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Bees

Discussion in 'Kenbo's Chat Room' started by CWS, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    @rocky1 I ordered my bees this week. They are due the last part of April. All I have to do now is build a hive.
    :good2:I have two good mentors that I will be leaning on plus a WB Expert.
     
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  2. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Actually took lots of pictures to confuse aspiring beekeepers with yesterday. Taking more today.
     
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  3. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Almost got my bee hive ready. Bees will be here on Saturday. Looking forward to getting stung.:old:

    bee hive.jpg
     
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  4. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Looking good!

    I would start then in a single story. If you crowd then a little they'll pull your foundation quicker. Starting them in a double, they'll pull it up the middle and leave the wall combs undrawn. Either way you're going to have to move combs out, foundation in as they draw it, to expedite the process. If you let them start on one side and turn the comb around they'll move out a little quicker too.

    As they get it drawn you'll notice they don't draw the corners above the hive entrance. Wait until they have the back corners drawn and turn the frames around, they'll fill it in Curt.
     
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  5. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Oh yes... Resist the urge to set that cover directly on top of your combs mid summer when the feeder isn't necessary.

    Common name for that one is a"Telescoping Lid" or "Telescoping Cover", don't ask where the "telescoping" thing came from; before my time! They've always been that, for as long as I can remember playing with bees, which is 50+ years. I think it comes from needing a telescope to see the other end of the string of cuss words one spits out when you set it directly over your combs on a honey flow and they burr it all up and stick that lid down. You can't get under it to pry the frames loose!

    Most commercial beekeepers use a flat lid, typically plywood, form ply works great if you can find some scraps, pressure treated 3/4" works fine and you may find other uses for the rest of the sheet. Cut it same dimensions as the box, and nail a 3/8" thick x 1" wide strip around the edge of it. That allows some additional bee space over the frames, and they don't stick it down as bad. A 1" x 2 1/2" or 1" x 3" cleat nailed on top at each end will help prevent the plywood curling on you as well. But if you plan on moving them at all, the cleats make it aggravating to stack them by hand.

    When you put your feeder back on in the fall, go back to the telescoping cover. They won't stick the lid down good over the feeder, and the lip all the way around keeps the lid from blowing off, and keeps water out of the feeder when it rains.


    If you get this kind of queen cage, and install it as I showed below, and you did get the combs from the neighbor, use your hive tool to dig a little patch of comb out, and turn the screen over that hole, so the bees can get to the screen to tend to the queen until they let her out. Put your queen in there, pop the lid on your package, and tip it upside down over the hive. If it's by chance seriously warm when you get them, mist them with a little cool water, before popping the lid on the package. If they're really warm and you open them up, they'll all take off and buzz around, and scare you half to death because you'll think they're all leaving, but it's usually not an issue, they come back after flying around a few minutes, taking a dump and cooling off. Packages aren't something I'm real familiar with; helped a buddy install a hundred of them 1 time, and that is the limit of my experience with package bees! But don't hesitate to yell if you have any questions.

    KIMG1348_W.jpg

    KIMG1349_W.jpg
     
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  6. drycreek

    drycreek Member Full Member

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    Brings back a lot of memories.
     
  7. Lou Currier

    Lou Currier Member Full Member

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    @rocky1 do you wear one of those white suits when handling the bees and why are they white?
     
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  8. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Occasionally wear the white jacket, not the coveralls, nor the arm length gloves. Tee shirt, hat and veil most of the time. This is Florida, it does get warm.

    Bees don't like dark colors, the extent of which varies day to day. Some days they aren't too bad, some days a pair of new jeans will get you eat up. Black is typically not a good color period. White is simply the safest color, and since they get dirty as hell working with the honey and wax and dirty equipment, it's bleachable.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  9. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Got my bees today. I got 3 pounds and a couple of friends got 2 each. Bees are spending the night in my shop, weather was cold and rainy today and tomorrow looks be a better day. Tonight there is appx. 50000 bees spending the night. Not many by @rocky1 standards but a different experience for me. bees2.jpg bees2.jpg
     
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  10. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Like all living things they need a little water Curt. If you have a clean spray bottle, set it to shoot a stream and squirt a bit through the screen. If it's cool in the shop, it's not a real big deal. Warmer it is, of course, the greater their need for water. When they ship queens, they soak a sponge and put it in the bottom of the box. Bees don't just drink water, they use it to regulate temperature. They were the original inventor of the air conditioner! They carry water into the hive, fan it through the hive and out. Water of course is a fantastic conductor of heat, so the water vapor traveling through the hive absorbs heat and it's fanned out of the hive.

