Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Article: Complains that Bees Sting His Gold Fish

 I subscribe to the Historical Bee Articles email list on yahoo. I just was sent this article. Should I be worried about Lala and Naranja?

Lebanon Daily News and The Lebanon Daily Times
November 23, 1926, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Complains that Bees Sting His Gold Fish

Pasadena, Today— W. H. Chase
promised the police he would get
rid of his bees which, Sam Rice
reported, have been stinging his gold
fish to death when the fishes came
to the surface of his pond. Chase,
who lives next door to Rice said he
was keeping the hive of bees for a

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Notes on Beelandia Today

Just a few bits of news from the Beelandia Apiary:

  • Yesterday I took a 24 hour mite count of the three langstroth hives. All seems reasonable. Worker Bee had the lowest count with just two mites. Lib-BEE-taria had 16 and Bee Glad... had 12. The latter two hives will be watched more closely.
  • Two of the five grafts done 5 days ago "took". Thursday I will place the queen cells in a mating nuc.
  • I checked the mating nucs and 5 of 7 have laying queens. Next week I will check to see each queen's laying pattern.
  • I inspected Plan Bee..., one of the top bar hives, today. I have this feeling that this hive is in preparation for swarming. The bees are feeling up the brood nest with nectar and the queen seems to have slowed down in her laying. Only one queen cell in evidence, however. I  took the bottom board off this hive and uncorked another entrance.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Article:"Sting Operation..."

Bethany, a former student of mine and now facebook friend, sent me this story of a swarm in Rhode Island.

Link: Principles of Backward Beekeeping

When I need to return to my initial reasons for becoming a beekeeper, I reread this article written by Charles Martin Simon from Bee Culture (July 2001). The ideas espoused in it have influenced my whole concern with the rationalization of apiculture.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grafting Again

Yesterday afternoon I did some more grafting of larvae taken from Worker Bees..., the hive I started last July from a queen cell raised in one of Gary Reuter's hives. The cells were placed in a queenless box of Bee Glad...

Monday, May 17, 2010

All About Beeswax and Encaustic Painting

Here is a link to a blog post  about the processing of  beeswax for encaustic painting. For more information about encaustic painting, please check out the links below.

The Art of Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented WaxEncaustic Workshop: Artistic Techniques for Working with WaxEmbracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with BeeswaxEncaustic Art: The Complete Guide to Creating Fine Art with Wax

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And Now For the Top Bars

I inspected my two top bar hives this afternoon.

I am still concerned about Metpropolis and am tempted to simply requeen it. The queen is alive and laying but the brood pattern is really spotty, possibly indicating an inbred queen. I will give it a week or two more.

Plan Bee... is booming with bees, larvae and eggs. I was unable to spot the queen but I did find one supersedure cell. I am not that concerned about this hive. It looks healthy and active. I might split it in the near future.

Two Hives Inspected

I was finally able to inspect Lib-Bee-taria and Worker Bees... yesterday. The temperature was in the upper 60s (F) with a partially sunny sky. Both hives were very active, having been essentially cooped up inside for the last 5 days with cold, cloudy weather, and occasional showers.

Both hives were doing fine. I found the queen in both. Eggs laying seems very good as I found evidence of brood in all stages of development. I also noticed that the bees' temperament was much calmer and "gentler". I moved some frames around in each to get the bees to draw on empty frames and dusted both with powdered sugar. I also exchanged drone brood frames. I put a queen excluder and honey super on Worker Bees...

While I was in the yard, I placed the Cloake Board's queen excluder back on Bee Glad... between the 2nd and 3rd boxes. I will again do some queen rearing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Been a Long Time

The last week of weather has been terrible. Winona has been  cold and rainy, not very good weather for inspecting bees. Finally today I was able to inspect some hives, more specifically, the 7 nucs set up a week and a half ago.

