Bee Blog

Bee Packages

  Another season of installing packages of bees is upon us. This year we did not get bees from Georgia. We got the bees from California. There is a major difference is in the queen cage. Most people from New England are used to the cages with the two corks and the sugar candy on one end. These queen cages only has one cork and no sugar candy blocking the hole. So when installing queen into hive. You would remove the cork and put a small marshmallow into the whole. It was very easy to do and the bees eat through it very quickly. For the last three weekends we have been passing out the packages of bees and marshmallows.
   I have installed several of these packages of bees each of the past two Mondays. So today was no exception. Vin and I went to a few apiaries in order to install some packages. Also to check queen release from the packages installed last Monday. Then there were the packages that were installed 2 weeks ago. We went into the hives to see how the queen was doing. The packages I installed two weeks ago had capped brood in all the hives except one. The best hive had almost two full capped frames of brood and a few others of uncapped brood of all ages. All my packages are given ten frames of comb not foundation. Big advantage. Some even get lucky enough to get full frames of honey. I did see the queen on a frame with eggs and small larvae. The queen was nice and big. She also had a great brood pattern. I wish all queens were like that girl. Now for the hive thats queen wasn't laying yet. I will give her another five days and check her again. If I find no signs of brood I will replace the queen. Some queens are held in a queen banks for a while before getting put into bee packages. So after the queen is released. You should give the queen a week or so without disturbing the hive before checking her. Just remember not to go into your hive to often.  
  Now for the packages I installed last Monday. I went into each of them carefully. I remove one of the frames on the end with the fewest bees. Then slide the frames over until I get to the frame with the queen cage. Carefully remove the cage. Then carefully put frames back in and check it for brood next week. Thats it. Try not to bother the bees more than you have to.

  Just a reminder that Bee Talk is from 7:00pm-9:00pm on the first Thursday night of the month. Yes This coming Thursday.


Spring Feeding

  Yesterday was only in the upper 40s and sunny with a slight breeze. I went to a few apiaries to check on my bees. All I am doing is giving the bees a pollen patties and some sugar syrup. The sugar syrup mixture is 1-1 sugar water with honey bee healthy and Fumagilin. I visited over 20 hives and only had 4 dead outs. One of the colonies had a cluster size a little bigger than a softball. The rest of the hives had clusters covering almost the entire upper box. I had to smoke the bees down in order to put pollen patty and sugar syrup bag on top of the frames. I only have hive open for a minute and closed them up as fast as possible. Unfortunately I could not go to every apiary. The mud and snow makes it impossible to drive to most of my locations. Next nice day I will walk to check on the rest of my hives. 

Spring Feeding

  Today was a sunny day with low winds and the temperature at 49 degrees. I  went to an apiary and noticed 8 out 10 hives had bees flying. Its good to see so many hives alive. I went there to feed the bees that survived the winter. I over winter all my hives with med/feeder rims on top of the upper box. So i can put a bag of medicated syrup right on top of the frames and fit it under the inner cover. I got the smoker going and went into each hive carefully. I smoked the bees down off top bars of frames and placed the syrup bag and pollen patty on frames. Then cut the bag so the bees can get at the feed. I am in and out of each hive in 2 minutes. That is it until it warms up. 

Spring is Here?

  The bees were flying two days in a row. Many people have looked in to check on their bees. I have heard good stories about huge clusters of bees on top of the frames devouring the fondant and pollen patties. April is a week away. We will be opening our hives in a couple weeks. I can only get to two of my hives easily and will give them a 1-1 sugar syrup. I put it in the gallon freezer bag. Fill it half way and seal it. Make sure it is sealed. Put it on top of the frames. Of course you need a feeder/medication rim on top of your hive or bag will not fit under cover. When the bag is on its side take a razor and cut an x in the air bubble. Not to big! That is all I do now.  We heard many more beekeepers stories that bees did not survive. They would come in the store to say hi and order their bee packages. It was a tough winter. I will know my survival rate in 2 weeks.

Winter Time Beekeeping

   This is the time of year that we start preparing for the coming spring. Vin and I have built a bunch of boxes, hundreds of frames and inserted the wired wax foundation into frames.  All the frames we use this year will have wire wax foundation. I prefer it and so do the bees. This months bee talk I will demo a quick and easier way to wire wax a frame. I have also scrapped down and primed old boxes and bottom boards. I will paint them in the spring. I cut down and repaired some boxes that had damage or cracks. So in the spring, we can go around to our apiaries and replace other boxes and bottoms boards that need some fixing or repainting.

  We also cut up and packaged a bunch of fondant into 1 lb patties for the winter and early spring. We went to 3 apiaries  on December 26, It was about 50 degrees and sunny. A perfect day to place a fondant patty or pollen patty on the hive. I will check my hives in February to give addition fondant or pollen patty to the bees that need it. Just remember to be quick when putting fondant on frames and do not pull frames. Close cover as soon as you can. The bees will be happy you did.
 I wanted to mention about Bee Talk night. It is moving to the second Wednesday of the month due to schedule conflict with the beekeeping classes. This coming Wednesday night I will do a quick demo on building and wire waxing frames and a demo on creamed honey.  Q&A session will fill the rest of the evening.
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