Cicadas & hops

The hops are growing much faster and putting out many more cones than last year. Can’t wait to brew up another batch of estate ale.
Also interesting to see some of the first cicadas of the XXII brood attached to a few leaves.



Icicles on the beehives

Super cold in BR the past few weeks. We actually had sleet and freezing rain yesterday.



Wax Moths!

I was heading out to check on the bees today and do a harvest, and I noticed there was busted comb underneath hive#2. I suited up and poked my head under since the screen had completely been torn off. I immediately knew the bees were all gone. To confirm I picked it up and moved it out of the apiary. There were wax moth larvae on the top bars and as I began to pull out the bars, there was severe wax moth damage to all the combs. I scraped the top bars clean and tossed the damaged comb in a garbage bag. I also mixed up some insecticidal soap and drenched the ground beneath the hive in hopes of killing all the wax moth and hive beetle larvae underneath it. I found a minimal amount of dead bees, so I think they either moved out and the wax moth larvae took over or they were overwhelmed and vacated. I had looked in this hive just 3 weeks earlier, and everything appeared normal.


Foot long green beans

I wish I could say these came from our garden, but alas, they didn’t. Maybe next year.


Mini picnic table

I built a mini picnic table for my niece this weekend. I still have to stain it this week, but so far it looks great. Can’t wait to see M and Leah playing together with it!



Hops Update

The hops are doing well, with the exception of the Brewers Gold. The Cascade, Chinook, & Nugget have all passed ten feet in length and have begun to produce cones. The Magnum is just at 6 feet, Centennial & Willamette are only at about four feet.



The Cascade & Nugget hops have reached the top of the fence in the servitude. I erected a 10 foot 4×4 post 12 feet from the fence and strung up the twine to allow them more room to grow. All the rest of the varieties have broken ground and so far only the Brewers Gold has not yet reached the twine connected to the fence.


Another swarm

I woke up this morning to another swarm hanging from the magnolia tree in the exact same place as the previous one. I believe this swarm cam from the original hive with the now Russian bees. Having seen the overwintering and spring buildup that they achieved, I didn’t want to lose them. I had previously assembled a medium super to start building on top of the lang I put the other swarm in. I had heard of placing a second colony on an existing colony to end up with a two queen colony once the pheromones mixed. Since I don’t need / can’t have another hive, this seemed like the only logical choice. After some fast reading to answer a few questions about separating the colonies with newspaper, I pulled off the cover, placed a single sheet of newspaper, cut a few holes with the hive tool, and added the medium super to the stack. This time instead of dropping the swarm in a container and then dumping it in I simply cut the branch and shook the bees into the hive with one swift bump. Unfortunately I didn’t have help this time, so no video. I had already pulled a couple of empty drawn combs from Hive #1 a few weeks ago and froze them in preparation to band them into the new super.



Captured swarm

I noticed a small swarm in the magnolia tree while watering the hops. My brother was in town so I got him to help me capture and hive the swarm. Fortunately I had put the deep and medium super together. I made them some sugar syrup and left the entire branch and swarm in the top medium super. I checked on them just the other evening and they have mostly made their way off the branch and into the deep. I’ll pull the branch out this weekend. Good times!


Hive # 2 Swarmed

My neighbors noticed a swarm of bees on the chain link fence and gave me a call. I was getting prepared to capture the swarm and they began to fly up and away. I noticed the entire garden was filled with bees. Then I saw that they were clustering on the front of hive #3. They covered the front and all entrances. I later discovered that they came from hive # 2. I guess this means that the swarm preventing measure didn’t work. Two weeks ago I added blank bars between bars 5 through 12. I’m fine with them swarming as long as the colony raises a new queen. Now I’ll have to check on them regularly to make sure there are eggs in the next 4 weeks.