Monday, April 7, 2014

Beehive update

I've decided to use this as a bee log for now.  We've just gotten our first hive set up, and if we're going to do any of it for profit, I need to make sure I keep track of as much of it as I can, so I'll do that here.  It will allow me to keep track of which hives do the best and what factors may affect that.  It will also allow me to keep track of when a queens productivity may be dropping so that I can swap her out.

We ordered packaged bees from  3 pounds of italian bees and a clipped and marked queen were delivered on April 3rd.  The installation went as planned, with no stings (with no safety equipment on, to boot).  I have a 10-frame deep on bottom and an empty deep on top to cover the original can of syrup.  I had the original shipping box in there as well, but decided it may be too tempting for the bees to build comb on, so I took it back out later that day.  I still didn't get stung, but later I want to check again to make sure they were leaving the box, and got stung half-way back to the house.  I noticed there were a few bees outside the hive entrance that appeared to have their abdomens raised and were fanning their wings.  When capturing swarms, I've read this is a sign that you have got the queen, so maybe they had already accepted the queen at that point and had started protecting the hive.

I put 3 cups of 1:1 sugar syrup in the boardman feeder today.  I've put syrup in 2 other times, but the dogs knocked it over, so I don't know how much the bees ate and how much the dogs did or may have spilled.  But they are drinking it fast; the last batch was half gone in just a few hours on Saturday.  Sunday and today were too cold for them to get very active, though.  It finally warmed up this evening, but I haven't checked how much syrup is gone yet.  (I think the dogs have gotten used to it and will leave it alone, but if they don't, they'll learn once the weather starts staying warm.  Ginger, the small one, was doing something weird with her mouth all Saturday and kept eating grass and throwing it back up.  I think she got a bee in the throat or mouth, but we couldn't find a bump.  She didn't have a problem breathing, I think it just irritated her enough to make her throw up to get rid of it.)

Tomorrow, I get to open it up and make sure the queen is out of her cage, and that the bees have started building comb, and I'm looking forward to it.  I'll also pull off the top deep and get the can out, which should be empty, and get the hive down to a more manageable size for the bees.  It will make it easier for them to maintain the environment, and will keep them from building comb on the lid.  I won't add another body section until they have most of the frames filled and enough bees to cover them.

  • So, April 3rd, installed 3 lb italian bee package.  Hive is facing north and is in a small clearing in our yard.  I hadn't actually realized that it was facing north until just now, so I will probably turn it before winter gets here.  The clearing is small enough that it probably won't get any good wind going in, but it shouldn't hurt.  The reason it is facing that way right now is simply because east-west was the most level, and facing it north-south let me tilt it slightly forward to drain moisture.
  • April 4th and 5th, filled syrup bottle on boardman feeder with 1:1 (but lost track of amounts, as dogs spilled it)
  • April 7th, refilled syrup jar with 3 cups of 1:1 syrup.

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