Concerns

Mouse evidence.

Mouse evidence.

The other day (2/18/13) at Hive Site 5 I noticed something that has me more than a little nervous. 1110 showed evidence of an unwanted tenant. I don’t know what happened over the course of the winter but 1110’s mouse guard moved out of position. There were tell-tale signs of mouse activity on the outside of the guard and the hive body. It is likely that a mouse has taken up residence in there. Continue reading

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Report from Last Friday

Growing pile of fixed traps.

Growing pile of fixed traps.

For anyone looking for an update on overwintering from last Friday I have NO news.  The temperature just didn’t get high enough for bees to fly.  The main focus of the day became fixing swarm traps followed by making up a bunch of frames.

See that crack?

See that crack?

The majority of the traps had small issues.  Most are made from old ratty equipment.  Some were home-made and therefore weren’t built using the standard Langstroth hive dimensions.  As a result these traps allowed bees to get out of the traps when the door was closed.  Why is that a problem???? Continue reading

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Records and Trends

Look at all of that.

Look at all of it. (1203)

You are are probably thinking, “what is with the POO posts!?!” Bear with me here… Even though I have another month before I can stop worrying, I am surprised at how many hives are still in the running to make it through this hellish winter.

Out in the middle of nowhere.

Out in the middle of nowhere.

After work on Tuesday 2/18 I stopped at Hive Site 5. This location has almost NO protection from weather. The hives are located in the middle of a pasture with only a little snow fence protecting them from the North and West winds. 1110, 1306, and 1203 are located at this site. Of the three 1203 seems to have been the hive most full of it. Of the recently visited hives it has shown the greatest degree of marking. This hive did not produce all that much honey last year as some others, but it did well and is still alive. Continue reading

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Happy Friday..

Maybe a good day.

Maybe a good day.

We are almost to the end of February! Are you getting excited yet? Tis the season to begin assessing winter damages. This post was completed on 2/19/14.  At this time the weather forecast is not looking too bad. It’s only supposed to get to 45F, but that’s way warmer than we have been given recently. Bees will probably be out, so I plan on trying to be out there with some of them. I won’t make it to every hive site, but I am going to be making the rounds this afternoon. With any luck I may have an idea of how many are still living sometime next week. Continue reading

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Signs of life

Check out the new paint job.

Check out the new paint job.

This Winter has been a bear in Eastern Indiana.  I don’t think we have had a good bee day since mid December.  I’ve watched hives all Winter as the lows get to -15F, wondering how many will make it.  Recently in discussions with other beekeepers I have been pretty pessimistic.  This is my first Winter like this keeping bees.  On Saturday I was at a hive site and wanted to check for pest tracks in the snow.  What I saw looked like a scene from some kind of scatological horror film.  I must confess a smile came across my face.   Continue reading

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New Swarm Trap Plans

If you have followed this blog for any period of time you will know that I normally make swarm traps out of old equipment. It is only because I HAVE OLD EQUIPMENT LAYING AROUND. This has created a problem for helping new beekeepers source their bees. Well NO MORE! Here are some plans that will be useful to new keepers without old equipment laying around. I hope that you will benefit from these extremely clear and efficient plans.

Compliments of Jason Morgan

Compliments of Jason Morgan

I heard the guys south of me at the SouthEastern Indiana Beekeping Association had gotten together to make swarm traps recently. These traps are very similar in size to a 5 frame nuc and though I have never used them, the keepers from down near Milan, IN have reported success. Jason Morgan (see allmorgan.com) a members sent me a picture of a schematic photo showing all of the cut-out pieces along with their dimensions. These things were going to be awesome, but it gets even better….
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Observation

As seen from the truck on 10/6/2013

As seen from the road on 10/6/2013

Since getting involved in beekeeping I have become more aware of the world around me. While driving I look for what is in bloom and sometimes make other discoveries. This time of year I have my eyes peeled for Asters, Golden Rod, Iron Weed, and Puffball Mushrooms!

I take about 5 different routes home from work to mix things up and make the daily commute less boring. I cover a lot of ground over the course of a week, back and forth to work. Last weekend on the way home I spied a Puffball out in a pasture. It was the first one I have seen this season. I don’t know who owns the land and didn’t want to trespass after a puffball, so I just snapped a picture. A couple years ago I made a haul on the way home from painting swarm traps.  I found 3 massive puffballs that day. I asked permission and loaded them in the car.  There was enough for eating and dehydrating.  That was 10/4/2011. Continue reading

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Note on storing traps

These things are in good shape.  They must be moved.

These things are in good shape. They must be moved.

Don’t store traps all winter in a location as pictured in the previous post.  The traps were all lined up on the concrete floor with big cracks in it.  Termites were in several of the boxes after only being there for 2 weeks.  I didn’t spray anything because I want bees in those boxes next Spring. They weren’t established and didn’t damage anything, but they were in there snooping around. Continue reading

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Sun Choke Blooms

Front View

Front View

The Jerusalem Artichokes (Sun chokes) have been in bloom the last couple weeks. This time of year I cut the blooms off for two reasons. I have read that when you remove the flowers, they will put more resources into making larger tubers. I don’t know if this is true, but I remove the flowers anyway because my landlord isn’t real keen on me having sun chokes anyway.

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Survival Podcast Interview

Last week I was interviewed by Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast. When the interview was over my head was spinning and I am not confident I communicated everything as clearly as I should have. It probably didn’t sound like it, but I did prepare prior to the interview. I had an outline ready but once we began talking all of that stuff went out the window. I will admit to being nervous and there were times I rambled and as a result didn’t get to some important aspects of Swarm Trapping.

Hopefully this post can clarify some things for anyone interested in making their beekeeping life more sustainable.  Resupply your vacated hive equipment for free by swarm trapping. Continue reading

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Posted in Feral Bees, HowTo, Posts, Swarm Trapping, What's going on.. | 17 Comments