I got home around 1:30pm and immediately went to check the nucs.
I opened nuc number one and went frame by frame looking for the
queen. There were a lot of bees but I couldn’t find the queen. I saw a
lot of eggs and larva so I know she is there and laying good. I closed
the hive pretty quick because a couple (beekeepers) saw me working the
hives and stopped to say hi. I really enjoyed meeting Mr. and Mrs. Eure
and spending some time talking bees.
Nuc number two has a lot of bees and the queen was visible on frame number 3. A lot of the brood has hatched and the cells were already full of eggs. The queen is a light brown orange color.
Nuc number three has a lot of bees and the queen was visible on frame number 2. The queen is a dark queen almost all black. The cells are full of eggs and very small larva.
Nuc number four has less bees than the others but still has sufficient bees to survive. The queen was visible on frame 3. She is a golden yellow queen. The cells are full of eggs and small larva.
I am very pleased with these queens. The golden and black queens are very pretty unique queens. I’m going to watch them and if their offspring is gentle I may work with them to make some queens.
Wow, what great results from these splits! I am very happy with the quantity of eggs in all four nucs. I’ll leave them alone for a couple weeks and then check again.
Yesterday morning I drove up to Annapolis, MD to babysit my grandson while my daughter and her husband went to a wedding. It was just me and Jonathan from 2pm to almost midnight! What a great kid! We had such a good time playing, eating, playing, pooping, playing, eating, pooping, and playing some more. Oh yeah, he loves chocolate chip cookies!
We watched the Bee Movie (yep, I’m working on developing a superior beekeeper). I told my daughter that Jonathan would have his own hive by the time he is ten!
I think Jonathan had a blast. I know I enjoyed it very much. He was so tired he went right to bed at 8:30. This morning I went in to get him when he woke up and when he saw me he smiled and said “Paw paw”! Yep, I melted.
Time to head back home to check on the nucs. The temp should be sunny and 65 today. I hope I find the queens alive and thriving.
This afternoon the rain stopped and there was a brief period of blue sky’s.
It’s been almost three days since I put the splits in the garage so I took advantage of the brief rain stoppage to put the nucs outside and open them up to let the bees fly. I’m was sure they need a cleansing flight! Once I removed the screens the bees flooded out and began making their orientation flights.
The temps were right around 49 degrees and the sun shining made all the difference.
There were a LOT of dead bees being drug out of the entrances. I sure hope the queens are not in the dead bees pile! Too cold to check today so I’ll just leave the nucs and hope for the best.
My phone rang at 8am and it was the Zuni Post Office letting me know they had my queen bees. The people at the post office are great and always let me know when my bees arrive. By 8:15 I had picked up the bees and headed home.
The weather in Virginia has been terrible this spring. It finally warmed up and the bees were working hard. Then bam. We are right in the middle of a cold spell with freezing temps expected for the next few nights. After today there will be nothing but cold rain for the next few days. I’m going to have to make the splits and put the queen cages in today. I would prefer to make the splits and leave them queenless for a day then put the queen cages in but the weather is not going to cooperate. I sure hope the hives accept the queens and don’t ball them.
A little after 1:30 pm the temps had reached 56 degrees. That’s about the best it was going to get so I began making the splits. To build the three splits I used my strongest hive that had three hive bodies full of brood. I made three splits off that hive! I used the second strongest hive for the fourth split.
The nucs have five frames |1|2|3|4|5|. In position 1 I put a frame of honey, position 2, 3 and 4 I put frames of capped brood, and position 5 I put a frame of pollen. I then added the queen cages between frames 2 and 3. The candy was already half gone so the queens would be out very quick. Once I got the frames in I shook some extra bees in each box, added the queen cage and closed the hive. I blocked the entrance with screen so the bees can’t leave. I put all the nucs in the garage and will take them out in three days. This should prevent the bees from flying back to their original hives.
It was a long day but I got the four splits done and have them in the garage to try to help keep them warmer during the freezing temps.
Today I got to work building some Nucs so I could do some splits. The queens will be here tomorrow morning…..
I used the plans provided by D. Coates on BeeSource.com.
They were very easy to make and I got 4 nucs out of one 4′ x 8′ sheet of 15/32 plywood I got at Lowes for less than $14. The only tools I used were a skill saw and a Black and Decker Mouse Sander for the edges. I glued (titebond III glue) and used my staple gun to nail them together.
It took me about a half hour to cut all the pieces and sand the edges. Then another hour or so to put the four nucs together. The plans couldn’t be any easier. I’ll be making another 8 soon.
I didn’t have time to paint two of them because the four queens should be here tomorrow morning and I don’t have time to wait for paint to dry.
