Sunday, February 22, 2015
The good news is that me and my camera woman got married and have just recently bought a house that we are turning into a homestead. Hop on over to dancingshelties.blogspot.com for more information. Beekeeping is one of our goals for 2016 so subscribe now so you don't forget!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I know it has been awhile since I posted. Most of the reason was that there simply wasn't much to post to be honest. My personal and professional life have been a lot of hurly burly these last few months. As a result I simply did not have a lot of time for beekeeping. But that is (hopefully) soon to change. Here are some of the upcoming plans for this year:
1) Make a real professional website. I will still maintain my blog, but I would like to make a site where I can sell beekeeping products, post hive equipment designs (since much of what I use is custom work), and have a gallery. I have already started this but as many of you know web site construction can be time consuming.
2) Get into swarm trapping. I have some great plans here which I will post at a later date.
3) Expand my operation. Originally I had big plans for 8 hives this year, but as a result of the lackluster nature of the bee grant and having to relocate my bees (I am no longer affiliated with the shady dealings of the brightwood general store) my plans have been set back. I persevere however and plan to go with 4 hives this year and I also plan to try making an observation hive.
4) And finally, I plan to learn from my mistakes in 2012 (which were many).
Keep an eye out for future updates!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
As many of you may know (if not browse some of my older posts) I chose to use jumbo popsicle sticks as comb guides. Unfortunately, my bees seem to ignore that comb guide and only use it when they would have built in that spot anyway because of the frame spacing. That left me with the choice of buying plastic foundation to cut into strip, beveling my own bars, buying the wedge type bars, or buying the beveled bars if I wanted to try a new type of foundationless frames. So I went ahead and bought 20 beveled top bar frames and I plan to try them out this weekend when I add a new hive super (bring my two hives to 4 hive bodies each!) to each of my hives. Stay tuned for the results of this experiment!
Another experiment I am currently working on is spacing my frames. As you may know from my earlier posts and/or videos, HTK's hive bodies leave a little extra room inside. This is an intentional part of their hive body design and is there for when the wood on the frames expand with propolis. Since my frames are new though, there is about 3/4ths of a frame worth of space left. I wanted to see if spacing them would work to resolve this issue (since I am using foundationless it causes one of my end frames to develop all kinds of burr and bridge comb issues with the side of the hive bodies). I did this spacing the saturday before last so this saturday I will see how the results are. If the spacing doesn't cause too many problems I will make a "spacer", but if not I will probably try to make an insert that fills in the extra space and change that out as the frames expand. It is a bit more work with either method but I really feel that a little extra effort for the first two years of a set of frames is worth it for a little less effort for the final eight or so years of a set of frames.
These two experiments are going to be the main thing I work on before the fall and winter. I plan to expand to eight hives next year so I really want to do as much experimenting as I can in the summer so I can devote my fall to research and my winter to expansion.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I also wanted to share some videos that were linked by a person on the http://www.beesource.com forums. These are videos from back in the 30s (no sound) so they give you an idea of how much has changed and how much has stayed the same in beekeeping over the last 80 years or so.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
I used frames I just built that did NOT have comb guides in them instead of breaking the comb guides on the already existing frames. I then cut the sheet of comb out of each frame that was in use and then set it in the empty frame on a table. Using five rubber bands, I created a " | \ | / | " pattern with the rubber bands and rested the bottom of the sheets of comb on the bottom bar of the frame. I am hoping that the way I have it, they will reattach the sides and fill in the stuff on the top of the sheet of comb and connect it to the top as well. I didn't take pictures or a video sadly, but next weekend I will probably take pictures of the success/failure of the experiment when I go to inspect the results and possibly try it with the other hive.
While I was about it I did a full inspection on both hives. It occurs to me today especially that it is very important to keep records and use a good hive inspection checklist while you are out there to remind you to check everything. While I was able to find the queen in Hive #2, I wasn't able to find her in Hive #1 (which was the hive I pretty much chopped apart and put back together). It is worrisome and (due to the rough nature of rubberbanding comb to frames) there is a good chance that Hive #1's queen might not have survived the process. fortunately I knew going in that they would have plenty of capped brood and before I committed to fixing the hive I made sure there was plenty of eggs and brood in all stages of development so that if necessary they can create a new queen. I am pretty sure she is ok because I didn't see any clusters forming around what would be pretty much a corpse.
I did a full inspection two weeks ago, but at that time they weren't nearly as far along so it wasn't nearly as fulfilling. Seeing all these small details (like being able to clearly see the difference between capped brood of both sizes, honey, and pollen) really made me feel like I was gaining valuable experience. All in all, it was a very eventful day. Next week's inspection really will be interesting.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
1) El' Cheapo Extra Veil. Everyone should at least own one good quality veil (I myself purchased a very high quality bee suit from my good friends at HTK) but almost as important is the ownership of a second veil for someone else to use. Unless you are the world's loneliest beekeeper, you will almost certainly have someone show enough interest in your bees to want to be out there with you while you are working the hives. But since such occurrences are uncommon and the extra person may not be a priority target for the bees, there is absolutely no reason to spend too much money on an extra veil. The one I have above is a white "boonie" cap (i.e. the "old man hat") that has sewn around the edge a mosquito net. Both of these things can probably be gotten from friends and family members who don't mind giving them up or from thrift stores and yard sales for practically nothing. Pretty much this is 98% elbow grease and not even a whole lot of that.