Saturday, March 28, 2015
Taking the Bee Inventory
I am finally getting around to taking a pretty complete inventory of my bee stuff. I really should have done this weeks ago but well ya know. All the growth in the bee yards will take place between April and late June, maybe a bit into July so I envision taking several breaks from routine farm type projects to catch up on building more bee boxes as Spring progresses.
I need to inventory all the brood chambers, surplus supers, frames (both medium and large) how many are already built out with comb, how many I can put together, drone frames, feeders, traps, smoker material, jars, nuc boxes.
Pollen traps, inner covers, outter covers, top entrance covers, telescoping tops, bottom boards, entrance reducers.... I think that covers it all. Bet I forgot something though.
I had my second oldest hive die out last Summer. Never have figured out what happened to it but I am pretty sure the queen met an untimely death and they couldn't replace her. The hive was booming early in the year and just dwindled to nothing during September. Not a high mite count of any fungus or anything int he hive I could find. I hate losing a hive but it happens. I would say I average about a 10 to 15% loss per year.
All is not lost though. The hardest part of keeping a hive alive is the build up as they get enough comb built to keep the amount of stores they need and make it through their first Winter. When an old hive dies out the remaining frames are simply a gold mine for any new splits or swarms I capture. By giving a new swarm even five frames of drawn out comb I can literally give them a head start equal to a month or more of resources they won't need to collect. An old hive such as Plymouth colony that dies out yields 20 drawn out brood frames and 10 surplus frames ready to be put to use. I also put a frame in my swarm traps as the bees will go to work on the drawn comb. It not only makes the trap that much more appealing to a swarm but it also makes transferring them to a new hive that much easier as well.
Here are my hanging traps. I also use some Nuc boxes and t-post stands for traps. I will be placing the new traps in about a week or so. Damn I forgot to check and see how much Lemon grass oil I have on hand.
Stuff stuck everywhere. These are some surplus supers I need to put together and paint. Looks like I am a bit short on unassembled brood chambers too.
Looks like about 15 or so sheets of plastic foundation. Not sure why I stuck em up there. I use plastic foundation for the most part because it is immune to pest damage and works quite well if you coat it heavily in wax before putting it in the hive. The girls will often ignore plastic foundation and frames but with a heavy coating of melted beeswax they love em.
Looks as if the only real work I need to do is making a couple of screened bottom boards and some covers with top entrances. If I can get three of each done I should have enough supplies to cover up to seven swarms or splits. I also have that other hive I lost over the Winter that will yield up some more resources. I am also short on drone frames.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!