User not logged in - login - register
Home Calendar Books School Tool Photo Gallery Message Boards Users Statistics Advertise Site Info
go to bottom | |
 Message Boards » » 2013 Official Beekeeping Thread Page [1] 2 3, Next  
AntiMnifesto
All American
1870 Posts
user info
edit post

This has been an interesting year so far- my friend gave me the swarm he caught at Durham City Hall last night, and I've got a new package coming in from Triad Bee Supply next week, so I'll start off unexpectedly with two hives. I lost my first hive in February to the cold.

I'm moving to cypress wood frames and boxes and sticking with beeswax foundation if I can manage.

We've had crazy swarms here this week-how about yours?

4/2/2013 10:55:31 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

I lost a hive over the winter but I was expecting to. They didn't have nearly enough honey to get through, even with my last ditch effort to feed them. My other hive is going strong though.

Contemplating whether to restart the other hive or not. I don't really have the time right now to babysit a new hive, but I guess I need to make up my mind sooner than later.

4/2/2013 11:08:27 AM

CodeRed4791
All American
13349 Posts
user info
edit post

This may be my imagination getting the worst of me, but do you ever worry about another breed of bees coming in an interbreeding with your bees and creating an evil hybrid, like those African bees? I watch too many documentaries....

4/2/2013 11:42:12 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

African bees are actually purebred. You are probably referring to "Africanized Bees" aka Killer Bees, which are actually a crossbreed of African and Italian bees. African bees are MUCH more aggressive, and thus so are Africanized bees.

To answer your question, the answer is no. A swarm of Africanized bees wouldn't "interbreed" with a colony (most comonly Italian bees among hobbyists), but rather would kill the queen and raise their own queen in the hive. Which I guess would have the same outcome, in a sense replacing your calm Italian bees with much more aggressive Africanized bees.

That being said, it's not very likely to happen here. Last I heard they haven't made it north of Georgia. On top of that, they don't like living in boxes so it's highly unlikely they would overtake a hive of a hobbyist.

4/2/2013 12:05:33 PM

ejhodges
Veteran
141 Posts
user info
edit post

Williams-Sonoma now makes beekeeping starter kits and suits... beekeeping goes mainstream and expensive

4/2/2013 12:29:31 PM

Kris
All American
36908 Posts
user info
edit post

I guess it's a hobby, but I couldn't see myself spending money to keep a pet that would sting me just to get honey that costs like $5 in the store.

4/2/2013 12:41:44 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

Plenty of people spend a lot more money on other hobbies that don't produce anything. And think about how much money people spend on their dogs, that repay them by shitting on their floors and chewing up their shit.

For me it's not even about the honey, although that's a nice bonus. I know I spend WAY more money and time on my garden, and last time I checked tomatoes are like $.99 a pound.

4/2/2013 1:54:33 PM

Kris
All American
36908 Posts
user info
edit post

I guess it's the stinging thing that seems weird to me, of course it's still safer than racing, rock climbing, or any number of other hobbies.

4/2/2013 2:23:03 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

I have only been stung 3 times, and all 3 were my fault. (I never suit up when I do inspections, and I just put my hands in the wrong places). The only real risk of a sting is during inspection, and if you are worried about it suit up. Other than that, if you leave them alone they will leave you alone. Docile European bees that are most commonly used in the hobby will bump you before they sting and only use stinging as a last resort. (because stinging you means sure death for the bee). If you are getting too close, they will let you know it long before they would ever sting.

That being said, stings WILL happen so the hobby isn't for everyone. Bee stings hurt like a bitch, and not just temporarily but for a few hours after the sting. If you are scared of getting stung, this is definitely not your hobby. But stings are definitely not an every day occurrence, and you can avoid them with the proper precautions.

Dog bites happen too, for the record. My dog is 8 and has never bit anyone. He was sleeping one night and my GF got down on the floor to love on him and he turned and nipped her. Drew blood.

[Edited on April 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM. Reason : a]

4/2/2013 7:31:18 PM

puck_it
All American
15446 Posts
user info
edit post

I'd imagine it helps pollinate your garden, too.

If I had a big ass garden, I could see having a hive or something

4/2/2013 8:05:49 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

For sure. Our ornamental flowers were amazing last year too.

4/2/2013 8:20:53 PM

elise
mainly potato
13035 Posts
user info
edit post

This is a far off situation, but I wouldn't mind a hive one day. If I get some of my family land to build on I am definitely having a huge garden, but I have been toying with the idea of bees. However, I have found out I have incredibly elevated histamine levels and now have to carry an epipen just in case something gives me a reaction. Am I stupid to still want bees? Am I completely safe in a suit?

