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I have gone through so much these past two years but the bees stayed with me. They did not make life a bliss for me but they did not abandon me like I have done to them. They taught me a new side of gentleness and sweetness. They have taught me a new wonder in nature herself. I couldn’t care for them properly but they keep trooping on as their sisters would in the wild.
My girls are now queen-less and to follow along the adventure for this:
I know this wordpress blog is pretty much brand new. I just need a fresh face, a brand-new start. The bees deserve it after all.
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My family was over to celebrate my birthday. I was just sitting there on the deck when I suddenly felt something small on my arm. I looked down…. bee poop? I looked towards the beehive, sure enough there were bees flying everywhere as if they were about to swarm. In sheer excitement that I would experience my first swarm and pure terror that I would lose my beloved honeybees, I pointed out the cloud of bees to my father.“Everybody go inside!” he shouted (his first swarm experience involved a swarm flying towards him). Instead I ran towards the hive.
Bees were blasting out of the hive and unsure of what to do I sneaked up to the hive an closed up the entrance fully (I really did not want to lose my bees a second time). Then my father pointed out something, “What if the queen is out on her mating flight?” Remembering the queen cell I discovered in my last inspection, I opened the hive again and nervously watched the bees continue to shoot out.
Does 1/2 the hive really follow the queen on her mating flight?
I got a little smarter and decided to see where the cloud of bees were going. They were surrounding a pine tree that was only 20 feet away from the hive. Looking closer, I discovered a ball of bees being formed. My first swarm! I thought, Man this is the best birthday present ever…
I decided to let them calm down and in an hour or so I would try to catch my swarm. But the bees had other ideas.
They went back to their home hive.
Huh? So was this really a queen on her mating flight? Why so many followers?
Never less the confusion and excitement they caused me, I now know I have an extremely strong hive and hopefully a new, young queen.
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My ‘TBH’ abandoned their hive due to large black ants were overtaking them. I inspected the Langstroth fully on 5/16/09 and I can conclude that they have a strong population. I found the queen and a few queen cups.
There’s no way I can shake-down all these bees into a TBH without disrupting them too much. So I’m going to take on the concept of Horizontal Hives.
I already have a medium horizontal hive built from last year and the bees are in a deep currently. I inserted 3 medium frames into the hive yesterday. Once the mediums are filled out, the hive is going to be placed on top of the horizontal hive, with the medium frames in the bottom (in the horizontal hive) to encourage them to move down. I will insert some more medium frames in and move them down when filled out and remove what deep frames I can. Hopefully the whole hive will move down eventually.
Pretend this was posted on May 17, 2009 🙂
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bees, mite's reproductive cycle, removal of old comb, shake down, TBH
Well I’m in my second season and both of my hives have made it! What’s next? I want to give my colonies a fresh new start… by doing a shake down. Here’s a helpful paragraph from Gary’s website to summarize what it is that I want to do.
To perform a total shake down into a new TBH you will want to smoke the bees, we want them to take as much nectar as they can with them to the new hive. Set up an empty colony next to the one your shaking down. Harvest all remaining capped honey into a clean bucket with a lid. When you get to the brood nest find the queen and cage or isolate her to prevent hurting her. Cut out the remaining sections of capped brood (keep a section of drone brood. Place the brood comb (6) upside down in the (6) rear of the hive you may push sticks in it to form braces to hold it upright. Start shaking the remaining bees into the new hive one comb at a time. Preserve the order of the combs you place back in the old hive body for future study!!!! When you are done you may hang the queen cage like a new installation or just release her. The object is to get all the old comb out and start new so the bees build a natural nest it may take several seasons.
Some of the advantages of doing a shake-down are:
- The Disturbance of the Mite’s Reproductive Cycle – because the queen has to wait for new comb to be build, the mites have no where to multiply so a break appears in the mite cycle.
- The Elimination of Chemical Residue – with new and fresh wax being built you have a healthy colony on your hands.
I’m just trying to figure out when. The pussy willows and crocuses are in bloom (finally)… but it still gets chilly.
Keep at those mites– Do regular sugar dusting, mite counts and drone comb removal.
Don’t start slacking off!– Do regular inspections, feed/split when necessary, just keep an eye on them.
Does winter ever end?
I know I haven’t been blogging for awhile – and I’m not going to make any excuses. (: But I didn’t forget about my honeybees… currently both hives are still alive and buzzing! I recently feed them fondant, one hive went crazy over it and the other… not so much. I made a slideshow on how to make it… if you enjoyed it please do leave a comment so I’ll make more. Credit: City Bees: Sweets for the Sweet