Beemused: A Blog

…And now for something completely different:

29th August 2007

…And now for something completely different:

Beedogs! Meaning, dogs in bee costumes.

I had not realized what a popular theme this seems to be(e).

-Amanda, amused

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26th August 2007

No progress so far with Bee-o-Pac

I decided to take a look in at least one hive to see how the bees were doing with the Bee-o-Pac frames.   I took the lid off Mary, and below the inner cover were lots of bees.  In fact, the super was loaded with bees - but no sign of comb, let alone honey.  The Bee-o-Pacs don’t lend themselves to detailed inspection, though (you can’t remove them until harvest time), so it is possible that they are filling in the lower pacs first.

The other possibility is that there hasn’t been much activity due to the cool weather we’ve been having.  We don’t normally see 55 degrees in August!

–Justin

posted in Our Hives | 1 Comment
18th August 2007

Another level of honey supers

Today I assembled 3 supers’ worth of “Bee-O-Pac” plastic packages for comb honey.  They are quite ingenious, two complementary halves that go together with a built-in rivet.  Each super holds 8 frames, each frame has 16 Bee-o-pacs, for 128 packages of comb honey per super for the girls to fill!

 When I went to install the new supers, I thought it would go pretty easily, so I put on only the veil (no full bee suit).   I took the cover off Elizabeth, things looked OK, so I took off the inner cover.  Lots of bees milling about, and the super was close to 100% full with capped honey comb.  When I pulled a frame to take a closer look, the girls were NOT HAPPY and began to buzz me.  Once I was stung on the hand they really started to worked up, so I retreated and put on the full bee suit.

Susan was less feisty, although her girls got excited when I popped the inner cover off - that thing was really glued down with propolis, and the whole hive shook when it popped.  Susan hadn’t filled all her frames yet, well behind Elizabeth.  I put the new super on anyway, although I returned a little later and took it off so they could concentrate on the frames they already had started on.

Mary was at close to 100% full also, so we were right on time with the new supers.  Not sure how many packages we’ll get this year, but the existing supers were filled pretty quickly, so I have hopes of a decent number.

–Justin

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13th August 2007

Lots of honey!

After the most recent beekeeping class, I felt it was important to check on our hives’ health (class being about health issues).  I took the lid off Mary and saw that we had many bees on the top of the inner cover, and even more on the underside.  The frames in the super were busy with bees, and when I pulled the outermost frame, it was nearly 100% capped honey!  Even without pulling the others I could see that the honey super was full.

Lifting it off in order to inspect the upper brood body proved a challenge.  First off, it was solidly glued down with propolis, and second, it was quite heavy with the honey.  I set the super aside and proceeded to pry up the queen excluder in order to access the brood frames.

Well!  The hive immediately started an angry hum, and a cloud of at least 100 bees burst forth and covered my veil!  I had heard the rising hum, so I wasn’t completely taken off guard, but it was still enough to give me a start.  I decided against pulling any frames (I hadn’t fired up the smoker, a mistake I won’t repeat soon), but a glance into the hive body looked busy enough.  Lots of bees, comb from edge to edge.

Next weekend I plan to use the smoker and press on to inspect at least one of the hives.  I’ve been smelling a foul odor, but I can’t tell if it is from the hives (meaning a serious foulbrood problem) or from the surroundings (we get dead chipmunks, etc, left around by maurauding cats), or from decaying compost.  A full hive inspection seems like the proper course.

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12th August 2007

Bee class - dealing with hive health

Today’s class was about the various things that can damage the health of the hive: American Foulbrood, tracheal mites, varroa mites, and one or two others.  Amanda took extensive notes, so she’s probably post more about this.

 –Justin

posted in Our Hives | 2 Comments
3rd August 2007

New Yorker article on Colony Collapse Disorder

This seems like a good overview of the bee situation at the moment with regards to CCD, and also addresses other pollinators.

-Amanda

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