Monday, October 6, 2008

WOW!

I stopped at the hives on my way home from work. I took the lid off of the two hives with top feeders. Both of them are bone dry!! One had a gallon of syrup in it, the other a half!
Well I guess I know what I'm doing after I finish grading these papers....

By the way, how do you like the new look of the blog? I like the bees with the honeycomb in the background!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Death to the Beetles!!


AJ's Beetle Eaters really work well! This is a picture of the dead beetles I got out of my hive of Russians. I only saw a few beetles roaming in the lid (like 3). There were quite a few in the traps. All three hives seemed very calm and quiet, and I hope it is because I am getting the beetles under control.

I also put a gallon of syrup on the russians (top feeder), and a half gallon on the first hive. Hive 3 is still doing well. I put two traps in there and two traps in the Russians.

I really hope I can get these hives through the winter ok.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The next day...

I went out today and put a gallon of 2:1 syrup in a top feeder on the Russians. I also killed a couple of SHB that were running around. I checked the Beetle Eater, and there were several SHB going in and out, and it looked to be low on oil. There should only be 3mL of oil in it, but it seemed to be too little, and with the slope of the hive, I think the SHB were getting out too easily, so I added some more oil to it. We'll see how that works.

I also added more oil to the trap in #3. This hive seemed strong, and was very quiet and gentle. No smoke today.

Jabez seemed irritable, so I put a pint of syrup in a Bordman feeder. There were several bees flying around the front of the hive, and they were quite loud, so I stayed away!

I'm putting canola oil in the beetle traps. Is this right? Maybe I should use a different type?

OH! By the way, I know I don't post very often here, but if you would like to follow my adventures in beekeeping and living, then check out the "Followers" link on the right side of the page. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Fall Inspection

So I went out to check the bees today. I've started a new job teaching third grade at Abbotts Hill Elementary, and have been busier than a dog with three cats to chase. So this afternoon I wanted to see what was going on.

I took some AJ's Beetle Eaters out with me to put in the hive. When I opened up the first hive (Jabez), I saw beetles running like mad under the cover. I had a great time squishing them with my hive tool! I took the top super off, which was empty, just drawn comb. I set it on the ground and leaned it against the hive, to be removed later. The next super had very little honey in it, none of it capped. I went into the brood chamber just enough to find capped brood, larvae, and some eggs. I did not see a queen, but I saw enough evidence to decide to get out of the hive. I put one super onto the deep, a beetle eater onto that super, and replaced the cover. Of course, with this hive being called "Jabez," I got stung on the pinkie as I was putting the cover back on.

The second hive, the Russians, was extremely light. There was no honey in the upper super, and some honey in the lower. There was also a lot of capped brood and eggs. I also saw the queen wandering around in the deep. Good sign! So, I put the hive back together with the extra super leaning just like the first, and a beetle eater. I need to get syrup onto this hive tomorrow.

The third hive, which has been a slow mover and producer all year, surprised me! There was nothing in the shallow super, but there was capped honey in the medium! There were also eggs brood and larvae galore in the medium, and the deep looked pretty good. I did not see a queen here, but obviously she's there somewhere. So I leaned the shallow against this one as well and installed a beetle eater.

My plan is to go out tomorrow and put a top feeder on the Russians filled with a gallon of 2:1 syrup which I made up tonight. I will also pick up the discarded (and empty) supers. After I get some more syrup mixed up, I'll put a feeder on Jabez, and monitor #3 a little bit closer. I also want to remember to check the Beetle Eaters next week.

So this was a long post, but it has been a long time coming! Sorry I have no pictures, I was too busy to remember the camera.

I do have honey left from the one super I harvested. All I need to do is get some jars now.

Psalm 81:16 - Honey From the Rock Apiary
Steve Jones, Beekeeper

Monday, July 21, 2008

What happened in Vegas...

Well, for our 12 year anniversary we were in Las Vegas, and thought this was the cheesiest, most Vegas thing we could do...

Monday, July 7, 2008

The First Harvest!

