My Beekeeping Year 2012 (consolidation thread)

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by pturley, May 9, 2012.

  1. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    My Beekeeping Year 2012 (pturley)

    This is a consolidation thread as much for my reference as anything else!
    (Thank you Omie for the lead to consolidate all of these into one thread. Sort of like a forum blog....)

    Updating (or reading) multiple threads across multiple forums is a bit of a pain! I plan on providing updates throughout the year in this thread. This is a much easier way to share information, observations and to create a bit of an record keeping trail for me to reference later.

    My beekeeping Year 2012

    The year started fairly poorly as in a break in the weather around the first of March, I found that the colony of bees from my trap-out conducted last July had died out a couple of weeks prior. This was at the time, my only colony of bees (returning after a 20+ year hiatus).

    News of this was posted here:
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/5665-deadout-forensics?p=138691#post138691

    On my wife's insistance (to prevent me from spending so much time with another trap-out), I ordered a 3# package of bees shortly thereafter (I was very late in placing the order... ...I purchased one of the last packages available). Just a few weeks later, I get a call for this!

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/6265-Just-got-my-first-call-of-2012!-(4-17-12)

    Upon returning home from retrieving this swarm, I received an email stating the my package was now ready for pick up (REALLY lousy timing). Due to my schedule, these were hived in the dark!

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/6295-Hiving-a-3-package-in-the-dark-is-EASY!!!

    Now at this point, I was out of woodenware (save a few NUC boxes used as swarm traps). Then on the 29th, I get this!
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/6410-Swarm-call-last-night-(from-a-friend-s-beeyard)

    And now, most recently. The homeowners from last year's trap-out called...

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/thr...another-trap-out-to-do-Same-tree-as-last-year!

    OK, now that everything is in one place, I will do my best to keep it updated... Thus far, 2012 has been shaping up to be a very exciting year of beekeeping...

    Updates to follow...
     
  2. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    First Update 5-9-12

    This will certainly be an exciting beekeeping year. I currently have three colonies hived and two more in known locations that I still need to collect.

    I am still formulating a plan for the bee colony in the fallen willow. I may try the "Hogan" Trap-out method for these to try to capture the queen and will of course post results.
    The swarm that recently took up residence in the large sycamore tree I trapped last July will likely be done the same way. (The swarm only moved in on May 3rd)

    Add to these colonies to collect, I learned only this past Sunday that a player on my Adult Soccer League team (for the past 2 years!) owns a tree service and has been looking for local BEEKS he could call to do removals! This could be a very good year for my beekeeping indeed!
    (or at least I can pass along contact information for other local BEEKS if I can't collect them myself)


    Ken's Bees (first swarm above):
    Currently filling a double deep over a solid bottom board.

    I took a peek under the inner cover of this hive last night. I need to SUPER... ...NOW! There are working on the very last frames in the upper deep. Nearly all frames in this hive are completely drawn out.

    Thankfully, I spent a good deal of time over the past couple of days (late into the night) building both shallow and medium boxes so I have several built and ready to go. The paint just dried on these yesterday!
    I'll be gluing and stapling up a bunch of frames tonight. Once the glue is dry, I'll super this hive tonight (if warm enough, even if it is after dark!)

    I did see one SHB on the inner cover (swashed it for good measure!). I'll be adding a few "Beetle Blasters" the next time I open this hive.

    Transferred my two nucs
    Just before dark last night after all of the forager bees had returned to the hives, both the Carnieolan package and the swarm from Duncan's beehives (Duncan's Bees) were transferred from from the five frame nuc boxes into 10 frame single deeps over screen bottom boards (both with a mix of wax foundation and foundationless frames).

    Duncan's Bees (swarm from a friend's beeyard):
    I may have been just in time as Duncan's Bees had just started to form a queen cup on the bottom of the last foundationless frame they had to draw out (clearly a swarm cell).

    All of the brood frames included a tight pattern of larvae at various ages. I didn't note any capped worker cells, but I wasn't looking too hard. I was more intent on getting them re-hived with more room to grow.

    Carnie Package Bees:
    It was well after dark before I started to work on this hive, but the night was warm so I didn't stop. Despite this, the bees were calm and easy to work with. Just bit of smoke, a veil and blue nitrile gloves.

    The Carnies, despite being hived a week earlier than Duncan's bees had only just began to work on the fifth frame of the nuc. There was no sign of swarm cells or queen cups on any of the frames (from what I could see past all of the bees).
    Of the drawn frames, large areas of all of them were covered with a dense pattern of capped worker cells (including several that appeared to be recently vacated).

