Monthly Archives: January 2013

Flat Stanley Visits the Hive

Flat Stanley arrived courtesy of my niece Riya shortly after the holidays. Part of the instructions suggested “dressing” him to reflect either the season we were in or an activity he performed.

We took these instructions to heart and got Flat Stanley all suited up and ready to do a hive inspection complete with cowboy boots since we are in Texas after all.

Flat Stanley's Texas Visit

We had a nice break from the cold weather this past week. It was perfect for a quick peek into the hive I requeened with the Hawaiian queen at the end of October 2012. The hope was the hive was still full of bees with plenty of honey to make it through spring. It would also be a plus if they didn’t try and kill me.

To calm the bees before the inspection, Flat Stanley first smoked the hive.
Flat Stanley the Beekeeper

After smoking, we opened up the hive and started inspecting frames in the top most super. All 8 frames were all mostly drawn out combs of honey.

Flat Stanley the Beekeeper

The next two supers after that were still all honey as well. The bees were also calm and only started getting a little annoyed towards the very end of the inspection. I didn’t go any further into hive because it was late in the day and the temps were starting to go down. If we have another warm weekend this week, I’ll do another inspection and go straight to the 2nd super now that I know the top three are all honey. I’ll hopefully see some activity of brood meaning the queen from Hawaii was accepted.

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Happy New Year!

I hope all my beekeeping friends had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying the lull in beekeeping duties before the spring swarm season is upon us. While the winter months aren’t completely void of tasks, it is a nice break from the hectic spring and summer months.

Austin finally got into the mid-50’s today after several weeks of cold overcast weather. It was also nice and sunny which helps warm up a hive allowing bees to take cleansing flights. I stopped by the Sunshine Community Garden today to plant another round of beets and carrots as well as harvest some chard and arugula (rocket for my readers down under) for tonight’s dinner. While I was there, it was the perfect opportunity to check my hive without opening it up. Just by quietly observing your hive entrance, the amount of activity can give you a good indication of the health of your hive.

I think I timed my visit perfectly when the temperature and sunshine finally got the girls warm enough to take off. The entrance was alive with activity as the hive left for a cleansing flight and then returned.

An hour later, the activity was much more subdued as all the girls had taken their turn. I also noticed bees taking advantage of winter crops such as broccoli that were not picked quickly enough and had flowered. The forecast shows temperatures in the high 60’s next weekend so I may take a quick peek in all my hives to make sure their honey stores are still looking good.

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