4/2/2013 10:15:00 PM

GREEN JAY
All American
14127 Posts
user info
edit post

feeling completely safe in a suit could be a potentially dangerous mindset. suits can develop holes, or you might fall down and tear the damn thing open.

4/3/2013 3:55:25 AM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

I have my hives ready to go, just waiting for my two nucs to be ready.

[Edited on April 3, 2013 at 10:04 AM. Reason : btw, last year's thread is what intrigued me to join this year]

4/3/2013 10:04:18 AM

AntiMnifesto
All American
1870 Posts
user info
edit post

Holy crap! Was just helping catch another swarm! The 4th for my friend Matt this week!

4/3/2013 7:52:42 PM

elise
mainly potato
13035 Posts
user info
edit post

3^ I know. I am hoping my histamine levels will lower eventually. I haven't been tested yet this year, so they could already be down.

4/3/2013 9:51:27 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

^^ how is your friend being notified of swarms?

4/3/2013 11:04:15 PM

AntiMnifesto
All American
1870 Posts
user info
edit post

We're both on the Durham County Beekeepers thread. And, he had 3 swarms of his own from 2 domestic hives and 1 feral in the front yard.

4/4/2013 1:58:28 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

I installed my nucs today after driving to Swansboro to pick them up. I had to hurry and get them in their hives before the rain came.





[Edited on May 5, 2013 at 8:46 PM. Reason : ]

5/5/2013 8:46:28 PM

Smath74
All American
93048 Posts
user info
edit post

http://cdn-x.stockngo.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/r/a/raid-flying-insect-killer-indoor-and-outdoor-15oz-1_2.jpg

[Edited on May 5, 2013 at 10:40 PM. Reason : shit... Lounge.]

5/5/2013 10:39:44 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

I opened my hives again yesterday to check to make sure the queens were OK after installing the nucs. I found one of them, and both are laying well (although I didn't find the second queen, I did see newly laid eggs). The first hive has already drawn comb out on one of the new frames. They both only took 1 gallon of sugar water (they had 2.0 gallons each).

Since everyone was over for mother's day, they all came down to watch me go into the hives, including both 90 year old grandmas.

5/13/2013 11:17:18 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

Well my strong hive swarmed. I know they went down into the woods, (because I literally watched the whole cloud of bees move across my yard down that way) but I lost sight of them when they got past the tree line. There are still quite a few bees coming and going out of the hive, so I am hoping they raise a new queen. I plan to do an inspection this weekend to see if there are queen cells.

My question: Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can locate the swarm and recapture it? I have an empty hive ready to go, but these woods are pretty thick and I haven't been able to see/hear them yet.

5/13/2013 12:34:58 PM

Str8BacardiL
************
41134 Posts
user info
edit post

I thought bees were going extinct.

5/13/2013 12:59:40 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

I opened my boxes last night from around 6-8. I had added a second box on top of both hives last weekend, but didn't pull any frames (and I took away the entrance reducers). The strong hive has already added comb on all 8 of the new frames in the second box, whereas the smaller hive just had bees all over but had not started drawing out comb.

I walked down to the field to check on them Sunday when I was feeding the chickens, and I was surprised at the number of bees out front of both the hives (especially the smaller one). I bet there was at least 300 bees hovering in front of the hive and hanging out on the hive stand. I was worried about robbing since I spilled a liter or sugar water in the hive (that ran out the front), but it was too late to open up the boxes (and I was hesitant to even get that close to the hives with so many bees buzzing around). I went back last night to see if I needed to add the entrance reducers. I am happy with the large number of bees in each of the boxes, and both hives still had honey inside (so I don't think they were robbed). I guess the bees were just doing orientation flights after being cooped up due to all the rain last week.

I still haven't done any mite checks, I guess I'll do that in a couple weeks. I still haven't been stung, but they did sting my shirt several times last night (not sure why they attacked my shirt instead of my hands). I had to take a lot of breaks, they were constantly buzzing in my face and landing on my hive tool and sleeves. I may have to start going into the hives in the middle of the day, but it is so hot in the sun!

6/12/2013 11:53:46 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

^ yeah, you definitely want to do your inspections in the middle of the day when the bees are out foraging. the heat sucks, but you'll have much less bees to deal with. so much so that you can inspect shirtless, if you have the balls.

