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…

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 &…

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…

Uncapping Knife Explosion

“The last time I heard a boom like that, Japan surrendered the war.” Nelly I bought an Uncapping Knife last year and just got around to trying it out this week. The first time it worked okay but kept getting so hot that it burned the honey – perhaps that is normal. What is not…

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…

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…

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…

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing… But I’m Doing It!

Noah and the (3) MMNs … and poison ivyall over the damn fence!!!!! The new Mini Mating Nucs (MMN) we made the other day aren’t doing well. For starters, they had dysentery as could be seen from the brown streaks on the front of each box. At first I thought it might be Nosema but…

Mini Mating Nucs – First Use

Yesterday, shortly after 5:00pm, Noah arrived and we headed out to Dr. D’s. Hive-D.1 is still full of hive beetles. All the traps were empty. But a frame of wax had (20) or (30) beetle larva that I could see and I killed about (20) additional beetles. This time I cleaned the bottom board and removed the…

The Hive Beetles – I went all Yoko Ono on thier asses

Wax flakes left after the hive beetles chewed through several frames Well I didn’t get back out to Dr. D’s place until Saturday around noon. I’d like to say it was because I worked late but truth was, I was just exhausted by the time I got home from Vicksburg on Friday. Anyway, Saturday was…

Attack of the Small Hive Beetles

Brood Comb destroyed by Small Hive Beetles Wikipedia: “The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is a beekeeping pest.”Now there is an understatement. I’ve always had issues with hive beetles. For the most part I have used dryer sheets with a fair bit of success (though I am trying Don the fat bee man’s traps with less success). However, when I…