I just hope they don't dry out and become cement bricks....