This is a journal I will be keeping to document my experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, in beekeeping. This will be my first year, 2011, keeping bees. We'll see how it goes. I will be keeping bees naturally, letting them build on foundationless frames, and without medication. This is also my first blog I have ever done and I am by no means a journalist or English major. So, if you see grammatical errors of any and all kinds don't be surprised. The looks of things on the blog will probably change several times before I come up with something that I like.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"h" I ' VE BEEN ROBBED


My mentor gave me a nuc at the later part of the season last year.  It was started too late in the year and ended up hopping on the Jesus train this winter.  The nuc is still outside and we went out yesterday and saw 30-40 bees "visiting" it.  I am hoping that a swarm will take up residence sometime this spring.  This is the first time I have got to be around bees without protection.  Anyway, as they were robbing out the leftover honey we thought we would see if we could hold them without getting stung.  I know robbing is not something one would want to encourage but there wasn't that much left in the nuc and I know that it is common to set out "wet" frames or extractors and let the bees clean them up.  So I felt it was ok. 

This is a video of my son opening up the nuc.  We already had been in the nuc several time before this video was done.  They were very gentle and never acted like we were there.  I was very proud of him for being so brave and keeping his movements very slow.
 video


I was able to hold a frame and watch them work around on the frame, all w/out gloves or veil.  The following is a couple of pics of my wife, son and I letting them eat some of the honey off our fingers.  She through me for a loop when she said she didn't care to do it.They were surprisingly gentle.




This is what they looked like hurrying in and out of the entrance. 

This was so much fun and I can't wait until I can have some permanently.  I am a little extra excited as well because my wife has show and interest in them now. 

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update!

This will be just a quick update since I haven't had a post in a while.  I really don't have anything going on so there isn't much to type about.  So I will just say what I've been up to the past few weeks.

To start with most of the short course around the area have been held this month.  I have gone to a couple of them.  I really didn't learn much as these are really for the person (I think) who knows absolutely nothing about beekeeping.  I was going with the hopes that I could learn something new.  My wife and son went with me to the last short course.  I am not so sure they are into it as much as I am, but we all won door prizes.  (nothing much but it gave my son something to smile about).  I did learn the basics of doing a split from a strong hive from one of the displays.  

I have been reading everyday (literally, I know it's like a drug, I just can't get enough) about beekeeping since the later part of last summer.  Watching beekeeping videos on youtube is fun as well.  JP and Hardwood from Beemasters are two of the ones I like to watch the most.  Jp brings a little humor in with his videos from time to time, which I like, but for the most part he tries to be educational with them.   

I mixed up a batch of swarm lure.  The recipe is from Linda at Linda's Bees.  I didn't have any beeswax for the lure so I got some from my local supplier who just happened to have some.  The recipe is really simple to make and based on words from others last a long time.  However, I have put it on the swarm traps and the smell is gone within about 4 days.  On the other hand, I put a pill bottle with  very small holes poked in the lid, with a cotton ball and 3-4 drops of lemongrass oil in it and strapped it with zip ties to one of the frames in the trap. A week and a half later you can still smell the lemongrass scent coming out of it. 

I have also finished getting all the necessary stuff purchased.  I get all my supplies from a local supplier, which saves on shipping.  He also is very competitive on his prices which make it even better.  I have purchased all my frames needed for my hive bodies and then some.  (I went ahead and got 100 of them, I'll use them sooner or later)  I also got my son an inspector's jacket, along with one for me, so he can be with me while I check in on them.  My supplier practically gave me a hive tool for my son when he found out he was gonna be helping me.  He said, "I'd much rather see a kid outside learning about nature, than inside playing them blame video games."  This pleased my son very much.  

I have made a frame assembly jig to put all the frames together.  These are really a time saver.  I also made a video on how to make one with a 1x4x8, but have since decided against posting it. It just wasn't informative enough.  Maybe some more practice and I can start make and posting some videos.   

I have finished up my hives and they are now awaiting bees.  Until I get some, I have rubbed the swarm lure in all the spots that Linda recommended.  I had so much fun building these. For the most part they were done, but I wanted a screened bottom board and have been tinkering with that part for a while.  But they are now done and I'm quite proud of how they turned out.  The stands that this one is on is not permanent, just something I slung together until I can build one for them.  The section of hive you can see to the left is part of a nuc that my mentor had given me back in the first part of  winter.  They died back in early December.  We didn't have much hope for these to make it from the beginning.

So that about catches up to where I am now.  I have placed a few of the traps I made around the county.  I have been told that if I haven't caught any bees by May, when the local order comes in for packages bees, that they will call me to see if I need a package of them.  So hopefully between the traps and packages I will have some bees shortly.  If not, I may try to purchase a nuc locally. 

Sorry for not posting is so long.  Hopefully, things will start to get busier here in the next little while and give me some things to talk about. 

Until next time, thanks for reading.
James