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I've been keeping this blog for nine years and now there are over 1200 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.

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

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Showing posts with label hive as swarm lure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hive as swarm lure. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free Bees

Free bees is a term that typically people apply to a swarm that they capture.  They are free, but it's some work - you have to go to the site, shake the bees into some kind of container, wait around for stragglers to join their mother, drive them to your apiary and install them in a box.  Yes, they don't cost any money but they definitely cost you in time.

Real free bees are the kind we found at Stonehurst Place this weekend.  We arrived for our inspection that we do every couple of weeks.  I've been in Colorado at a professional conference so we haven't been to Stonehurst in three weeks this time.

You'll remember our terrible robbing incident at Stonehurst at the end of bee season last year.  So we went into winter with one dead hive that I took down to one box and left as a swarm lure.  Then we had two live but small hives.  One hive survived the winter well enough but hasn't been bursting at the seams.  It's still only three boxes tall - enough for winter but not to rob.

The other hive dwindled and died - I don't think I reported it here, but we determined it was almost dead on May 2 and there were no live bees in it on May 19.  The hive did have honey in it - almost a full box.

The hive in the middle is the live hive that made it through the winter.

So this Saturday when we arrived to check on the one live hive at Stonehurst, to our surprise there were  truly FREE BEES!  The "dead hive" had been occupied by a swarm - and it had ivy growing up the front of the hive box!

We checked on the brood and found that there was capped brood that was medium biscuit in color (per Billy Davis).  This means that it was capped about two weeks ago.  So the swarm must have moved in just after Memorial Day.  We saw the queen - probably the gift of a new beekeeper whose newly purchased nuc swarmed.  She had a red dot on her back and was long and lovely:

If you look closely, you can see eggs in all of those cells.  She's hard at work and we were thrilled to have FREE BEES at the Stonehurst Inn.

I don't think unless some miraculous nectar flow happens that we will get any honey from Stonehurst this year, but it's nice to have two hives that we can work on keeping healthy through the winter.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Report on Rabun County Bees

On Sunday I drove up to Rabun County just for the day to check on the bees there.  I took Hannah, my dog, with me.  Hannah had a delightful time - she is a dog to whom rules do not apply: she sleeps on my bed; sits on the furniture; and loves to run off-leash on trails with stern signs at the beginning:  ALL DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH.

When we go to the community garden in Rabun County, I let her run free out of the car.  While I am checking bees, she is racing up and down the creek banks and running through the water.  She had fun.  I did not.

I found no bees in the remaining Rabun hive.  The first Rabun hive was dead before winter and someone/something destroyed the equipment.  The remaining Rabun hive was populated by a swarm last spring and the bees were still going strong in December.  Now, however, there are no bees.  They left the hive full of honey.   On the top of the slatted rack were dead hive beetles.

On the screened bottom board were less than 20 dead bees.

I brought the honey home and crushed it to feed to the new hives.  I hope there isn't anything wrong with the honey but I assume with honey's antiseptic qualities that the risk of the honey being OK is pretty high.

The only frame I could find with any brood looked like this:

I feel a need to explain that my brood comb typically doesn't look this dark and dirty.  I usually replace it every year, but a swarm moved into this hive with old comb before I knew they were there, so the hive didn't get its usual culling out of comb previous to spring.

Even with the SHB on the slatted racks, the honey had not been slimed.  I brought home six frames of honey that tasted like kudzu.

I put the hive back together and left it as a 2 box hive.  I smeared swarm lure (olive oil, beeswax and lemongrass oil) on the landing, under the inner cover and in several other places.  Maybe the feral hive in the wall of the abandoned school nearby will send a swarm my way.

Meanwhile, I'll make several nucs in Atlanta with the idea of taking one of them up to Rabun to have bees there this year.  My sweet friend, Julia, gave me a frame with at least one queen cell on it to do just that.  I added frames from the Morningside apiary to make the nuc and if it succeeds, I'll take it to Rabun County.

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