Friday, April 27, 2012
I was checking up on my bees (from outside the hives, still have not opened anything other then under supering) when I found this little gem, she moved in all by herself from who knows where, the funny thing is I was planning to plant them this fall, maybe she heard about this and decided to take up residence? This image is of Siberian Squill, growing under our cedars among the pine cones. They naturalize from seed, but this one travelled some distance since we don't have any in the yard other then this one. It is a gorgeous bulbous perennial plant (like tulips) that flowers in early spring and produces blue pollen, then dies back by the time the lawn needs to be mowed, this one is late most S. Squill is done by now.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Blah.. It started to snow last night lots of wind, the temperatures took a dive almost to zero (centigrade). I'm sure we are being punished for our unusually mild April. This weather is not out of place for april though, whereas the summer spat we had in march was very out of place for that month. The thing that bugs me the most is the wind, I keep worrying about my hives getting tipped over, and just to show worrying accomplishes nothing they were fine when I woke up this morning. So since today is so dreary I will leave you with a nice warmer weather picture of a bee, sporting a mohawk.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Under supering a warre hive using my improvised hive lift (I need to make it smaller and more portable)
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I just had to take a picture of this, I was blown away by how many bees were bringing back pollen, all the same colour too. Their baskets always get so full, sometimes they come back looking like someone has dusted them with yellow icing sugar.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
All the hives are doing fantastic they always seem to find pollen even with virtually no dandelions flowering yet, even number one (Ronna's cutout) is starting to show more numbers foraging.
I noticed something worth noting the other day. Hive #5 is always active several hours before any other hive and stays active longer, this time of year that means they forage at lower temperatures then my other hives, I'm not exactly sure what this means but it is a great example of genetic diversity. I also noticed a few drone pupa discarded at their paving stone, this is worth noting simply because I know they almost have drones now. I'm not worried over a couple of dead drones, they could have been hygienically discarded or simply chilled because the queen was over eager to lay eggs, or a number of other scenarios.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
This afternoon the sun came out and so did the bees, it was still only 10c but they have been foraging at much cooler temperatures then this. If it is sunny I have seen them bringing pollen in when the temperature is 5c or 6c in the shade. I have never seen them this strong this early in april. They look more like they are in the beginning of may, I have still to see any drones though, this is a good thing since they are staying seasonal, they are at much lower risk of over rearing and starving, I still have not opened any of my hives or fed them anything. In my opinion letting them follow natures rhythm is the best way to keep them healthy.
My workshop has undergone several "upgrades", one big improvement is the addition of a surface planer right side, another is the two selves you can see in the background. My delta table saw is now on a caster base as is the planer so they can be moved around to accommodate large pieces of wood.
The CT drill press is bolted down to my work table, and on the left you can see three of my new bait hives stacked up. I recently wired my shop for 240v for the planer and now my table saw is running on 240v instead of 120v, only reason I did this was because the garage 120v wiring/breakers are to small for my saw, it kept tripping the breakers when it was cold.
A couple more improvements could be made, I am planning on adding a dust collector to my tool list as finances allow, you should see the piles of wood shavings created from just a few boards.
I had to tune and in some cases tweak the planer to get it running at my standards, the biggest problem was the motor pulley was loose on it's arbour, another issue was the switch should be replaced but I was able to get it working for now with a little finessing, most of the other issues were basic alignment ect. I did add a digital thickness readout though that is totally awesome! It is accurate up to about +-0.05mm very cool!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I was going through some of my photos today and came across this gem, I wanted to post this one since it is the best macro I have of my bees. There is a weird reflection on her eye probably from the compound element being viewed close up. How can anyone not want to pet and love these cuties!
Sunday, April 1, 2012
The picture on the left is one of my italian hives, for some reason they always put on this spectacular show, sometimes it almost looks like they are swarming, when all my other hives are more gradual this one will become active all at once.
That crazy mad march we had with mercury hitting +25c (feeling more like 30 at times) is over. I think we are still about two weeks ahead because of our recent "mad march", I know the maple sugar people are about two weeks short on flow.
Many beekeepers in the area have suffered light winter losses (from 16%) this is why I was shocked (happily) when in march all six of my hives were so strong, I don't think I have ever seen hives that strong that early in the season. It was actually starting to worry me since last week was seasonal (cold). I was concerned that my bees would have started to produce brood because of the warm weather, then the cold weather hits and they can not feed their brood using up all their honey stores and starving. Well so far this has not happened, I still have no idea what their stores look like since I do not open hives until it warms up to at least 20c with a flow. I will however add one more box under each hive so the broodnest can expand downwards (in keeping with warre practice).
Next big thing is making nucs then swarm season. I make decided (depending on what I find) to make nucs from all my hives this is a sort of artificial swarming, that encourages the old hive to make a new queen while increasing your hive numbers using the old queen in the new nuc. This will help with controlling verroa and general hive vigour, since it causes a brood cycle disruption that will accordingly cause a decline in verroa. This is also one reason feral hives can be more vigorous then bread hives, since they are not "re-queened" immediately.