    I didn't find ANY drones or drone cells in this hive (I was trying to find one for my youngest son to hold). I didn't notice any drone cells in Duncan's Bees. However, during the day (including this morning) I do see the drones on the landing boards of both swarm hives (Ken's and Duncan's).

    Both nuc hives contained a small number of small hive beetles (4 to 6 per hive) scurrying about. Beetle Blasters and oil traps under the screen BB will be added to both hives soon.

    Next update, I'll need to include some pics... Sorry, once I took a peek in on the nucs, I was in a hurry to rehive these last night.
     

  3. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    UPDATE: 5-15-12: The Perfect Hive Stand... ...FREE!

    On Friday where I work, they were tossing out three large square polyethylene tubs we no longer use. These are roughly 42â€L x 20â€W x 16â€H blue plastic totes.

    The bottom of the tub includes short stout legs for a forklift access for moving these tubs around. A quick measure, the spacing between these is 16 ½â€; a PERFECT FIT for a beehive!!!

    The totes are very stout and will easily support the weight of a full hive and supers (210 lbs jumping on them did nothing to it!). I’ll likely stack up a few cinder blocks under each end, then set the tote inverted over the top of these just to be safe!


    Being plastic, I’ll have no hesitation spraying pam or someother sticky oil substance all around the sides to exclude crawling pests and when inverted the rolled lip will catch and excess oil and water to act as a moat to exclude ants.

    I picked up three of these (an excellent garbage pick!), enough to support 6 hives.

    The only issue I have is that they are blue. Contrasted against the white hive bodies, this could possibly draw unwanted attention. See Barry's recent posting
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/6511-Unbelievable!!!!!!!!

    Being Polyethylene, they aren’t likely to accept many paints, but I’ll see what I can find in a more discreet color in a plastics compatible paint. A bit of a sand-paper scuff and I could likely get something to stick.


    [​IMG]

    Yes, I know I need to either build or buy some more telescoping covers (I am building inner covers now. Almost done!).
    The sheet of styrofoam cover is temporary (over solid a piece of plywood)

     
  4. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Interesting when you have it all together. Thanks for the consolidation effort.

    You"ll drown lots of bees when the lip fills up with water or at least I did when I set up a similar deal with my hives. My intention was to block the ants as well but my bees filled it up so much they gave the ants a "bridge" to walk across. I came back and retrofitted my "moat" with a cover to keep the bees out. I applied grease to the underside of the cover and this helped control the ants or at least impede their progress. Good luck and i enjoyed this "blog".
     
  5. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I started to question that myself. We are in the middle of a good flow and I see far too many heavily laiden bees falling short of the landing boards, landing in the grass under my 2x4 stand.

    [​IMG]

    On the plastic totes, I'll drill a few drain holes in the bottom of the inverted lip, but still try a bit of cooking spray in the middle of the sides. The bees can fly past this to the landing board, pests cannot.

    Thank you for posting.
     
  6. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Uh oh... ...not what you want to see!

    I did a hive inspection today, Ken's Bees aren't doing so well...

    [​IMG]


    There were three frames of solid drone brood and despite being supered for more than a week, loads of back filling in the brood area. The entire frame was covered in drones on both sides.

    [​IMG]
    The next frame was no better:

    [​IMG]

    And three!
    [​IMG]


    Two were on foundationless frames, so I cut out the brood comb, leaving the honey stores along the top intact and dumped both frames out on the ground. One with a wired wax foundation went back into the hive still loaded with drone, one cut off for them to draw out again, the other was traded for a frame of eggs from a different hive.

    [​IMG]

    Once I got into the lower deep, there were several uncapped supersedure cells but I couldn't tell if any had an egg in them. It would appear that they are trying to re-queen so giving them the frame of eggs was clearly appropriate.

    There were still several frames of capped worker brood, but I didn't find any eggs. I also couldn't locate the queen (I was hunting her by this point! Her days are numbered).
    I might give another try in a week (also to check for queen cups on the frame of eggs).

    The only good news is that I couldn't find any varroa on any of the drone pupae. And I had a lot of them to search through...
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Don't leave the comb on the ground. It makes a perfect breeding ground for SHB. Take it in and melt it down or put it in the trash.
     
  8. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I moved both frames for drone brood onto stump on the other side of the yard.

    The plan was to leave it there until late in the day tomorrow to let the bees rob out the honey and so the neighborhood birds can have their fill. Then melt it down tomorrow night.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  10. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    So what is the thought? The replacement queen after the swarm was poorly bred or queenless?
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Natural drawn comb and the fact that bees like about 17% drones this time of year. That's almost one frame per five. If given the room, that's what they want during swarm season. I think the foundationless was the big thing in this case. They put it there rather than in burr comb.
     
  12. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    A day of two "FIRST"s...

    I really wanted to get a look in on my "Ken's Bees" hive today. This is the hive I pulled to the two solid frames of drone brood out of last weekend.

    Good news: The frame of eggs and brood provided are still just that. They are now advanced stage worker larva and capped brood. No queen issues with this hive. Perhaps the mesh from the jacket kept me from seeing any eggs last weekend. I saw loads of eggs, larva and the queen in this inspection (see below)

    Both foundationless frames are now completely drawn out with filled honeycomb. One is about 50% capped, the other about 75%... This is very cool as once capped, I am going to steal these two for a close friend. Her daughter's Bath-Mitsza is next Saturday. I was hoping to be able to provided a bit of comb or chunk honey for the party (this should be a nice traditional gift and excellent surprise for her... ...she loves my bees!).

    I also had two significant firsts today as well:

    One: I got my first decent photo of a queen. My middle son took the photo while I held the frame:
    [​IMG]

    Two: It was very hot out. Too hot to wear my jacket and I didn't bother using a veil as I wanted to be sure I could see any eggs if present.
    I did my first "naked" complete hive inspections today. Three hives, seven boxes in all. Not a single sting...

    [​IMG]

    Well I wasn't quite up to IDDEE's standards of nakedness...

    ...nor anywhere near the same level as the freaky guy I happened across one day on Youtube; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_BzPcrCt7E, (scary, very scary!), but it was still a first for me.

    A pretty good day all in all.
     
  13. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Great thread and some fantastic reference pictures of drone comb! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  14. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Loving the pictures and the updates, keep 'em coming!
     
  15. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    SHB found in my dead-out frames! THIS MEANS WAR!

    Disturbing find recently.

    I've only recently started to pull the last few brood combs from my dead-out hive from last winter out of storage and put them to use (from the Trap-out linked in the first post).

    When I started cleaning these up a few days ago (yeah, I know the bees will do better, but I was curious). When I picked at these a bit I found literally DOZENS of SHB trapped in the bottom of honeycombs beneath the dead bodies of head-first bee corpses! I pulled as many as 6 SHB husks out of a SINGLE CELL from under the body of a bee!

    (I'll edit in a pic later today of the palm-full of beetle corpses I have from just a few frames!)

    From what I see, THIS IS WHY this hive failed to over-winter! The bees could not extract them from the brood comb, worked themselves into a frenzy trying and as a result of the beetles being in the brood cluster, the queen couldn't start laying for spring build up! It was a recipe for disaster!

    THIS MEANS WAR!!! All Small Hive Beetles MUST DIE!!!
    (I am still not to the point of chemical warfare, but have a number of ideas and observations to work from! More later!)
     
  16. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Woodworking campaign ending... ...la ahora (for now).

    In the past week and a half, I've been having a bit of a late night building spree. The lights have been on and the saws running in my garage/workshop until well after midnight most nights.

    In that time I've manage to build a number of finger-jointed hive boxes (3 deeps, 4 mediums, 3 shallows), four each of both inner and outer covers, three screen bottom boards and a couple "SKUNK WORKS"*** projects I am designing for my hives.

    (***= more information later after I put them to use for a month or so!)

    I can say this... ...beekeeping has certainly improved my finished carpentry skills this past year!

    I have my saws running square and true and now have the tools/skills needed to make various joints (1/2", 3/4" finger, blind dove-tail, staggered dovetails, locking miter, etc.).
    I also finally put my router table to good use. This was a $5 garage sale find several years ago, it had been gathering dust ever since.

    Now that this is all in place, I've just started to work on a few more decorative projects as well.

    I built a small bookshelf-style shelf in 1" x 4" #2 pine for my 11 year old. This has finger jointed corners, and a dado cut inserted middle shelf. This was actually a telescoping outer cover that I had cut to size before noticing the boards were a bit too nice to just get covered in paint. I belt sanded them a bit smoother, then "re-purposed" the cut pieces into something nice for my son.

    I also made simple oak "sconce-style" shelf for my 7 year old. I was up until 2am last night sanding, staining and sanding on these two. Both now have the first coat of poly, I should be able to wrap them up later tonight.

