Posts Tagged ‘Bees’

Quick Peek 2009-10-29

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I heard from Naomi that Noah heard from Gabriel that Art’s bees are gone.  Noah was worried about our bees.  I was worried about our bees.  We both checked to see that they were coming and going nicely.

In the afternoon I put on the bee jacket and gloves and took a quick look at the hive.  I didn’t use smoke.

I saw, and squished, two beetles that were a bit like roaches in that they were flat and light brown.

Half the sugar jar has been consumed.

The bees seem to be smaller, but as the camera is in the car, I have no pictures and can’t compare.

I pulled frames 1, 4, 5 and 8 today.  Frame 1 is unused as before.  Frame 4 inside has a lump of capped honey about the size of a grapefruit in the middle of the frame.  Frame 5 was really, really heavy which I take as a good sign.  The bees don’t seem to be doing anything with frame 8 as in the past.

More Sugar

Friday, October 16th, 2009

It’s been about 10 days since I fed the bees.  I figured the syrup would last about 6 days and after 10 it was pretty clear that it was long gone.

After I took out the old jar, one bee came out through the inner cover, into the feeder, roamed around a bit then went back down into the hive.  I guess she was just checking to see whether the syrup was back.

Inspection 2009-10-08

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I did a quick inspection with no smoke this morning.

I had been worried about robbing, but I didn’t see any capping flakes on the bottom of the hive.

Frames 1,2,3 unchanged.

I scraped propolis off the spacers of all frames before closing up.

Frame 4 is showing a bit more comb on the outside.  I can’t tell, but I think there might be a bit of liquid in the cells.  The inside has yet more bees than than last time and possibly a little more comb drawn.

Frame 5 (outside): I’d guess there are about twice as many bees, but they’re all in the middle of the frame.  They seem lighter in color.  The sealed brood is lower on the frame.  There is now some capped honey at the top of the frame.  I see a few larvae, but not as many as before.  The bees are pretty thick, though.

Frame 5 (inside): There’s a little more capped honey on this side, but not much.  Many more bees, but clustered in the middle of the frame. It looks to me that the pollen stores are being consumed.  They’re deeper in the cells and look darker.  Even thought the bees are thick, there’s clearly more sealed brood.

It does appear that I reversed frame 6 last time.  I did not reverse again.

Frame 6 (inside): The queen is on this frame.  The honey is capped much farther down the left and right sides of the frame.  There are many more bees and as on other frames, they’re in the center of the frame now.  I didn’t see any pollen this time. but there appears to be sealed brood where there were larvae last time.  I don’t see any larvae this time.

Frame 6 (outside): As on the other frames, there are many more bees here this time.  There’s a bit more honey and perhaps some pollen, though it’s too thick to see through the bees.

Frame 7 (inside): More capped honey and more pollen.  Many more bees.

Frame 7 (outside): Fewer bees.  The liquid seems to have been drawn down.

Frames 8, 9, 10 unchanged.

I’ve seen a whole lot more pollen coming in to the hive recently.  I don’t know where it’s going.

Pictures here:

A Batch of Sugar

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I got just over 3 jars of syrup out of a 10 lb bag of sugar a few days ago.  Today I checked on the jar I put out.  They’ve eaten about 1/2 of the syrup in 3 days.  Let’s assume that 10 lbs of sugar went into 3 jars, that’s 3 1/3 lbs of sugar per jar.  They appear to be eating about 9 oz of sugar per day.  At $4.50/ 10 lb bag, the bees are consuming about $.25 a day in sugar.  If they ate all year round at this rate, they’d consume the dollar equivalent of 23 lbs of honey in a year.  This is a worst case for my hive at current consumption rates.

I’m feeding the bees just to get them through the winter.

I do not want Domino sugar honey in the supers (there are no supers on now).

Inspection 2008-09-26

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I went out before the rain on Saturday to check the hive.  Noah took the pictures for me this time and we used a tripod, flash and the high resolution / high ASA settings on the camera.

It had been 12 days since the last inspection which is what I’ve adopted as my target until I learn more.  The weather is overcast today, bees seem to be coming and going despite the clouds but the hive seems fuller of bees than the last time.

We saw 3 small hive beetles and killed two of them.  Art’s getting some SHB traps for his hive.

The hive appeared clean, the bees weren’t angry.  They buzzed when smoked and none flew right at me.  One sat on my face screen for a few minutes and there were a few fly-bys but it was a pretty peaceful inspection.  Most of the children watched from behind Noah.

Frames 1, 2, 3 are as in the last inspection, largely untouched.

