Thursday, February 24, 2011

It looks like all three hives have survived the winter. We didn't have too much cold weather nor did we have a lot of snow this year so I don't think it was to tough on them. However, winter isn't over and March is our snowiest month so we could still see some loses.

BYH - Back Yard Hive - lots of activity on days over 50 degrees with limited wind. The location of this hive has been a good one, with maximum sunlight every day. I saw bees with white and yellow pollen or some pollen like powder in their pollen sacks entering the hive. I'm sure they know what they are bringing in and probably have a good use for it. Hive looks great. I'll do an inspection the first day we have over 70 degree weather.

KFH1 - Kois Farm Hive - this hive has been a difficult one to read over the winter. I actually thought we lost this one at one point. No activity on warm days when the other hives were going nuts. Then one day when it was over 60 they were doing cleansing flights and stretching their wings. They may just not like cold weather and will only be active over 60.

One thing I did notice on the day they were out flying was that there were a bunch of little wars going on outside the hive. I couldn't tell if it was this colony fighting off robbers or an aggressive colony robbing them. Here's a picture of what I saw on the back ledge of the hive. The aggressor bees are mulling one or two other bees.

KFH2 - East Hive - seems to be doing great.  I was concerned about this hive starving but I think we're through the worst of the weather and I'll be able to throw a feeder on soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harvest and Other Interesting Bee Stuff

Another Harvest

Jaimi and I harvested two bars from the Kois Farm West Hive on Saturday.  They've been so productive and have about 15 full bars of honey so we decided a little for us was ok.  It only made about 2 quarts but that should be enough to share with a few friends who helped us build the hives.

I'll put up some photos and videos shortly.

Brown Palace Bees

I saw a comment on a friends blog about the Brown Palace Bees in Denver.  Pretty cool idea.  I know in other cities including Chicago and New York there's a number of rooftop apiaries.  Here's a link to the Brown Palace's:

And here's one to Chicago's City Hall Hives:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Harvested Two Bars

Finally, Jaimi and the kids got to taste the fruits of our labor...ok, my labor.  But they had to put up with it while I was building hives last Spring. 

It was quite the ordeal since this was our first time.  Right when you think you've collected everything you needed to harvest you forget something.  In our case, Jaimi had put on the wrong suit (I've since bought her a nice one).  Jaimi put on a tyvek suit that did not have elastic bands in the sleeves.  She didn't think it would be a problem since all she was going to do was film and take pics.  Nope...I needed her help.  So she got stung once on the wrist but that was it....for her.  She panicked a bit and went over by the truck where Zeke was staying.  But the bees were a bit pissed and found him and got him several times (like 15) in the mouth.  Pour guy...he went from a beautiful chocolate lab to puffy Sharpe in a few minutes.  Small dose of benadryl and he was fine.

Here's the results of our harvest.  We only took two bars.  Used a metal cone filter and some cheese cloth to strain and it was absolutely delicious.  Didn't taste anything like the store bought crap. 

We had about two quarts of honey when it was all said and done. 

Hive Updates - it's been a while

This post is about a month overdue - sorry if you've been on the edge of your seats.

About a month ago my brother was in from Chicago and he wanted to take a peak in the Backyard Hive.  We got him all dressed up and we opened it up.  This hive has struggled to build strength, and I take the full blame.  I believe I waited too long to move the follower board back and that made them believe there was a limit to their they slowed down on comb production when the nectar was still flowing.  None the less, we moved everything back and they are doing better today.

This was the first time in a while I've opened this hive - I like the philosophy of the Backwards Beekeepers which says to let the bees do what the bees want to do.  John was very intrigued with what he saw in the hive. 

The first bar we pulled you could see capped brood, larva, eggs, and low and behold...there was Queenie!  Check it out - look at the second picture below and see if you can find her.  She's golden in color and quite long.

Here's a close up of her:

I harvested two bars of honey from KFH1 a few days before this - I'll post a few pics shortly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

McKinley Cut Out Install

So we've got a large swarm in a box with my 17.5 inch top bars that fit perfectly.  This was a very industrious swarm so I knew they would build quick.  The swarm was going to my cousin Theresa who had a brand new Langstroth hive ready for bees. 

She picked up the bees Sunday evening after they were all in the box and in order to get them in the new hive she had to wire my bars to the top edge of a lang frame.  The cool part was that my bars were a perfect fit on a assembled lang frame.

So all we had to do (which really wasn't easy) was to attach the bars to the top edge of the lang frame. We used two wood screws to do this and the result looked like this.

We attached five bars to the frames. Dropped them in the hive body, added a feeder and Theresa had a happy hive. Thanks to James and Heather Crouch for letting me tear up their house these bees will flourish. Here's a few more pictures of the hive.