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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!
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Feeding the Bees all over Town!

Because I am off to visit my daughter in Maryland this weekend, I wanted to feed all the hives that need feeding before I left. I opened the nuc with the poorly mated queen from Blue Heron and found that they had not touched the baggie I left there last weekend. I don't really understand why they have not, but I added a couple of slits to the bag and didn't replace it.



I am also feeding Aristaeus2 (the swarm hive from last year on my deck). I gave them a new bag as well. They had drained the bag from the weekend completely dry.



I went over to Blue Heron and opened up the Purvis queen hive. It's hard to put a baggie in without squashing bees. I've learned to lay it down slowly and gradually like a glacier moving over the frames to allow the bees time to move out from under the descending sugar syrup.



Now the baggie is fully down on the frames. I believe a couple of bees may have lost their lives in the process but it isn't as bad as it could be if I had cavalierly put the baggie on top of the frames.



Finally I went to feed the bees at the bee tree but that didn't go so well. The bee tree bees have gotten all possessive of the hive box. This should be a good thing but not for me and my health and well-being!

I climbed up the ladder with my jacket on and well zipped (remembering the last time last week when I got stung in the head under my unzipped veil). I did have my camera around my neck sticking the strap through the opening in the bottom of the veil.

I opened the top of the box and looked at the bees crawling all over the frames under the empty syrup baggie. I pulled off the syrup baggie and the bees came at my veiled head. One came in through the hole for my camera strap. I knew I didn't want to get stung before seeing my daughter for the first time in several months.

I climbed down off the ladder and moved away from the bee tree and zipped off my veil.
Big mistake. Apparently there were bees all over me. Taking off the veil gave them the opportunity they were waiting for and I suddenly had several bees in my hair, a bee in my nose, a bee under my glasses and a stinging bee above my eyebrow. I got the bees off of my face but the ones in my hair all found a way to sting me.

At the end I had about four stings in my head, one on a significant middle finger and one over my eyebrow. So now I headed off for Maryland with a face all swollen on the left side. Thankfully by the time the plane landed 24 hours after the sting, most of the swelling was gone.

Note to self: From here on out, take a smoker to the bee tree. Those girls OWN the hive box.
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10 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear of your stings but you're right it's good that the bees are really liking the new home you've given them. I got stung twice on my pinkie at my last inspection.. my first stings while working the hive (but I've only been a beekeeper since June).

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  2. Ouch! Have a nice visit with the daughter.

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  3. Very interesting but sorry to hear about your stings! Yikes...

    I have never come across this type of feeding apparatus but that is probably my inexperience.

    Enjoy your trip.

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  4. Jennifer Berry (who writes for Bee Culture and runs the UGA bee lab) uses ziploc baggie feeders and highly recommends them. Boardman feeders encourage robbing and require that the bees leave the hive to get food. My only problem with them is the environmental one of using plastic and then needing to throw it away.

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  5. Anonymous1:58 AM

    Hi Linda,
    I don't know if this would work for you, but it seems that you have room inside the hive boxes. I use (and reuse over and over again) a one litre (one quart for you folks) feeder jar set on a couple small strips of wood so the bees can get underneath. Incidentally, I also add a teaspoon of sea salt (for minerals) to my sugar solution as well as a squirt of lemon juice to lower the pH so that it is closer to the pH of honey.
    Love your photos,
    AKs

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  6. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Hi Linda,
    Just thinking about my previous comment which I wrote close to midnight last night. I mix my sugar solution in a four litre (one gallon) milk jug. It is to THAT that I add the teaspoon of sea salt and the squirt of lemon, NOT into each litre (quart). That would probably make it too salty.
    AKs, Vancouver, Canada

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  7. I stumbled upon Linda's blog in a search for crush and strain information. Linda, you are awesome! You are a great teacher. I think you should try twittering! Thanks. Beth, Columbus, Ohio

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  8. Thanks, Beth, I don't think I can confine myself to so few characters! And what about pictures???

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  9. Anonymous7:24 PM

    Hi From the uk Linda.
    The reason your Nuc never touched the Baggie is because they cannot smell the sugar,you need to dripp a little onto the top bars so they know its there,otherwise it will be untouched.

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  10. That may be it, but I always make sure there is some sugar syrup pooled on the top of the bag. When I got to this bag that syrup had crystallized, closing the opening. Anyway, that hive is now combined with another - I hope they make it!

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