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Author Topic: Sunny's Beekeeping Log  (Read 11471 times)

Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2016, 02:59:33 pm »

No I dont. Top bar hives are actually the worst type of hive to build if youre beekeeping for honey since you cant extract the combs using a spinner like you could langstroth frames.

Those flow hives use a lot of plastic frames which done allow the vibrations to pass through to opposite sides. I heard they interfere with communication  between the bees. But hey, if they work they work.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2016, 06:29:34 pm »

More on top bars not being great honey producers;

When you harvest the honey you have to cut the whole comb off the bar. You can't spin the honey out of the frames. So each year the bees have to spend energy and time rebuilding the lost comb rather than on making more honey.

The upside to top bar hives is that they're easy to make and cheap. Some people also say that they're better because they allow the bees to build the comb in an eliptical shape rather than into retangular frames...so they say it's more natural.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2016, 04:57:56 pm »

They look wet because I sprayed them with sugar water to calm them down. I haven't had to use smoke yet. This is the end comb. They get progressively larger towards where the queen cage was. I'm debating whether or not to shift them around and bring them towards the end of the hive.


« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 04:59:58 pm by Sunshine »
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2016, 11:22:00 pm »

Lots of nectar stores evaporating down into honey yet to be capped as well as tons of excellently patterned capped brood. My grandma spotted the queen with her white spotted back. They are reluctant to accept sugar water laced with lavender oil. I'm going to try and lace some sugar water with fresh spearmint and see if that does any good. If anything it will help keep mites at bay. They may be avoiding feed because nectar from flower intake is high at the moment....

I think robber bees may have been raiding the hive yesterday so I plugged two of the entrance holes. Tons of bees of different sizes(maybe* drones?) were in and out, as well as different colors(not sure if strong color variation is unusual?)....but anyway...that's all for now.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2016, 11:40:12 pm »

Okay, so just for my records;

April 13th is when they were first hived. The queen didn't escape her cage until 3 days later.(April 16th) I think she can start laying as soon as she escapes. Today, May 7th, marks exactly 21 days since the queen escaped her cage and presumably the first egg was laid.

It takes 21 days from laying an egg to the point where they chew themselves out of their comb and are 'born'. So, if my math is correct that means today a bunch of new babies should have been born. The queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day. Since there wasn't a lot of comb built when she escaped I'm betting she didn't lay nearly as much. I know at least one side of one end comb has quite a bit of almost-matured brood on it and I'm sure if I opened up the hive and took a look-see most of the others will have mostly mature brood as well. (Edit, last time I checked it looked as if some had 'hatched'. Also adult bees were noted being balls deep in the empty ones speckling the brood comb, presumably feeding newly laid eggs???)

I should expect higher aggression in the coming days since these new bees will see the nest as their only home. Of course this part is speculation so if they do increase in aggression it may not be due to that. I do know that as a colony increases in size it will become more aggressive. I also have read that the more honey stores and the more capped brood a colony has the more aggressive it can *potentially* be since they have more to lose/defend.

The colony's honey stores, brood, comb, and numbers are about to get boosted hard from the new births. I need to act now and get my new slats cut down to the right size in anticipation of that. There is but one bar on the end with foundation that has yet to be built on and the one after it is showing fresh comb being built. They will make queen cells and swarm if I don't stay on top of this and make sure their home doesn't become too crowded. I think it may be a good idea to cut and add another bar tonight and prepare the rest with foundation for the coming days.

On another note there is some indication of robbing such as dead/oddly acting bees on the ground in front of the hive. The dead ones could just be ones that died naturally and were tossed out of the hive. I'm not sure what could cause the disorientation of the others. They almost seem drunk.

Last thing I want to mention is that I planted some mint on the corner of the shed nearby. I hope it takes over the strip along the shed. From what I've read bees LOVE mint and it's flowers. :)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 11:43:23 pm by Sunshine »
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happyh

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2016, 12:24:07 am »

Nice work!...I had the thought of late....start keeping Bees!....So I will go along with that(when I move) Sounds like a good idea.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2016, 12:49:16 am »

Thanks happyh! It's one hell of a hobby.