6/12/2013 12:02:32 PM

AntiMnifesto
All American
1870 Posts
user info
edit post

I split my swarm hive into 2 supers because it was boiling over with bees. My package queen may have died or been disposed of by the workers, so I installed a frame of eggs and brood from the swarm hive and I've seen recent brood and eggs. I'm getting ready to put on some medium boxes next inspection to give the girls some more room.

I love this time of year, the girls hang out on their front porches and are easy to work with. Those lovely attitudes will change come August!

6/12/2013 1:40:27 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

^^ Yeah, I have typically done the inspections during the day, but since it is a 30 minute drive to get there, if I do an inspection after work it is going to have to be at 6 or later.

Any tips for doing a mite count (sugar shake)? When do you guys usually treat for varroa?

6/13/2013 9:47:18 AM

dtownral
All American
20080 Posts
user info
edit post

if you color the sugar water, will the honey be a different color?

6/13/2013 10:22:12 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

interesting question

6/13/2013 10:34:28 AM

AntiMnifesto
All American
1870 Posts
user info
edit post

Yes on the sugar water. There are amusing reports of hives in Brooklyn with bright purple, blue and red honey stores from nearby food factories somewhere in NYC. The bees were attracted by the sweet smell of the candy syrup in large industrial vats and flew in through open windows. Not sure the honey would be good quality though, as it probably has high fructose corn syrup.

6/13/2013 1:55:11 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

Noticed a lot of activity on my hive that swarmed. Looks like they raised a new queen. I will get in and inspect tomorrow.

6/19/2013 3:58:57 PM

gunzz
IS NÚMERO UNO
68203 Posts
user info
edit post

read this ... http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/10/05/mm-loving-bees-make-colorful-honey/

6/19/2013 4:25:24 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

I figured I'd post this here since it's a pretty cool pic. My bees are all over my cucumber flowers this year.



I did get stung mowing around their hive a couple days ago, which was a first. Usually they don't mind the mower. It was really windy so I think it blew some dirt up into the entrance and really pissed them off. I had to come inside and let them calm down for about 30 minutes.



[Edited on June 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM. Reason : a]

6/27/2013 11:37:15 AM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

My bees got pretty pissed about the lawn mower a couple weeks ago too (and it doesn't really come that close).

6/27/2013 3:25:11 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

This was the first time the mower has ever caused any issues. I even push mow around them without any problems. But I am always careful to blow the grass away from the hives. It had to be the wind blowing some debris into the opening. Once they calmed down I went back out and finished up with no problems.

They definitely don't like the weedeater though, I learned that one the hard way last year.

[Edited on June 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM. Reason : a]

6/28/2013 12:31:02 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

I am going to be out of town the next few weekends, so I did a checkup on the bees yesterday to see if they needed more space. I removed the final sugar water feeder (internal), and it seems like the hives are evening out in size. The left hive has always been a lot larger and a lot more active, but recently the right hive has been showing more activity. I think it is because the right hive got overfed and stored too much sugar water in the open cells and prevented the queen from laying as much. Over the past 4 weeks as the sugar water has run out, there have been a lot more orientation flights and bees hanging out on the front porch.

I did get stung yesterday, but it was before I even approached the hives and was still about 40 feet away trying to light the wet pine straw for the smoker. Once I actually went into the hives, I didn't have any issues, and they left me alone when I mowed around the hives in the afternoon too. Weird.

Here are some more pictures. The first one is a shot of the field once you come out of the trees, the two hives are in the back left of the field (we play golf across the field, that is why it is mowed pretty irregular.









[Edited on June 30, 2013 at 8:52 PM. Reason : ]

6/30/2013 8:47:47 PM

dtownral
All American
20080 Posts
user info
edit post

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2013/summer/rachlin-beekeeper/

7/8/2013 10:06:55 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

7/16/2013 4:18:57 PM

TreeTwista10
Cool Jerk
136388 Posts
user info
edit post

How have your bees reacted to all the rain this summer?

8/15/2013 2:18:00 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

i am going to open my bees up on Sunday, but they look like they are doing great (a ton of activity and they are all over the clover and the garden).

Time magazine just had a big article about bees this week, but nothing earth shattering in the article (basic overview of why bees are important, facts about bees, and overview of CCD).

8/15/2013 7:04:15 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

^^ The bees are only bothered during the rain. As soon as it stops, it's back to normal. In fact, the rain is probably a good thing, as they don't have to travel very far for water.

