Tag Archives: Sunshine Community Gardens

McKayla is not impressed with your graffiti

For whoever decided it would be fun to tag my hive at the Sunshine Community Gardens, there is really only one response.

McKayla is not impressed with your tagging


Filed under beekeeping, Fun

Happy Mother’s Day!

I think it was fitting to inspect my hives on Mother’s Day as Rosemary, Rue and Knives 2.0 each have brought thousands of new bees into this world. We had one of those rare cool May days in Austin, and it was a pleasure spending time outside peeking into the hives.

I think I’ve finally figured out Rosemary’s hive. I had no comb on the inner cover this week so adding that 2nd super was a good call on my part.

No comb on the inner cover!

I also noticed that Rosemary loves building out frames 1-4 first and ignoring frames 5-8. I need to re-check the level of the hive next week as that is the only thing I could think of that would cause this behavior.

2nd Super on Rosemary

To combat this, I did a frame switch to get the 1st super 8 full frames of drawn comb. We will see if Rosemary continues this trend when I check on the hive next week. The recent rain in Austin is really making the gardens bloom and this patch of sunflowers is just one of many for Rosemary to forage on.

Sunflowers at Sunshine

Meanwhile at Baab-Brock Farms, Rue continues to build up quickly, and I added a 3rd super to her hive. Here is a representative shot of the tight brood patterns this queen is producing.

Rue Brood Pattern

Last but not least, I opened up Knives 2.0’s hive and what a difference a new queen and a few weeks makes. What was once a grumpy queen-less hive is now a thriving gentle one. She is also laying quite well, and I’m hopeful that if the rainfall in Austin continues over the next month or two, I’ll actually get some honey this year.

Knives Brood Pattern

The only blight on the day was a colony of carpenter ants that took up residence in the outer cover of Knives’ hive. They don’t seem to be entering the hive at all, but just going up and down the outside of the hive.

Stupid Carpenter Ants

I replaced the cover with a fresh ant-free one, but now need to figure out how to get the ants out of the old one. I’ve also ordered a big 5 pound container of cinnamon which is a natural ant repellent. We’ll see how well that works in the coming weeks.


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Rosemary Week 3

Rosemary did much better with the top hive feeder after last week’s disaster with the Collins Feeder. When I opened up her hive on Sunday, there was only one little piece of comb.


After last week’s setback, I was pleased to see 4 full frames of drawn out comb. This hive had also drawn out frames 1-4 which I’ve never seen before. Usually bees will work up from the middle and getting the frames in position 1 and 8 drawn out can be difficult.

Rosemary Frame

Rosemary Frame

I hope they continue this good behavior and draw out frames 5-8 this week. My fears of killing Rosemary were also unfounded as these frames were full of eggs and larvae. This hive is back on track.

I also had to refill the chicken waterer I’m using as a water source for the bees. I really doubt Rosemary’s hive used all this water so something tells me other creatures may be using it.

Bee Water

Switching feeders was definitely the way to go. Either that or Rosemary heard she got some negative press last week and was doing her best to impress.

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A Tale of Two Hives

It was the best of hives, it was the worst of hives. Today’s inspections of Queens Rosemary and Rue were on completely different ends of the spectrum.

As I previously mentioned, I switched over to pail feeders in an attempt to reduce small hive beetles and make it easier on myself to add syrup when needed. My first stop was at Sunshine Community Gardens to check on Queen Rosemary to verify her release and see how the girls were taking to their new home.

I know something was wrong as I started to take off the inner cover.


The girls decided to build comb from the top of the inner cover around the feeder instead of on the frames. This is what I had to deal with today.

Queen Rosemary failed.

I was forced to remove all this wax and get the bees into the super with the frames. I also never saw Rosemary so I can only hope she is still in there even though I feel like Gitanjali and I looked at every single bee inside and outside the hive. I ran home and got my old top hive feeder so I could feed the bees without having a repeat of the same situation. It stinks that I lost a week of comb building, but hopefully I got this hive back on track.

As I was driving down to Baab-Brock Farms, I was anticipating the exact same situation with Queen Rue and was dreading opening her hive. Luckily, Rue is awesome and they actually built comb on the frames like good little bees. Our cheering startled the chickens in the coop it was so loud.

Good bees!

Here is a shot of nice drawn out comb with eggs and an empty queen cage.

Queen Rue Released!

Even though I didn’t have errant comb issues on this hive, I still switched over to the old top hive feeder. I didn’t want to tempt fate and end up dealing with another mess.

I know you aren’t supposed to play favorites, but Rue gets my vote this week.


Filed under beekeeping

Hive Installation at Sunshine Community Gardens

Saturday morning I picked up two packages from BeeWeaver with my first stop being a hive installation at Sunshine Community Gardens.

Here is the package sitting on top of their new home.


Jean has a plot at the garden and is also interested in beekeeping. She met me at the garden to assist in the installation. Here we are performing the hardest part of a package installation – getting the syrup can out of the package.


After removing the syrup can and the queen cage, the bees got dumped into the hive.


Once the bees were in, I added the frames to the hive including one with the queen cage attached.

Queen cage on frame

I then added some syrup for them to jump start the wax producing. I decided to go with pail feeders this year. While I liked my hive top feeder and had good success with them, so did Small Hive Beetles.


Here is the hive all closed up and ready to start pollinating the gardens. I hope Queen Rosemary will have a successful year.


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