Tag Archives: warre

Warre, Baby! – Downward Motion! – Nadiring!

17 Jul

The watched warre never goes downward?  After a 2 week vacation and a week and a half where I couldn’t get out to Queen Juju Bee’s hive, I returned to find her in pretty immediate need of nadir – after not having anything in the bottom box at last check.

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Upstairs and downstairs full!

 

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Lots of hot bees – even in the late, late afternoon!

 

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So nadiring happened!!!  

The top box was SO HEAVY!  I love that.  

I never wear the full suit except when it’s so hot that I’m wearing shorts…which is maybe paradoxical.  Also, I feel like a ghost buster.  I really like the traditional face mask better than the fencing style, but either way.  Who ya gonna call?

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Three high and about to get the roof put back on!

And, I don’t have honey yet – but I have another sweet reward in the interim – there’s a black raspberry bush about 4 feet from the hive.  I’m up to 6 pints of jam (and counting).

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More Bee Expansion….aka I am a Bee Hoarder. Big Update.

19 Jun

So, let’s see….

After the disaster of a crop & chop, which never really shaped up to be anything but a mess, I hived Betty up the hill into a foundationless Langrstroth next to Foster hive.  I had this whole plan about how I was going to put the styronuc into this rubbermaid container I keep all my bee junk in, but it didn’t fit.

So plan B…which I had to formulate on the fly…involved closing said rubbermaid container, rolling my window all the way down, and balancing the nuc on top of the container with the door out the window….and driving really really really slowly with a smoker lit and my veil on. Luckily, I was just driving it from one end of a farm to another, so really less than a quarter of a mile and no real roads.

20130619-190034.jpgOk, there’s sort of a picture….the corner of a white thing in the mirror is the nuc sticking out my window…and then you can obviously see the smoke.

20130619-190051.jpgAnd here’s Foster hive on the left, I really need to combine that down into one box…although I’m tempted to let them sort themselves out.  Then there’s Betty all tucked into her single brood box, and the lavender styronuc waiting to be cleared out totally.  It’s empty now and stored away.

Cleo, at the other end of Scratch Yard is doing great – she’s on 13 or 14 bars and building like a little champ.  I couldn’t seem to get a good shot in the window last week, but I’m headed out tomorrow to check on them and do some other work….

I checked on Miss JuJuBee last week it seems like they’re starting to move down into the second box.  I have fingers crossed hard on that one.  Last year my girls in that hive swarmed rather than move down.  I have seed comb in the second box *and* I put a swarm trap out in the woods a bit just in case.  Here are two pictures of her girls:

20130619-191155.jpgPollen pants!  I love it when their pollen baskets are full and they have puffy pollen pants!

20130619-191204.jpgHere’s looking at you, kid.

Then!!! I got a community garden space (I alluded to that previously).  I’ve been doing a lot of work unearthing it from weed city.  It’s coming along.  They told me I could have a hive there, which I was really excited about and then the other community garden that I was on a waiting list for said I could keep a hive there too!  Two hives!  So I brought the long hive (Daphne) to the garden I am gardening in:

20130619-191441.jpgThis is Daphne in my little plot…in the distance….failing at blending in.

I think we’re up to last Wednesday now.  So I needed two nucs, found them!  Went and got them! Brought them back!  Got a hive for one of them, another foundationless Lang – I’m calling her Eleanor.  Hived her up right quickly on…I think it was Monday.

Today I went into the garden with the intention of doing an actually assisted Chop and Crop…better prepared and on a nuc that was all wood instead of all plastic…look, I’m learning.  Here’s my helpful friend in my spare bee suit:

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I pulled the nuc away from where it was, got the HTBnuc that I made (featured in my last post in all its adorableness), and went to work.  I figured, I’d chop and crop into the HTBnuc a few yards from the site of where the other hive is and nuc was so that there would be fewer bees around and that I could just drop the bars into the long hive when I was done with the traumatic operation.

I was wrong, as usual.

First, I’d accidentally switched nucs so there was a plastic frame in there, lame.  I figured I could just put that into Eleanor (the already hived Lang) no problem.

I was wrong about that too.

First things first, I shook the bees off of the first frame and into my nuc, helpful friend cut the bottom, the comb came loose, and then I noticed a little queen cell on it that was opened….so I put the brakes on.

