Sunday, March 21, 2010

Removing bees from a barn

The Bee-Team got our first bee removal call of the year. The woman said they started removing siding from a barn and it contained floor to ceiling bees. Her son-in-law is allergic so they have to go.
I got the impression there may be multiple colonies (we've removed as many as 4 colonies from one barn). The problem is that a non professional bee person often sees more bees than there really are. I'll try to remove them the first good week in April and plan for more than one colony but expect just one.
These bees are approximately 50 miles away so I'll take every tool I can think of ever possibly needing to do the job in one trip.
Sorry my daughter can't come to video the job. My partner can't help either-he's working on the census.

Spring Inspection

March 21—I lit the smoker and looked in most of the hives. This is, I think, the 8th year since I quit using all forms of medication in my hives. In the fall there were 12 live hives. In March, 10 are still alive.
If I were medicating hives with Apistan, I should have put the strips in at the beginning of the warm spell, a week or so ago, so I could take them out in April.
Some highlights:
Hive #1: light in weight. The bees were bringing in white colored pollen.
Hive #2 was dead so I moved their super containing some honey to #1.
Hive #3 dead, with an almost full honey super which I gave to hive #8
Hive#4 is a lively double nuc but will need feeding.
Hive#5 dead(2 hives were already dead in the fall so they aren't counted in the winter mortality)
Hive #6 heavy with honey and bees
#7 is a log with a long story and it died.
#8 low but they are finding nectar somewhere and storing it.
#9 heavy with honey and lots of bees
#10 and 11 were harvesting yellow pollen (alder is making pollen and apparently something else is: willow maybe?)
#12 and 13 look good but need feeding
#14 another hollow log looks good but I can't see how much honey they have.

New President of Bee Club

It was a nasty campaign with a lot of mud slinging but I won the presidency with one vote, literally. I'm now the president of the Steuben County Honey Bee Association (SCHBA). Since there was no opposition, the secretary cast the single vote to elect P, VP, Secretary, and Treasurer. Wait! The secretary didn't show up at the meeting, so the future secretary who wasn't secretary cast the vote. That's illegal, isn't it. Is this one of Robert's Rules or did someone at SCHBA make it up? Well anyways, we borrowed the time machine from the Science Fiction Writer's Association that meets the following day and made it work.
The last time I was elected president, in 2002, I had 0 votes. The real president got all the votes, which made me, in the convoluted constitutional rules of the SCHBA, vice president. But the president died shortly after and I had to take over.

Article in Bee Culture

I believe its the absolute simplest hive you can make, except for top bar hives. It's a standard Langstroth style hive you can make in less than 2 hours, including the frames. Catch a swarm in the morning, build a hive and install the bees in the afternoon. It's a perfect bait hive because if a swarm moves in, you can set a regular super on top or transfer the frames to a regular hive without messy cutting. The plans are available right now in the online edition of Bee Culture and will be in the April paper edition whenever it comes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beekeeping class

This double nuc hive was packed with honey in the fall and still doing well. Some people think you have to have double deeps to survive the winter. The mortality probably is higher with something like this, but I've had single 5 frame nucs make it to spring.

4 bee-mails from the Alfred State College CCET coordinator yesterday. We're planning a one afternoon bee class on April 24th. Hopefully my bees will still be alive and the weather will cooperate.
We'll open and evaluate several hives, talk about fun stuff like nosema, foulbrood, chalkbrood, plus where to find bees if you don't have any, and making hives. I don't know what the class will cost, but the Sept. 2009 class cost $45.00


The spot are from the bee's cleansing flights. The large quantity of spots might indicate nosema, or it might be they had to hold it in for a long time.

March Inspection

The snow is still a foot deep, bees flying everywhere. It's hard to tell which colonies are alive and which are being robbed out. There were 3 types of hives: 1. wildly busy, 2. a few bees flying around quietly, and 3. hives with no activity. I flipped the lid on an apparently dead hive and no it was quite lively. Note the bee on my arm left a spot of bee poop. Another did it on the camera, but I couldn't photograph that.
I'll have to count surviving colonies when it's cooler and the bees are clustered. Then I can listen with my ear to the hive. Most of the 12 seem lively.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hiving a swarm

Click here. See the author plunge his hands into a seething mass of venomous honey bees. Hear author's daughter as she is stung while holding a swarm of bees. Learn why you shouldn't work with bees in bare feet.