Showing posts from April, 2009

Free at last, free at last

We went out right after breakfast to do a check to see if the queen had been freed from her cage. It was cool and damp with the forecast to only become wetter the next couple days, so we decided we would do this as quickly as possible. We didn't take smoke, since I figured the coolness would subdue them enough. The plan was simple--take off the lid, remove the feeding can, take off the box surrounding the feeding can and set that on the ground. Take off the top of the two hive bodies, with inner lid in place and set it on the empty box on the ground. Then lift up the bottom hive body from the base to have access at the queen cage. This would interfere much less than removing frames. We figured when we saw the cage it would either be covered with bees and we would have to try to remove the candy ourselves and free her or it would be empty.
Success--it was empty. We didn't risk bothering them any more with the cold to try to locate the queen--save that for a warm day a we…

Waiting and watching

Not much going on as the bees are just taking some time to get used to their new digs. I think they like it ok. The weather has been cool and rainy at times, but when it warms up a bit they are enjoying getting out and the entrance to the hive is a busy, buzzing place. We're giving them several days before we interrupt them again. The next thing that needs to be done is verify the queen has chewed through the marshmallow door to her cage and is being well tended by the nurse bees in the colony. We will need to remove the cage, jsut check that all is well and let them alone again. We will probably do this on Friday.

Installation Installment

The weather for our bee installation was not quite ideal, or maybe it was. Cool and misty, with intermittent periods of light rain. We arrived at Indian Creek Nature center around noon. We met in one of the smaller buildings there. We were dressed in our white outfits--pants with long-sleeved, over-sized white t-shirts, and carried our gloves and hats with veils. There was a big stack of bee boxes in one corner of the room, giving off an easily discernible hum. At least a dozen bees were flying freely around the small room. Better get used to that, I thought. Bob, our teacher, went through some of the diseases bees experience, describing symptoms and suggesting treatments. He said we would need to get a small packet of medication before we left with our bees. This was to be applied in two parts, right after installation and the other half in 3 weeks. It was treatment for prevention of American foul brood, a nasty terminal disease that is easily recognizable by the odor produced as the…

Hive location April 23, 2009

Ok, here is a picture of our site for the hive. It gets a.m. sunlight and afternoon shade. Good drainage. We'll need to keep the weeds down. You can see it is tilted slightly forward, which keeps water from running into the hive. The bees will enter/exit from a small opening near the bottom, which I have blocked off now to keep unwelcome guests out. Things are beginning to bloom here in eastern Iowa, so hopefully the bees will find this a good locale. We may try to get some video of the installation this Saturday--stay tuned.

The Beginnings April 22, 2009

Hi. Jessica decided that since we are taking up beekeeping, we should keep a log about the experience. Probably not a bad idea. So, here goes.
Where are we now? Bees will arrive ready to be "installed" in 3 days. Hives are built and ready to go. We need to make the sugar water to feed them after they are put in the hive. They need this since they have no honey reserve yet and there are not many flowers around at this time, since it is a late spring. The sugar water is also used to spray on the bees as we install them into the hive. This helps keep them from flying.
The hive is in place (picture hopefully to come tomorrow). I'll try to take some pics of the installation process, too. Not sure about all this--we'll see what happens.