Thursday, October 2, 2014


Have fed Hive2 a 2:1 sugar mix for the past week and a bit. They've not been as thirsty for it as they had been last month. But they've gone through 3 mason jars, and I swapped in the 4th tonight.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

2nd Austin - Le Tour De Hives

Successful day.
Before people started arriving I did a quick inspection of Hive2 layer 2. Looking better, for the rearranging of frames and comb. But low on nectar. Will continue feeding them. Also fixed the drooping comb from my mangling of the deep to medium transition.

I also went into hive1. They're getting a bit hot again. But only 5-10%. Much less than last fall.
I put layer 3 on top. Separated from the hive by a triangle escape and I closed off the roof. I took 1 "superwide" frame of honey. From the 4 there, for my crush and strain demo.

I had about 10 groups come through. Half new to beekeeping this year and half looking to start in the spring. Everyone was excited to see the crush and strain method in action and to taste the raw honey.

In the afternoon, I flitched the other 3 "super wide" frames from hive1. The triangle escape had removed some but not all off the bees.
I left hive1 with;
Layer 4 (previously layer 5) 8 full honey frames.
Layer 3 some built out comb ready to fill (added in june)
queen excluder
Layer 1 and 2; brood, honey and pollen I assume.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Nectar flow

We had some big rain at the start of the week and some cooler days. Flowers are starting to bloom again and apparently the bees my hives noticed too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Feeding and quick check.

I made up 4 mason jars of 2:1 sugar solution. They went through the first jar overnight. The next 2 disappeared within 48 hours. I just gave them the last jar during a quick check today. I also gave them 1/2 a pollen patty. I killed 7 or 8 SHBs too, in an effort to prevent them breeding in the patty. I looked to see if the "burr" comb had been stabilized: One frame had several columns of comb rising up to the top bar. The other had drooped and was partially attached to the next (empty) frame. I used the hive tool to break and recenter this comb to vertical.

Must recheck in a week or so.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hive Check

Hive2 is in a sorry state. There is lots of bees but mostly empty frames except for ~2-3 frames of brood.
Layer 2 (medium) is mostly still empty frames with a bit of comb here or there.
Layer 1 (deep) no honey or nectar some brood.

I swapped out the last 2 mediums frames in the deep.  Putting in 2 empty frames and moving the medium into layer 2. I carefully broke the "extra" ~3 inches of comb from the bottom of these two frames and fitted each "burr" comb into an empty frame and put them in layer 2 also.
Must take action and feed this hive up.

Hive1 looks much as I left it in late July.
Layer 5 - honey FULL - 8 frames
Layer 4 - mostly empty, some comb built out and a little honey stored on 1/2 a frame.
Layer 3 - honey FULL - 4 very full and 3 still effectively empty.
By the point the bees got aggressive and I called it quits. I assume they are doing well judging by the bearding I see on most nights.
Layer 1 and 2 - brood?
The hive often looks very active in the cooler morning hours.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hive check

Not much change in 2 weeks did get down into the brood boxes for hive1. Both hives are health and happy, with lots of brood frames.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hive check and boxes added

Went in to check the honey supers in Hive1 as it looked pretty full last Saturday. I rearranged and added a super.
Layers 1 and 2; brood boxes, didn't disturb.
Layer 3, had 8 frames, 4 VERY full of capped honey and 4 just starting to get built out.  Removed 4 mostly empty frames and replaced with 3 new frames (checker boarded) with foundation. This layer now has a little more space with ONLY 7 frames.
Layer 4 (added) medium super with 4 frames slightly built with some honey from layer 3 and 4 new frames with foundation.
Layer 5 still full of honey and damn heavy.