    Next project is a more functional and more mobile saw stand so I can move my saws around a bit easier, then I'll need to build something for my wife. Her mini-van has been kicked out of the garage for the past couple of weeks, I'll need to do something nice for her next.

    I've started to draw up plans for a roll-away, under bed photo/keepsake/sweater box in Cherry wood to match our Amish built bedroom set. I am still kicking around several design options for this but I'll edit in a picture once I have the design complete.
     
  17. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Package bees finally catching up and a novel concept for the elimination of SHB...

    I am a bit late is posting this. I went into my hives (without a veil again) on Sunday.

    I suspect my Carnie package may have either superceded their package queen or are finally built up enough or past what might have been ailing them to start to build quickly. The brood pattern has always been good from the package queen but the hive has always seemed light. Though this is in comparison to two natural swarms hived right next to them (not really apples to apples so to speak!).

    The hive muddled along all through the month of May and as of three weeks ago only had 6~7 frames drawn. It was housed in a single deep and rarely showed much congestion on the landing board.

    In the past two weeks the population really seems to have exploded as last week this hive showed the strongest numbers of bees wash-boarding and bearding at night. On Sunday (June 10th), all ten frames in the lower deep were drawn out and the bees were clearly in need of more room!

    I didn't have another deep available so I used a medium with wax foundation frames.

    SHB
    Along with the second brood box on the Carnie hive, I added a shallow box converted into a Warre' style quilt box.

    The box is a standard shallow, but the bottom is tightly covered with a layer of window screening. Inside of this is a layer or two of burlap, then about 2 inches of wood shavings (aspen bedding). Just under the lip of the telescoping cover I drilled three to four 3/8" holes in each side for ventilation.

    In additition to the functions laid out by Emil Warre' in "Beekeeping for All", the intent of this box is to help eliminate SHB.

    The concept is as follows:
    Since Small hive beetles orient to the hive by smell, the ventilation holes are exposed, this should draw the beetles away from the landing board and hive entrance. However, once inside the quilt box there are no means of them entering the hive. The aspen chips would provide a large surface area for the beetles to struggle through, preventing them simply leaving once they cannot enter the hive.

    In addition, in the report: Small Hive Beetle (SHB): Aethina tumida, Murray: by Michael Stedman published by the Government of South Australia, there is the following quote:
    "(SHB) Eggs are vunerable to dessication, although desication is unlikely to occur in viable hives."

    Beeswax contains a large percentage of water whereas, aspen chips and burlap do not.

    The theory is, and what I believe/I am hoping for that the aspen chips should maintain the quilt box dry enough that should the female beetles lay eggs in the filler material, the relative humidity shouldn't be high enough to allow them to hatch.

    Based on the bees activities (drying off nectar) and outside conditions, the humidity in this box should vary at times during the day.

    I included a small, cheap reptile hygrometer to check the relative humidity in this box from time to time. In order to do the experiment correctly however, I should likely invest in a probe type hygrometer so I don't have to lift the outer cover.

    The next phase of the experiment is this:
    Should the dryness in the quilt box prevent the female beetles from laying, then I can provide them a convienent egg deposit site. Pollen patties are apparently an acceptable substitute. If I cycled a small, semi-closed container of pollen patties through the quilt box on a weekly basis, this could function as a dead end trap for the female beetles reproductive efforts.

    As I stated a couple of posts up in this thread... After finding all the beetle corpses in cells of a frame from my dead-out from last year, THIS MEANS WAR!!!

    This is just the opening salvo...
     
  18. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Next week should be very, very busy.

    I could've posted this here instead... linked post...

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/7126-Not-one-not-two-not-three-but-four-cut-outs!



    I just got another REMOVAL call earlier today! This time in a house just outside of town. I'll bring my camera with me on Saturday this time!

    Also this weekend, I am AGAIN trying to plan a trip to the fallen willow to do a cut-out... This is the parent colony that provided a large swarm in mid-April.

    Ken called me right after the last big thunderstorms that rolled through a couple days ago... The tree branches are clogging up his creek, causing flooding and putting his meadow they cleared and the colony at risk.
    During the last storms, the creek had risen up to right level with the hive entrance on the side of the tree... ... just a bit more rain and these bees could've been washed out.

    If I would've started a trap out when I originally wanted to, my hive would've been washed out!

    It'll be a busy week to be sure!