Today I performed an inspection of my hives. In hive #1 (Jabez), I had placed a super with a mixture of empty frames and foundation only frames. Well the girls had built on the foundation, but had built paddle comb, which I cut out. Any comb which was built properly on the frames was left as is.

On Hive #2, I had placed a medium super with starter strips in them. I was very impressed with these Russians! 4 of the frames had been fully built out beautifully, and the other were developing nicely. After reading of Linda's starter strip issues, I noticed that the frames that were being built were all being built on the back half of the frame. So I reversed them as Linda mentioned, and will update you on how they are doing!

While in Hive #2, I removed the first super that was completely full of capped honey! I have run completely out of Fischer's Bee Quick, and apparently can't get anymore for awhile. This was going to make it difficult to harvest the super without getting stung. So while perusing Beemaster, I found that many people used shop-vacs (reversed) or leaf blowers to remove the bees from the frames. So I got my old leaf blower out and got it up and running. Apparently, bees don't mind this as much as being brushed off the frames, as wind is not seen as an intruder!

So I put the super on end on the ground in front of the hive, and started the leaf blower. By the time I was finished, there was a big pile of bees on the ground in front of the hive and flying around it. While this method is effective, I don't think I will do it again, as it seemed a little violent. All bees appeared to be ok, though, and headed right back into the main entrance of the hive. So while this method appears to work and be harmless, I don't think I'm sold on it unless desperate.

I extracted all of the honey from this super. I have a two frame metal extractor that I bought a couple of years ago. It's kind of clunky, but works quickly! I don't have a proper honey house, so I did this in my front yard, about 3 miles from the apiary. It went well. I've about 2.5 gallons or more of honey that is currently straining.

Here is a pic of my picnic table, and the stones on which I did the uncapping:
These are not my bees! But apparently the word is out that there is a big honey mess to clean up, as there are foragers everywhere! Notice that there is even a big ol' carpenter bee enjoying herself!

Here are some pics of my honey being strained through the two different sizes of strainers into my holding bucket. I also have a pic of the honey with the air bubbles on top. If you look closely at the picture of the tank, you can see just below the label the dark line showing how much honey is in this bucket. Not bad for one super!



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bee Inspection Video - Finally!!

OK, and now for the long awaited inspection video I promised you long ago!

This is my first try, so don't laugh too much!


video

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What it should look like


Here is a picture of Mr. Rod Burdick's restored Giulia SS. I am planning on meeting him in RI in two weeks, so I can see what the Alfa is supposed to look like!
Article and more pics.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Alfa Romeo in Alpharetta

Well we now have a new project to spend money on:

A 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale.



My father-in-law bought this new in Italy when he was stationed there. But first I need a garage to put it in....

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bee video

Well let's see if this works. It's a video from my phone of my Russians. They are working hard!!


video

It looks like it worked! I'm about to leave town for two weeks, and will hopefully be getting the cable for the video camera so I can upload the videos I've promised you.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hives looking good...

Well, after careful deliberation with my supplier, I decided to remove the queen cells. Unfortunately, I dropped the big one into the hive, so I won't have any pictures for you!
I also opened the Russians (gotta find a name for them!) and caught the queen laying eggs! The bees were also starting to move into some of the outer frames, which is a good sign.

I'm still waiting on the power cord for our camera to come from my brother-in-law. Apparently Canon won't let you finalize a DVD with only the battery, they want it plugged in. Stupid idea. Once I have the DVD available, I'll post the vid for you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First inspection, and a surprise!

Yesterday I went out to do my first full inspection of the new hives. I took the video camera with me, and as soon as I can get the disc finished, I’ll post my first video here.

In the first hive (I call it Jabez, due to the number of stings I got when I first received this hive…) all seemed to be going well. Bees were busily working, the queen looked fat and happy, and there were many brood and eggs. I also saw quite a bit of honey being stored. I believe they are going after the tulip poplar right now, because we are in a good flow right now. None of my hives have touched any of the syrup I’ve made available!

