Thursday, April 21, 2016

Did I Catch a Swarm?

Turned into a pretty nice day today. Cool enough for the lambs to be more interested in running around than sleeping in the shade and although it threatened to rain a couple of times it never did.

I started shuffling Summer implements out of the Winter storage shed. Moved the tiller up to the barn lot, took the manure spreader to the front of the barn and then hooked up the brush hog to take care of the horse pasture and East sheep pasture (at least when I get it fenced for now it is still horse pasture).

If you think I complain about mowing the lawn wait until you hear me cuss and carry on about brush hogging the useless nag pasture. I am not fond of useless nags anyway but the fact that they think they are too good to eat all the vegetation in their pasture just really makes me angry. If I put the sheep out there I would never need to brush hog it again but with horses the weeds come up and they won't touch em.

Just another line on the "why I hate horses" list.

Anyway. As I was out brush hogging the front five acres of the horse pasture I passed by one of my swarm traps and noticed a large number of bees coming and going. No pollen coming in yet that I could see but if there isn't a swarm in there then the scouts are holding it for one I would bet. Sometimes the scouts from a swarm will hold a potential hive location until the main swarm arrives. Sometimes the swarm never arrives and the defending scouts kinda get forgot about too. It happens. Sometimes it looks like the trap is full of bees and then you open it and find it mostly empty too. Hard to tell until I look which I will do tomorrow. This particular trap is barely five foot off the ground so it will be easy to collect it up but I will have to move it down to the orchard apiary to get enough distance to keep the bees from going back to the original trap location.

I need to get into a few of the hives tomorrow afternoon anyway so I will walk down and open it up then and see what's going on. Could be a false alarm like I said but we will see.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!!


  1. I find your bee posts endlessly fascinating. We had a family conference yesterday about having a go at keeping bees again, but decided against it for this year. I wish I had someone locally who could teach us bee keeping, but so far have not found anyone, so I do learn a lot by reading about your beekeeping experiences.

    1. Vera - I am afraid my bees are going to suffer a bit less attention this year too what with the job and the never ending fence project still going. No big deal though as they usually survive pretty well on their own.

  2. fingers crossed for a swarm, I am setting bait traps next week just got to decide were

  3. We have a question....what do you think of Top Bar Hives?

    I used to breed horses and I am with you on their eating habits but then they never stop eating:) at least the good stuff. I used them for ranch work and they did earn their keep but I still think of the poor horse pasture.

    1. Fiona - The problems with top bar hives, or any frame-less hive for that matter are pretty hard to get around unless you just plan on being super casual about bee keeping. Simply put you waste way too much of the bees efforts and resources destroying the comb they build for the honey you get. The other problem is frame-less hives are more easily destroyed by pests and more prone to hot temperature comb collapse. Also much harder to salvage useful remains from a hive that has died out to use with new bees or swarms.

      That being said frame-less hives are more sustainable than traditional Langstroth hives. It used to be frames had larger cells and caused more mite problems but that is no longer the case if you use small celled foundation. I just see no good reason to waste my bees work on frame-less hives when I don't have to.

    2. Thank you, an honest assessment is hard to find!


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