Monday, May 21, 2012

Recovering Your Own Swarm...

Dan & Joseph Gleason are not going to let their bees get away!  Check out this great video Joseph shot of Dan recovering a swarm that landed in their apple tree.
Keep an eye out, everyone!  Swarms seem to be aplenty. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Often Do You Inspect Your Hives?

In the most recent Brushy Mountain News Email, they've added a section called Tips for Success.  Beekeepers from all over can submit their tips and the winner is then chosen monthly by Brushy Mountain.  The winner's tip is published in the newsletter and they receive a discount on an order.  That seems like a good deal so if anyone wants to submit, the info is included below. 

I found the winning tip to be an interesting one.  It's got me wondering how often our new beekeepers are inspecting their new package hives, how often our more experienced members would check a packaged hive, and if I'm checking my new package hive too often.  Please comment below.

From Brushy Mountain's News Email
This is a new section that we have added to the e-flier and we are turning to you to help us with it. We are asking you to submit to us your tips, tricks, and keys to successful beekeeping. Each month we will select a winning entry and publish it in the subsequent e-flier giving credit to the winner. The winner will also receive 10% off their next order. 

Entries must be emailed with "Tip for success" in the subject line. Please include a day time phone number at which you can be reached should you be chosen as the winner. 

This month's winner is Dean Pearson.  Dean's tip for success speaks to the beekeepers who are unsure on when or how often it is needed to check on a colony. Dean mentions that in his third year as a beekeeper, he noticed that after replacing or starting a new colony, it is best to visit the hive as little as possible. In the email Dean States: "Last month I replaced three hives that I lost over winter with packages of bees. I know that some beekeepers want to get back into the hive and check on things; my advice is to let them be. I'll only go into my hive once after installation to remove the queen cage and make sure she has been released. I won't check on the hive until I think they are ready for more supers".

Every time you visit your hive, you disrupt the colony and set them back two to three days in production.

For a newly installed colony, over working the hive will interrupt the efficiency of your colony,slow the building of comb and growth. After installing a package it is not necessary to check on them daily. Go in about a week after installing the package to remove the queen cage and verify she is laying. Your colony will need weeks, after removing the queen cage, before it has built up enough comb on the frames to add another layer to the hive, and this can be determined without intensive frame inspection.

Note: Having an entrance feeder will allow you to check your feed without disturbing colony.

Overworking your hive will lead to a lack of developed frames, requires a constant feed supply and no honey harvest. This can also lead to a weak colony that will result in higher mite counts and more diseases. Not over working the hive will allow the bees to draw out comb, forage for nectar and pollen, and rebuild the colony properly.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Introducing My Queens...

This is the Martin Beeyard...
We're a small operation.

The hive on the left is our first hive, and the girls who live there over-wintered OK. I was very excited about that and thought it meant I had completed my first year as a successful beekeeper. So, mother nature decided to challenge me. On an inspection about two weeks ago, I noticed open queen cells, and that the frames were too full of honey, and worst of all... NO BROOD! I switched out some of the full frames with some built-out empty frames I had from last year. Maybe if there was a new queen in the hive, she just needed some space to lay? Left it alone for almost 5 days, and upon reinspection, still no brood. Not an egg in sight. I reached out to some of our experienced club members and the reply was unanimous, "RE-QUEEN! RE-QUEEN!" I got a new queen and installed her on Saturday. Introducing Queen Elizabeth Woodville II...
I'm going to check on her tomorrow and hope she's been accepted and freed by her people. Cross your fingers for me!

The hive on the right is our new hive. I installed a package of Italians from Tom on Easter weekend, and they're doing great so far. I've only done two inspections, and I've spotted the queen quickly and easily both times without really looking. This leads me to believe she's a bit of an exhibitionist. Please meet Queen Daryl Palumbo...
*A note on the size difference between my hives... I wanted to be sure I would be able to manage my first hive alone and was a little nervous about the size and weight of everything, so I opted to start with two medium hive bodies and an 8 frame hive. Initially this worked out great. When they needed more space, I added a third hive body, this seemed to prevent them from swarming. In the fall, they gave me 36 lbs. of delicious honey, and they over-wintered well. With an increased level of comfort going into my second year and second hive, I decided to go for deeps on our new 8 frame hive. Hopefully they'll both be a success!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Christmas Already?

        Hampden County Beekeepers Association
  Christmas Party


 When: Friday, December 7th 2012

Where:  The Villa Rose
                1428 Center St.
         Ludlow, MA

Last year's party was extremely fun.  Food, drinks, live music and a wild yankee swap.  Those social calendars fill up quickly as the holidays approach, you don't want to miss your beekeeping Christmas party, so...

More details and an official invite to follow.

May Meeting...

         Hampden County Beekeepers May Meeting

               When: Wednesday, May 16th at 7pm

           Where:  Willimanset Heights Improvement League
                       118 Mount Vernon Rd.
                       Chicopee, MA 01013
This is meeting will be our first post-bee school meeting of the year.  A great follow up meeting for all of our new beekeepers.  We’d love to see all of our experienced members come out as well.  Let’s share our beekeeping stories and knowledge.   Bring your questions, we’ll compare answers!