I just opened up the hive with no gear on. I didn't pull out any frames but I separated them one by one to see how the hive is doing. It seems pretty consistent throughout. The bottom 2/3rds-ish of every comb are capped brood and the top 3rd is evaporating nectar waiting to be capped. I didn't see the queen this time. (Maybe I don't have an eye for her, eh?) However I did see some capped drone brood(wtf?!)...more on this later after I do some reading and consult the other beekeepers.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2016, 12:26:48 am »

5/9/16


As anticipated and with no surprise....


Very notable increase in aggression. There is a handful of bees guarding the entrance now with great vigor. Upon blowing into the entrance several flew out and swarmed around the entrance in highly defensive and agitated patterns. When the hive was opened today one bee climbed on top of a frame with stinger on the ready. To be honest the little girl had me a bit nervous. They are responding to quick movements now. reminiscent of a how a dog acts when one fake throws a ball; following the hand quickly in anticipation, but with anticipation of disruption and attack rather than a friendly game of catch. Slow movements lack the effect of quick ones.


They have already started to quickly build comb on the new bar I put on the end. I haven't checked the other end so I can't comment on the other two I put in the hive but I imagine they've started working their way towards them as well. For the time being I think sugar water spraying to keep down the hostility would suffice, but I should start keeping a lighted smoker on standby just in case. I imagine I'll have to add another bar by the end of the week, at the very least. They are growing faster by the day..


Side note; I'm considering using some queen hormone to give myself a bee beard. hah
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2016, 12:26:47 am »

They were SUPER aggressive earlier. One actually chased me. I got startled and shut the bars too quick. Probably crushed at least a few. :-[ :-X

Here's a picture of the same comb as last time, except bigger. See if you can spot the queen. (Top-Old Bottom-New):D


« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 12:33:43 am by Sunshine »
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Bruce

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2016, 03:44:57 am »

They've been busy!

What does the queen look like?
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2016, 11:29:01 am »

She is marked with a white dot on her back and is slightly bigger than the others.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2016, 01:46:30 am »

Hey peeps! I just did my weekly checkup on the hive. I didn't spot the queen this time but no biggie. There's plenty of capped brood so I know she's still in there staying busy. Unfortunately there was no capped honey yet. I think it's because they've been putting all their energy into building up comb since it's their first year and eating all the nectar they put into the combs as they go.

On a more positive note, while the colony continues to grow their defensive behavior does not seem to be progressing along with it. I think that most of their defensiveness last time had a lot to do with how I handled them and the fact that they were being robbed hard due to being so small.

As I learn more about how to act around them(no quick movements, but move with a purpose and don't be fearful), and use the tools at my disposal(smoker, sugar water with lemongrass) they seem to take a better liking to me as a result. I did squish a bee or two closing frames however, so my technique and patience may need a little more working on.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2016, 11:52:04 pm »

Phew! Long day messing about with the girls. Here's what I have going on in the apiary...

First of all, they look healthy. I saw lots of honey/nectar stores, a decent amount of brood, as well as pollen and drones.

I was doing my weekly inspection this past weekend (6/26/16) and while going through frames I found 7 queen cups/cells.
One was mostly built, another clearly had royal jelly in it(indicating the presence of a queen larva), and the rest were just starting to be built or half built, rather. The hive has tiny eggs, so the old queen was active within the past few days.

So I got a hold of a local contact of mine who is loaning me a nuc box and a langstroth setup. I found the old italian queen I had started with and took her out of the hive, along with some nectar/honey stores, some brood, and maybe half a pound of bees and put them into the nuc box. I now have a nuc box with 2 top-bars which I super glued extensions on so that they would fit into the nuc and old drawn out langstroth frames in between every other frame alternating.

I brought them 3 blocks to my dads house until I can find a home for them. I don't really have the room for them so if I can't find a spot to keep them I'm going to try to sell them on craigslist. Bees are in high demand and I'm sure a purebred Italian nuc will fetch a pretty penny.



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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2016, 05:30:27 am »

My future honey bottle labels.

The new nuc hive.
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Sunshine

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Re: Sunny's Beekeeping Log
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2016, 04:34:18 pm »

I just checked on the nuc. Looks like the workers I put in with her are sticking around
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