    Oh yeah... When you pull the plug on that box tomorrow, just remember all 50,000 of them are armed!
     
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  11. Lou Currier

    Lou Currier Member Full Member

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    :scare3:

    upload_2019-4-27_6-47-55.gif
     
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  12. Lou Currier

    Lou Currier Member Full Member

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    upload_2019-4-27_6-51-46.jpeg
     
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  13. Lou Currier

    Lou Currier Member Full Member

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    Congrats on the bees Curt :good: we definitely want to see your journey.
     
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  14. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Don't know about the little bitty buckets, but yeah there are actually bees among the hive that seek out and haul nothing but water. As honey flows diminish over the summer, more and more bees will haul water.

    1.) They don't have anything else to do.

    2.) It's typically hotter, and they turn the AC up. And...

    3.) There is no nectar coming in, so no moisture being fanned out of nectar to dissipate heat. Therefore their demand for water to cool hive is substantially greater.
     
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  15. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    If you have a lake, stream, pond, or slough nearby they'll be fine, if not they may aggravate the wife around her flower bed, the dog around his water bowl, swimming pool, hot tub, whatever. Go to Wally World and buy a small kiddy pool, sit it near your hive in the shade, toss a few branches in so the bees have something to crawl out on, and won't drown.
     
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  16. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    hive.jpg
    I have a chicken waterer with gravel up to the waterline of the waterer near the hive. The hive is almost a half mile from the house. They also have a hive feeder in the top of the hive with a sugar mixture. I know that bees can travel a great distant from the hive. There is three spring feed 500 gallon concrete water tanks within 250 feet of the hive and a stream between the hive and the house. I know they could still wind up at the house so a water pool is a good idea. Hopefully they will spend most of their time in the 25 acres of pasture with a lot white clover. I APPRECIATE all of your good advice you have offered with helping me with this adventure. I think I have a small pool in the barn.
     
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  17. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    With the tanks and stream between them and the house you shouldn't have a problem Curt. They'll prefer the stream water as it will contain trace minerals that may not be in the well water. Which yes they need those too. Not at all uncommon to find them working the mineral block I put out for the local deer; especially after a rain where they can suck the minerals up with water. If you have a pool in the backyard, that might be a problem. Something about chlorine appeals to them. We hear about bee problems by the pool all the time, when we set them out anywhere near one.

    As for how far they will fly, North Dakota, fall of the year will teach you lots of lessons there. The clovers and alfalfa will typically produce heavily up until daylight starts getting shorter. Once daylight goes into it's down swing, clovers will start winding down, plant growth slows, and they start storing nutrients in the root stock to make it through the winter. When they do, nectar production typically slows, if not shuts down altogether, regardless of whether there is bloom. Irrigated alfalfa may produce well into fall, where it's fertilized, and watered on a regular basis. Occasionally you'll get a warm, wet fall, and all of it will produce a little, but as a rule anymore, there are simply too many bees in the neighborhood, and what plants are blooming don't produce enough to make any excess. We used to make a little clover honey up well into September; this day and age, you're typically done mid-August, if not sooner. There used to be no one in the neighborhood, and we were running 1200 - 1600 hives. Now the nephew is running upwards of 6000 hives, the other local beekeeper is running 10 - 12 thousand, and there are 4 other beekeepers in the area running 2 - 4 thousand hives each, all in the same territory that we alone used to run 1600 hives. Just isn't enough flowers to go around in the fall anymore.

    At one point in time, (early 80s), Sun Flowers were big in that immediate area. A lot of the local farmers planted them, and begged us to put bees on them. Had a yard a little over a mile from one field, farmer said it actually ran good on the side of the field the bees were on, but by the time he reached mid-field it wasn't worth running the combine over it. The next year we had 5 bee yards on his property, and he wanted them IN the sunflower fields. We actually picked most of the operation up and moved it to Sunflower fields, fall of the year back in those days, and made a second crop.

