Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Can't please everyone...

This spring, I want to put my hive under a scale to weigh how much nectar and pollen are coming in. I might even put it under the hive this winter to measure how much honey is used. I was fortunate enough to come across this old Fairbanks scale for a steal of a price. All I had to do was paint it and clean up the inner workings to get it taking accurate readings. No one seems to like the color I painted it. Not even the cat.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coconut telegram

I had a frame of drone comb in the freezer that I finally decided to cull (scrape off the comb). Since there was a good bit of honey left on the frame, I decided to leave the comb with honey on the frame and let the bees take it. It took the bees about 10 minutes to be robbing about the frame like crazy. It is amazing how quickly they find food sources and communicate those findings to the rest of the colony using waggle dances.

Changing of the guard...

Since the weather has cooled off a bit, I went ahead and installed a mouse guard on my hive. Mice find the warm confines of a beehive a nice place to live when it is cool outside and the bees are clustered an unable to attack. Once inside, the mice totally wreck the comb and woodenware.

This particular mouse guard is of the homemade variety. It is recycled from a leftover piece of roofing tin from a building that received a new roof.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Elephants run from bees?

This is probably true. I can honestly say that I have not had any elephants in my yard since I got a beehive.

Next project: Observation hive

My wife/assistant beekeeper/official bee photographer and I went to Larriland Farm in Lisbon. Larriland is a pick-your-own farm that is quite popular with yuppies in my ‘hood. I knew that Larriland had bees, because I had seen the hives during last year's hayride. However, I did not realize that they had an observation hive as well. It is located in the big red barn where you pay for all the stuff you picked. I am always fascinated with observation hives, but this one has finally made me decide to get one for myself. My wintertime project will be to build or buy one, and my preliminary plan is to take a couple frames from my other hive and have the bees raise a new queen in the observation hive. I think that would be pretty cool to watch. The downer is that it might put a real hurting on the amount of honey that I can produce this year.

The observation hive:

The queen in the observation hive that my wife found in about 3 seconds flat:

Uh, I think the outside apiary needs some attention: