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Old 04-26-2014, 06:52 PM   #61
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Today was bee arrival day. I turned out to be the only person at the pickup spot in coveralls, marking me as the most nervous newbie in the crowd. I made from an industrial section of Denver to the house with the bees covered up in the back of the truck without incident. There were no stragglers running loose and the bees were pretty calm, so the kids came out to get a better look and feed the package of bees with a sugar syrup spray down. Then I shooed them in, pulled the queen and installed her in the hive. The bees were placid even when I had to bang the cage to clear them off the queen cage. When it was time to put them in the hive, things were different quickly. Without the queen they get upset. I banged the cage again to get them away from the opening and the tone of the buzzing immediately became angrier and louder. I managed to keep my cool, dumped 3 pounds of bees in the hive, closed it up, installed the feeders and make my escape without a single sting. Full coveralls, boots, a headscreen hat and gauntlet gloves did the trick. Within a couple hours the hive was pretty calm and looked like business as usual. This afternoon my eldest was safely watching the foragers return for the day from maybe 5 feet away without incident. The dogs seem to have no interest in the hive, which is a major relief.
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:19 AM   #62
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Hey Brewer...That made my day! Your girls are gonna love it...you will see! If you ever do get a little honey, the girls can take a jar to school, show the teacher and say that their bees made that! The sugar water you give the bees will help them make comb. And when you see the bees bringing in pollen...that's a good sign they are bringing it in to feed brood. Pollen means all is well.

I suggest putting some lawn chairs nearby in the yard once the bees have settled in and watch the goings on. It's mesmerizing and relaxing...like watching a campfire I have discovered. Better than TV! They all have their own little lives and it's interesting trying to figure out what they are doing.

I made a beekeeping friend that lives about 1 1/2 miles from me. Actually we met thru the BeeSource forum. Larry has about 12 hives and is bug bitten, too. Anyways, he called me this week to see and help with a swarm that came from one of his hives. And here's a few pics of Larry retrieving the swarm back into a hive. The swarm left again...so we put the swarm and hive are over in my yard...at a new location. They should not leave this time. I will feed and watch them.
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File Type: jpg Larrys Swarm 4-22-2014 (2).JPG (297.8 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Larrys Swarm 4-22-2014 (3).JPG (289.1 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg Larrys Swarm 4-22-2014 (4).JPG (206.4 KB, 15 views)
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:21 AM   #63
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More pics as the story unfolds...
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File Type: jpg Larrys Swarm 4-22-2014 (10).JPG (236.2 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg Larrys Swarm 4-22-2014 (11).JPG (166.9 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg Swarm Hive 4-25-2014 (2).JPG (218.3 KB, 16 views)
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:59 PM   #64
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I actually still have two empty hives sitting in my front yard. I generally say I'll get back into bees when the bears stop knocking the empty hives over, or when a swarm repopulates my hives. So far the bears keeping knocking the hives over at least a few times a year, and the swarms keep finding better quarters elsewhere.
A bear visited and knocked an empty hive over this week. Guess I'll stay retired from my bee keeping hobby awhile longer.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:58 PM   #65
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A bear visited and knocked an empty hive over this week. Guess I'll stay retired from my bee keeping hobby awhile longer.
Or take up bear hunting.
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:43 PM   #66
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Or take up bear hunting.
That's my vote, too. Maybe an electric fence with peanut butter on the wires.

Brewer...Your bees should begin sucking up the sugar water. That swarm in the hive in my back yard is drinking 2 quarts a day. Have you and the girls been watching them come and go?
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:01 PM   #67
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That's my vote, too. Maybe an electric fence with peanut butter on the wires.