I am a bit concerned about these nucs. The cold and rainy spell came at the time when each of the queens should've gone on their mating flights. I saw no evidence of queens in any of the nucs. I will be setting up for another round of grafting tomorrow and hope for better mating weather.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Inspections of /Three Hives

Early this afternoon I did a brief inspection of each of the langstroth hives.

I first opened Bee Glad..., the hive I used as a cell starter and finisher using a Cloake Board. Last week, I Composeused many of its frames to start nucs from the queen cells produced in this hive. This splitting left the colony with one box full of bees and brood. On top of this,  I placed a box filled with mostly undrawn plastic frames and a few frames filled with honey and pollen. I was surprised when I inspected this second box today. Within a week, the bees have pretty much drawn the 8 empty frames I placed in the box last week. This is a very strong colony. Now I need to buy some more frames for adding a possible third box next week.

Lib-BEE-taria was a little less productive this week, at least in my eyes. It is healthy, just smaller, probably the result of its carniolan ancestry. I had put a honey super on last week and the bees have not drawn anything out in that box. I sprayed some sugar water on the frames and will see if that helps the bees work in it.

Worker Bees... are starting to build in the third box I placed on last week. This is, by far, the gentlest of the langstroth hives and the one I grafted larvae from. I placed a top entrance on the third box today. All goes well in that one as well.

NOTE: I failed to mention my activities from yesterday. I picked up two 3 lb. packages from B & B and helped a friend and colleague (John) install these bees in his backyard. He lives about a mile from my apiary so this will provide a little more genetic diversity in the area. The second package I sold to friends Chris and Jenny. They installed theirs at their farm in Rushford.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Checking Out Metpropolis

As readers of this blog will remember, Metpropolis, a top bar hive with Italian hygienic bees, has been the weakest of my 5 hives. In previous inspections, I found no brood and a small cluster huddled around a healthy looking queen. I was worried. Today, I checked the hive out and found a still small cluster of bees and a goodly sized queen, but, thankfully, capped brood as well.

I moved some comb around, placing some bars of capped honey closer to the cluster, and pulled out a few bars of empty comb to recycle some wax. I added two empty, undrawn bars between the capped honey and the meager brood nest. All this  allowed me to move each follower board closer together, creating a smaller hive space that making it easier for this small colony to maintain temperature in the cluster. (We've had a number of 40 degree nights!)

Metpropolis has surprised me! I didn't expect it to survive and it has.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May 1st Inspection

In the late morning and early afternoon, I spent time inspecting 3 hives: Lib-BEE-taria, Worker Bees of the World Unite, and Plan Bee... .While the temperature was comfortable, it was very windy which made inspections difficult at times. This was especially so when examining the top bars of Plan Bee... that had new comb. I did get through the inspection without a sting. All three colonies were gentle, considering the windy conditions.

Lib-BEE-taria had bees working in all three brood boxes with plenty of brood, pollen and honey in each. The honeybees in this hive have stopped taking syrup from the feeder so I took that off when closing the colony up.

Worker Bees... was also doing well; so well I added a third box to the hive. I am continuing to feed sugar syrup to this one since they still consume it. Both Worker Bees... and Lib-BEE-taria were dusted with powdered sugar as routine maintenance for varroa mites.

Plan Bee..., one of the top bar hives, is simply thriving. I will probably have to split this one very soon. I did cut out some drone brood and found it full of varroa mites which concerns me. Yes, the bees are healthy but this quick glance at the mites sent up red flags. I am considering treating it with Apiguard.

Later in the afternoon, Beelandia had a few visitors. Molly and Mark brought their gold fish, Lala, over so that she could spend the summer in our pond, Lake No-Bee-Gone. I received two stings at this time, though Molly and Mark escaped without a scratch. Later in the afternoon, a young child named Toby came over with his adult entourage (grandparents and dad) for a tour as well. Toby donned a small bee suit and spent sometime asking some very good questions about the inhabitants of Beelandia. Toby's visit caused not a sting.