Monthly Archives: April 2010

Rain Rain Go Away!

Dear Austin,

Don’t get me wrong. After last year’s drought, I love all the rain we have been receiving this year, but  I need to check on Large Marge this weekend to see if she has been released. Plus, I’ve really been looking forward to the Dai Due Supper Club at Boggy Creek Farm Sunday afternoon so you really need to get back to some nice sunny weather by then.

Your friend,

Karl

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Bees..is there anything they can’t do?

I came across this story recently about using a bee’s highly developed sense of smell to sniff out bombs and drugs. Now if they can only use bees in some form so I don’t have to take off my shoes to get through airport security….

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April 13th Syrup Check

I checked the syrup levels today, and the girls had made a pretty good dent in what I put in the top hive feeder Saturday morning. Since I’ll be checking the queen cage this upcoming weekend, I added an additional 128 fluid ounces of syrup which should be more than enough to get them through the next four days.

Taking pictures through a veil is going to take some getting used to, but here is a fairly decent shot of how a top hive feeder works. The bees come up from the medium super below through the middle and then take syrup from either side. The wooden slats you see actually float on the liquid to give the bees a perch to take in the syrup. However, it looked liked most of the bees just hung on to the side of the entrance to suck up the sweet sweet syrup.

Top Hive Feeder

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Waiting Game

There isn’t much to do while I’m waiting for the queen to be released. Monday evening activities include making another batch of syrup solution for the hive top feeder. I’ll check the syrup levels Tuesday evening. I don’t think the bees should need additional syrup but I’d rather be safe than sorry for my first go around.

I also found a cool site called BeeTight. A beekeeper from England created a web site to track and manage your hives and apiaries online, and it is also mobile enabled. I went ahead and signed up to check it out. Since I only have one hive at the moment, this blog is good enough for recording purposes, but if I ever expand past one hive, it looks to be an excellent tool for tracking your hives.

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April 10th and 11th Record Keeping

It is a good idea to keep note of your colony’s activities and progress so here is my first entry in that regard:

April 10-11:

  • Hived package from Bee Weaver Apiaries. 3 lb. package with marked Queen (aka Large Marge)
  • Hive entrance facing west
  • New 8 frame supers and 6-1/4 Black Superframes from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
  • April 10th – upper 50’s in the morning but near 80 by mid afternoon
  • April 11th – misty and cool in the morning and overcast all day. Highs in the mid 70’s
  • Blooming flowers in immediate area: Spiderwort, Crossvine, Eve’s Necklace. Typical Texas wildflowers blooming 2-3 mile radius
  • 64 oz of sugar syrup in top hive feeder on April 10th
  • Bees completely non-agressive and easy to handle

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Day 2 Inspection

I visited the hive 24 hours later to see how the girls were settling into their new home. The wood package the bees arrived in was empty so I was able to remove and dispose of it.

I have the entrance reducer in the hive so there is only a small opening for the bees to come and go. This will enable them to defend the hive better until they can build up their numbers. As far as I can tell without opening the hive, they are doing well. I’ll be returning on Tuesday to check syrup levels in the top feeder. I won’t be opening the hive until at least 7 days have gone by to see if Large Marge has been released.

Bees at Hive Entrance

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Tell ’em Large Marge is in the hive!

The big day finally arrived. I went to pick up my packaged bees early Saturday morning and then transported them to the site for installation. The following slideshow chronicles the steps to get the bees into the hive. I really only had difficulty getting the syrup can out of the package. Once that was accomplished, the rest was fairly straightforward. The bees were very docile, and my wife and friend Brenna were 10-15 feet away taking photos. Queen Large Marge is now safely in the hive and hopefully when I check on her next weekend, she will be released and laying eggs.

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One more day….

The bees are officially in Austin. Tomorrow morning, I’ll pick them up and then head on down to the bee friendly south Austin site to install them. The adventure is about to begin!

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EpiPen

I made a trip to the doctor today to get a script for a few EpiPens. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve never been stung before by anything in my life, so I decided to play it safe in the rare case I’m massively allergic to bee stings. I find it somewhat ironic that one of the main flash animations of the EpiPen website is a scenario where little Sam gets stung by a bee during his baseball game. However, the picture of the “bee” they have doesn’t look like any bee I’ve seen. It actually looks pretty scary. I wouldn’t want to be stung by that thing either.

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Wild Hive

This photo is courtesy of the owner of the bee friendly south Austin site. It turns out there is a wild hive in the lot next door that has apparently been there for as long as most people can remember. I think it is a good sign that the area has enough flora to support a hive.

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