Joel’s first outfit.
Once again I have allowed a lull in posting. I want to explain myself since the busiest part of my beekeeping season is NOW and I haven’t posted at all. It is not that I have lost interest in the blog or beekeeping. I have had other things going on……
Two weeks ago today my wife gave birth to a little boy – Joel. Since then both of us have been re-prioritizing. I haven’t lost any passion for beekeeping as his first outfit will show. Our lives have been ruled by the every 2 – 3 hour feedings and diaper changes. It has been a crazy adjustment, but Mom and Joel are doing great. Continue reading
1005 in 2010.
I do not know what caused it yet, but I am relatively sure at least one hive has expired. 1001 was one of my first two colonies. I bought it as an established hive from a beekeeper that was going out of business. It had been on the previous owner’s program of yearly requeening, massive doses of sugar syrup and chemicals treatments to kill nosema and varroa. How did I make this determination? This seems like a long and tortuous story, but bear with me and I will get to the point. Continue reading
This is the bottom drawer of our Entertainment Center. It is the one place in the house I am allowed to keep my current reading materials. How many beekeepers out there have a pile of bee literature laying around like in this? I keep old bee magazines because believe it or not there are times I will revisit a subject in my mind and reread an old article. Not all of the magazine’s contents are on-line and I like having a hard copy around anyway. If I am going to keep them I need to have them organized better than in the bottom of a drawer. So once a year I bind them together with para-cord to make a book. Continue reading
1005 historically a great hive. Active 2/7/13
Checked in on three hives Thursday 2/7/13. They were observed at about 11:30. The outside temperature was 45 degrees F. There was activity from only one of the three colonies. A steady stream of bees came and went from 1005, but 1001 and 1208 were both absent of activity. 1001 and 1208 were strong going into winter. Is it time to mark them down as Goners?
Some of the boxes most needing of attention.
Last week marked another period of sustained cold weather. In the last week and a half or two there have been night-time lows near zero degrees F. We also have had a couple of days peppered in there where it nearly made it to 60 degrees F. I’m getting more than a little nervous thinking about what’s going on in the hives. To keep my mind off of the uncertain status of my bees I busied myself with hive maintenance. I have been working at our new place with no heat so extreme cold resulted in a schedule change. I spent a couple of days being thankful that I had access to a heated shop. Continue reading
Some of the 40 new supers.
On the list for 2013 is getting a bunch more hive equipment ready. Thanks to the strength of the honey sales from fall 2012 more deeps and supers could be purchased without going into the RED. Due to all of the other stuff that has been going on I chose NOT to make my own hive ware this year. I hope that next year at this time there will be less going on and I can make this stuff myself to save some money. Right now I just can’t do it.
The chickens hate the snow.
A new year and an entirely different ballgame. In my last post way back on December 20th I posed the question Where the heck is the cold weather? Someone must have been listening because that question has been answered. We got a healthy dumping of snow Wednesday 12/23/12 and since then the temperatures have plummeted with lows down into the teens and Accuweather’s “real feel” temperature being reported in the single digits. In the last week and a half our little homestead has been transformed into a winter wonderland. I don’t know how all of the bees are coping but the chickens hate it.
Dandelions blooming in the side ditch 12/06/2012.
While taking a walk with my family a couple of weeks ago I noticed a blast from the past. Dandelions blooming in December? Strange as it may be, there they were. I snapped a picture. They didn’t look very spunky, but they were blooming none the less.
So what does it mean? Heck if I know! 2012 was marked by what I can only describe as a “bunch of discrepancies”. All of the blooms and weather patterns took place at odd times. Events seemed to be out of sync with the dates on the calendar. I had maples blooming on 2/3/12 see Maple Trees are Blooming. Many things including the Dandelions bloomed early. The Black Locust began to bloom in April, three week earlier that what I would call “normal”. In 2011 I caught my first swarm on 5/27/11. The first confirmed swarm caught in my area in 2012 was on 4/7/12. Continue reading
12-13 at Hive Site 05. Wind break installed.
The weather has been really pleasant for December here in Eastern Indiana. We have experienced some cold nights, but there haven’t been any extended cold weather periods. Most of the hive sites provide the hives some natural cover from North and West winds. At two sites there is no cover, so snow fence was put up last week to provide a wind break. This was a recommendation from several mentors as well as many books. I have been doing it for years.
Mold on inside of Attic Box.
It hasn’t been cold, but it sure has been damp. Rain has been falling much more frequently than it did all last summer. At present I am glad that most hives have top entrances instead of the Warre attic boxes used in previous years. I had fair overwintering success with the attic boxes, but noticed a lot of mold in the burlap last year after removing them from the hives. This was documented in What to do?. I theorize that the top entrance will allow moisture to escape and prevent such mold problems.
Last winter I lost 3 of 14 hives (21.5%). The winter of 2010 resulted in the loss 2 out of 5 hives (40%). I had planned to experiment with several different overwintering strategies, but due to time constraints 24 hives got top entrances and 6 are sporting a normal inner cover. It will be interesting to compare outcomes both between the groups this year and as compared to previous years strategies.
Is everything ready for winter in your apiary?
The bees of 1205. These two are quite dark, but there is a high variation in coloration amongst the sisters of this hive.
There hasn’t been much activity on the blog the last several weeks. I have been readying for winter, but still have been checking bee related things regularly. Though it is not quite officially winter yet the winter anxiety has begun for me. My favorite winter pass-time is worrying and waiting.
There has been much less activity out of the hives. Two weeks ago I was off of work for the first week of deer season here in Indiana. There are hives on the hunting property. This is the FIRST year I’ve heard bees flying while sitting in a tree stand. I don’t know exactly what they were looking for in the woods, but I heard the distinctive frequency of several workers buzzing around me on many occasions. I did find dandelions blooming in several locations early in November, but I did not see any in this woods. Continue reading