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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.


Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Hive Check Easter Sunday

The tulip poplar flow began in Atlanta last week, so I am anxious that my hives take advantage of this, our best honey flow. I checked the boxes yesterday afternoon to see if any new boxes were needed.

On Saturday I had put a new box on Aristaeus2 (the swarm hive from last year) so I didn't expect it to need anything. I did peek in, but the bees were not happy to see me since I had disturbed them only the day before!

My daughter is getting married and I won't be paying attention to the bees next weekend, so before I get totally distracted by the wedding, I'll put a new box on both Bermuda and Mellona. Each of those hives is very active.

In Bermuda, with four boxes on the hive, the queen was avidly laying in the third box. The fourth box given to them to invite honey production still has three undrawn frames. I attributed the lack of wax work to the weather in the earlier part of last week when we had two nights in the 20s/30s - probably slowed them down a lot. So given warmer weather is on the way, I'll put a new box on Bermuda before I leave for the wedding.

Mellona also has a few undrawn frames in the top box and a very actively laying queen. I saw eggs everywhere. I'll, for the same reasons as Bermuda, give her a new box on Tuesday or Wednesday before I leave for the wedding.

When I lifted one of the honey frames out of Mellona, I unintentionally ripped wax off of the tops of a 1 1/2 inch vertical strip of honey stored. The bees anxiously recollected the honey from the tops of the frames. In the picture below they are congregating around a drip of honey.



In Aristaeus2 they were drawing wax in the new box I had given them. I'm sorry for the unfocused picture. I think the camera thought I wanted it to focus on the deck rather than the honeycomb! I'll try to pay better attention to the focus next time because I loved seeing the bees in action.



In Blue Heron news, I added a box to both hives on Friday morning and added a box to Julia's hive. Her hive still had undrawn frames and seemed lackluster by comparison to the other two. There have been four swarms seen or captured in the vicinity of the Blue Heron hives and I wonder if her hive has swarmed.

While I was there on Saturday, (and I didn't have my camera #$&#$&) Kevin, the overseer of the garden, was moving a swarm that he collected on Friday night just before the tornadic rains came down. He had had it in a temporary box arrangement and was moving it to a real hive box.

The swarm was hived in a cluster around the queen in the hive box but a handful about the size of a baseball remained on the tree where they had been found. He, his brother Peter, and I looked carefully through the "baseball" and didn't see a queen. We surmised that the bees were still drawn to the queen pheromone that remained where she had been on the branch.

Our decision was to cut the branch and move it bees and all to sit in front of the hive to see if the bees would move to the stronger smell of the queen from within the hive. I wish I had pictures.

Lesson learned: Always have the camera in the car (and an extra hive tool) - you never know!

SHB note: Still not a sign of small hive beetles in the hive with the Freeman trap on it. To be fair, I didn't see a single small hive beetle in any hive yesterday.
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6 comments:

  1. This is so fascinating! I am looking into becoming a beekeeper. So far I am doing my research. Love to read your posts!! Very interesting and informative!

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  2. Just wanted to say I'm a faithful reader and LOVE your Blog (though I greatly admire Beekeeping, I'll be sticking to Art). I had no idea that you catch a swarm of bees (makes total sense!) I've shared your images with my kids and husband (who shard it with his class). We know of several Beekeepers here in Alaska. Thanks for a great Blog!

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  3. Hello Linda,
    I'm Richard, the guy your daughter works with who uses beeswax in his art. After the marriage festivities have subsided, I'd like to talk and see how this all works.

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  4. Hope you have a good wedding. Congratulation to the couple and best of luck.

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  5. Always carry a camera - that's what I always say.

    I have a Hen Harrier that hunts across the front of my land and I have been trying to get a shot of it.

    Out and about yesterday with my daughter I drove underneath one at almost touching distance as I passed some dense pine woods where I think it was nesting.

    I must say that reading your post about moving the bees and how the bees are attracted so strongly to the pheromones is really interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ...what I should have said in respect of the Hen Harrier was - I didn't have my camera :-0((


    You probably guessed that?

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