    Oil seed produce honey, confectionery seed, the ones you eat, don't. Still a few planted out there on occasion, but not like it used to be. And, most of what they plant anymore are confectionery. The sunflower oil market peaked, and kinda slowly faded into the past, when canola became "THE" oil to eat and be healthy. The Sunflower honey market followed suit, they were shirt-tailing the sunflower oil market when it was the trendy thing.

    All that being said, I have seen bees fly up to 3 - 3 1/2 miles, one way, and make sunflower honey in the fall. I have seen them fly in excess of 2 miles and make a BUNCH of sunflower honey. In fact, we had a yard not to many years ago that had made at least a 40 lb. average on sunflowers, and we had no clue where they were at. When I finally found them, it was 2 1/2 miles to the nearest corner of the field from the bee yard.
     
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  18. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    The more I learn about them the more amazed I am.
    thank you
    Curt
     
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  19. CWS

    CWS Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Checked the hive today. The queen has left the cage. The bees are building new comb already on the new frames. Amazing little critters. Bees 4-30-19.jpg
     
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  20. rocky1

    rocky1 Creator of Shavings and Sawdust! Full Member

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    Yep, they'll boogey right along when the start. Almost scary at times!!

    Checked and supered 320 hives yesterday, went back and checked and supered 500 or so hives today. Found bunches of them that I really wasn't expecting to be full, as in they didn't even look like they were working on them last Monday when I checked them; they were full today! Had 110 double story hives that appeared short of feed, short of bees, just starting to move up into the top hivebody last week, little nectar trickling in, 90% of those were wall to wall bees, combs whitened up, 2 - 4 frames upstairs full of honey, burred up. Great to see them come around that fast, sucked in that I really didn't anticipate that crap and left two empty rows on the truck to carry queen excluders for those, and we ran short of supers to work everything in the Branford area. So now I have to go 50 miles south in the morning, to work the last hundred hives there, before going 50 miles west to check bees in Lee and Madison.


    Lessons in beekeeping -- The above two pieces of wax are noticeably different, as everyone can tell, and before Lou shows up and wants to know why...

    The wax on the left is fresh wax, plucked from the wax glands, chewed up and deposited to build comb. The wax on the right, that looks darker and dirty, is wax they chewed down from the old combs Curt borrowed from the neighbor. Were everything in the hive new and clean, there really shouldn't be any dirty brown wax in the hive, it should all be pretty and white. Therefore, I can tell with reasonable certainty from here, he did in fact get a few established combs from the neighbor.

    Keep an eye on them and make sure they draw the foundation right Curt. Occasionally when drawing new foundation, they'll want to bridge across between the frames. Some hives are worse than others in that respect, mediocre honey flow will cause it at times. If they do bridge between the frames, pull the affected frames, use your hive tool and cut the comb where they've bridged across down to the foundation, and force them to start over. Don't do like my monkeys and scrape the entire frame clean, just the spots where the comb is not properly drawn. When you put the combs back in, turn one or both of them. Try to avoid putting those spots you cut down together again. If you place those cut down spots adjacent to partially drawn comb it reduces the gap between frames and they'll usually straighten it out.

    The frames are designed to allow adequate bee space between the combs once they are drawn. When it's all foundation there's too much bee space between the frames and they essentially build bridges between the frames to move back and forth. With enough bees, and an abundance of nectar they will usually draw the combs fast enough to avoid that scenario. They have to have enough bees to fill that space however, and form a bee bridge across the gap between frames. With a package in a new hive, there's not necessarily enough bees there to do that throughout the hive, and they tend to try and rush things at times. With a good honey flow, between building stores, and the queen laying brood, they will fill the comb about as fast they can build it.

    Try not to disturb them too much for a few days with the new queen in there. I know you want to get in there and dig around, see how they are progressing, but each time you do you risk mashing the queen between frames, and the bees can at times be very protective of her, and will at times ball her up and suffocate her, trying to protect her.

    Dependent upon how long she has been caged, she could start laying right away, or it may take 4 - 5 days for her to start.

    Old age trick --- I can tell you already, eggs are very difficult to see in new comb. Even if you went with black foundation. The queen doesn't always lay them directly in the bottom of the hole. A lot of the time, they will be stuck on the cell wall right at the bottom, where the wall meets the bottom of the cup. It is also very difficult to see them in low light. Act like a kid, break out your cell phone, turn on your flash, and zoom! You'll be amazed what you can see!!
     
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