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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 17th year of beekeeping in April 2022. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Set up Weak Hive with a New Medium Box

The last time I looked into Bermuda, the weak hive, the bees were increasing in number and the queen was expanding her brood pattern to five or six frames. I removed a frame of honey from last year (we have a nectar flow on now from the tulip poplar, among other plants and trees) and replaced it with a frame with a starter strip of small cell.

It's about a week later and I think I should give them more space for brood, so I set up a second medium. I wanted to inspire these bees for small cell, so I put in nine frames of starter strips and one frame more or less in the center (with ten, where is the center?) of almost a full frame of small cell. I did this to give them more of a guide.

Since I'm regressing this hive to small cell, I dated the frames so that I will have some idea when I replace them next year. My understanding of small cell is that the bees will have some trouble with it this year, regressing to smaller cell, but not to the natural cell size until one more "regression." To accomplish this, I'll need to replace brood frames again with small cell, so I dated these. Next year I can pull some of these 2007 frames and put in starter strips again, and my now much more adept bees will draw exactly what they need....assuming they live through the winter.

Here is Bermuda with her new medium super. I installed it with great adventure. It was quite cold in Atlanta for April 9 this morning. When I went to the hive around 11 AM, it was still only in the high 40s. Ordinarily Bermuda has been a placid, slow moving hive, so I wasn't too worried about opening the hive just long enough to put on this box and replace the inner cover and telescoping lid.

I put on my veil and went to the hives, carrying my hive tool in one hand and my gloves and camera in the other. I set down the camera (and absent-mindedly, the gloves as well) and opened the lid of the hive. The hive was quiet, but when I removed the inner cover, they were no longer quiet and placid. The bees were thick on the top of the frames and flew out angrily and I was stung on each hand.

I hurriedly put on my gloves and in the process, trapped a bee under my glove, who of course also stung me on my left arm. This shocked me and I dropped my camera, breaking it.......costly beekeeping moment. The picture below is the last picture taken with the camera before it gave up the ghost.

Oh, by the way, after waxing in the starter strips, I poured the remaining wax through panty hose (new) into a bread pan as a mold. The double boiler top in which the wax was melted still had wax residue on it. I poured boiling water into the pan and the wax now hardens on the surface of the water. I can pick it up and add it to my frozen wax cappings in the freezer. "Waste not, want not," the old folks say.

Extra costs of beekeeping this week:

1. I had to buy a new chest freezer. My 30 year old freezer finally died, not of its own accord but because a critter in my basement ate through the electrical cord and by the time I noticed it wasn't working, it was past repair.
2. I have to get a new camera since mine died when I dropped it today.

Lesson learned: Put camera on strap around neck rather than wrist.

I needed a new camera - this one has been taking rather blurry pictures and just yesterday I was thinking that perhaps I should look into a new one. Also the one that I broke was only 5 megapixels -

I came inside, read reviews, and immediately ordered a new camera which should be here in about a week, but probably no posts before I get new pictures. I've ordered one with higher resolution and with an anti-shake feature to control the blur. It will be better in the end for both the bees and my grandbaby. However, I ordered an economic camera given that my camera is always subject to sticky hive stuff as well as the possible casualty of a fall from a high place.

This is a wonderful but more expensive hobby than I imagined!

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  1. Linda,

    Incredible sequence of steps you have in there - almost like gymnastics. I've been reading through your blog, 2006-this post, and onward!

    Just one point I wanted to note - though you've probably been told this a million times already. Cameras have resolutions in Mega pixels. If it were a 5 pixel camera, you'd get only 5 spots of colour.

    Its misleading, and to write it on a blog - the older generation (no offence intended) thinks its GodSpeak, because since its written it MUST be true - and after that they won't even believe the label on a 6 mega pixel camera (see, its not hard - its just a 4-letter word prefix).

    Btw, I have a Nikon D40, 6 megapixels - its an SLR. While the resolution seems small, let me tell you - the photos I get from it are waaaay classier than those I've taken with other non SLRs, even costlier ones.

    If you've not bought a camera, or are looking to purchase others at the time of this comment - I would recommend considering an SLR with a powerful zoom lens. You won't believe the sheer volume of detail that it captures, especially in RAW format.

    Chow! Will read more and let you know!

  2. Thanks, I've corrected the megapixel error. It's a hard call about the use of a quality camera - I'd love one with a greater zoom lens, but I have been through three cameras in the course of this blog so far because of damage to the camera using it in the apiary. My most recent camera got covered with propolis in inspecting the Blue Heron hive and I had to clean it with Windex!!!!!! to get it off.


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