Tag: bees

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.



Apiary redesign

I have been planning to move the beehives around in the garden to keep the flight path of the bees from being directly through the garden. The plan was to point the entrances towards the back fence instead of at the garden. I also spoke to a friend that had to get rid of his hive due to an uncooperative HOA and neighbors. I helped him build the hive at the beginning of this year so I offered to fit it in so he could still have them and come work them when he wants to. We laid down landscape fabric and a heavy tarp to keep the weeds back and I plan to eventually fill the area with rocks so I won’t have to mow or weed under the hives. Now I have a dedicated 12×10 apiary with lots of room to work the hives and the bees shouldn’t fly directly through the garden.



Bee emerging

A piece of comb fell a few weeks ago during a hive inspection. The bees attached it to the bottom of another comb and since it had larvae I left it. During inspection today the attachment broke off. We saw the bees making their way out of the comb and captured it. I left the rest of the comb on the roof of the hive so the remaining bees could hatch out.

Comb collapse

One of the combs we straightened in the hive fell down. I wanted to save it, but the fall and subsequent heat bent it beyond use. Fortunately it was only partially filled with brood. The good news is we filled it with an empty bar and I can already see new comb being drawn out.


Bee inspection

We checked the bees again today. Everything is on track. There is capped larvae, which means the queen was successfully accepted and is laying! I learned a valuable lesson about having enough smoker fuel before beginning an inspection. I ran out while putting the last comb in and the ladies got a bit fussy. Luckily Amanda was there to help out. The pictures show the first and third bars of comb. There is a mix of pollen and larvae throughout. You can see bee larvae in the cells in the third picture.

We have comb

We pulled out the comb for inspection today to see how things are going. I believe all is well. I saw what I think is brood comb on the first bar with larvae in it. I didn’t see any capped cells, but from what I understand they don’t get capped until day 8 and we are only on day 10 of this whole project. I didn’t actually see any larvae, but there were many dark areas in the comb that look like the pictures I’ve seen. And you could see workers with their heads buried in the cells, presumably feeding the young. The were very well behaved and mostly just buzzed around cause I was pulling the walls of their house apart. I’ll have to check them again next weekend.




Busy bees

A quick video of the bees coming and going. This is the scene all day long. The sunnier it is the busier they are.

The bees are here!

The post office called this morning to let me know the bees were ready to be picked up. This caught me a bit off guard since they were supposed to ship today. No sweat though. I managed to get all the top bars cut and the roof completed this evening and installed the bees after it was dark. This actually worked out well since they were very docile. When I first picked them up they were buzzing like crazy, but during the install they were basically just standing around. It is a 3 pound package that has ~10000 bees! This is video of the bees before and during the install.

Top bar hive

The hive is almost complete. I just need to shingle the roof and make the top bars.
We also got the rest of the garden planted. Green beans and pickling cucumbers rounded it out. We also built a smaller compost holding bin from left over fence board trimmings. Those are turning out to be quite handy.




I nailed the beehive together last night. I just need to cut the top bars, build a roof, and give it some legs. The bees ship tomorrow.