I lay that frame out to be robbed as it was mostly nectar and set about shaking the loose bees off of every frame and into the nuc, figuring I’d shake a swarm into the nuc, check out the rest of the frames, and see what was going on.

When I really got in there and looked there were 6<<<<<<< SIX<<<<<<< queen cells in varying sizes on a variety of the frames.  Three of them were open.  Three of them were still sealed.

So I closed the nuc back up (after shaking almost all the loose bees out of it) and put it back where a mini swarm of returning field bees was congregating on the side of my raised bed.

And then I watched, thunk, and had a little snack.

A lot of the bees from the shaking process ended up outside of the new nuc.

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But within an hour they were all into the little nuc and fanning and foraging and quiet.  From that, I’d say there’s a queen in there.

I ran over to my new favorite spot, Cluck!, to get a new hive figuring that I’d just move all the frames with the other half of the bees into a new foundationless langstroth and call it good…but then as I thought about it more, I realized that I didn’t want to waste all of the queen cells and sooooooo….

I hived up almost all of the frames into the new foundationless Lang…who needs a G name…Genevieve and faced it away from where the nuc was facing and I left a different frame with a queen cel in the nuc (alone) and faced it to the side of where the nuc had been facing and stacked it up on top of the two Lang hives that are there figuring that they’d split themselves all up amicably (I hope) and I can take that frame and the bees in it tomorrow morning and take them down to the farm where Alice is empty – chop and crop that one frame, add the bees that are in the box, go get a couple of bars from Cleo and bring them down and call THAT a split….which leaves:

Alice (HTBH at Zephyr, currently empty) with a queen cell, some bees, and a few borrowed bars from Cleo.  Work to do tomorrow.

Betty, last seen about 10 days ago tucked into her foundationless Lang up on Scratch.  Next check tomorrow.

Cleo, last seen about 10 days ago being blue ribbon and wonderful in her HTBH up on Scratch.  Next check tomorrow.

Daphne empty in Sycamore Yard…but once I get back in two weeks I’ll move her to the other community garden (Brattle), bring the baby nuc over and transfer the bars into it….so next update in two weeks.

Eleanor – foundationless Lang full of happy bees being normal in Sycamore Yard.  Next check in two weeks.

Foster hive – status unknown…but couldn’t be worse than when I found her…next check tomorrow…up on Scratch.

Genevieve – newly hived foundationless Lang in Sycamore Yard, next check in two weeks, although she’s short a frame and I should probably put that in tomorrow…although they were QUITE irritable when I left today.

JuJuBee – Being a darling in Lincoln Yard, I think…next check tomorrow.

Jean Grey – Awaiting a swarm in Lincoln Yard.

And that’s that….sort of a fail…and I got chased from the yard…ha…but also sort of exciting!

June 1st, 2013 – Part Three – Finally, the good stuff.

1 Jun

Ok, so the rest of it.  I stopped by to check on Juju Bee and her gallies are going like gangbusters.

20130601-225608.jpgLike so!  I was thinking of opening her up and checking for brood, but I could actually see some through the window, and I feel fine about not poking around in the warre too much.  The bars are fixed (not my choice, and I think I’m going to pry them out of other boxes and make guides…but this box is from last year) – so opening it up is sort of just tipping up the box and looking inside it.  But I decided to channel Emile and leave it….BUT ALSO, IT’S FILLING UP WITH HONEY!  GO JUJU GO!

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This is what I could see into the second box…it looks like they’re making chains…hopefully they’re soon to be making comb!   I’m really cheering them on to moving down.  There’s a chunk of seed comb in there, so hopefully they’ll take the hint!

Then I went to check on Cleopatra – I haven’t opened that hive up yet, just looked through the window…but the comb is much newer and there hasn’t been as much to see, so today I opened her up and looked around.  I really enjoy the process of inspecting a KTBH – it’s sort of like looking through a filing cabinet…and the ladies don’t seem to mind it at all.

Oh, also, they’re still on as many combs as they were last week…which made me worry that they might be honey bound…they were brood, brood, mixed brood and stuff, mixed brood and stuff, honey, honey, little comb with honey.

So I slid the whole operation back two bars and inserted two bars into the brood nest between some of the mixed bars.

20130601-225816.jpgThat’s one of the mixed bars.  Cleo was walking around and I was trying to get a picture of her, but I am not sure she’s visible in there.  I also reached down and pulled the queen cage out.  Easy peasy.

20130601-225824.jpgThis is through the observation window right now…some bars, a blank, a bar, a blank, some bars.  They look happy and healthy though!

So after all the bad stuff…that’s the good stuff.   I like to end on a good note…even if my day didn’t.

 

Bees Loose in my Car! (and a bunch of other little updates)

28 May

The weather has been pretty cold and rainy this week again, but since JuJuBee and the newly named Cleopatra have observation windows, I was able to peek in anyway.

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That’s the full panorama of JuJu Bee’s workings.  On closer inspection, there’s definitely honey being stored away!

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Also, out on the front porch, there’s the definite posture of Nasanov fanning going on.

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Over on Scratch Farm, Cleopatra has a lot of work going on as well.   Her girls had 7 bars built out on Friday and so I popped another one in for good measure.

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Even though there was intermittent drizzle happening, the entrances were hopping. Now that they’re pretty set up, I’ve opened two of the front three holes and have popped off the Winter bottom board (well, I took the picture first and then took the bottom board off).

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On a neighboring farm, the farmer has asked me to keep a few hives for her as well.  Finding bees after package season is a bit of a pain, but I found a nuc in New Haven, CT and dashed over there to grab them on Friday afternoon.

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There’s a whole lot going on in there!  Because Betty was a close 2nd in the naming poll, I’ve decided that this is Queen Betty.  And, unbeknownst to me, I got a pic of her little butt as I was grabbing the shot of the frame.

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On the far left side about a third of the way down the frame is Betty Bee’s Beeeeeehind.  Doing her job!

On the hour and a half drive between New Haven and Cranston, I had the nervewracking experience of having bees loose in my car.  One got out pretty quickly and soon several more followed.  It was a bit of a nail biter to be sure, but they hung out on the ceiling, for the most part, and didn’t come see what I was doing….which was definitely for the best.

 

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This is their temporary hive in their new home – woods, and farm fields, oh my!

IMG_5767Coming out to explore a little…

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And this is a few hours’ progress on their new home!  I’m working on it in the wood shop in the studio where I teach.  I’ve got the followers and about 5 bars made (although with no comb guides) and the body.  Before I head home tonight, I’ll make a bunch more bars and figure out some kind of comb guide and then I’ll probably put together another set of followers so I can make a second hive body tomorrow (I have the bits for it).  I also need to figure out roofing and legs.  I have some legs-material at home, but not enough I don’t think.  I’m hoping to have at least one complete hive for Friday…and if I have two, then I have two and that will be exciting!

Spring is bursting into summer and I’ve got a lot going on!  I’m hoping to find another nuc or  two if anyone knows of one in New England!

Queen JuJu Bee, released!

16 May

I went over to visit Queen JuJu Bee and the Warre hive this afternoon.  I’d been meaning to check all week, but with the cold/damp we’ve been having, I didn’t want to open up the hive.  77 degrees and sunny today and with a free hour in the afternoon, I headed over to check in with the girls.

First, I peeked in the window.

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Lots of bees doing lots of bee things!  It’s hard to get a clear picture because the windows are reflective, but it looks like they’ve already got a *little* honey going in there.  Which, obviously, is what we like to see!  There’s clear evidence of both new comb and some work being done on the old comb they were given, so go girls!

I popped the feeder off, which was bone dry, and then looked down in between the bars – lots and lots of activity!

Then I pried up the corner of the top box and looked in to where I’d left the queen cage.  If it were empty, there wouldn’t be a lot of mind paid to it, and I’d be able to reach in and grab it.  When I looked in, I noticed that it was totally COVERED with bees.

I reached in, pulled her out – she was very much alive, thankfully!  And I popped the cork out of the non-candy end of the cage and then lay her back on the bars and got to watch her walk out through the hole and down into the hive!  It was really exciting to me.  I tried to take a quick pic, but of course when I looked at it WITHOUT the veil in front of my eyes, I realized that it was blurry.

 

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Picture fail.  But if you give a good squint at it, you can see that the queen cage (covered with bees) is laying on one of the bars.  She had just walked out and down.

I gave her a minute to be sure that she was clear before I started brushing the girls back in and closing the hive up for the day.

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And just so your eyes don’t explode from blurriness, here’s a clear picture of some action at the hive entrance.  In three weeks the first JuJu Baby Bees will be born and the hive population will start climbing to its summer peak!

Bee-Day is the Best Day – Warre and KTBH Installs Complete! Also, Name the Queen!

9 May

On Tuesday, I zipped over to Stonewall Apiary in CT to pick up my newest lady-friends.  His set-up is super enviable…chickens, bees, little dogs, clothes on the clothes line, land all around, cute little stone walls…Dreamtown, USA.

The girls were ready to go and seat-belted into the car in short order and we were off!  Back over state-lines to settle them in.

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^^^Bees in car! ^^^ Stewart said, “The seatbelt is probably not necessary….” but I believe in safety first.  Also, I’m not the most attentive driver.  It just seemed like it was in everyone’s best interest.

First stop was to Scratch Farm where my KTBH is.  It’s SO gorgeous out there, and I’m so excited for a weekly trip to visit the girls.  I haven’t really found any definitively good way to feed in a KTBH and I want to do some research before I commit to more woodenware…so I decided to try something out…I’m not sure if it was a good idea, I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

I laid paper in the bottom of the hive, put a pollen patty on it…and then put down a layer of dry sugar…which I then sprayed with water…not a lot, but enough to make sort of a paste.  I’m feeling worried about that as an idea now, but the damage…if it was a bad idea is done.

I also tied a piece of comb from another hive onto a bar, just so it would be homey smelling…and put some LGO on another bar.

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Now that I’m writing about this, I’m feeling nervous.

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There she is all set up.  This queen is nameless-  for now I’m calling it Scratch Hive – which is where it is.  I’m willing to accept name suggestions for this lady.  Feel free to post comments…if no one steps up, I’ll let my students name her.  No one really wants that to happen.

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My other install went easy as pie, the warre I’m a little more used to.  And my beekeeping-apprentice (aka, the willing homeowner) got her first taste of what being a beekeeper is like.  Mostly, she just watched- which for day 1 at the hive, is a good thing to do!  She named the queen in her hive JuJu Bee- pun wildly intended – but in her defense, JuJu Bee is her favorite drag queen and was at her bachelorette party.  I think it’s a pretty fun name.

Hive #1 Delivered!

29 Mar

Just dropped the warre off at its new home. I’m sad that I won’t get to see it every day, but I’m happy to be teaching my new friends, Bonnie & Eric, about beekeeping!

They’re going to be living on a two acre lot on the edge of conservation land (that’s what’s over the stone wall there) with an ENORMOUS patch of wild raspberries to frolic in.  The brown edge there is the beginning of the patch, and it extends about 100 feet along the wall at about 8-10 feet wide the whole width.  I’m hoping Bonnie will let me help them also make some raspberry jam from the copious amount of fruit they’re sure to have.

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I’m also excited to have a fully built-out box (that I’ve appropriately treated to ensure it’s a healthy place to put the girls) to start them off with.

There are queen cups in the wax from the industrious little swarmers I had last year and I’m not super sure of what to do about them. It seems that I could either leave them thinking that the bees will take them down and reuse the wax for something else – or I could pull out all the combs with cups, cut them out, and try reattaching them to the comb guides…which seems like a clumsy job if it’s not needed.

I have the question posted at my favorite bee forum, but if any of my readers have advice, I’ll gladly take it.

Just two weeks until bee day and one more hive to move. 🙂

Post Mortem

9 Sep

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I took the top half box (aka the mistake box) off the hive today and scraped all the comb out of it. It’s sad and empty, but so beautiful. I love the way the natural comb just goes where it will, but there’s no wasted space. I’m going to save a few big chunks for future need and melt down the rest.

It looks like, and someone correct me if I’m wrong, there is at least one queen cup in there.

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So maybe they swarmed and then the new queen failed?

There are still a few bees wandering around the hive…like 30 or so workers and about 5 drones…I don’t know if they’re mine or not. I figured I’d leave the other full box on for just a few more days so it’s totally robbed out and then wrap it up and stick it in the freezer until next year.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but I feel like I’ve made peace with it and am ready to start with two hives next year, so that I can more readily diagnose issues and take care of them sooner and not have this happen again.

Sigh.

Just when you look away…

21 Aug

I got all freaked out over being queenless at the beginning of the season, and then just when I decided I was fine – my hive actually became queenless…I think.

There’s so much about having a warre hive that I totally love, and other parts that leave me a little wanting…

So the hive – I might have killed the queen on the day I tried to take the top half-box off or when I nadired the hive….or the hive might have swarmed on a day that I wasn’t around. I’m not totally sure. I just know that at the end of June there were a lot of bees but that only one (and the half) box were full and at the end of July there were not all that many bees that I could see. In fact, I declared my hive dead at the beginning of August. It seemed like there just weren’t that many bees around and then I watched three wasps walk right in unimpeded. 😦

So I blocked the entrance way down and then left them alone – all I could do really. I talked to the guy I got my bees from and he said that there’s nothing I can do but freeze the hive to kill any possible diseases and start over in the spring.

Then I went out today and there seem like there are a lot more bees around. I can’t tell if they’re mine or if they’re robbers. There wasn’t much pollen coming in, but there is capped brood that I can see through the window. I made a video of the entrance:

 

There are bees hovering a bit, which is a robbing sign, but I’m just not sure. There are also wasps around, but none going into the hive – which is an improvement.
I can’t go out again until Friday, but on Friday I’m planning to put some damp sugar in the feeder. If they’re rebounding, I want to give them the best chance that I can.

One of my ladies in a squash flower.

Squash ripening on the vine.

Pickles I made from garden cukes – my first canning project this year!

A Week Post Nadir and Still No Downward Motion – Some Other Random Updates

19 Jul

So it’s been a week since I nadired the hive (a little longer, actually) and the girls are still firmly ensconced in their top box and a half.  I’m getting worried that they’re not going to have enough to over-winter on.  I really want to take the half box off – what was the feeder is now a rank mess of dead ants, fermenting sugar – I can’t lift it off to dump it out because the comb in the half box is all built onto the bottom of it… so I keep trying to mop it out and add more water every time I go out there to thin down the fermenting sugar junk.  Unfortunately, it’s also splitting open on the side (which they’re taking as an opportunity to make an upper entrance) — but because of that, the feeder only holds a tiny bit of water and somehow also never seems to totally dry out.  I want to leave the top off and let it evaporate, but I think the ladies would dislike that course of action.

I did try to lift it off when I was just out there…but when I lift it up it’s just comb comb comb….I broke one lifitng it and felt badly about it and put it back down.

Upper left you can see the split/entrance they’re making.  Luckily it’s below the level of the feeder “floor” so they aren’t getting into where the water sort of is.  The other three shots are just a few angles on what you can see when I try to pry the feeder off.

The full version of my favorite part of that grouping – some gorgeous comb and a bunch of capped honey – yay!


This is the rain barrel from the tutorial sitting in place – the tube coming in from the left is overflow from the third floor barrel and the tube leaving just below it goes into the gutter for right now.  We got a big storm today (finally!) and the top barrel filled up and if I leaned way out the window I could see the overflow tube pumping it out into this barrel.  I don’t know what the status of this barrel is, won’t until next weekend – which is also the next time I can see the bees…but it seemed like it was working.

This is the water going into the top floor barrel.  When it was super pouring, the water was shooting out over the top of the barrel – but I think it was pretty full at that point anyway.  Previous barrels that I’ve made have had the pipe go straight down into the barrel – it’s a little more finnicky but you get ALL of the water.  Which, it seems, might not be necessary.

This is the last barrel currently planned – I need to get a good drill bit and put a bajillion holes in the top of it as well as some screen to filter out the junk.  I’m super excited about the hand-pump part – suddenly we can do dishes and fill watering cans outside.  I just need to figure out what to do with the waste water.  I’ll probably put a 5 gallon bucket under there and then just take the greywater and dump it in the flower garden.
Speaking of the garden, there are tiny bits of food happening:

Tomatillo flower, green Believe it Or Not tomato, and a baby pickling cuke!

Also, I’m a sucker for plants in need – I found these lemon-boy tomatoes all mashed up and bedragled (but fruiting already) on a clearance rack– took them home, planted them next to the huge mama tomatoes that I’ve had in for months, pruned ’em up and made sure they got plenty of water – it’s only been since Saturday and these girls are ripening right up!  A little TLC turned them right around!  I have hopes that once these early fruit come off, they’ll do a little growing and maybe give me another set.

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