Friday, July 11, 2014

Bee Splits and the Cutting Crew

You know it is humid when you can see the water particles in the beams of sunlight though the trees. This is the Garden Apiary at the moment. It contains my one big hive I keep here permanently and for now the three growing hives that I have not given the final stamp of approval too yet.

This is pretty much how I try and handle the hives these days. Any small swarms, new splits or problem children get moved or installed at the Garden Apiary and if they survive the Winter I then relocate them in early Spring. Usually the smaller hives are the ones I am feeding syrup too as well so it saves me some gas overall.

The second hive from the left in the picture is Salem colony that started as a small swarm back in May and has been suffering from either a dead queen or they absconded. I added two frames from a strong hive Wednesday and today I added another frame of what I am almost certain was a mixed frame of two or so day old eggs and a little uncapped brood from Croatoan Colony.

My hopes are that Salem will raise a new queen from the eggs. I will check this hive every week or so until I see a new queen cell built over an existing egg cell. I couldn't find a good Northern queen to order in so I am trying this method. It may not work and if it doesn't or if the girls do not have time to build up enough before Winter they may die anyway but there is still time to try.

The other two hives to the right are in pretty good shape. One is a split I made back in March with a couple of swarm cells from the South Faulklands colony. So far they seem to be getting their groove on and taking off.

Here's a close up of it now named Port Royal Colony. If you click on the pic you can see the girls in an orientation flight getting ready to send out a new group of foragers. This hive has been showing some strong growth in numbers but isn't really building up comb inside like it should so I am still feeding it. Feeding sugar syrup seems to help promote comb growth or so I have read.

The cutting crew has chewed down the main section of their area pretty good finally and have turned their attention to the backside.

I kinda fenced off an area shaped like a J and this is the bottom tip part of it. Until now except for their morning ritual of stripping the weed trees of new limbs they have mostly been ignoring this area.

Here are two pics of the real problem children of the group. Sandwich above and Cadden below. Sandwich is the bottle baby who's mother died and then she got sick so she is the smallest ewe we got while Cadden is a mini-Chevoit whether.

As you can see it doesn't take much for them to duck their heads and go under that bottom strand of electric wire. So far though they have been staying in for over a month now so I hope I have that problem licked. Of course the rules will change once they have this all eaten down and they look across the fence at the lovely mowed grass on the other side.

Guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!


  1. I hope all the bees pull through the upcoming winter. Mondays high is forecast to be 63. I love it. Looks like the crew is doing a good job too.

    1. Rob - The only hive I am really worried about right now is Salem. It had very few bees left in it when I discovered the problem and no queen that I could find. I am almost certain it absconded a few weeks back and I didn't notice. Now basically it is a July split and that means they have very little time to build up before Winter plus rais a new queen. I wish I could ahve found a breeder to buy a queen from but it just wasn't in the cards.

  2. I have a bee question. I have an old covered porch I want to yank off my house and use for my hives. I would cantilever the porch off a hill next to my orchard and access it via a walkway. I would also build a house to put all my bee supplies next to this covered porch. The covered porch would keep the snow off the hives in winter and the rain in summer. It would provide shade. I was only going to have three or four hives. Is this a bad idea to have hives under a covered porch attached to the bee supply area? I live on a hill and don't have much good room. If I put this porch off the hill and put the hives on them I can keep them out of traffic and away from people. I haven't seen anyone going to these lengths to prepare for their hives, probably because they don't need to. But do you see any problem with it? Thanks for any help.

    1. Lurkaholic - I know that some European beekeepers keep their bees inside special houses or roofed over area without a problem. The important thing I think would be to make sure they get morning light to get them on their way. Not being in direct sun would keep them cooler in Summer and if the roof was high enough may not block the sun much at all in Winter.

      The only disadvantage I can think of would be that some pests are kept in check during the Summer by the sun heating the hives up. Namely wax moth worms and I have heard also hive beetles.

      Personally though I think the benefits of having a ready made bee awning would outweigh the few possible side effects.

  3. The latest edition of American Survival Guide has a longish article on Bee Keeping. I don't know why that endeavor is becoming so popular but it seems to be getting a lot of attention from the press.

    1. Harry - I had someone ask me why I help locals get started in bees the other day. My response was that it's a petty good bet I will get their stuff in a few years anyway. I have already had it happen twice were someone wanted a hive or two and it died out and they just had me collect up the empty hive to use. The big hive in the picture above came from a farm a few miles down the road when the original keeper gave up on keeping bees.

      Bee keeping seems easy at first but is one of those things that people find interesting but then find out the truth is a lot of work. That and you really need to have upwards of 15 or more hives to really get enough to make the work pay off.


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