Below are some quick photos of the new bee package install. I was bey lucky to get Warren to help me. This package was more robust than I thought so I may be able to do a split soon. I will put up a more detailed post shortly but this is a teaser for my spring installations.
Part of the winter beekeeping work is rehabbing equipment for the next season. I wanted to share the details for those who may inherit or have to reuse their previous year’s equipment.
The purchasing of pre-owned equipment is often tricky because beekeepers are wary of stuff that they do not have knowledge of because it may have been infected by American Foulbrood or other diseases that may have caused the colony to collapse.
My thought in documenting this process was to better inform potential beekeepers of some of the steps of maintenance in the offseason. Thus, the preparing boxes for reuse is a key task because if you have bees that die of other causes you can still reuse the equipment if you take right precautions and these steps also help you to preserve your equipment investment.
These are boxes that I purchased earlier this fall from a fellow beekeeper that had some damage due to wax moth damage. In order to reuse these boxes, I had to scrape and clean them outside. Lucky, I did this work before the super cold snap (in Nov/Dec 2017), and I used some straightforward tools that I got from the $1 store (note: small and large paint scrapers). I also used the hose at high pressure to blast of the last cocoons. Once the boxes were dry, I brought them indoors and with the help of Katie S, we started the next phase.
It is recommended to burn the leftover wax and inside corners of the boxes, thus removing all of the yucky remnants. For safety, we had a fire extinguisher on hand and since I am walking accident, I left the blowtorch work to Katie. She also used a small tool to clean out the top crevices of the boxes as well.
Finally, painting the outside of the boxes with two coats of outdoor high gloss paint gave the boxes a new life. The boxes will be airing out for the winter so that there is plenty of time for any fumes to dissipate. The painted boxes will weather longer and hold up to the elements much better than untreated wood.
Note: That it is less expensive to buy unpainted equipment and do it yourself if you are purchasing a large number of boxes. There are often deals on bulk boxes and new bee equipment but, if you are buying a single hive, the price difference is slight. I suggest that you go ahead and pay the extra $5-7 for painted boxes, it is worth the money and time.
In future posts, I will share the artistic transformation of these boxes. I will also share the assembly process of the many new boxes that I purchased this summer.
It seems timely to start on candy making for the bees since it is December and when I went out this morning the ground was frozen. I found a no-cook recipe on the internet that seems pretty easy. I decided against a true fondant because I am not a skilled candy maker.
Here’s what you will need:
- A 5-pound bag of sugar
- A measuring cup – 1 cup filled with water
- A large mixing bowl
- A mixing spoon or spatula
- A medium size aluminum pan
- Optional – Essential Oils ( I added a few drops of lemongrass, Thyne, and Peppermint oils )
- Add entire bag into to large mixing bowl
- Measure and then pour 1 cup of water into bowl
- Stir and combine water and sugar (1-2 minutes)
- Optional: Add 10-15 drops (5 drops each into the mix) as you stir
I attempted to record some video of this process for your enjoyment. I am just adding this element to the blog and in the future, I refine these into more finished products.
If you have questions, contact me. I will post another blog piece on placing of these bars into the hive.
Today, I was pleasantly surprised to find active bees building comb in Hive 1 at the Woodland site. See video below:
I only checked because I have been working on the greenhouses at Woodland for the winter season. I have been amazed by the greenhouse results so far. Below are some photos from my other project which is greenhouses. It has been exciting watching the progress.
Thanks for checking out the site and now I will be making at least two bee candy bars!
The holidays took their toll on my posting habits but, I visited the hives regularly and took photos on these visit. The photos are not that exciting due to the lack of action so I posted a small collage to summarize.
Since the temperature has dropped the activity at the hives have slowed dramatically. As far as an update, I believe that the weaker hive has died out and only the second one remains. Below is some video that I took on my visit on Monday.
Over the next week, I will prepare “bee candy” for the remaining hive. Making fondant is not my specialty but, I have found some recipes that I may try so wish me luck😉☘️
My next posts will be of candy project and more detailed information on my process for wintering my equipment.
Look out for future posts on beekeeping information sessions and events that I will be hosting in Baltimore this winter.