Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The focus is on historic agriculture and of course bees are a perfect fit. This year I don't have an observation hive but next year I will probably take a frame or two of bees to show the public.
The organizer has told me I'll have a table at the general store and if it rains I can go inside.
Then she said we could sell our honey and gave me the contact person to discuss the details.
So, I gave the info to the Marketing Manager, Dad, since that's his area. [Photo of Dad lifting a 75 lb pail of honey, but I did help].
[See the jars on the counter? We're saving all our jars. We put the honey for our use in them].
A few days later Dad called me. Yes we could sell our honey and he'd have to be there very early in the morning, not mid morning like I had arranged.
I said he didn't have to go. I could sell the honey. Not so, he said, because he's the Marketing Manager and it's his job.
I said I'd be taking beekeeping equipment to put on the table. Oh no, I can't do that. He needs the table for the honey. I said we're to share the table. He said he'd bring his own table and if it rained he could go inside the general store.
I think that means I get to stay outside and get wet.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
In the bee yard was a bit of a junk pile and this large spool, probably from some heavy wire for construction, was sitting there.
Today was a lovely day with temperatures around 24 degrees Celcius. It was hot! The bees were busy flying.
We're supposed to have rain over the next few days so the plastic cover should keep things dry.
Friday, September 16, 2011
My only complaint was that the lid didn't fit down completely tight and it would puff a little smoke from the side of the lid.
See the photo - how the cage goes all the way up. It also has a hook on front for hanging it.
Later on I got a second smoker, one to leave in the bee yard for those occasions when I showed up there without my regular smoker. That one is a Dadant smoker. It's sleeker and also has the protective cage as well.
A friend has a smoker - a short squat one. Actually it wasn't what she really wanted but it was the only one available at the supplier at that time so she got it. This one is well made but the problem is that the top of the smoker is level with the top of the bellows. So when the lid is open when you're lighting the fire the flames come up and burn your hands while you're trying to puff the bellows. So you must close it if puffing the bellows. Neither of us recommend getting that kind of smoker.
Both my smokers are taller than the top of the bellows so you can leave the lid open and puff the bellows and keep your fingers safe from the flames.
Just something to consider if you're shopping for smokers. Stings are bad enough, so you don't need burned fingers too.
Have you made a smoker kit? If not here's a post about creating a smoker kit
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
[Photo - Dad taking a turn at brushing bees].
I smoked the air which I believed helped (normally I never have to smoke them) and I rethought what I was doing. I was brushing them lightly but quickly.
So I slowed right down with the brush and I used super light strokes. It worked beautifully. I mostly used the top 2" of the brush to lightly touch the bees, stroking from the bottom up. They would fly up or drop down into the hive. But the huge difference was their attitude. It was like they didn't realize I was there.
From that time on I continued with this technique, as well as covering everything up. It took longer to go slower but the end result was that I didn't need gloves, didn't get stung and I didn't need to use smoke again.
Another thing we learned this summer is that not all brushes are alike. My friend Janice bought a yellow/orange bristled brush but we found her bees got mad too - the bristles were thick and stiff and with each stroke its like the bees were being slapped. When she switched to my softer brush the bees calmed right down. So check the bristles on a brush before you buy one.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
When watching nature shows I'd feel sorry for the poor wildebeest or zebra being chased by the hungry lion. Then they'd show the baby lion cubs and I'd feel for them too. After all they were just hungry and Mom was trying to feed them. Everybody has to eat don't they?
This brings me to report that I returned to the bee yard after three or four days. My plan was to check on the small swarm that was living in a medium super. A few days ago I shook them out of their hive only to find they had a queen. Their equipment quickly reassembled and them back inside I fed them sugar water.
It was a sad homecoming.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I inspected Hive 3 and found the deep to be full of honey - most of the other hive's deeps were busy with brood and some honey but not full.
Next, the supers were full of honey too, capped and uncapped. And the real teller: No brood of any kind. No capped cells and not a larvae in sight. Also, there were two more supers with drawn comb that had nothing in them. There were lots of bees in the hive. I pulled most of the frames in the deep and did not see a queen.
It was enough for me to conclude the hive was queenless. The bees were in good spirits and the lack of brood was actually a relief - better than seeing only drone cells like with hive #2. A drone layer can really complicate requeening.