Brewer...Your bees should begin sucking up the sugar water. That swarm in the hive in my back yard is drinking 2 quarts a day. Have you and the girls been watching them come and go?
We have had rather variable weather. When I put them in Saturday I saw a ton of activity with foragers coming and going. The next 3 days were cold, crappy and windy. Today I finally saw a lot of foraging activity as the weather improved. I am planning on getting into the hive on Friday when I will check the feeders as well. I have been very reluctant to get back in there with overnight lows close to freezing the last few days. The two feeders I stuck on the hive when I installed the package held 2 gallons of 1:1 syrup. Think I should be worried about them running out of syrup?
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:07 PM   #68
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I snuck a peak this morning before foragers were active in front of the hive. There was a mass of bees sucking syrup and they had gone through about half of the 2 gallons I put on the hive on Saturday. Today was a lot warmer and less windy than recent days and we saw a ton of foragers doing there thing. The bees are getting into all sorts of plants and the pollen they are carrying back to the hive ranges from palest yellow, to brown, to an almost neon/dayglow orangey red. Hard not to stand in front of the hive and watch.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:41 PM   #69
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Maybe an electric fence with peanut butter on the wires.
Wouldn't that just piss the bear off?
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:16 PM   #70
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Wouldn't that just piss the bear off?
That's what you do for deer, dogs, bear, etc...They touch it with their nose or tongue and then they know to stay away. Otherwise, they will go through it and not be conditioned the first time.

Brewer...Put the sugar water to the bees. They will take it and if they don't you can see and draw back. As your temperature warms the bees will be using more. They are using most of it to make comb. You gotta have comb for eggs to be laid in and to get the colony started. The bees will store sugar water and start packing in pollen for the brood that will be hatching. We have a place here in Columbia where 50 pound sacks of sugar can be bought for around $18...Chef's Store. With the hives we have started, I make it up in 5 gallon loads. It's odd, but not all the hives drink it up in even quantities. Maybe some have more foragers than other hives?
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:59 PM   #71
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That's what you do for deer, dogs, bear, etc...They touch it with their nose or tongue and then they know to stay away.
Once when I was painting a ground level front deck with open access, I borrowed a neighbor's electric wire unit and set it up.......once all the local dogs had been zapped I removed the wire, returned the unit, and replaced the wire with string...dogs kept away.

Bears though I thought might just get enraged.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:31 PM   #72
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Brewer...Put the sugar water to the bees. They will take it and if they don't you can see and draw back. As your temperature warms the bees will be using more. They are using most of it to make comb. You gotta have comb for eggs to be laid in and to get the colony started. The bees will store sugar water and start packing in pollen for the brood that will be hatching. We have a place here in Columbia where 50 pound sacks of sugar can be bought for around $18...Chef's Store. With the hives we have started, I make it up in 5 gallon loads. It's odd, but not all the hives drink it up in even quantities. Maybe some have more foragers than other hives?
I suspect that some hives either have more foragers or they are just better at coordinating their efforts to hit the best sources of nectar.

I worked the hive for the first time today. I was a bit to nervous and used too much smoke, but the hive was pretty tolerant. I saw a goodly amount of comb on 3 frames and the queen is out of her cage. I cleaned up a bunch of bridge comb and put everything back together. I swapped my two feeders for fresh ones. The bees seem to have used a bit less than a gallon of syrup in 6 days. I see a ton of foraging activity and damn near everything is in bloom, so I suspect the bees are taking advantage of the nectar flow. I am going to leave the hive alone for a week and then try to confirm that the queen is laying.

The bees were placid enough even with my clumsiness and overuse of smoke that I am planning to get my hands on a kid size suit and let them come with and watch as I work the hive.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:58 AM   #73
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Brewer...Your bees will pick up in the coming weeks. In a few days or week, check to see how the queen is laying. A newly laid egg is about the size of a pencil dot and hard to see through a veil. You may need to take it off and use a magnifying glass. That's what I did. Us retirees can't see up close as good as we used to...

Kids suits:
Children's Clothing-Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, Inc.