Since I was out and geared up I checked on Hive2, which had had a bunch of bees doing orientation flights early in the afternoon.  The hive is looking fabulous full of brood and honey, except for each frames at the very edges. These are starting to get some cells built.  I added a medium super as Layer 2 checker boarded with the 4 frames unbuilt and 4 frames slightly with some wax cells built from last season.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


It's getting warmer at night so the bees of Hive1 are bearding out of the entrance to cool off.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

quick check

Hive1, Bees super mellow, plus not so many bees, although I didn't check the brood chamber boxes. Box 4 (super heavy) full of "honey"
Box 3, the 4 frames with wax cells are now PACKED with nectar/honey. The 4 frames that started out as foundation are now starting to get some wax cells built out and where they are built out they're filled with nectar. YAY the mellow summer and continued blooming will be good for our fall honey harvest.

Hive2 is looking good lots of brood and building of comb from the medium frames.
the 2 frames at the east side were still foundation. I moved one to the other side of the hive to center the rest of the frames that contain brood and nectar and pollen.  1 frame of brood looks like it just hatched and will be ready for the queen. Maybe I saw eggs, certainly in several places I found stage 1 and 3 larvae.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

quick check

Hive2 Refed and checked. 4 and a bit sides of brood, a bunch of bees, nectar (sugar soln I assume) and pollen. Looking good. Killed 1 SHB, bees were chasing it, wrapping their legs around it and popping it off the frame. Pretty cool to watch actually.
Hive1 Checked honey supers. Box 4 full (probably mostly sugar soln), Box3 (new last week), each frame that had partial comb built out is now full of nectar! and they are busy building out more comb and filling it. Still seems to be a chill hive.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hive inspection

Hive2 Same as last week, looking good, baby brood and the queen seen. Overall ~2.5 frames with brood, but mostly on the mediums. Hive1 Box3 ~80+% nectar and capped honey. Added a second honey super in position #3 (box3 is now box4). It is medium with half the frames having some built out wax and alternated with frames that are just foundation. Box2 4.5 sides of brood, rest nectar and pollen (some back-filling) Box1 12 sides of brood, rest nectar and pollen Considering last fall, this hive is now very mellow and not aggressive at all. I think the must have re-queened. bees in hive1 back filling bees in hive1 #2 eggs brood

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Check up and Touring Hive2

5/23 Friday
refed hive2 and checked on the colonies growth via the comb/egg/larvae assessment.
Comb; both medium frames are full of brood, with large hanging comb beneath that contains eggs. Larvae elsewhere too. the adjacent deep frames are built out but hanging from the wood not on the plastic foundation. I cut and manipulated this across and around several of the frames to encourage the building out from the foundation.  I also closed off the entrance and opened the top entrance (in the inner cover) currently set at the back of the hive. I felt I'd seen a large amount of robbing by Hive1 bees. Some SHB larvae in the pollen patty and two SHB, all squished.

Hive1, box 3 ~50% are nectar filled. Keep and eye for adding another layer. All the rain we've being having should bring more flowers out.

5/25 Sunday
Bee tour for the family that won it at a silent auction. Brief check of hive2 and all seems good, they have recovered from my ravaging the comb and are starting to build out the deep frames juxtaposed to the deeps the were built on friday. Some sugar solution and pollen stored. One SHB squished.

deep(some built), deep(more),  medium (mostly capped brood), medium (50:50 capped brood and nectar), deep (more), deep(some), deep (empty), deep (empty).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hive2 check

Re-fed Hive2 with 1:1 this morning. I also took a quick peek inside. I see no stores! But they have started to build out comb on several of the deep frames. The medium frame that was one of the three I transferred from Hive1 originally was empty.  I replaced it with a new deep frame.
Upside I see somes eggs, and instar 1 to 3. So the queen has been active even if I didn't see her.

Monday, May 12, 2014

New bee stuff

Today our new hive stuff arrived from Brushy Mountain. In the box was a Garden hive cover, a IPM screened bottom board in preparation for the hot summer, an inner cover, and a triangular bee escape.  I install them and re-fed both hives with sugar solution. Hive2 is now organized as listed below. I checked for the new queens activity.

