Sunday, August 18, 2013

Laying Out the House and Moving the Robber Bees

The final part of the hayfield got cut yesterday so today the Mrs. had me out with my 200 foot tape measure laying out where she wants the house, driveway and garage to go. During the course of the thing as she was pointing at a fenceline I needed to remove and some other taller grass I needed to cut I informed her that I wasn't going to be able to do the things she wanted without the two pieces of equipment I been telling her we need for over a year now. Namely a brush hog or finish mower and a post hole drill for the little 8N.

The other option is to ask the step dad to use his and he does not like to let others use his equipment. Honestly I don't like to borrow his equipment either because sure as hell something will break and guess who's fault it is then even if he left it sit out in the weather for years.

Well she was not happy. I guess she thinks I just want big toys or something but the truth is we are in need of some higher dollar equipment if we want to improve much further than what we have done so far. I missed the opportunity to clear out that fenceline this Spring and now there is just no way to clear the thick weeds without something heavy duty and it isn't like a brush hog will ever go to waste around here. If I am going to have to fund it myself, which I have done with all the equipment so far, it's going to take me about two months to save the money I need and I don't think she wants to wait that long.

The post hole drill I can wait on. We will need to put up a new fence once we cut out the part for the new house but I can use metal posts and wire at first until we get everything situated properly.

So either she allows the cost of the brush hog to come out of savings or she waits until Spring or hopes if she asks nicely the step father will get around to clearing the weeds out after I make sure there is nothing in there for him to run over. It's pretty much that simple.

She is also gonna wig out when she sees how much the new fence is going to cost.

Earlier today after the over achiever bees emptied a hummingbird feeder they once again started attacking the small nuc. Well that was the end of that. Even if a bunch of them want to hang out on the porch all night it was time to move them. I forced as many into the hive entrance as I could before blocking it off but I know I killed a few bees doing it. Not many I would guess but I hate to squish any of my girls. Two of them managed to find their way into my cuffs that I hadn't secured well enough and stung me as well so they got some revenge.

Moving hives is prolly the most dangerous part of bee keeping. It seems half the time I always get stung while moving them especially in the Summer when it is warm enough for them to come out even at night. Still I can't have a hive that likes to rob it's neighbors at the garden apiary where I keep all of my weak and problem hives and splits. Just a bad scene let me tell you. I learned the dangers of keeping a hive like that around last Summer.

I have also noticed that hives which have robbing tendencies seem to lose them once they get to a certain size. Croatoan hive last year killed off three smaller neighbors before I could stop them but this year has grown large enough that they are "beehaving" themselves. That and their neighbors were pretty strong swarms this year as well. So now South Faulklands is out with the other big girl hives so hopefully they will be too busy getting used to their new territory and defending themselves to raid hives that are bigger than they are. If their smart anyway.

Or maybe I killed them. You just never know in a move as anything could be going on inside the hive you are moving. A squished queen or collapsed comb. As I said moving a hive is a big deal even if it is a small one box hive and there are many accidents that can happen, as I pointed out some you may not even know about until you inspect them later. Carrying even a single brood chamber hive at night on rough ground is nothing to take lightly (Pun intended). It still weighs upwards of 50 pounds or more and is bulky to carry. I had the hive all clamped down tight with ratchet straps but had I tripped or something the weight can break open those pine brood boxes easily.

So I rolled the dice and moved em. Its a gamble but as I said if it works out it will be for the best overall. I really like to keep the Garden Apiary small. When I get two or more really strong hives up here it can make for some rather interesting and painful yard work after I have pissed em off. Back when I had four strong hives in the garden apiary I sometimes had bees waiting by the door for me to come out after I harvested honey or did a deep inspection. Small hives are generally not super defensive but larger ones can be very bad with a collective memory that lasts for days.

I am actually thinking that after the house is built and I have added to my hives more I am going to set up a different area to keep them than the one I use now. I think about 100 yards or so from the house and garden would be a better arrangement. Had I known then what I know now.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!


  1. I use a double bit ax on large weeds along with a scythe with a short brush blade. Anything short gets you too close to briars.

    1. SF - If it was a short bit of say 20 yards by 10 yards of brush or less I would do it by hand with my sickle blade and push mower but this fenceline is about 10 yards by 100 yards at least. If I started now I might be able to get it cleared out by October :)

  2. "Got your hands full" seems inadequate in your situation.

    1. RP - Always. There is always several projects in the que anyway. Now that it is dryign up enough for whatever mold spores that were killing me to go away I am feeling much more motivated once again.

  3. I just bought a PTO driven post-hole digger from Tractor Supply and it works great! I haven't tried it around tree roots but in the open it performs like a charm. I am not only going to dig post holes but the 9 inch auger will dig perfect holes for planting 1-2 gallon size nursery plants and trees.

    1. SD - I have been looking at that exact one actually. Brush hog has to come first though.

      I dig huge holes for my trees. Like about 3 foot wide shaped like a huge bowl with irregular sides. Then filled in with compost and original dirt half and half. Only way I have found to get them to survive long enough to deal with the clay.

  4. We call them bush hogs here. You could rent one around somewhere couldn't you? They are pretty expensive.

    I think as much work as you put in, and as hard as it is with the bees, maybe it would be easier to just buy the honey at the store. I am beginning to understand now why the bee keepers here were not replaced as they died off. It's not something a younger person would take on lightly just because grandpa cashed in.

    1. Harry - Really I would say it isn't anymore work than any other livestock and in fact at times is less work. Right now is the busy season although it is tapering off from say May that's for sure. I am now able to do things I had been putting off. Also a large part of my work is dedicated to future growth if I was already at the number I wanted to be at and simply keeping up with maintenance it wouldn't be as bad.

      Of course once that happens we then move into my selling nucs and hives off each year.

      Renting one would be a pain and would require me to borrow the big tractor anyway to get it off the trailer. Brush hog is a name brand but we use it here as well but there are also finish mowers which is really what I need as I have mostly thick weeds not actual brush to cut through. It is something I would use a lot honestly around here to keep the weeds down in the pasture and such as well.


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