Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bearding

Here is a photo Kathy took today of the bearding that has been going on almost daily on the original hive.  It is very full of bees.  I have opened to the middle opening and have raised the outer cover fairly high, so they should be getting some ventilation and I have also added the super since they had drawn out most of the frames in the 3rd hive body.  They should have enough space but there is a ton of honey and nectar in the hive and it must be very warm and humid in there.  Don't blame them for hanging out on the porch.

Friday, May 28, 2010

First super in place

We checked our old hive today.  We had placed the third medium on and had checked it only a week ago. At that time, hardly anything had been drawn out.  Today, there were 6 frames fully drawn with each frame drawn out some.  Since the bees have been bearding every day in large clusters, we decided to go ahead and add the super.  If they draw it out as quickly as they have the last box, we will have honey this year for sure.  The new hive has done a little work but does not have the number of bees the old hive holds, so work there is a bit slower.  We're in a great part of the season, with so many things in bloom.  Hopefully this will continue.  There is so much in fact that the bees are not even bothering with the white clover, which is in abundance.  Last year they were all over it and I have yet so see a single bee on the clover in our yard or in the neighboring pasture.  They're getting what they need somewhere!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beekeeping Book--fun reading

I wrote a post on the Beesource.com message boards about the drone being attacked by a worker bee.  One respondent replied with a quote from Edward Bevan, M.D., from his 1843 book "The Honey Bee:  Its Natural History, Physiology and Management".  It is fascinating reading, in a light and often humorous manner.  You can read it as an html or download a pdf since Google scanned it and is in the public domain.  The link is:
http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=pusOAAAAYAAJ&dq=Edward+Bevan&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=21NHs9WAED&sig=M98pk_Isx5IeeNBzbrehIW1VYeQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#v=onepage&q&f=false
Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Inspection--mixed

We did an inspection of the new hive, with some mixed results.  We did not find the queen, though bees were pretty cooperative.  We did locate the brood chamber in the lower hive body (2 mediums), with the upper still mostly honey and empty frames just beginning to be drawn out.  It has been 16 days since the queen was released and there were capped brood cells as well as small larvae.  I only noticed one drone cell, which tells me we don't have a laying worker, which is obviously good.  So, though we didn't find the queen, given the easy temperament of the bees and the presence of capped cells and larvae, she seems to be well and doing her job.
We also found a who lot of dead bees, in fact littering the screened floor of the bottom board.  We pulled the lower hive body off and dumped that out.  There were also a number of dead bees that seemingly had been crushed when we did the split, though I felt we were being as careful as could be that day.  We must have injured way more than we realized.
Another interesting thing was, as we were closing the hive up, we saw one worker going viciously after a drone.  We only watched a short time but I will have to research this a bit to see if it was more than just some general male bashing!
We looked in the top of the 3 bodies on the old hive to see if they were drawing that out.  Clearly more bees in that hive and they were busy in the top with the beginnings of the drawing process.
White clover is just coming into bloom, so we hope to see a lot more pollen coming into the hives with temps in the 70's and even some mid-80's on the horizon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Who's Your Honey?

Actually, the question is "From where is your honey?"  Jessica sent me a link to an interesting story about attempts to determine the origin of honey imported into the U.S.  http://tamunews.tamu.edu/2010/04/29/scientist-tracks-origins-of-bootleg-honey-from-china/
Apparently, China has been "dumping" honey into U.S. markets at prices well below what honey producers in this country can match.  China is the world's largest producer of honey.  To try to help our producers, a tariff was established to make local honey more competitive.  However, it appears that honey that seemingly comes from other southeast Asian countries, according to the labels, actually has been routed from China.  How do we know this?  A scientist at Texas A&M studies the pollen in honey from around the world and therefore is able to make a good determination of the origin of a given quantity of honey.
This is something that should concern all honey producers in the United States.  As we are working towards more accurate, valid and honest labeling of our food products, we need to add honey to the list of items that require "truth in labelling," according to the professor.  He also advocates disallowing honey that has been filtered to remove identifiable pollen grains.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Queen Freed

It had been 3 days today, so we checked  a bit after noon to see if the queen had been released.  I removed the top hive body and we saw that there was still a small bit of candy in the tube.  We debated leaving it there and figured she would be out probably by the end of the day, but decided to go ahead and release her.  I opened the extra opening in the plastic tube and held it open down on top of the frames.  A couple of her attendants exited first, then she scampered out and hussled right down into the frames.  Looked like she was very anxious to get about her business.  We added the extra frame we had left out to that box and closed it up.
Checking later, we were finally seeing some bees coming and going from that hive.  They were very active in the old hive, so much so that I was a bit concerned they were maybe going to swarm even though we had done the split.  They settled down later.  I imagine they were just very busy out gathering pollen and nectar, after yesterday's heavy rain.  They are gathering from the bushes along the edge of our property, which are loaded with blossoms right now.
So, we'll next check in about a week to see if there are worker larva in both hives.  If so, we should be all right.