Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Break In

I finally got to break into my bee hives this evening, two days longer than I expected. Everything looked great! The queens were out of their cages, and the bees are pulling comb. They drank almost a quart and a half of sugar water today per hive! Before long they will have some comb completed and the queen can start laying.
My wife Lindsey has had a change of heart and has taken interest in the bees. She went out with me this evening and helped me. She actually spotted the queen in both of the hives. She was excited to have spotted them out of all the of the other bees and I was excited that my queens were alive and well. After watching me smoke the first hive Lindsey wanted to do the second one. She took the smoker and smoked the hive just like a pro! I am sooo happy that she has taken an interest. I know I have promised some pics of install day, and I will get them up before long!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Can't Hardly Wait

It has been three days since I have installed my bees into hives. The third day is usually the day that the beekeeper should fire up his smoker and break into the new hives to see how everything is going. Not me, not today. It is cloudy, a little cool, and has been misting rain. Not good weather for breaking open a new hive, or any hives for that matter. Maybe tomorrow...cross your fingers! I was so excited too! I can't wait to get in there and see if the queen has been freed and also to see if they are drawing comb (making honeycomb to store honey and for the queen to lay eggs in). I am also ready to get in there to test the two hives different personalities. The day I installed I took note of some different stuff and kinda made a mental note that I thought the first hive is the weaker hive an the second hive is the stronger. I am unsure which has the more aggressive attitude. I initially thought that the stronger would be the more aggressive one, but I am not sure after a couple from the first hive buzzed my head while I was observing from about 10 ft away Sunday (without protective equipment on). I went out yesterday to check the bees sugar water and I found something I wasn't expecting. The first hive had drank 3/4 of a quart jar in about 24 hrs, and the second hive had only drank about 1/4 of a quart jar. Hmmmm? I am thinking that the second hive maybe a little bigger and is out
foraging and finding plenty of food therefore they are not having to drink as much sugar water as the first hive. That thought satisfied me. This morning before work I went out and gave the first hive a full quart. This evening I went out to check their water and the second hives hadn't moved a whole lot and the first have had drank about 1/4 of theirs. There was only a handful of bees outside either hive, like five to ten at any given time. I noticed that one of the bees left the first hive and flew to the second hive. Interesting. Then I saw one leave the second hive and fly to the first hive. It landed right by the sugar water feeder and walked right in! I watched this for a couple minutes. I just wonder if the second hive is "robbing" the first hive's sugar water? Surely not, they both have plenty right in their front door. I can't wait to get in to them tomorrow to see what is going on inside those boxes!! Also, I don't REALLY know which one is stronger which one is weaker, those are just initial first impressions from an amateur beekeeper.

I will upload some pics of Jordan and I installing my bees later. I know you guys want to see them and I was going to upload them with this post but blogger is being sloooooowww today, sorry!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bee Field day

Saturday April 4 was the last meeting of the Butler/Warren Co. bee keepers class. It was Such a beautiful day outside, perfect weather! I didn't know Plano (in Warren Co.) was such a nice place. After being there for the field day I actually told Lindsey that if we ever have to move back to BG I would like to live there. It was a very hands on class, they showed us how to introduce bees into a hive and how to check an already established colony. A big two thumbs up and a round of applause for Greg Drake and Carol Schrieber. They did an excellent job teaching us wanna-be bee keepers what to do and how to do it! Here are some pics...

This is me and another guy lighting our smokers. We had a smoker lighting contest to see whose could stay lit the longest. I tied with someone else for the longest burning smoker, won a little prize, YEA ME!

Checking out some old honey comb. This is not actually "honey" comb, it is brood comb. The brood comb is usually found in the lower part of the hive. It is where the queen bee lays eggs and it is the part of the beehive where new brood is raised by the colony.

I don't remember this next guys name...but he is ok in my book!

Here are three pics. The first is of a package of bees and then the next two is of Carol preparing to get the packaged bees out and into a hive. The second pic is of Carol pouring some water on the bees so that they ball up in the package and are less likely to swarm out of the box. The last of the three is Carol dumping the bees into the hive. It sounds really crazy, and goes against all natural instinct (and what you would think of as common sense, for that matter) But the way you get the bees out of the box is you pour water on them, open a hole in the top, turn them upside down, and literally beat on the bottom to dump the bees in the hive. Then the ones that don't come out that way, you shake the box till they fall out! Never in my life would I have thought it was a good idea to take bees that have been in a box for at least a couple of days, open the box, then turn it upside down so I could beat on the bottom of it...wanting them to come out. Defies everything we ever learned growing up doesn't it?

Here are just some random pics of the hives and us standing around the hives.

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