Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hard At Work & More Housing

This is supposed to be the dearth for bees around here but it is Southern California so there always seems to be something out there for bees. When I checked the hive two weeks ago I left a large baggie with four cups of sugar water to help the bees along. In the mean time the bees have seemed very active and the weather has been good so I left them alone. The weather is still great so I decided to check them today, nothing extensive, just see how they are doing and add another baggie. They seem to be doing very well.

Remember this frame from the Oct 17 inspection.? #9 second frame from the end of the hive box
This is how it looked two weeks ago.

This is how it looked today.

The "empty" last frame now looks like this. These were the only two frames I removed. I did peek at the #1 frame and it looks like #10 with the little bubble of wax. That was enough for me.

I returned the two frames and everyone seemed very happy. This time I used the Kirk method and smoked the bees first, leaving them for five minutes. I repeated that and then put a little smoke in the top before finally opening the hive. The twitchy bees were well behaved today.

The first time I put the baggie of sugar water into the hive there were issues. I could not cut slits into the baggie with gloves on and the bees advised me to leave after I removed one glove to make the cuts. Now I use a surgical clamp to grip the baggie before I get near the hive making it easy to lift the baggie off the liquid and cut the slits just before placing the baggie in the hive.

With eight of the frames well filled and the bees starting on #1 and #10, I decided to add another hive box. I might have moved one of the full frames up be decided the bees can make those kind of decisions. I placed the baggie on the new box which should lure the bees up higher in time. The old baggie had a little of the sugar water left in it after being there for two weeks so the baggie does not seem to be their main source of food.
Since I was in the area I did add a little more Tanglefoot around the concret block base. It works well but the ants keep finding paths around it. A small bit of wind blown debris can provide a path for them. One advantage to having the hive on a concrete pad is the ant paths are easy to spot. I am organic with the bees but not the ants. I follow the path to the source an apply stuff but not so much that spray will reach the bees. In time I may add a water trap under the blocks. No one method seems work all the time and I cannot afford an Echidna or aardvark. ,
The old baggie had a lot of propolis so I scrapped most of it off.

This will come in handy when I get to making wax starter strips. According to Kirk adding the propolis to the wax will make it more pliable and easier to use when making the all-wax starter strips. Some people eat propolis for health reasons. I have enough problem with spinach in my teeth without adding something else very sticky. The starter strips are a long way off, I need to triple the size of the hive before even thinking about removing honey and gathering wax
But that is what keeps us going.....

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