The Magnificent Seven

Hive-B.1.1.VSH “Adopt the pace of nature: her secrete is patients.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m down to (8) hives; one at the old farm and seven at Dr. D’s. However, three of those hives are from recent splits. Given my recent loses, I’ve been obsessing over these remaining hives. The thought wakes me up at…

Swarm Prevention – I should have added a super

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worse fears to come true.” – Bohdi, Point Break (1991) My five frame nuc (VE) needed room to grow but I hesitated because I was afraid if I put another super on too soon, that it would cause the beetles to take over the hive. However, by…

Facing Reality – The Hive Count

“Most people give up just when they are about to achieve success.” – Ross Perot My heart kept whispering that quote in my ear yesterday to keep my brain from acknowledging my eyes. So what had my eyes seen? Hive-A.1.VSH was empty. The strong, healthy hive that I had harvested from this year and was…

Part 1 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein It is never my intention to spin my mistakes into a positive light for the sake of my ego. Nonetheless, Saturday’s splits have taught me a valuable lesson. When performing a walkaway split, with a strong hive, in the same…

Part 2 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“What is best in life?”  “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” – Conan the Barbarian, 1982 Clockwise: Amelia Egghart, Bernice, Melba, Marsala,and Spot is off camera.  Part-2: The Chickens and the Beetles: I like my chickens and my wife loves them but I have questioned my decision…

Walkaway Splits – Right & Wrong

“If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly first.” – Joel Salatin All of my hives at Dr.D’s are spaced 18″ apart in all directions Work and weather have stifled my beekeeping but it hasn’t stopped me completely. Saturday, my wife and I went out to Dr. D’s place and split Hive-B.1 &…

Miller Method – (8) Cells and (1) Virgin Queen

“You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need.” – the Stones I miscalculated the birth of the queens. On my queen rearing spreadsheet, queens hatch at (16) days – however, that is from the day the egg is laid. The queen actually hatches just…

Chickens Day 1

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore RooseveltSaturday I bought five Barred Rock chickens – that’s not…

Third Graft Attempt

“Many of the projects that we do that appear quite successful, it’s actually often the second or third time we’ve given it a try.” Dr. Edward Boyden, MIT Yesterday, I made my third attempt to graft. We pulled a frame from Hive-B.1 and transported it to the house. I left it covered in bees and placed…

My First Successful Grafts

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” James Allen At least two of my grafts have been accepted. This is…

More Queens Than A Cher Lookalike Contest – Graft #2

“Agh, that is bad luck. But grandfather say, ‘It never rain everyday.’” – Mr. Kim, The Fifth Element I’ve been quoting that line since 1997 (holy shit – I just realized how old that movie is… even worse… how old I am) – actually I’ve been misquoting it, as the case may be, since I always say, “It can’t rain…

A New Hope and a small harvest

“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.” – C3PO Maybe a little dramatic for an opener but it has been an up hill battle with these beetles. However, yesterday it appeared that I have finally gotten the upper hand. “Great, kid! Don’t get cocky.” – Han Solo I only found (1)…

The Beetles Kill Another Hive

The bottom board of Hive-D “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me,” John Lennon… but then John never kept bees! I was sure that all was well in my home apiary. I had strong (though queenless) hives and minimal comb. So you can imagine my surprise yesterday afternoon, when I went to check…

A Good Day to Make Splits

“Five hundred. … five hundred fights, that’s the number I figured when I was a kid. Five hundred street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience. To develop leather skin. So I got started. Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being…

Schrödinger’s Cat and My Bees

“Now he found himself lying in his rumpled bed and wondering if this was how you came untethered from the real, rational world. If this was how it started when you lost your mind.” Stephen King – Four Past Midnight. I held my breath while I searched the hive but it was for nothing – the…

The Harvard of Bee Yards

If “failure is the best teacher” then my bee yard is the Harvard of bee yards. This weekend proved to be heartbreaking. The two Five Frame Nucs I made have both been destroyed by hive beetles. Out of the two nucs, one was filled with lots of bees from Hive-A. It should have been a…

Split Update

 This is just a short update on the recent splits. Hive-A.1.VSH has two queen cells. It is also fairly populated with bees. I was worried that the bees may have all returned to Hive-A but it turned out to be a fairly even split. Hive-D.3.VSH did not make any queen cells and is showing…

Before you win big. you have to lose big…

“If you want to win big, first you have to lose big. So what are we doing now? We’re losing big!” Some Kind Of Wonderful, 1987. It was odd line that has always stayed burrowed in the back of my mind. Yesterday it seemed to fit more than usual. My queen grafts didn’t take, so Noah and I…

Hive Location – A tip for the beginner

I cut a 1″ hole in the cheese cloth this morningto let Hive-D.3’s foraging bees slowly enter. I swapped Hive-D with Hive-D.3 yesterday. This segues into today’s topic – Hive Placement. Most books will tell you that the best location to place a hive is in a sunny area, with a windbreak, and an easterly view… and…

Beetles – My Arch-nemisis

I’m still struggling with the Mating Nuc Concepts. The idea to leave one of the nucs closed up with tape worked out pretty well. Except for the one that I didn’t keep closed  absconded. Abscond is a beekeeping term that gets used to say the bees left. However if you look it up in Merriam’s…