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Bee Blog

Swarms

   The swarm season is upon us already. There should be many swarms this year. Since we had such a mild winter. There were a hand full of beekeepers mentioning swarms in the store over the weekend. We are suppose to get rain all week. I'm sure some strong hives are going to feel congested and end up swarming.  There will probably be a few swarms on the next few sunny days. We carry a swarm box, swarm buckets and bee vacuum around with us for the next month or so.  Hopefully I catch a swarm or two. I'll keep track of the amount of swarms I catch this year.  The swarm in the Pine tree is from a friends hive. His swarms go to the same spot year after year.

A 3lb Bee Package After 14 Days

New package of bees on 5 frames in the hiveThe queen bee surrounded by workers.    I installed over 20 packages on April 17 & 18. 
The queens were all released on my first inspection 7 days later. I removed the queen cages. On day 14, the hives on wire wax foundation have brood on 3 frames. Good looking brood pattern too. The capped brood was on the center on there cluster. I saw a ton on eggs and larvae. There was also stored pollen and nectar on the frames. The other 2 frames had some comb on one side and very little on the back side. The hives which had drawn comb are on a total on 6-7 frames. Those hives still the 3 frames of brood. All the queens that I installed seem to be pretty good. Now all we need is some nice weather and a nectar flow.

Treating for Varroa Mites

   The bees in our apiaries had a great survival rate over the winter this year. We went through many hives this spring checking and cleaning. I scrapped off a lot of drone brood in the process of cleaning the hives. I checked a lot the white drone larvae for the varroa mite. I didn't see one varroa in over 100+ hives. WE  do treat for varroa in the spring and fall. So the hives that made it through the winter are very busy and healthy looking hives. 

Package Bees

  The bee season starts for many beekeepers when they install a bee package. I install packages from both shipments dates, 4/16 and 4/23, to see the quality of bee packages and queens. I checked for the queen release one week after installation. All my queens were released from last weekends installation. I also installed bees yesterday I will check for the queen release next week. I start checking for brood one week after queen gets released. 

  The top photo is a bee bus bee package on a new hive. I installed it in a few minutes yesterday. Now just make sure the sugar syrup doesn't run dry and check for the queen release in a week. Bees do better if you don't bother them to much. A new beekeeper called me about their bees. They installed them on the 16th. She checked the queen cage the next day and then again on day 3. The queen was now out of her cage. She then checked it again on day 7. Don't be that person. Let your queen do her business. She wanted to know why she didn't see eggs. I told her to wait a week and look for all ages of brood not just eggs. I'm really not sure she can even see eggs anyway. 

  The bottom photo is a package I installed on wired wax foundation on 4/16.  The queen got released. I removed the queen cage on 4/23. The bees are on 3 frames heavy and on a total of 5 frames. I will check for brood and how the comb is coming this coming Sunday.

Bee Package Installation and Hive Openings


  This weekend was great weather for beekeeping. Unfortunately, I had several hundred bee packages to hand out first. The store was open 9-4;00 Saturday. Vin installed a few packages when he got a spare few minutes.  I went to a friends house to install a package and then 4 packages of my own. I installed 3 plastic and 2 wooden bee packages. All 5 installations went quickly. OK.  Now about the plastic bee packages.  I was surprised to see the plastic package boxes at first. But what could i say. There were a few hundred beekeepers who wanted there bees. Only 2 people complained about the plastic container. The installation using a plastic crate in easier. Ive installed plenty of wooden packages. I am going to save a few of the plastic boxes for catching swarms. 
  
  Sunday was much warmer than Saturday. It was sunny and 70. We passed out more bees from 9-12. Then my father had a hive opening/package installation at 1;00. I planned mine for 2:00.  I installed 2 packages, 1 plastic and 1 wood box and opened up 2 hives. I installed the wooden box first. It took a total of 5 minutes and 30 seconds. I even had a little trouble getting the can out. Which probably added about 10 seconds. I installed the plastic package at the end. I think the install was faster but it wasn't timed. The students watching thought it looked much easier. I had to get to Salem to assist a hive opening and  4 packages installs. So I know I installed it quickly. 

  The hives that I chose to open for the students both look good. The hives had plenty of activity and the bees were coming in with plenty of pollen. One of the hives looked much busier. I went into the slower looking hive first. I found the bees were in the top box only. There was 6 brood frames, 1 1/2 pollen frames and 3 full honey frames. So I reversed the boxes. That was easy. The second hive had a much larger population. I went through the top hive body to find the first frame had honey on the outside of the frame and pollen/honey on the other side. The second frame had brood. It was mostly capped brood. The next 6 frame had all ages of brood. I spotted the queen on the 7th or 8th frame. I went through the bottom box next. It was similar to the top. It had more capped brood but less honey stores. The brood looked clean. There was a lot of fresh nectar in the cells. The pollen stores in both hive seemed good for the size of each hive. I may have to remove some brood frames from the second hive to prevent it from swarming. 

A couple hives on a warm April day.  In Salem, We installed 4 packages pretty quickly. I showed the first installation. Then helped with the second. By the 4th install, he had it down and installed it pretty quickly. After the installs, I opened up the over wintered hive. I notice an active entrance and some orange, creamed colored, yellow and greenish pollen coming into the hive. It was loaded with brood. The bees were on all 20 frames just like the hive I opened an hour earlier. He had 7-8 frames of brood in both boxes. I didn't find the queen in this hive. Since there was so much brood in both hive bodies. I put the box with mostly capped brood on top. Assuming the queen was going to be in the bottom box. The owner of the hive is planning to make a nuc from this hive next Saturday. 
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