- garden cover
- inner cover
- excluder
- deep 8 frame
- screened bottom board

New hive setup

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day Lip Balm Extravaganza


For the last two years, I've been saving the wax from our honey extractions. I store it in a tupperware in the freezer. A while back we processed what we had; melting and filtering repeatedly until we had an 8oz block of pure beeswax. Here it is with one last filter to go ...

Tullins family farm beeswax lip balm

So today we made lip balm.
 ~2 oz Coconut oil (really it's 5/3oz)
   1 oz Shaved beeswax

Heat in a jar in a water bath.

   1oz Honey
   1/4 tsp Vitamin E oil
 ~1/8 tsp Peppermint extract

Mix thoroughly and distribute to 0.3oz sliding lid metal tins with a 3ml plastic disposable pipette.

Notes for next time
No honey, it was really hard to mix in and didn't add much flavor.
More Peppermint, it only added a subtle tingle.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Release the prisoners

Over the last few days I've been feeding both hive1 and hive2 with sugar solution. Hive1 has had one jar, and hive2 has had two.

Today, I popped open hive2 to release the queen from the cage, four days after she was introduced. As expected (although initially a surprise) there were a bunch of newly hatched bees in the cage with the queen vanilla. She swished off into her populace and I closed up.

In other news, hive parts for the upgrade to hive2 have shipped.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May the 4th bee with me

So we (the Tullins Family) started our beekeeping adventures in May 2012. All the books on beekeeping say to keep a log; writing when and what you do. SO better late than never, here we go ...

Yesterday I picked up our new BeeWeaver queen (american/buckfast hybrid naturally mated). She is pale yellow almost all over. She is marked with a green spot and has a clipped wing. We will call her Vanilla. She and her 6 or so companions spent the night in the laundry room, because I couldn't find a current queen in the 2 medium boxes. There were c larvae, so she's clearly still around, but with no luck finding her for 2.5 hours and it getting dark, I vowed to return.

Before I left I split 2 brood and 1 nectar frame plus a bunch of bees (shaking frames to dump them) into our first split.  I'm using an 8 deep for the brood chamber in our second hive.

Today, another 3 hours in the Texas noon sun. But I found her. I tried the various methods for figuring out where the queen was/wasn't.
1) the listening method. Apparently a hive without a queen has a restless hum.  Maybe Hive2.
2) the queen cage on the brood box. Both Hives amassed on to the queen cage. Hive2 in a swarm like way, and Hive1 a little more aggressive some were trying to sting thru the mesh.
3) the look and look again until you find her. Yup then I really know for sure.

The naturally replaced queen in Hive1 is unmarked and mostly black in color. We will call her Chocolate, she maybe the same queen who made such aggressive bees last fall, that has yet to be determined.

So Once I knew which hive Queen Chocolate was in.  I put a ~4"x4" 1/8" hardwire mesh into one of the brood sections of Hive2 and gentle teased Queen Vanilla and her entourage into it. Placing it back in Hive2 with much rejoicing from the populace.  Each hive got a 1:1 sugar solution since they're both low on supplies and need to build out some comb. 

Current setup

Hive1 (Queen Chocolate) named for the red spot marked on the original queen (installed from a R weaver american package)
- medium honey super = mostly empty
- excluder
- medium brood = good laying pattern, some honey and pollen, 1 new empty frame, with some wax cells built out
- medium brood = good laying pattern, some honey and pollen, 2 new empty frames, one with some wax cells built out, the other with no foundation, these are checker boarded in the middle of the brood.
- screen bottom board

This hive has some empty queen cells, they are over crowded, hence the split.

Hive2 (Queen Vanilla)
- medium - no frames
- excluder
- deep - 5 deeps with fresh foundation, 2 medium brood together over a pollen patty, and 1 medium with nectar a few frames over.
- excluder
- bottom board

hive1 and hive2