Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bee check

In my goal to check on the hive roughly once a week (especially during this development stage) I checked them this afternoon.

WOW, what a difference 3 weeks makes. The most bee's I've seen in the hive yet, lots of larva about to hatch out, good brood patterns on the frames so I know the queen is still around and found her on the 3rd to the outside frame.

Decided with all the new bees and plenty more on the way to put a super of medium frames on top with natural beeswax foundation. They still havn't drawn any comb on the plasticell frames that i have. (they came with the kits I ordered) I moved one to the dead center of the hive, we'll see if they decide to finally start building on it. Or if they all move up top and start building out that first.... (I was warned that the bees would take a LONG time to build out on the plasticell.

Honey frames are lighter, seems they have been pulling off of stores heavily. I'll bust out the entrance feeder and feed some sugar water now that they are starting to get really going. I'll feed 1:1 sugar water.

I have seen some bees in the yard, fun to look down and see a honey bee on a clover flower and know its one of YOUR bees!

Still didn't get any photo's and I'm really kicking myself for not doing so. Ill get some next weekend when I open them up again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back from the wedding, bee update

Wow what a week, wedding went well. Had lots of fun but it was a long drive.

Checked in on the bees today. Everyone seems to be getting along, not much else to report. The new queen is still there so thats good.

Mental note, get some pics next time I'm in the hive....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Down to 1 hive

Its been a busy last few days. My best friend is finally getting married and I'm returning the favor of best man. We leave in a few hours so I'll keep this short.

Talked to Dave Sunday night. He said it would be fine to combine both nucs and that the one hive would have a better chance of making it through the winter.

Just got back, combined both nucs into one standard 10 frame langstrom hive body. I wound up needing 3 extra new frames.

We'll check them when I get back. Hopefully everything goes well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

First queen check

Well its been 3 days since I put the nucs out. Some activity but not a lot around the fronts. Been busy working on getting the new pool set up.

Nuc 1 on the left side (if standing in front of them) was doing well, the queen was released as expected and was found on the outside most frame. Removed the queen cell and inserted the extra frame (we had left one out so we could put the queen cell in)

Nuc 2 (the other one) on the other hand, is bad news. The bees seemed not to like the new queen and she either died or was stung to death. Found inside her queen cell DOA. The hive has about half the bees in it that I originally put in it 3 days ago, I wonder if a few have defected.

At this point I can't order new queens as I'm about to head out of town for the week. And judging from the lateness of the season, I'm considering combining both nucs into one hive and nursing just one through the winter. Ill consult with Dave and see what he says...

More later

Friday, June 13, 2008

New bees arive

So I got the wild idea that I wanted to raise bees on the homestead. We saw the benefit of them in the garden in years past, and being a big fan of honey, thought it would be perfect addition.

For a year I did research and learned, knowing that in the spring of 08 I would get started. At the end of February I attended a meeting with the local apiary club and there I learned that I was late in ordering my 3 lbs of bees. They were only shipping for June. Many said that was way too late to get started, so we went another route. I could get splits from some local beekeepers.

A split is when you take 3 or so frames of brood from an established hive and remove them with the nurse bees (the ones that care for the brood) still on the frame and put them in a new hive. You then give them a frame or 2 of honey from the same hive. You order a queen for the new mini hive (called a nuc) and put the new queen in the split. With drawn comb and worker bees already present you jump-start the new hive, saving a month or more in bee-time. (It takes 30 days for a newly laid egg to hatch into a bee).

So for the past couple of days I've been talking with a fellow beekeeper that lives down the road that agreed to give me some splits. I ordered 3 queens (one for him) and was going to start with two nucs.

Queens arrived yesterday, 1 DOA. I wasn't happy and called the place that sent them. I expected them to say, "Oh sorry about that, it happens from time to time we will put a replacement in the mail." Instead, nothing... "Well they were insured. We will send you the slip so you can file the claim with the post office"! (Don't think ill be using them again.)

Tonight I went over to Dave's house and we trek'd into the woods. He has 70 acres, and his hives work a small 2 acre meadow back a ways. About a 3 min ride in the 4wheel drive truck with his 2 dogs happily giving chase or running along side/in front of us.

Harvesting of the brood went as expected, although one of the hives was very aggressive. Seems time to re-queen that one. We had planned on getting 2 frames from it but after only one frame of honey from the top super, and having both been stung a few times, we decided to move on to his third hive and get them there.

I brought home 2 nucs with about 4 frames each, 3ish brood frames and a honey frame.
Ill check them in a few days to make sure the queens have been released and are doing well.