Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Field Tractor Repair and BeeKeepers Revenge

So I finally gave up trying to get that 8N running. I am at a complete loss what is wrong with the thing and my working on it just made it worse. So yesterday I put it on the trailer and took it into my mechanic. My original plan was to pull the trailer out of the field with the 850 I used to rake with but I'll be damned if when I got out there the 850 wouldn't start.

Now I have had that 850 as a backup tractor for over a year now and never once had an issue with it not starting.  It needs a new exhaust manifold and some minor work and the ignition is a bit loose but it has always started. After poking around a bit I figured out what was wrong. One of the sheep decided to take a taste test on the hot wire that goes to the coil. I had to do a little quick field splice to get the thing running.

So I can add another little project to the list now and run a more permanent hot wire on the thing.

Of course my few blissful days of getting things done besides mowing are coming to a temporary close once again. Yep it's time to mow again and today I got my dad's place mowed and stopped by the poor neglected hives I keep at the orchard. Just as I suspected I had two deadouts down there so after weed eating around the remaining hives I loaded up the hives that are now filled with ruined comb and crawling with wax moths and worms.

Pretty nasty looking stuff ain't it? Whenever I have a deadout during warm months it doesn't take the wax moths and worm larva long to destroy the remaining comb. They eat the comb and crap out this cobweb looking stuff and small black pellets everywhere. They also have cocoons that the worms turn into moths inside and either eat or somehow manage to put little dents in the woodenware.

You can see the little dents in the side of the wood on the bottom left if you enlarge the picture. I don't think it hurts the woodenware any but getting all that sticky gunk out is a pain. One reason I use plastic frames because the worms can't hurt them. I clean em off as best I can and put them right back into use with a new hive.

Of the two deadouts I had there I am pretty sure one hive starved more than likely from being locked inside the hive due to so much rain. The hive was full of dead bees and many with the bodies head first in empty comb. This can happen to a large hive when it is trapped and unable to forage for a long stretch especially in early Summer. Also the humidity didn't help because it took longer for the bees to reduce the nectar down into honey.

The second hive I believe absconded or the queen failed. Either it over swarmed while I was tied up working all that overtime due to the Ghetto Lottery co-worker or the queen didn't breed or was killed during her mating flight after a major swarm. There were few dead bees inside which indicates it dwindled somehow.

Another interesting thing I discovered is some animal had been chewing on the underside of the bottom board. This can cause bees to abscond too if they are constantly being harassed. I am not sure what animal would do this as it looks like flat rat teeth type gnawing. Whatever did it somethign was trying to get into the hive from underneath it seems.

Now for my revenge. The wax worms had pretty much devoured all comb inside the hives and left me hours of work reclaiming the frames and woodenware for use next year but as we say around the Small-Hold "Nothing goes to waste"....

Guess where all those nasty crawling worms and half formed moth cocoons ended up? You got it... Chicken Food!!!!

As soon as the hens saw me scraping the wax worm goo out of the hive boxes they came running much to the rooster's dismay. They would devour any pests that came out of the mess quicker than I could see it myself. Scratching through the debris and finding those nasty worms like total pro's. Which I guess they would be.

It was sort of a mild consolation prize for me to imagine those worms, half formed moths and wood roaches screaming in terror as they were pecked and devoured to be ground up in a chicken gizzard. Kinda made the work a little more satisfying to be honest.

I still have two more dead out hives to bring in yet. Looks like I lost four hives this year due to over swarming. neglect and over wet conditions. While it was humid and hot making working outside almost unbearable the actual air temps never really got much above the mid to upper 90's. The only thing that combats wax moths and worms is heat inside the hives of over 100 degrees so to them this was a vacation year.

Gonna take me a long time to recover all the losses from this year I think.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!


  1. Sorry to hear about the loss of your hives, but at least the chickens enjoyed a feast. You have really battled this year with keeping things running on your farm because of the difficult weather conditions, but you can only do your best, and this you have done.

  2. Man - that really sucks, but i am always in awe of your ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat - it is really the only way to go on a homestead...lots goes wrong so turn that frown upside down!!

    rofl - keep on trucking pal!

  3. This wasn't a good year unless you needed lots of mud for some reason. The tobacco that you gave me, grew to be huge but of course that is just a fun heritage type of thing to grow and doesn't amount to much. I am experimenting with drying and fermenting the leaves as they might be something to barter with some day if I ever had enough. Chickens will eat most bugs but there are some that they just seem to know not to eat by instinct. Unfortunately they won't eat squash bugs or the tobacco worms that attack tomatoes. I don't think they like mexican bean beetles or potato bugs.
    Maybe next year!

  4. Wax worms are th worst. Good on you in inflicting a suitable revenge.

  5. Good heavens that does look a mess. The poultry is wonderful aren't they. They do clean up anything they can, no waste with chickens. [They even eat my failed attempts at bread making and some of those are horrendous!]

  6. Well at lest the chickens are happy.


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