Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Beehive Log

Hive 1:

Faces North in south clearing of back yard.Currently consists of two 10-frame dadant "hive bodies" (I don't know if this is officially a deep or medium).  Bottom is all plasticell foundation and has 6 of 10 drawn out.  Top is 4 plasticell and 6 foundationless, with the center two being plasticell and the 2 outers being foundationless.

4/3/2014: Installed 3lb italian package from
4/4 - 4/5/2014:Refilled boardman feeder 4/4 and 4/5/2014, unknown quantity of 1:1 syrup (dogs knocked it over, skewing measurements).
4/7/2014:Refilled boardman feeder with 704g 1:1 syrup.
4/8/2014:Refilled boardman feeder with remaining 550 grams of shipping syrup, thicker than 1:1.
Made 772g of 1:1 syrup in reserve.
4/9/2014:Refilled feeder with 772g syrup I made yesterday.
4/10/2014:Warm day, feeder was empty after work, made another syrup of 350g sugar and water and refilled feeder.
4/11/2014:I was out, but my wife made syrup and fed the bees. 625g sugar and water
4/12/2014:Bottle emptied out again, I refilled it with 469g sugar and water.
4/13/2014:Mixed 1053 grams of sugar and water and refilled the bottle (didn't measure exact amount filled, since my "post mix" measurements don't seem to match up anyway.
4/15/2014:Mixed 2435 grams of sugar and water.  The previous 1053 is gone.  I used a larger jar and found that half water and that much sugar doesn't come close to actually filling the jar.  I need to see if I can find a formula for the volume of a solution if I want to try to end up with the amount that would fill the jar.
4/18/2014:Saw possible robbing, so I put an entrance reducer on to shut the entrance down to the smallest gap (about 1 inch across)
4/19/2014:Did a full hive inspection.  No larvae, but a couple of frames with eggs.  Lots of pollen and syrup stores.  Nothing recognizable as honey to me, although I could me mistaking some honey for pollen.  But any capped stores I found appeared to be clear below, not honey-colored.
4/27/2014:Full hive inspection.  Larvae and capped brood in several frames.  One weird frame with eggs away from the center and pollen on the other side.  Perhaps pollen was stored for the upcoming brood before the other comb was drawn, and that comb was used to lay the next set of eggs.  6 of 10 frames drawn, so I didn't yet place an additional hive body for expansion.  Refilled the jar with the last of the 2435 reserve syrup.  The bees are not feeding as fast with the syrup inside, and I don't know whether it is a congestion issue or not.  If I make an ant proof hive stand, I will probably move the feeder back out and leave the entrance reducer in place.  I made 3105 sugar grams worth of syrup, which basically fills the current "bear" storage jar.  After heating and dissolving, came out to be 6174 total grams of syrup.  Probably about right after spillage.
4/4/2014: Replaced the bottom board with a screened bottom board, put the hive on a new hive stand made out of 1" galvanized pipe with high-temp grease ant block, moved the boardman back out front with an entrance reducer, and filled the extra top box with frames, alternating foundation and foundationless.  Bees were too agitated to do a full inspection
5/7/2014: Full inspection.  Didn't find the queen (update, found the queen in one of the photos), but found several frames nearly completely filled with brood.  Still only at 6 out of 10 frames drawn, though, so the extra box of frames is probably early.  No ants are present, so the new hive stand is working, but even with the boardman out front, the bees are not taking it as quickly as they were.  I don't know whether it is because comb drawing has slowed down, or they are taking more nectar and not needing the syrup as much.
5/15/2014: The bees finished the 3105g syrup, and I have made another 3105g batch.  After processing, it weighs 6163g, which divided by 2 would be 3081.  I can believe that may be evaporation during heating.  That would mean, technically, that I have 3105g sugar and 3058g of water, so instead of 1:1, it is actually 1.054:1 or so.  The bees are taking about 1 quart per day again.  I don't know if it is 1) the rain has been keeping them from foraging, 2) they like the feeder in front better than on top, or 3) they had almost filled the original body and were out of a comb building mode, and have now realized there is a complete empty box above to be filled.  I went to the Trinity Valley Beekeepers Association meeting, and one of the members said they suspected the full nectar flow may kick in after these rains, so we'll see if the bees keep taking syrup at this rate.
5/17/2014: I did a hive inspection again, and the bees have been building come up from the bottom box.  A couple of foundation frames had comb drawn, but there was also a large (4 inch across, probably) saucer shaped burr comb growing upward from the top of the bottom frames into the space of a foundationless frame.  I have taken out the burr comb, taken off the top box, and moved the still unfilled outer four frames in the bottom box closer to the center.  Hopefully, those will get filled out.  Next week, I will put the empty box on again, but I think I will rearrange all of the brood comb, and the queen, into the top box, put the honey combs in the bottom box, and let them work down instead of up.  If the queen/hive wants, they can eventually move back down into the bottom body.  I won't have any honey this year, and probably won't even put on a super, so I won't have to worry about her migrating further up and laying in the honey supers.
5/23/2014: The bees finished another 3105 sugar grams of 1:1 syrup.  I made reserve with 3105g of sugar, but the scale died for some reason before I could get quite to 3105g of water.  I poured in a bit more that should be close, but it's not exact.
5/23/2014: Another 3105 emptied, another 3105 reserve made.
5/27/2014: Added the empty box back to the bottom.
5/30/2014: Another 3105 emptied and made.  I think they are going through slightly more than 1 quart per day right now.
6/10/2014: Another 3105.
6/11/2014: Inspected the hive, found the queen.  Pictures in review for counts, but at least 2 foundationless frames were filled.  One was attached to a foundation frame with burr comb from the side and was ripped out.  Queen and majority of brood are still in the top box, and bottom box is still being filled out.  At least one foundationless frame was completely empty, with comb from an adjacent frame grown out thick enough to fill in the gap.
11/9/2014: Inspected the hive, quickly, to see if there was enough honey for winter.  I didn't take a full count, Maybe half the frames have brood, and it's not really consistent.  One frame had nothing but 3 dead bees.  The bottom had one frame of honey.  The top box had about half the frames in use, with 3 heavy, but still not fully capped.  Since so many frames on top were only barely drawn out, it means that I flipped the boxes at some point and forgot to log it.
11/12/2014:  676g sugar in 1:1 syrup.  It is currently too cold for the bees to leave the hive, so I have not put it on yet.  This made slightly more than 1 quart (maybe 1/8 quart more) and that has been saved in a separate jar.
11/19/2014:  I shook about 16 ounces of powdered sugar (all that was left of a bag we had) into the hive.  I've found a website that suggests doing that every week for 6 weeks to break the brood cycle on varroa, so I'll keep that up.  If nothing else, it will give the bees an extra source of food in the hive if it stays too cold for them to get the syrup.  They have used all 676g of syrup as well, and we made another 1260 grams.
11/26/2014:  Another sugar shake, this time with 456g of home-made powdered sugar and a quick inspection.  I did find the queen.
12/3/2014: Another sugar shake.  Only 226 and I only shook the bottom body to keep from opening it too long.  The bees have finished the 1260 grams and are working on 973g

Sugar (in syrup)>24104g in 1:1, plus shipping syrup. (currently feeding 973g reserve)
Sugar (powdered for shake)682g home-made, plus ~16oz store bought

Honey Frames (capped/uncapped)
Brood Frames (capped/uncapped)
Drone Frames (capped/uncapped)
Harvested Honey (lb)
Harvested Wax (lb)
Slumgum (lb)

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