It's been about 5 weeks since we installed the first package. I checked it a couple days ago and that hive is booming. They were working on about 7 of the 10 frames and filling them out. So...I rotated the frames on the ends, pulled a frame from about the 3rd slot and put it in the middle of a second box which I put on top. The brood are hatching out and the hive is swelling and they are busy as bees. Expansion seems almost exponential. The other hives are not as far along yet.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:13 PM   #74
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Well, I looked at the hives and it looks like in another week or so we may be putting another hive body on a couple nucs, (the ones that have the bricks standing on end), that were installed April 12 and 17th. I also added more length for future hive expansion. The bees are still sucking up the sugar water and making comb out of it. Here's a couple pics.
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File Type: jpg Our beehives 5-7-2014 (1).JPG (189.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Our beehives 5-7-2014 (2).JPG (187.1 KB, 9 views)
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:38 PM   #75
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Redbug,,

What are you going to do with all that honey once the hives mature? Next fall might look pretty sticky
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:23 PM   #76
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Dave, when do you think you will add a super to the hive with the second brood box already on it? I am going into my hive tomorrow and hoping to see signs that make me want to add another box.

Picked up a 50# bag of sugar on my Costco run yesterday.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:43 PM   #77
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Redbug,,

What are you going to do with all that honey once the hives mature? Next fall might look pretty sticky
I think we will sell it. A lot of people we know have been asking to buy some. I think people are interested in buying a product that they see is from a friend and is local. They can even come and see the bees and bee hives that make it.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:49 PM   #78
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Dave, when do you think you will add a super to the hive with the second brood box already on it? I am going into my hive tomorrow and hoping to see signs that make me want to add another box.

Picked up a 50# bag of sugar on my Costco run yesterday.

Brewer...When you have 7 or 8 frames filled out in your lower box...that's when you add another on top. Also you may want to rotate the frames on the ends to get them filled out better, since the bees work from the inside out. When you put another box on top, take a frame...maybe the third from one end...and put it in the middle of the one you add on top. That will entice the bees to start working upward a little faster.

Here is a suggestion that my beekeeper friend Larry sent me today. Larry is on another level as you can tell by his thinking. I am going to take his advise when adding a level
to those hives.

This is what Larry wrote:

"Order of boxes...

Dave have you thought about what order you place the boxes on this first year?

Those pesky old timers have all the comb and more options. But a little manipulation could gain you a little honey for you guys this first year.

The plan you have chosen is to overwinter in two deeps. Two deeps would be used by the queen to raise brood and provide food storage. Cool. That's the plan.

But remember you have until winter to get the colony to draw that comb and make stores. What if you placed the medium on top of the first deep and let them draw it out next? She probably would lay in it but that's okay. When they get it almost pulled out (which will be really fast now that you have 1) a workforce of some size AND 2) a nectar flow) then take it off, place the second deep on top of the first deep and place the medium back on but now on top. Make sure she is in the bottom box. Now, you have a situation where she's in the bottom, but because you have a little brood, and honey on top, the bees are drawn up to the medium having to pass that darn empty box. Oh well, might as well draw it out too they say to themselves. Oh yeah, it might also help to take a few frames from the bottom deep and place in the second deep. If all works well, the bees hatch out of the medium and then they use that space for honey storage. Take a few frames or as many as you feel comfortable with taking. No where is it written you have to harvest in June either.

Just some thoughts.

Larry"
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Hey Brewer...Ain't it great being retired? I never thought it would be this fun. It's hard to imagine I had the life I used to have. Life really IS Good!
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:12 PM   #79
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Interesting ideas from your pal, Dave. I like honey and beeswax real well, but I guess I am a lot more interested in learning, watching and getting the colony going this year. We are already talking about where we could place a second hive next spring, so spousal approval is a non-issue. I will be working the hive tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it. My 7 YO helped me mix up syrup tonight for the feeder swap tomorrow and it was an opportunity to explain that "a pint's a pound the world around" and get her to see that we could actually use math for something (in this case figuring out how much water to add to the 4# of sugar).

Retirement is pretty sweet, I will say. I am greatly looking forward to the kids being out of school this summer.

Just a suggestion, but there really is not a whole lot better than homemade honey beer and with your own honey it would be even sweeter. If you have not yet tried your hand, this might be a good opportunity. I have a good recipe and will be working up another one next week for a strong honey beer (braggot) that I would be happy to share if it turns out well.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:30 PM   #80
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Brewer...Beer...Ahhh, another tangent in life to pursue. You have my attention. Let me know how the new recipe works out. A couple friends have mentioned mead. I think beer is better...

And Larry says a good beekeeper is one that can overwinter their hives with little losses.
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