Archive | April, 2012

Rhode Island Swarm Removal – Bee Swarm – Bee Catching!

11 Apr

I’m really hopeful that swarming season starts soon!  One of my favorite threads on beesource’s forum is the “post your swarm dates” thread.  It’s a compendium of swarm dates, locations, and management styles.  It’s a fun read for so many reasons, but I love watching the Northern creep!  I’ve seen some posts from Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia – and a few that noted agricultural zone 6b (which is often how Providence is classed).  I think it’s only a matter of a week or so before we start seeing calls up here.  I’d love to catch some bees this spring!  I have a hive ready and waiting.  Heeeeeeere little honey-bee!  buzz buzz!  (If you want me to come get bees from you – email


Pollen = Brood!

10 Apr

It’s a little nerve wrackng not to be able to see into the box the girls are building into, but today there was a TON of pollen going in and pollen generally speaking means brood rearing, which is what I’m counting on!  Also almost all of the dead bees are off the bottom of the hive which is a good sign too.  I made a video of the activity around the hive this afternoon.  Lots of pollen going in and a few of their dead coming out.  Seems like a happy, healthy bunch….or at least I hope so!

I also baited my other hive with LGO today.  Fingers crossed on that one!

Quiet Bees are Queenright Bees!

6 Apr

I sort of opened up the hive this morning – took the roof and the quilt off to get at the feeder to fill it, since I might not be able to go back out until Tuesday at this point.  The hive was nearly silent, but the feeder area was jam packed with bees guzzling down the  syrup.  Quiet bees are queenright bees, so I’m feeling pretty confident that they’ve accepted her.  I want to name her, but not until I see some brood going in….which may be a bit since they seem to be building into a box I can’t see into.  I was going to try to peer down through the feeder but it was super full of bees and it was a little chilly still – there were bees flying but I felt bad about having the roof off – so I just filled and buttoned it back up again.  If I can get out there Sunday, I will – but if not, I don’t have a window until Tuesday.  I’ll snoop around, take some pictures, and fill the feeder again – unless it’s raining – which it may be.

I also just ordered some lemon grass oil to bait my TBH with.  I want those neighbor bees to swarm on over here!

Bee Roller Coaster – with 100% more Nasonov Fanning

4 Apr

I’ve been pretty nervous about whether the girls had accepted their queen or not.  Stupid human error and poof.  Yesterday, I peered into the windows, and unfortunately I think they’re building in the spacer 1/2 box that I put in under the feeder, so I can’t see anything.  More newbie issues.  I took some pictures to share:

That third pic is up inside the window on the top box looking up toward the spacer box that I think they’re all in.  Harrumph.

They’ve been doing a lot of sanitation – bringing dead bees out – which I took to be a good sign.  At first, they were just booting them out the entrance, but now they’re flying them a few feet from the hive, although there seem to be a few very energetic worker bees that are flying their dead sisters out over the yard and dropping them there.

This morning, I decided to sweep up the roof – a bunch of dead bees from install combined with what they’ve brought out and it was getting a little depressing looking out there.  As I was sweeping I found a really big bee in the dust pan and got all mournful.  They killed the queen!  They dragged her outside!  I failed at install!

Spoiler Alert : not a queen bee.

I called up to my bee place and explained the situation asking what I could do – they asked me if I’d seen the queen marking on her back – I said no, that I thought I had gotten an unmarked queen.  They checked the list and apparently, I’d gotten a marked queen – no paint = not my queen!

Relief!  Then I checked my book, and that looks a heck of a lot like a drone bee.  Phew!  Not the queen.

I went back up to finish sweeping and then sat down to watch them for a bit and I took a video thinking that I’d like to watch it more closely inside.

It’s hard to see – it turns out that youtube likes it better when I video sideways.  I’ll probably make another video soon, but the key part about this one is that on watching it, I noticed that one of the girls (center left and she doesn’t really go anywhere, so you can sort of see it) is Nasonov fanning!  Head down, ass up – fanning her wings like mad!

Super blurry, very cropped video still - the posture is unmistakable.

This is exciting news!  I’m pretty sure this means that they’re queenright!  Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m choosing to be excited about this.

Now if they will please start building into the correct box and not onto the bottom of the dang feeder, so I can really see what’s going on, that would be great.

Package Bee Install – Warre Hive

3 Apr

I got my bees today!  I went up to North East Bee Supply and picked up my girls from Rick.

Safety first!

I think they were pooping out the bars all over my car seat…weird.  They also got REALLY angry sounding and loud in the tunnel – I’ll bet the pressure threw them off- they calmed down again when we got beyond it.  I brought them home, took them out on the roof, grabbed my tools and then…

I installed them into the hive!  I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be – in fact it was pretty exciting, and I’d love to do it again – unless it meant my bees were dead, then I wouldn’t like it.  I made a video with the help of my neighbor, Ashley.  It gets a little silly and motion-sick-y toward the end, but it’s 9 minutes of good, clean bee install.

I made one major mistake – I took the cork out of the wrong end of the queen cage – which either means she is dead right now or it’s fine.  They seemed to be really interested in her and had even started building comb on the outside of the queen cage near her – which to me means they’re strong and active and into it (I can’t find any reference online to bees building comb in the package anywhere!) – but I’m a newbie, so I could be wrong.  I emailed the guy I got them from (Rick) and my teacher (Mel) to see if they had any thoughts or advice – I’ll go out there tomorrow and see what I can see through the windows.

Also, another friend who was over today informed me that her mother wants us to call it Sweet Honey in the Rox (our neighborhood : Roxbury).  Popular opinion on this is yes…so maybe that’s what our jars will eventually say…and maybe I’ll change my blog title.

When I told everyone that we probably wouldn’t have honey until next Spring they were pretty dismayed and are all doing mondo nectar flow dances.  I told them if we had 4 full boxes, I’d take one off – meaning honey in September – but we’ll see.

Warre Hive on the Roof

1 Apr

For my birthday, Marla built me a gorgeous Warre style hive.  It’s about 97% done – the observation doors need knobs and insulation – but other than that, she’s complete and gorgeous and on the roof waiting for tenants.

Speaking of tenants – they’ll be here tomorrow!

Mel also had a hive opening today so we could get up close and personal.  I took a few pictures.

His ladies have been busy!

The Vermont Sail Freight Project

A Sailing Cargo Initiative Connecting the Farms and Forests of Vermont with the Lower Hudson Valley

Borrowed Stilts

Let's not fail everything, shall we?

Sweet Honey in the Rox

Home in the City, Heart in Vermont - trying to find a wild medium.

mistress beek

Urban beekeeping

The Curious Quilter

Curiosity breeds creativity. What are you curious about?