I got a great deal on four Italian Queens from Adam at vpqueenbees.com. He had ordered some package bees with Italian queens and was going to use his own excellent breeding stock so he didn’t have a need for the queens that came with the packages. The queens should ship on Monday afternoon and arrive here Tuesday morning. I’m going to have to get to work on making some Nuc boxes! The weather is not going to be good so I need to get the splits going Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly after noon I went into the garage and could hear the loud
buzzing coming from the packages. Today was much cooler than yesterday
but it didn’t seem to bother the bees in the packages. They were ready
to begin working! I sprayed them with my mixture of spring stimulate
syrup which consists of:
1:1 sugar syrup
Lemongrass Oil (food grade)
Spearmint Oil (food grade)
Wintergreen Oil (food grade and very little)
Tea Tree Oil
That seemed to quiet them down almost immediately as they began to eat and clean each other off. I then gathered my materials and headed off to the yard. I video taped the installs. Enjoy.
As you can see, the packages were full of bees. There were every bit of
three pounds plus in those packages. I will order from Rory again. Now,
we’ll wait until next Saturday to see if the queen was released and
Just got home from picking up my two 3 pound packages of bees I ordered from Busy Bee Apiaries.
I met Rory and his wife where I85 meets I95. Very nice people with a huge trailer full of packages of honeybees. Rory had a neat device set up with a sensor that let him read, in the cab, the temperature in the trailer with a misting system to keep the bees cool. Great looking bees that will be hived tomorrow.
Today I spent the day getting the hives ready. The first package will go in my first Top Bar hive. I’m interested in seeing the bees build natural comb. I should be able to get some pretty good comb honey from this hive.
The second package will be installed in a ten frame deep with Mann Lake Ltd PF-100 small cell foundation. This will be the first small cell hive and I’m really interested in comparing small cell with regular cell hives. Specifically, I want to compare honey production, mite count, and winter survivability. I’m not sold completely on small cell but think there may be something to it.
So far, I’m very happy with my genetics relative to honey production and survivability. All of my hives make it through the winter each year. Mite counts continue to remain low and the bees seem to be holding back the small hive beetle as well.
Hopefully I will have some good videos to post tomorrow evening. By the way, the “stick proof” or for beekeepers the “sting proof” puncture-resistant nitrile gloves are not sting proof. However, I really like working the hives with the gloves. It’s the next best thing to not wearing gloves. I took one sting to the finger when I made the mistake of keeping my fingers open and when I squeezed the bee I got popped.
The weekend is going to be beautiful! Upper 70′s Friday, upper 60′s on Saturday and mid 60′s on Sunday. I’ll be working the bees all three days!
This week I received everything I have ordered the last two weeks. I received a ten pound package of Diatomaceous earth, then my package of essential oils from LorAnn Oils, then my nitrile gloves, and my big order from Mann Lake comes in tomorrow. On Saturday I will pick up two new 3 pound packages from Busy Bee Apiaries. Rory will be driving a load through Richmond and I will meet him and his wife on I95 to pick up the two packages.
Friday will be a great day to continue working the hives and check the two splits that each have a frame of eggs, larva and brood. I want to see if they can make a queen for a Nuc. I’ll also set up all my new hives and make sure I’m ready for Saturday. Sunday I’ll be building Nuc boxes and frames.
What a great weekend it will be!
What a crazy day. I started the day by cleaning a few hive bodies, screened bottom boards, inner covers, hive tops and misc equipment. Then I painted everything and set to dry. After grabbing a bit of lunch I suited up and started working the bees. I was on my third hive when I heard a siren. I watched as the fire truck drove down the road and was stunned when it turned in my drive way! I left the yard and walked to the house and as I rounded the corner the fireman said “the shed is on fire”. I looked and the shed was burning and the fire had spread over to the backyard fence and it was on fire too. I couldn’t believe my shed was on fire and I was out in the yard working bees and didn’t even notice it. When the fire was out the fireman told me that a battery that was sitting on the shelf was probably the ignition source. The battery had melted and burned and everything above the battery was burnt. It then burned down the corner of the shed and the wind blew it over across the yard and caught the fence on fire.
Inside the shed was a zero turn lawn mower, a tiller, a brand new weed eater, and an old push mower. None of that had any damage. It is very strange that the damage was from the battery down the back corner in the direction the wind was blowing. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in the middle of the night or that it didn’t get to the house.
My neighbor came over and said she had seen the fire and thick black smoke and couldn’t see anyone around so she called 911. I’m very thankful that she noticed and called. It’s great to have good neighbors!
Now I have to fix the shed and the fence. Projects never end!