Amazing Progress!

I wish I had photos documenting the progress that the bees have made in the past couple of weeks.  The bees have awakened from their slow state of mind.  My split hive finally got to work on the Rite-Cell foundation that they were slow to draw out is now more than 80% drawn and filled with honey! It blew my mind that they accomplished that much work in such a small time frame.  My other hive that was from the spring swarm has filled up with brood and honey and pollen.  Since there is so much activity right now and there is still a heavy nectar flow happening, I decided to hastily add a honey super to each of these hives.  I wanted to give them room to move things around as needed and the swarm hive also has to now draw out fresh comb in the honey super that I stacked on.  I purchased it last year but never got to use it.

Due to the extreme robbing that I was experiencing with my open feeding method, I decided to switch to an internal feeding method utilizing 1 gallon ziploc bags with slits in them.  The bags are positioned by laying them flat across the top bars of the frames.  This is not my preferred method of feeding, but it is what I had available on short notice.  I’ve tried several methods of feeding and have yet to find one that I like.  I’m thinking I may try to build some hive top feeders this fall.  I really want a non-invasive way to put on about a gallon of feed at a time.  I also began using Honey B Healthy in my feed, thanks to Julie’s generosity.  I have instantly seen a difference in their willingness to take the feed.  I had hoped to only feed a hive if it was in need of wax and brood boosting, but that instantly caused one hive to rob the other, so I fed both.  I plan to stop this very soon as to not end up with honey made from sugar syrup.

I got a swarm call Friday evening in Andover, but it was gone within 15 minutes of the phone call.  I do still have a complete hive in need of a swarm or split.  I suppose I could make a split off of one of my hives,  I just hate to intrude on them more than I have already.  I feel like I owe it to them to build a strong colony.  I still may perform a split.  I would love to have three hives going by winter in order to better my chances of making it through with some bees.

My next order of business is to start building some additional honey supers.  I have held off since I didn’t know if I was going to need them this year, but that is looking very positive right now, so I need to get busy.  I will do my best to keep you all updated.  

Colonies gaining strength and catching up on projects

Well what can I say… life has been busy lately.  From cutting down trees to make room for a new shed to painting hive bodies in hopes of another swarm.  I have nothing exciting to report.  I’ve just been feeding all of my bees a 1:1 syrup in hopes that they will continue to build comb and lay lots of eggs.  It seems to be working quite well.  The only caveat of this season has been the Rite-Cell wax coated foundation that I ordered earlier this year.  My bees hate it.  I had heard this before but a friend of mine in Andover has had great luck with it so I gave it a shot.  I won’t make the same mistake again next year.  After two full weeks of bees packed all around five frames of Rite-Cell, my bees have have only drawn out about a baseball size patch on one side of one frame.  And yes, I sprayed the foundation with syrup.  That being said, luckily I have five other frames in the top deep of this hive and the bees have utilized the existing comb on them to do some laying.

Since the bees have been hard at work lately, I have as well.  I had to remove a diseased and damaged 40 ft. box elder in a corner of my backyard in order to make room for a shed.  Not that this has anything to do with beekeeping, but hey, this is my blog and I’ll do with it what I want. lol.

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Also, we have had some wet weather and I have been utilizing that time to paint some newly built deep hive bodies and repair some old equipment.  I scored some Benjamin Moore exterior latex at Ace hardware for $5/gal. because the can lip was badly dented.  It was white base, but the nice young man working there actually tinted it for me for free and still honored the cheap price.

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newly painted deeps with discount paint

I also had a chance to assemble some frames and prepare my 5 frame nuc box as a bait hive.  I placed some existing drawn comb and some new frames into the nuc, along with a small nasanov swarm lure which I embedded into the wax.  I built one frame with no foundation just to see how well the bees take to it.  A buddy of mine, Will Osborn told me about this method.  You simply take the breakaway slat on the top bar of the foundation style frame, pull it off, tip it on edge and lightly nail it in place.  I then rubbed it with some beeswax  This acts as a vertical guide for the bees to start building comb.  I guess we’ll see.  Notice the nuc box in the background.  I finally got my yellow entrance disc that I ordered from Dadant.  It was on backorder for two months.  Go figure.

 

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foundationless frame

I apologize for the late post and for not having more updates,  I just don’t want to spend too much time messing with my hives right now.  They are doing what they are meant to do and for now I am trying to leave them to it.  Stay tuned.  My hives should both be exploding soon with lots of emerging bees.