    EDIT: Oh, and one more thing... I need to figure a way to add more insulation to my garage door... I got a call from my neighbors last night that the saws were too loud. It was only after I answered the phone that I realized that it was nearly 1:30am!!! Oooppps! :shock:. (Time flys when you are having fun!)
     
  19. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    MONDAY MORNING: Quotes were delivered for cut-out removals (four colonies) on Saturday. Ever the optimist, I've already started to compile all the tools I'll need for the cutouts:

    I cut and assembled 2 deep hive bodies (unfortunately, this is all the wood I had on hand).
    Now that I have the process down, I was able to build the two deep boxes in very little time. For finger jointed boxes, from 1 x 12 planks to the first coat of paint only took a bit more than 60 minutes!
    If I would've had more lumber on hand, I likely could've done many more (8 or so at least) in not too much more time (*need to buy larger lots of lumber!)
    My set-up is a follows:
    • Rip to 9 5/8" width on one table saw (small Delta portable)
    • Cut to length on a miter saw (lengths laid out to dodge knot holes, defects, etc.)
    • Rip the dado shelves on the short lengths on my old Craftsman 100 table saw
      • (A very nice thing having two saws available!)
    • Router the finger joints on my 3/4" template and Porter Cable jig
    • Assemble
      • (I have a simple idea in mind for a simple assembly jig to help keep these square... ...I just need time to put it together)
    The most difficult thing in the whole process is moving the Craftsman 100 around. This is an old cast-iron topped model with extensions on both sides and is VERY heavy! I think I may need to rebuild the saw stand it's on to include some larger diameter heavy-duty casters. My garage floor is far too rough for the wheels it is mounted on currently.

    BEE-VAC STARTED:
    I also started to acquire the materials needed to assemble a bee-vac. In order to keep it lightweight, I am going to use clear plastic totes (one nestled inside of another) instead of wooden boxes. It only took a stop atTarget and $25 to find a heavy walled, decent sized tote and two smaller ones that will fit well inside of it. I purchased one 66QT latch top Sterilite tote ($9.99) and 2- 38QT rubbermaids($6.49 each ON SALE).
    (I'll post the specifics as I post the build info).

    I purchased two catch boxes to recieve the bees. These rubbermaid totes have a latching lid with two flat expanses between structural plastic ribs. I am going mount wooden blocks on these two flats. Both blocks will have a slide gate. One to receive the bee hose, the other will include a mesh screen and will be for pressure regulation.
    Both catch boxes will have a large expanse of either polyproplene mesh plastic welded, or #8 hardware cloth hot-glued into the sides.

    When sitting inside the outer tote, the rim of the catch box lid is restrained by the outer tote cover (vertically they are a tight fit). I am going to cut clearances out of the lid of the outer tote, then seal this to the lid of the inner tote with some 3/4" thick EVA foam I have on hand. When complete, the two wooden blocks on top of the catch box should be exposed through the top of the outer tote lid.

    If needed, I can hot-glue strips of 1/4" EVA foam around the rim of the outer tote lid as a seal.

    In addition to the vent on the catch boxes, the outer tote (66QT) will have a hose port for the vaccuum and a slide gate covering a row of small holes to regulate the vacuum pressure. I plan to use a standard shop vac for power.

    With both inner and outer totes being clear sided, I should be able to see and quickly regulate the airflow to keep from killing many bees in the removal process.

    I will post pictures of the build process. I saw a similar idea on youtube but unfortunately, now I can't seem to locate the link. This looked to be lighter and a quite a bit easier to move around than the wooden hive body bee-vac designs.

    ADDITIONAL REMOVAL CALL: The homeowner and I never managed to touch base for me to look at the other local removal. I left a message... ...they have my number now. I really do not need any more bees quite yet though.

    WILLOW TREE CUTOUT AT KEN'S: I was a bit too late getting started on Sunday and my wife had other plans for me anyway: This cut-out will have to wait until next weekend...

    Instead, we spent the day digging out and leveling the ground for a paver stone patio in our back yard. We have the walkway set but not the main patio area yet (ran out of sand). It didn't take as much time to dig out as I thought it would.
    Looking at the result thus far, I am actually pleased that I WASN'T able to talk her out of the idea (and trust me, I tried!!!).

    Problem is, when she got back on Saturday, she had also brought home information for a new side entry door for our house at the same time! I think I know what is next-up on my "honey-do" list
    (The current door is ugly and lets in far too much cold air in the winter anyway! I am good with it!).
     
  20. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Dang, doing all that work around the house and yard is setting the bar awful high for the rest of us. Hope nobody around the house reads this stuff! :lol: