Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bee Experiments and Time Restraints

We had a few brief minutes of scattered sunshine this afternoon so I took the opportunity to run out and transfer swarm number 2 from the little four frame nuc box into a  larger five frame one. The four frame nuc was the first one I built and it really isn't designed right for anything but transporting a few frames of eggs or catching small swarms. It also is really a bit too small for the swarm that moved in truth be told.

In the five frame nuc box they have a bigger entrance and I can start feeding them some syrup to help them build up a bit more as it has a feeder hole cut along with being able to be fitted with a robber screen if needed. I am hoping to get them up to a full brood body within a month but we will see how things develop.

As I was transferring the girls over another storm began blowing in and the sky darkened up as the wind increased but I just managed to have enough time to get the job done. Hopefully the rain will lessen their anger at my rather rude invasion and remodeling/transfer effort before I go back outside again where they can hunt me down like a dog.

Since it looks like another afternoon and evening of rain I plan on painting some of the new woodenware pieces I finished working on last night. The experimental top cover with entrance I built last year and placed on Plymouth colony has been working out really well and the girls are using it almost exclusively over the traditional bottom entrance. I built a new one and added a pollen trap that can be hung and removed from it easily. I am anxious to see how this new addition will work so I can begin making 100% natural pollen paddies for weaker hives and captured swarms. More on that later.

The second prototype of my screened bottom board is also ready for a paint job and now is a good time to modify the Mann Lake screened bottom boards I have so they can take a hard plywood insert under the plastic shelf. The shelf just isn't enough to block the Winter chill and anything besides a solid board encourages pests. Since I only have two of these purchased bottom boards in use at the moment now is the time to get the others modified.

So much to do and so little time the weather is permitting me. The huge pile of grass clippings I have drying for covering the garden with are slowly being reduced to nothing as the rain and wind do their numbers on them. The plowed new fruit tree and pasture area is a field of mud and has been too wet to disc or work since we tilled it.Some sections in fact are filled with water and only the tops of the plowed mud chunks are visible sticky out.

This is the time when most of the gardens around here fail. Not from disease or lack of rain but from getting over run with weeds. Most people give up right about now because all the good intentions and hard work you could be doing are for naught because you simply cannot get out there and do anything. It seriously is THAT wet. It can be very frustrating and one of the reasons why I am converting so much space into raised beds so I can continue to weed and work even in conditions like this. The standing water in some places of the yard is already growing algae on top and frogs are moving in. Typical late Missouri Spring.

It is however a good time to add in some side dressing barn fertilizer if you can stand at the edge of the garden and shovel it in far enough. The constant rains will break it down and disperse it pretty good until you can move in and till up between the rows.

Another few weeks of these constant rains. Last year the rabid rains followed by hot humid sunshine brought the bee swarms out in force but so far this year the swarms seem to be either in a lull right now or maybe even finished for good. Bouncing back from the drought and harsh Winter it is hard to say what the swarm conditions will really be like until they are over. All the rain coupled with the cool period finally going away have created some good forage for the hives that remain but is it enough for them to build into a true swarm size? Three weeks ago I had no swarm cells in my hives that survived but that could have changed by now and I haven't had time to look that closely inside the big hives just yet.

Always changing conditions.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. PP,

    It's dark here too, was able to get the grass all cut this morning. I worry about the root rot on the plants.

    I'm happy to hear you were able to transfer your bee's to the larger hive before the storm rolled in hard.

    My raised garden beds are doing okay, have water between them too. No algae growing though.

    1. The raised beds we have seem to be doing a good job, especially with the potatoes which I can never get to grow without rot in the garden.

      More rain incoming tomorrow night it seems :(

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