And yes, your bee script is working

[Edited on August 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM. Reason : a]

8/15/2013 7:29:51 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

Disaster. I walked down to the field to check on my bees today and saw a very large pile of dead bees out front (they were fine when I came down on Friday). I then saw hornets catching bees in the air, killing them, and then carry them away. When I opened the hive, I didn't see any larva and the entire bottom of the hive was filled with dead bees. I also didn't see any honey. I had to close the hive up because the hornets were coming in through the top.

Any suggestions? I put the entrance reducer on, and I'm going to bring some sugar out to the bees later this week. I tried watching where the hornets were going to find their nest, but I kept losing them in the woods. I have no experience with handling this, should I move the hives?

Here's a pic of the carnage. Dead bees filling the entrance, and bee guts splattered on the front of the hive.



Here's the pile of dead bees in front of the hive. They kinda blend in with the grass, but there was a shit load of them. Every 10 seconds another bee would tumble out of the hive, fall on the ground, and then die.



Shot inside the hive and the dead bees at the bottom.

8/18/2013 10:46:37 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

^ DAMN! That really sucks!

1. Did you locate your queen (either among the dead bees or on a frame with the living ones)? If she's dead, she's most likely among the dead bees on the bottom of the hive. This would be your first step. If she's dead or you can't locate her, unfortunately your only real option is to let it die off. Start over next year with a split/nuc/package.

2. If you find your queen alive, you've still got a long road ahead. Keep the entrance reducer on and block the entrance at the top (I just use a piece of electrical tape to cover the hole). Feed 1:2 (water:sugar) to stimulate brood rearing for the rest of the summer/early fall. Hopefully that will get her laying again, to build up the colony enough to stay warm during the winter.

3. With no honey stores, you're going to have to continue feeding all winter. Once it starts to get cool and the bees stop flying, switch the mixture to 1:2. When the temperature drops below freezing you'll have to check it often to make sure it isn't frozen. You can defrost it pretty easily by heating up some of your syrup solution and adding it to the frozen syrup in the hive.

4. Try to locate the hornets' next and kill them. If it's close to the hive, don't use any sprays.

You probably want to go ahead and close up the top entrance on your other hives too. I don't know that I'd do an entrance reducer on the other hives as it may hinder their foraging. And yeah, you might want to consider relocating the hives.

Good luck. With it being this late in the season, that small of a bee count, and no honey stores, you're going to have a lot of work ahead of you to get that hive through the winter.

[Edited on August 19, 2013 at 9:34 AM. Reason : a]

8/19/2013 9:27:44 AM

Klatypus
All American
6774 Posts
user info
edit post

you definitely have some robbers taking advantage of your hive, the entrance reducer is one way to help.... but I would move them somewhere if you can. They seem to be close to a nest of hornets, and the hornets will continue to take advantage.

If you can maybe you can identify the hornets nest, but sometimes that is easier said than done.


sorry about your bees, I hope the queen is still there.

8/19/2013 2:10:13 PM

Bullet
All American
22717 Posts
user info
edit post

Dang, that sucks.

On another note: http://www.indyweek.com/triangulator/archives/2013/08/15/epa-unveiling-new-pesticide-labels-to-help-protect-bees

8/19/2013 4:08:54 PM

y0willy0
All American
7863 Posts
user info
edit post

thanks little guys for the zucchini harvest

8/19/2013 4:18:47 PM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

^^^^, ^^^ thanks for the info, I really appreciate it

1. I am going to have to go back out and look for the queen. I had to close the top of the hive once I saw the hornets start going directly into the hive.
2. I am making the sugar water tonight, I'm heading back out to the hives tomorrow after work to try and get a better picture of the damage.
4. I'll try to find the hornets again, but that may be a lost cause. The bees are surrounded by a lot of thick woods, it was damn near impossible to track the bastards once they got into the woods.

I'll post another update tomorrow once I get a chance to investigate further.

8/19/2013 4:43:05 PM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

Any updates?

8/21/2013 9:39:39 AM

DonMega
All American
3697 Posts
user info
edit post

Good news, we found the hornet hive. It was completely in the opposite direction the hornets were flying after catching a bee. It seems like the hornets catch a bee, take it up into a tree to eat it, and then come back and catch another one. My father-in-law happened to see one fly across while he was hitting golf balls and found their hive in an old tree. The hornet hive was extremely active, a hornet entered or exited the hive every 3 seconds. We sprayed the hornets and plugged the hive hole with some rags, so hopefully the hornets will stop attacking the bee hives.

