Thursday, February 11, 2010

Moats and Prospects

I have been happy with using Tanglefoot to keep ants out of the hives but moats might be more effective. When I spotted a stack of roaster pans at the market I grabbed enough for two hives.
I have been hoping to expand to a second hive this year if I can capture a swarm. I had recently restocked on frames and with better weather these days this was a chance to take care of both projects at one time.

I had a few frames with old comb ends and two packets of swarm lure from LA Honey. One lure was a little old so I stapled both of them in after setting up the hive with the concrete blocks inside the roaster pans. On a hot day this swarm lure will make your car smell like an orange grove.

This one was all set so I moved on to the Twitchy Bees.

I put tape over the hive opening. This was after 5PM and there were one or two stragglers that showed up but they did not cause any problems. I had a table near the front of the hive and moved it there. Then I was able to put roaster pans under those concrete blocks and in the process found out the Tanglefoot was still sticky after a number of months. ( I did not have gloves or any protection on, I had forgotten about the Tanglefoot on those blocks.)

Once I removed the tape a few bees came out to check things but that is all they did. None of them took to flight. They were very calm during the whole operation.

Back in place with the fencing up. I believe that is an optical illusion, the hive should not be tilted but I was doing this in the waning light. I will double check it today and adjust it as needed.

The whole apiary. Is that impressive or what? Now if only a swarm will visit the area looking for housing. I do not have high hopes for that but it could happen. In the mean time my friend will be working on the bee vacuum. I did several days of cooking for one of his outings and that is my pay. He has all the tools and the skills to make a fine one. I have the vacuum.

I was asked in an earlier comment about the little blue fence. It was put there to keep the dogs away but they do not need it any more. They are Cairn Terriers with a rather thick coat and it took only one bee or two being stuck in the coat to get their attention. They were not stung but they no longer go to the fence. The girl dog does not come close at all. I left it there because there are possums in the area and I have heard they like to scratch at the hive to get bees to come out and enjoy a sweet snack. The fence keeps the away, at least I have never found evidence of them being there and have seen them on the block wall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Lot I Know

This is how my hive looks and I waqs very happy with it. Then I was at LA Honey and as I waited I was talking to another Backwards member and pointed to the piece I used as top cover and referred to it as a something she might need. Ahem came the cough from Larry behind the counter. "That is a fume board not a cover, they are at the end of the shelf." Oops, at least I had admitted to be a new beek so I was not really embarassed but I did add a cover to my purchases.

When I got around to replacing the top with a proper cover last night it was later than I really wanted but I knew rain was in the forecast so I did it anyway. There were only random bees flying into the hive and they were quite calm as I took time to shoot a couple pictures. The bees are expanding their work in the upper hive box. I do not plan on looking deeper until they are better established at that level.

When I was checking last week (in better light) they seemed very happy doing their work. I like the way they line up along the edge to watch.

When I put the real cover on a good number of bees gathered on the front porch but they were all back in by the time I had removed my bee suit.

Now the bees are properly covered and the new cover extends down over the sides of the upper super. I will hang onto the fume board. I do not expect to need ir for its designed purpose but it does leave the bees a little extra room when I use it and i do home to capture a swarm and added a second hive this Spring.. The fume board has a soft inner liner on the top. I believe it helps to remove or get rid of excess fumes during some processes when medicals are added or there is too much smoke. Since I don't use any medical products in the hive it is useless for that.
As with all of this, my education continues and the bees have better housing.