I also noticed in this hive that there was very little pollen being stored. I know that this is being fixed now, as I have seen many bees coming in with large baskets full of the yellow stuff.

In the second hive (Russians. No name yet.), I found the activity to be going quite well. The queen was busily going about her duties, and there was repair work going on the older comb in the hive.

The third hive surprised me. I’ve noticed little activity out front, and when I opened it, I found the bees working quite diligently and ignoring me altogether. When I removed one of the frames, I found a very advanced queen cell in the middle of the frame, covered with bees. There were also eggs on this frame. On the next frame I found the queen, and more eggs and a bunch of capped brood. There was also a small early-stage queen cell.

So I emailed my supplier with my thoughts on this observation. The hive is nowhere near full, as it was a 3-frame nuc installed last week, so I didn’t think swarming was on their mind. It could be that the queen, having been introduced two weeks ago, had not started laying soon enough for the workers so they began some queen cells. My supplier agreed with me on this and said I should remove the queen cells and keep a close eye on this colony for awhile. Hopefully I can get some good pictures of this cell in the next week or so. I haven’t decided if I should remove it, for if this current queen is weak for some reason, the bees would know better than I. What do you, my knowledgeable readers think? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts! Today, there is much activity in front of all three hives, as it is currently 73F and sunny.

One final observation: All 3 of my AJs BeetleEaters were empty of SHB, and I saw none in the hives. So far so good!!

Enjoy The Office with me!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Great description of a cut out

I want to direct your attention to WVBeekeeper's blog. Not only is he from the greatest state in the Union, but he has an excellent report with pictures on how he removed a hive from inside a house. Please check it out!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

AJ's Beetle Eater installed

Today I went out to see how the bees were doing after I uprooted them yesterday. I also wanted to install the AJ's Beetle Eaters that I had purchased this winter. AJ recommends using only 3mL of oil in these. So I took a medicine syringe that holds 10mL and filled it to the 9mL mark. Then I put the traps together, inserted them between some frames, and put the oil in. Pretty easy, now we'll see how they work.
I haven't seen any beetles in these hives yet, but I wanted to do a preventative treatment.

Also, I discovered that it is important to tightly tie down the veil when wearing it. I had a bee get out of the first hive I opened and get up under the veil. It then popped me on the end of my nose!! So now I have to go to school tomorrow and teach with a fat nose! To make it worse, I may have a job interview at 2:00pm! Oh joy!

So, tie down those veils!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm a Beekeeper Again!!!

Hooray! I picked up my bees today! Bruno at Cave Hollow Bee Farm has a nice setup behind his house, and gave me lots of great advice to help keep this round of bees alive!
So I now have two Italian hives and one Russian hive. The Russians are the hive in the middle.
I also managed to get my first two stings of the year! I was walking past one of Bruno's hives and got popped in the left arm below the wrist. Then, as we were installing the nucs in my boxes, I got popped in the ear! I was pretty sure that I wasn't wearing anything smelly, but they were not happy with me being there!

The kids came to help me, along with Jeremy Keisler. Here's a shot of Owen with the new hives:

So now I need to spend more time with them this summer. I have purchased some Beetle Eaters for the small hive beetle problem I had. Hopefully they will work, and I won't loose the bees this year!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom!!

I am excited about this movie! Jackie Chan and Jet Li together? My hovercraft is full of eels!!!

The Forbidden Kingdom

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jealousy rears it's ugly head...

Ok, I've been reading my friend Linda's blog, and am getting jealous. She has gotten herself on a swarm collection list, and has been called to collect at least 3 swarms this spring! Since I've been without bees since the fall, I'm really jonesing for a bee fix, so I've contacted her to find out how to get on a swarm collection list. I know I have 3 hives coming this weekend, but since I've managed to not have a hive survive 2 years yet, those are getting expensive. If I can perform a public service and get free bees at the same time, then that would be great!

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Bees!

WOO HOO!

I just found out that I will be getting bees on April 19th! Yes! Finally! I've been seeing things bloom and go away here, and I can finally take advantage of some of the beautiful spring flowers!
So, I should have some new bee updates soon!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hockey Time!!!

