I picked up my package this morning from Bee Weaver and went straight to Baab-Brock Farms to install.
Last year, I had a heck of time getting the syrup can and queen cage removed from the package while wearing gloves. I opted not to wear gloves this year because bees are generally docile when they don’t have a home to defend. Here is a shot of my removing the cage before they had fun attacking my hand.
After getting stung on my right and left hand, I put my gloves back on for the rest of the installation. Here I am attaching the queen cage to a frame.
Next up was shaking the bees into the hive.
I then added the frames back into the hive.
Now all eight frames are back in the hive and spaced properly.
I placed the package at the entrance so any bees left in the box will find their way into the hive.
All that was left was filling up the top feeder and closing the hive up. Here is a shot of both hives.
Except for getting stung, it was a straight forward installation. I’ll come back mid-week to check the syrup level in the feeder and next weekend I’ll verify that Ramona has been released.
A friend sent me a link to another local Austin beekeeper’s blog, and one of his posts was about the Venus Hive he just purchased. The video he took is below.
It certainly is a cool looking hive, and I’ll definitely be following his blog to see how it works out. My only concern would be the size of some of the frames in the main brood section if you ever needed to get them out to inspect.
I’ll be attending a screening of the Vanishing of the Bees this evening at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. If you would like to see this movie, here is a link to the upcoming screenings around the country.
In my previous post, I mentioned that I removed 8 frames of honey from the hive over the weekend. One them had a line of drone cells on the very bottom of the frame.
Here is a closer shot.
I took a small spoon to remove the drones and wax before starting the harvest, and I was horrified to see varroa mites scurry out of the cells as I scooped them out. I’ve checked the hive regularly for mites over the past year, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them. They do prefer drone cells, and the hive has been producing a bunch being spring time and all.
Here is a shot after removing the comb.
Here’s a closeup of the nasty little bugger.
I’ll need to be more vigilant in my inspections over the next few weeks, and I’ll put a sticky mat on my bottom board next week to do a mite drop count. This does give me pause about sharing some brood frames when I install my package next week because I’d hate to introduce mites into the new hive right off the bat.
Any suggestions on non-chemical mite control? Do those drone frames actually work?
I pulled 8 full frames of honey off the hive today. The bee escape worked great, and there were only a handful of girls left in the super that were easily removed. I still don’t have an extractor so I harvested the honey using the crush and strain method. One of these days I would like to get a small extractor, but right now this method isn’t too time consuming plus I like the added benefit of having beeswax for projects.
Overall, I pulled off just shy of 25 pounds of honey which was very dark compared to last year’s fall harvest which in turn was darker than the initial 2010 spring harvest. I think I’m going to break down and send a sample off for pollen analysis because I’m very curious about the pollen counts. Here is a side by side shot of last year’s fall honey on the left and the recent harvest on the right.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I reveal the not so sweet side of honey harvesting.
I’ll be taking a full super of honey off the hive Sunday, so I went out today to put the bee escape on the hive to make tomorrow’s activities much easier. I did my first and last harvest last fall without using a bee escape, and I’ll never do it again. It took forever to get all the bees off the frames, and I ended up with a yard full of pissed off bees.
Another advantage of the harvest is reducing the size of the hive to a more manageable level. Right now, I’m resorting to a step stool to get the height I need to inspect the top most supers.
I received an e-mail today that my package of bees will be arriving next weekend. I’m very excited about the prospect of starting a new hive, and I’m sure Queen Ramona Flowers is anxiously awaiting her new home.