Frame 4 shows some change.  There does seem to be some drawn comb started on the outside.  I can’t tell whether there’s more.  The inside had many more bees than the last inspection.  I estimate that there were about 200 bees in the center of the frame and the comb was being drawn out more.  I’ll have to start taking pictures both head on and from the side next time.

Frames 5, 6, and 7 are the nuc frames.

Frame 5 (outside): The queen is on this side of this frame.  There are many more bees.  The bees have built up the comb on the top of the frame so that it bulges.  There is sealed brood in the center surrounded by larvae.  I estimate there are about 3 times more brood and larvae than 12 days ago.  The remaining cells appear to be filled with nectar, but the picture may show more young larvae extending to the bottom of the frame.

Frame 5 (inside): There are more bees (about double?).  Some of the pollen has been taken out.  The larvae from the last inspection are now sealed brood and there are more larvae where the sealed brood used to be.  The bees appear to be capping some honey at the top of the frame.  It’s in a band about 4 cells wide across about 2/3 of the frame.

Frame 6 (inside): More bees here.  About half of the sealed brood has hatched with more larvae about this time.  I missed some capped honey on the last inspection.  This time there’s a nice band across the top with the left corner coming down about 10 cells worth.  Pollen appears about the same quantity but moved.

Frame 6 (outside): More bees here.  The sealed brood / larvae appear to be cycling here as on the other frames.  Larvae appear to dominate this time.  As on the inside of the frame, there’s a good bit of capped honey, but the caps still have small holes in them.

Frame 7 (inside):More bees here.  Pollen may have grown slightly, but I can’t tell.  Honey is being stored across the top of the frame.

Frame 7 (outside):Many more bees here.  This may all be nectar.  All I can tell is that the frame appears fuller than before.  There is at least one pollen cell.

As before, I didn’t look at frames 8, 9, and 10 although, checking my notes, I did think I saw some drawn comb on 8.  I may have put 6 in backwards.  I’ll have to check against the pictures and number the frames next time.

My hope for next time is to see more honey and more drawn comb on 4 and 8.  I’m also concerned about the pollen and how much the bees need to make it through the winter.

The weather has been wetter and there have been many more flowers.  Coworkers have been complaining of pollen allergies.  I hope that this will be good for the bees.

Pictures here:

First Solo Inspection

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I opened up the hive by myself today.  It’s been 12 days since the last inspection when Bill came over to help.  This time I took pictures.  Brad came over and watched.  Some of the frames were really heavy.  I saw the queen on the back side of frame 6.  I took pictures to analyze later.  Here’s my overview:

Frame 1, 2, 3, no activity except a few cell sized holes.

Frame 4, some small amount of comb drawn on both sides.  8 bees on the inside.

Frames 5, 6, 7 are the nuc frames.

Frame 5 (outside): about 50 sealed brood center top, about the same number of larvae below, nectar all around the rest of the frame

Frame 5 (inside): about 150 sealed brood in the center, about the same in a band around the brood of larvae, maybe double that, but I can’t see into the cells, a band of pollen cells about 6 wide,  and then nectar.  I’d guess a third of the frame side is nectar.

Frame 6 (inside): a large block of sealed brood surrounded by nectar.  I’d guess 1/3 brood, 2/3 nectar.

Frame 6 (outside): about the same as the other side, but some larvae and the queen, a number of empty cells in the brood area.

Frame 7 (inside): about 150 pollen cells surrounded by nectar.

Frame 7 (outside): some nectar, empty cells, maybe eggs?

Frame 8, 9, 10: unexamined, unused, perhaps some drawn comb on inside of frame 8?

Pictures here:

Sugar Notes

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I’ve been struggling with sugar water.  I tried Rapidura in water but didn’t pay attention to the concentration.  I used tap water.  The bees didn’t drink it.  About that time the population was shrinking, I saw small hive beetles (SHB) in there (maybe).  I switched to Domino at a 2::1 ratio and the bees started to drink.  Then the SHBs disappeared and I had large black ants… and the bees drank more and the ants were gone.   Maybe it’s coincidence.

The current recipe:

  1. One Feeder
  2. Two empty 5lb honey jars
  3. 12 cups Domino white sugar from Costco
  4. 6 cups of tap water filtered through a Britta filter
  5. boil the water
  6. add the sugar
  7. stir until it just begins to boil and the sugar is dissolved
  8. cool the pot in the sink in a water bath
  9. ladle into 2 honey jars using a funnel

The 5lb honey jars hold just over 6 cups of water.  6 cups of water + 12 cups of sugar filled two jars for me.

I hope that sugar water doesn’t ferment.  I screw on the tops and set the jars aside for later use.  They’ll cool off in their own time.

Right now, the bees seem to have settled in to a cup of syrup a day habit.