I opened both hives last night, but the combination of it being around 6pm and the hornets attacking meant that the bees weren't very friendly. In the hive that was being attacked I went through 5 of the 8 frames before they were too agitated to keep open any more. I definitely didn't see a consistent laying pattern, and the low light made it difficult to see the eggs. I thought a saw some, but it could have been a laying worker. I didn't see any larva that looked "normal", most seemed to be half pulled out of the cells. I also did not see any honey. I left a gallon of sugar syrup in the hive. I will go back and check the hive again next week (unfortunately I can't go this weekend because of the Jimmy V tournament).

I also opened the second hive. I didn't pull any frames because this hive was extremely fiesty and boiling with bees. I think it was too late to try to go into the hive, but I also didn't see (or smell) much honey in the hive. The top box was pretty light, so I think this hive also needs to be fed. There were no dead bees that I could see, so I think this hive hasn't been as affected as the other hive.

My Thoughts
1. I am surprised by the lack of honey. Both hives were nucs installed this spring, so I didn't rob any honey. Both hives had a good supply after the honey flow, and I had stopped feeding them. Either they have been robbed by the hornets, or they have already used up their honey supply. I am going to start feeding both hives now and check them in a couple weeks.
2. I am not feeling very good about the status of the queen in the first hive. Either the laying process was interrupted by the hornets or she is dead. I am thinking of putting a frame of eggs from the other hive so that the bees could raise a new queen. There are still a lot of bees in the hive, but the laying process has definitely been interrupted.
3. If the hornets come back (if there is a second nest or they somehow survived) I will try to kill the hornets again. I may move the bees to another part of the property if I can't get rid of the hornets.
4. I am going to get an inspector's jacket and some gloves. I got stung several times last night (once in the neck through the veil when I was bending over the hive). I need some better protection for when the bees are not friendly but I still need to inspect the hive. I still get the willies when they are crawling all over my hands.

I am open to any comments or suggestions, and I really appreciate the help you guys have given me.

Here is a picture of one of the hornets I killed as it was flying near the hive. These guys are pretty big, and I believe they are the European Hornet.



Here is a video of the hornet hive. This is when we stood there for about 30 minutes waiting for the hive to calm down, but we found out that hornets are nocturnal too. I started to get a little jumpy, it doesn't look like it, but I was only 3 feet away from the entrance to the hive (you can hear the other guys teasing me because I kept twitching when a mosquito or fly buzzed my ear).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4tRkJ4RD64

Here is a video of one of the hornets catching bees outside the hive. Typically the hornets would fly in, catch a bee in the air within 5 seconds, and then carry it away to eat it. The hornet I was filming couldn't catch one for some reason. I was 3-5 feet away from the hive while filming, and I tried to get up right next to the hive to get a closer view. That was when the other guys told me that I had a bunch of bees on my arm and back, and when one landed on my neck and face, I moved away quickly from the hive. They were still a little agitated from being opened up and the hornets attacking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdgT92N-HMs

8/21/2013 10:34:47 AM

djeternal
Bee Hugger
62658 Posts
user info
edit post

Low honey totals have plagued all beekeepers this year, mainly because of all the rain we have gotten. So you're not alone. I saw on the news the other day that a lot of professional beekeepers are getting 1/3 of their harvest this year versus past years, and some aren't harvesting any at all. My super is definitely light, but I think there's enough in there for the winter. I'm hoping to be able to rob at least 1 frame of honey, but I may just leave it to make sure they get through the winter.

Good idea on the suit/gloves. I always wear gloves, even when I don't suit up. I bought a cheap Tyvek painter suit at Lowe's for when I do suit up. I felt fairly safe in it, until my last inspection. I got stung 3 times through the suit, so I think I need to bite the bullet and buy the real thing. They have been WAY more aggressive this year than last year. Last year I would inspect in shorts and no shirt. This year I almost need to suit up to even mow the lawn. Again, I assume that all the rain has them pissy.

Be careful about taking anything from your strong hive to save your weak one. I was in a similar position last year. 1 really strong hive, 1 really weak. I considered robbing honey from the strong hive and putting it in the weak one, swapping out frames, etc etc. I decided against it, because I figured I didn't want to handicap the strong hive to save one that might not make it anyway. Especially this late in the season. It's your choice, but if it were me I'd let the weak hive die off and install a new nuc in the spring.

8/21/2013 11:10:15 AM

 Message Boards » The Lounge » 2013 Official Beekeeping Thread Page [1] 2 3, Next  
go to top | |
Admin Options : move topic | lock topic

© 2017 by The Wolf Web - All Rights Reserved.
The material located at this site is not endorsed, sponsored or provided by or on behalf of North Carolina State University.
Powered by CrazyWeb v2.37 - our disclaimer.