Last night, March 7, we took a family trip to a Thrashers game! Let me tell you, it's nice to have friends. We have a friend at our church that gave us four tickets from his company to the game versus the Minnesota Wild. There is also a lady I work with whose husband is the official scorer for the NHL, and is in charge of scoring for games in Philips Arena. So we got there early and he gave us a little tour of his world! We got to go sit in the penalty box and the kids were allowed to touch the ice (but not get on it!).





This was a lot of fun! Our friend even let the kids push the button that sounds the horn. They loved that!








Be careful! You never know what you'll see in the "Sin Bin!"




So after our tour of the box, we got to go up to the scorer's room and see where all of the stat taking takes place. We also got to see the instant replay booth, radio and tv booths! The kids were then both given an actual game puck!! They were very excited!

And then it was GameTime!!!
We had a great time! The kids really got into it. Here are a couple of pics of my lovely children trash talkin' the opposing team:













One of their favorite parts of the game was the fire birds:




Here are some more photos of our evening:








Before the game, we ate supper in the CNN center. There was a place set up there called "Thrasherville" where the kids could sign up to play street hockey. They loved it! They were playing hard and enjoying themselves so much. They were worn out before the game!



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Haagen Dazs Loves Honey Bees!

I have to thank my friend Linda for pointing out this website to me!

HD Loves HB

I say we all need to eat Haagen Dazs!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nuc 'em!!

Well, now that I have three completely empty hives, complete with drawn comb, I need to decide what to do next.
I believe that this year I am going to go the nuc route. If you are not familiar with what a nuc is, then check out Wikipedia's definition here.

My normal bee supplier does not deal in nucs, so I have found a gentleman in Marietta, GA that does. His name is Bruno Frazier, and he runs Cave Hollow Bee Farm. I'm going to order three nucs from him, but I'm going to mix it up this year: I have ordered 2 Italian nucs, and one Russian. I have heard great things about Russians and their abilities to resist or at least tolerate varroa mites. They also are high honey producers, which should help them survive the winter.

Take a moment and read this comparison between Russians and Italians:
Russians v. Italians

Once I get my nucs installed, I shall be putting some AJ's Beetle Eaters in them. These are a new device which has been developed in Australia to control SHB populations. They use no chemicals, and are cheap and easy! I've seen the different homemade traps, but I think this method may work easier for me.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Last Battle

***WARNING***
Images of a graphic nature follow!


So I finally got around to cleaning out my hives today. I don't think it was starvation that killed them, I think they may have absconded. I found several frames full of uncured honey and sugar syrup.
In one of the supers, I found the remnants of the last great battle for the hive:
Apparently the hive had become overrun with SHB (small hive beetle). Maybe the conditions became too bad for the bees to stay, I don't know.

As you can see in the following pictures, the girls had surrounded a bunch of SHB and had them holed up in these cells and were guarding them. My guess is that they died during one of our late winter freezes.











These warriors fought bravely!
May they not have died in vain!

By the way, does anyone know what I should do with the frames of uncured honey I found? I don't have any other hives to put them in, and won't be getting more bees until March. Can I freeze the frames, and thaw them before the bees come?

Monday, February 4, 2008

A sad day

Well, it is a sad day. Both of my remaining hives have died. Sigh. I guess I need to start over. Darn this drought! Please continue praying for precipitation this spring, no matter what form it comes in!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

9th Annual NGTO Frostbite Excursion

This weekend marked the 5th year that I have attended a gathering of other crazy fly fishermen from Georgia in North Carolina on the Nantahala DH. We had a great time!




I caught 9 fish: 6 rainbows, 2 brookies and a brown, all in the 11-13 inch range.





The weather was cold at night, but it warmed up during the day. Unfortunately there was no snow this year, but we still had a fire, with an unusual piece of kindling...




The food was great, and they raffled off a sweet rod! I'm already looking forward to next year and some more memories. Maybe I'll finally catch something in this secret hole....