On April 7th, I did a late afternoon inspection of both my hives at Baab-Brock Farms. I first checked the hive I moved from Sunshine Community Gardens and found no evidence of a queen. No eggs, larvae or capped brood were present. I’m not sure what happened but without any eggs, the hive is unable to even make a new queen.
I then moved over to the queen eating hive that I attempted to requeen twice last year. The last queen was one sent from sunny Hawaii in late October in an attempt to chill out an aggressive hive. I actually found the queen very unexpectantly near the top of the hive, and it was not the marked queen I had dubbed “Aunty Lilikoi”. The hive was also more aggressive than from past inspections a few weeks back so I don’t know if the hive swarmed with my Hawaiian queen leaving me with a queen mated with the local drone population. Trying to find a queen in an aggressive hive is one of the least fun things a beekeeper will do, so I made the snap decision to remove her right then and there.
I now have two cordovan queens on the way which should arrive in the next day or two. Since I feel the location of my hives are in a AHB influenced area of Austin, having a queen that produces distinctive coloring on workers and drones will help be an early indicator that the queen has been lost or replaced.
I really meant to get this going when Flat Stanley visited our hives a few months ago, but better late than never I say.
Since Gitanjali took so much time drawing out Flat Stanley as a beekeeper, it seems like a shame not to send him around the globe. So if anyone is interested in hosting Flat Stanley at their own hive, please leave a comment and we can exchange address information. If you are interested, I’d only ask for the following things:
- Be willing to have a blog post with some pictures of Flat Stanley at your hive with some interesting facts about beekeeping in your state or country.
- If you don’t have a blog, send me some photos and a little write up which I’ll post to my blog
- Be willing to mail Flat Stanley on to the next beekeeper
Flat Stanley is looking forward to visiting all of you.
Filed under beekeeping, Fun
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.
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.
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.
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.
I found this video from iheartbees. I was most amazed by the hives these bees live in.
I spent the past week in Seattle visiting friends and on a whim I decided to google Seattle beekeeping before heading out for some area wine tastings. It just so happened the Puget Sound Beekeepers were meeting to inspect their hives in the Washington Park Arboretum. I decided to stop by and check out their apiary.
Seattle is in full bloom right now and the bees had a huge variety of flowers to visit. We also saw many more bumbles than I usually see in Austin. The beekeeper I spoke with said the maple and blackberries made up an excellent flow this year but a wetter spring prevented the bees from taking full advantage. I also noticed the bees around town seemed darker than the Italians we are used to in Texas. The Seattle Beekeepers confirmed they use mostly New World Carniolans. These bees are more suited to the weather in Seattle, but he did say they have a tendency to swarm more.
Here are some photos of the apiary on a beautiful (and sunny!) Seattle day:
I was super excited to pull 8 frames of honey off my hive at the Sunshine Community Gardens on Sunday. I had high hopes for some delicious honey produced in a pesticide free environment teeming with flowers and vegetables. What I got instead was a super thick almost goo like substance that has a sweet taste but doesn’t smell like honey.
After almost 36 hours, it is still sitting in the first 5 gallon filtering bucket laughing at gravity.
The “honey” that actually made it through the first coarse filter is barely even going through the nylon strainer bag. I brought it to the Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup Group this evening and the general consensus is that it is dumpster honey.
For those unfamiliar with this particular variety of honey, it is when your girls decide to ignore all the beautiful flowering plants around town, and go straight to a dumpster of a restaurant or other business where high fructose corn syrup is plentiful. You may recall the Brooklyn hive whose honey turned red after hitting up the local maraschino cherry factory.
So this batch of honey is going in the garbage. I plan on sending a sample to A&M to do an analysis just try and get some clue on what happened, but it certainly not how I wanted my inaugural harvest from the gardens to turn out.
I don’t know how I missed this.