Discussion in 'Environment' started by jjl, Feb 18, 2016.
two more installs this week, which makes 3 so far.
Word of advice:
Never hug a cage of live Bees.
Now I have a pink belly
Tonight I started fussing. Sort of insinuating that we needed to go tend my Bees after working other bees all day.
"This isn't going to be like last year where you agonized all day until we went to visit them, is it?" Jim complained.
I shook my head. I understand now that this is livestock, untamed wild animals. They will behave however they intend to.
Several of my groups have reported absconding only a few days after an install. Worse are the oldtimers that treat this as something the beek did wrong.
In Beekeeping, shit just goes wrong sometimes.
I smiled and said, "If I lose them, I will get more Bees."
what the hell is he doing with that smoker?
And yes, he gave them WAY too much
Fun Honey Bee Factoid:
A queen is marked not only to make it easier to find her, but it will also tell you what year she was born.
1 or 6 - WHITE.
2 or 7 - YELLOW.
3 or 8 - RED.
4 or 9 - GREEN.
5 or 0 - BLUE. (none of my queens have been marked)
to the question of flow hives:
I'm a new beek. 2 years ago I bought into the flow hive. In my ignorance I thought I could simply buy some bees, abandon them for a few months and then carelessly steal gallons of honey from them for their benefit. I've since learned that keeping bees requires relatively constant attention and work. I've learned that taking honey is not necessary and instead is exploiting the bee's. I've learned that the bee's don't do what the beekeeper wants, they do what the bees want. I've learned that all of the ailments which the flow hive is marketed to solve, are not eliminated by the flow hive. In fact the flow hive may have created problems like how to clean the flow frames. I've learned that while the flow hive generated a lot of new interest in beekeeping, it also likely initiated an entire era of new beeks that thought like I and for one reason or another stopped keeping bees. Too much work and no reward. A failed first year hive.
I followed the advice of experienced beekeepers. Bought two Nucs and successfully kept 2 hives last year, had a swarm, found and marked the new queen, experienced the scourge of varroa, successfully wintered both hives, experienced a spring swarm this year, performed a split, found and marked the new queen and installed the new colony in a top bar hive. Now I have 3 relatively strong hives, 2 fully built out deep brood boxes each, none of which are drawing "honey comb" in the supers where I want them to. I've stopped using queen excluders and continue to move the back filled brood comb into the honey super. In my strongest hive I have a deep super to hold winter honey and a medium super for the bees to fill for my consumption. Two days ago I was forced to take winter honey from one of the frames in the deep super simply because it was being built into the bee space and inspections became nearly impossible without breaking the comb open. The medium super below is completely empty. I have a mix of waxed foundation and foundationless frames throughout but the mediums seem to be the hardest to get them to draw comb on.
At ~$30 per flow frame and the need for a special box as a super I would caution anybody looking to buy, that the flow hive isn't perfect and keeping bees isn't easy. If you want honey, go support your local farmer's market. If you want bees, go start keeping bees. If you want to try the flow hive, buy a single flow frame and try it in your deep honey super. I have yet to try mine!
It's been a year since I got my first Bees.
A Year and a day
I have learned a lot in a short time. Like I said in the beginning, it's a steep learning curve.
I spend a couple hours every day reading about them.
I have three hives now, I am hoping to keep a fourth.
I also tend to two other colonies.
I will lose bees this year.
Honey Bees are not native to the Northeast of the US. If I expect them to survive, they will have to evolve.
We shall see.
Fun Honey Bee Factoid:
It is a tradition among seasoned Beeks to give a beginner a caught swarm to start with and learn on.
I wonder if my first bee mentor knows this? I will have to ask her on our next inspection.
Her Bees died this year but left behind some deep, chocolate brown honey. Very flavorful.
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