Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Bees, Peaches, Honey and REVENGE!!!
A very busy day today. I had to go around and refill the feeders on the hives that I am still feeding and then check to see if I had any capped frames of honey ready to be harvested. Things have slowed down a bit despite the fact that there are still blooms around but the North and West apiary hives have not produced much extra honey in the last few weeks. The garden hives however have been and I managed to collect up six frames without even going lower than the top super. By looking down into the hive I would say there is at least another 15 or so frames still capped I could get but I am trying to not be greedy yet and just take out what I need.
Two of the hives that survived Winter and were booming with bees this Spring appear to be lagging on new worker hatching as well. I need to watch them a bit closer and perhaps do a mite count within the next week or so and see if I don't need to interlude and change some things around. Plymouth colony, the strongest and now oldest hive I have swarmed earlier this year in Mid June so they maybe just getting around to building back up and might explain their lagging numbers.
Looks like I will have some honey to peddle again this weekend though since my backordered bottles arrived today as well!!!
After checking and feeding all the hives I had a date to go over to my dad's place and harvest the peaches he has on his lone peach tree before the racoons finished them off. As it turned out the wife and I actually ended up doing that this evening and managed to get about three five gallon buckets full of peaches. I had to push the peach harvesting back because when I arrived back home from checking the outter hives the little nuc I had going was being attacked mercilessly.
Robbing is the main reason I pull all of my traps in early July. My rule of thumb is that if the hives are not independent by July 4th they are doomed. Against my better judgement I placed the little swarm I noticed in the garden on July 22nd into a little five frame nuc box just to give them a chance. I left them hang for two full days hoping they would find some other place to live but they just did not locate anything suitable.
I tried feeding them right off and that created a robbing situation from one of the neighbor hives so I put the robber screen on. The screen did no good at all. I then removed the external feeder and put a frame feeder inside the nuc box.
A frame feeder is a plastic reservoir that fits inside the hive and replaces a frame location. It is deep and skinny with a top and holes that contain two mesh tubes so the bees can climb down in and get syrup and climb back out without drowning. The theory behind a frame feeder is that the smell of the syrup is contained inside the hive so it will not instigate a robbing situation like an external feeder sometimes does. The downside of course is you need to open the hive to refill it. I have never had this type of feeder start other hives into robbing before but this time it did.
I hate late season swarms, I really do. I feel bad if I let them die and I am inclined to try and give them a chance but I always fail.
So today I tried the internal feeder with the robbing screen in place. By the time I made it home the poor bees in the nuc were under full attack and had actually absconded outside and were balled up under the nuc box while the robbing bees were cleaning out the feeder inside the hive.
At this point I am pretty sure what bees remain are goners. I noticed today that there are still no eggs in the box and several bees were head down in empty cells looking for food. There were only a few hundred bees left at best and I still could not find a queen so she may have been killed anyway.
Still I can't just let em go until I am sure. I have one other option left to try.
This is also where the revenge part comes in. MAHAHAHAHAHAHA
One of the first things the lovely wife did right after we got married was find multiple ways and reasons to get rid of my bachelor stuff she didn't like. One thing she hated, I mean absolutely hated, were my towels. She said they were thin and coarse and ratty looking.
Of course I hate her towels as well. They are thick and maybe half as absorbent as mine were and bulky and yucky.
Take a guess who won? Yep she did. She managed to find a constant use for my towels from cleaning up messes that she knew they wouldn't recover from to deciding a stray cat needed a new bed in the barn. When the snowbaby kittens arrived back in March they were birthed on one of my towels. She thought I didn't notice but I knew where that towel had come from.
Ok now back to the poor nuc under attack.
Another trick is to cover the hive being attacked with a wet sheet. Supposedly this cuts down on the smell and confuses the attackers. Well I am not going to use a sheet for a little bitty nuc but there was a handy large white towel I could use. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA I didn't hesitate. It is on the nuc covering the box and remaining bees as we speak. Will it work? Prolly not but the look on her face when she knew I was just daring her to say one little squeak about me using her towel and her knowing she had zero legs to stand on was priceless.
Revenge is sweet!!!!
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!