Thursday, March 3, 2016

Last Inspection before winter--October 2015

The hives are pictured above as they were before I started my final inspection of the year in mid-October.

The left hand hive is a split I made back in June.  It is not sitting up on a stump like the others so it looks a little short.  Before the snow flies, I will set it up higher.  The queen cells that I put in with nurse bees and brood, failed to hatch or just died, or who knows?  No queen present.  I drove to BetterBee and bought a nice northern raised queen.  She has had all summer to build her brood into a nice full hive.  The yellow super is full of late honey.  I did not remove it because I had treated for mites.  This will be their winter food.

The center colony is my colony that has wintered over the last two winters.  It was a fabulous production hive this summer.  I took off about 70 pounds of honey from this one.  And I should have taken more, but I stopped too early.  Note for next year:  Don't put in the mite strips until after the really great nectar flow.  As a result, I do not have any very dark red bamboo honey this year. The fall nectar run was the best ever.  But I had put in the mite strips making the honey unusable to all but the bees.  They became quite honey bound in early September.  I was forced to take out some of those full frames of late honey and store them.  I checker boarded some drawn and new frames in both boxes and gave them room to raise more brood.
The final inspection showed that the brood in the bottom box had all hatched and it was all but empty in spots, so I rearranged some and put some of the honey back in for the winter.
The queen in this hive went missing in August sometime.  I re-queened with a queen from Warm Colors Apiary.  This queen was raised here in the Pioneer Valley.

The right hand hive--the red boxes--is my spring package from Georgia.  They also thrived and did so well that I was able to harvest some honey from this hive also.

So all the queens are new this year.  They all have blue dots.  But each was raised in a different environment.; one from near the Canadian border, one quite local in western Massachusetts, and one from Georgia.  All of them have been quite easy to handle.  (Glad to be rid of last year's kind of testy group of bees, who were also the messiest builders of burr comb ever!)

This is a nice late frame of brood.  I like how much brood there is and the honey surrounding it.  I am not seeing a lot of stored pollen on the frames.   I will need to feed pollen patties in the spring for sure.  I saw open and capped brood in all three hives but never saw a queen.  I would say that is because of how crammed with bees they all are.

I am using a mix of Pierco frames which I paint with extra beeswax, and wooden frames with wax foundation.  There are also some new wooden frames with plastic foundation that I won at a raffle.
It doesn't seem to me like the bees care much.   I enjoyed harvesting the honey off the Piercos because they are so sturdy.
A big bear was around a bit in the spring, but seems to have moved on.  No trouble with him and the hives.  The electric fence is always on.   (Wish I could say the same for our ever increasing fox problems.)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Welcome back.  I've been hibernating.  There is a new page at the top of the blog called hive notes.  That is where I plan to keep the beekeeping blogs this year.  The bees were out flying for the first time in 2015.  Go to the link for a whole blog on the bees.

Elsewhere in the yard:

 The tractor is under there somewhere.

 That little "duck house" sitting in the garden has quite a load of snow on it.  That is NOT from the snow blowing, it has just fallen there.  Notice the picket fence? I thought not.  Almost gone.
 The hens are VERY tired of the negative chills.  But today got to see the sun.  We had to let, Frank, the rooster, go on to a better place in the middle of this awful winter.  He was never a very hearty guy.

 The snow is M E L T I N G!!!!! off the garage and carving a little trough in the snow.
 We are down to the last row of firewood in the shed.
 Jello LOVES the snow.
 The snow slides, or is pulled off the slate roof, and lands in front of the dining room windows.  That is about 8 feet tall now.
 S L I D E!!!   I caught this piece just as it slid off.  A very good thing, indeed, because today is just a fluke.  It will drop to the negative temps again tonight and MORE SNOW is coming in a couple of days.  yeah. not.
Our path out.  I think the only thing keeping me going is that today is Downton Abbey day and there is going to be a wedding.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Brrr. Icy window pane at daybreak

Fascinating.  To me.  Pretty pink morning sky.

Friday, December 5, 2014

John Hancock Tower Boston

Adding while strolling downtown.  iPhone photos do not enlarge well into anything here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas lights

I like the tree silhouette here.  This was on temple square last Christmas.  (Day two of my own challenge and I have a nasty cold and don't want to go outside and take photos today.)   But I'm headed in to Boston and the Nutcracker at the Opera House, so I will try to do something extraordinary there. ?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ice Glazed Morning

I have a goal to work on my photography skills during December.
I have downloaded the manual for my CanonEOS 40D and plan to review (or read for the first time) how to make some better shots.
So, dear readers, look for at least one new photo a day for December. And since I am beginning on December 3rd--three photos today.

We had more than a foot of snow out here the day before Thanksgiving.  It rained pine branches.  The power went out.  We made a Thanksgiving Feast for 18 people with absolutely NO electricity.  We were all ready to sit down to a candlelit dinner, when the the power returned.  Memorable.

Last night.  Ice storm.  And these images from this morning.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Brimfield Score for the Queen Bee

Brimfield Score!!  

I am always looking for galvanized and for things related to the bees.  So, this was a no brainer.  At Brimfield, you have to buy before you can figure out where things will end up.  It is impossible to go back for an item later.   So, here it is now.  On the beadboard wall in the mud room.  I feel like the queen bee now.  Dozens of little bee cells to put things in.  Dried flowers, garden tools, bee tools, gloves, mittens, hats. . . .

It is very heavy, so it is hung with 4 large bolts in each corner.  J gets me, so he found some rusty, funky old bolts-just right.  I love my handy man.

Template by Pink + Lola