1602, 1603, and 1604

1602, 1603, & 1604

1602, 1603, & 1604

Last Sunday, 5/1/2016 was the first hiving of trapped swarms for the season. I hadn’t planned on doing it, but the weather conditions turned out perfect and I had opportunity. The transfers went as follows Trap02 to 1602, Trap30 to 1603, and Trap10 to 1604. Keep track of where you catch swarms and what happens to the resulting colonies. Over time patterns will emerge. It seems like the same locations produce overwintering bees consistently for me. Focus on catching bees that are productive.  Don’t waste time catching and hiving bees that consistently fail to overwinter.  All three of these were caught in proven trapping grounds with high(er) likelihood of overwintering. Continue reading

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Trapping on the Ground

Last weekend I discussed Swarm Trapping on the Treatment-Free Beekeeping Podcast.  Solomon and I brushed the surface, but hopefully it will get more people interested in giving this a try.  There’s getting to be more and more information available on feral honey bees.  Average height of feral colonies numbers have been suggested, but that doesn’t mean bees won’t hit a trap on the ground.  Yesterday I wrote about Catch Boxes that can easily be made from beekeeping equipment. You could either use a Catch Box for this OR just use old equipment.

The following gallery is  all of bees I have either caught or discoveted living close to the ground.
Continue reading

Posted in Feral Bees, Genetics, HowTo, Methods, Observation, Posts, Swarm Trapping | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Catch Boxes

2015-06-14 11.59.23 1509

Ground capture.

One of my typical 80 year old friends introduced me to catch boxes on a swarm call in 2015.  For years I had strapped hive bodies to bottom-boards for swarm retrievals.  It was always a pain.  New equipment was slick, things wouldn’t stay lined up, the bottom boards moved sometimes…  That’s a thing of the past.  Swarms stay in them better, and that’s only the start of the benefits of Catch Boxes. Continue reading

Posted in HowTo, Methods, Shaken Swarms, Swarm Trapping | 7 Comments

Trapping on the DL

20160429_162312_wm.jpgI love fishing for bees!  I don’t bat an eye about trying to pick one up while I’m at work, call it multi-tasking.  I could put a trap on the top of the car, but discretion results in “fewer” questions.  It’s obvious something’s up with my trunk, but most people aren’t paying attention.  I use some bungee cords to hold the trunk open just enough for bees to investigate.  So what’s in that trunk? Continue reading

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As promised last week in Painting Boxes here is a video to show how I take boxes apart after they are painted.  I got ONE take of this so here it is!  Normally this would have made a blooper reel, but not here. Continue reading

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Red and Beige pollen

2016-03-18 15.36.27-2 Purple Nettle with RED POLLEN

Red Pollen

Last Friday (3/18/2016) I visited 3 hives. While there I took a walk to see if I could find bees working the Purple dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum). I had observed bees entering hives with RED pollen and thought it was from the Nettle. It didn’t take long to find several examples. Note the RED pollen sacks on the bees working this plant. There can be some confusion distinguishing between Purple deadnettle and henbit, but I think I have this identified correctly. If you think I misidentified this plant, LET ME KNOW.



Bees were also working what I call whitetop (a.k.a. Hoary Cress or Lepidium draba). The pollen that they gather from whitetop is a beige color. It has a strange consistency for pollen and appears almost shiny when on the pollen sacks. I have described it to others as looking like bees are bringing in boogars. None of the pictures of bees working whitetop came out.  I will work on that in the future. Continue reading

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2016-03-20 17.14.18-1I was at a stop light on Main Street in Richmond, Indiana on 3/20/2016. As you can see the Magnolias are just beginning to bloom here. If you’re not ready for your beekeeping year to begin you had better get busy.  Things are happening fast.

Where are you at in your bloom progression?
Have Magnolias already bloomed there?

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This was from a little over a week ago.  Note that the bottom board on 1210 needs replaced. This is a part of my normal Spring Maintenance. It is better to replace it this Spring.  That is when the stack will be at it’s lightest.  As the summer goes on it will only get heavier and heavier.

I hope to have several hundred pounds of honey in this hive by September. I don’t want the bottom board to fail resulting in the hive falling over.

I will be taking pictures of the things that need to be replaced and posting them along my progress.

How is your plan coming along?

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Painting Boxes



I’ve been through, building boxes and frames so now it’s time for paint. Of all the steps painting is the one I dislike the most. This is mainly because I don’t heat my garage. Therefore I need to wait until it will be greater than 50 degrees while not being super-humid for 6-9 days. Normally these conditions are met shortly before the boxes will be needed in the Spring. Secondly I need to be able to coordinate the temperature and humidity with my work schedule.

2016-03-10 15.20.44 Using a rollerI have come to associate painting with the time right before the busiest time of year. I’m getting anxious! Painting is a VERY IMPORTANT step in beekeeping. If the boxes are put together well and the paint is applied properly these boxes could be out for 8-10 years before needing to be brought back in. Taking time to do this properly now will stave off maintenance work in my future. A huge aspect of success in beekeeping is efficiency, both for bees and beekeepers. Continue reading

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This report is within my trapping area.  So Daffodils in bloom as of 3/13/16.

Check out for Bloom Progress in your State as well as surrounding States.  This information can be found on BeeSource.com

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