Showing posts from April, 2013

Lighting a Smoker Video

I posted a new little video, 5 minutes long, below, showing how I light the smoker.  After seeing fairly regular comments about difficulties lighting smokers on message boards, I decided to make this video.  I used to take much longer to get mine started, but this technique seems to pretty much always work fine for me.

With temps forecast to be above 70 degrees tomorrow, I plan to do a split.  I'll move the queen, provided I can find her, into the new hive, with some capped brood, plenty of honey and pollen frames, and will make sure there are frames with eggs and young larva left in the other hive.  I'll do a follow-up post to tell how that goes, hopefully with some photos.

Update: We did the split today, but were unable to find the queen even though we did a very thorough search.  There were eggs and a lot of capped larva in both the top and bottom boxes, with mostly honey, pollen and some new nectar in the middle box.  We put several frames with eggs, young larva and capped…

Reversal, minimal hive inspection

With a temperature in the mid-fifties, and with rain forecast through the coming week, I decided to take a look into the hive and do a reversal.  I also wanted to do a spring mite treatment and put a new bottom board in place. 

Bees were flying as we came to the hive.  They have only been using the top entrance, which is one reason I wanted to replace the bottom board.  Either there was a big blockage, a lot of dead bees or some other explanation.

In the top box (of 3 mediums), I pulled a frame second from the end.  It was pretty much empty, drawn (older) comb, but covered with bees.  The next frame towards the center had some honey and, thankfully, some capped brood and young larva.  Hurrah!  I slid that frame over and checked the next, which had even more capped brood.  I looked quickly for the queen but didn't see her.  On the next frame, though, I spotted her right away--a big, fat queen.  She looked very healthy and very capable of laying many, many eggs.  I snugged that fra…

Cold--but flying!

After being gone for 11 days, I had gotten pretty anxious about our bees, considering we're down to one hive now.  Checking right before we left, things looked good but there was a cold spell, as well as some warming into the fifties, while we were gone so I had some concern.  Today it's in the low 40's and, though too cool to open up if there is brood inside, it was good to see bees flying at a steady pace in and out of the hive.  It wasn't just cleansing or orienteering--they looked purposeful.  Temps are to warm into the upper 50's and maybe 60's by the weekend, so I do plan to open it up fully and, if brood is present and numbers and health appear good, I will do a split.  I'll try first having them raise a queen, and if that fails May would be a good time to get a new queen anyway.  I do think I might try to get to 3 hives this year.  Coming close to losing them all makes me want to have some good back-up.

It was nice to get outside a bit.  We were in …