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