Fall Keeping

Sorry for the delay for my lack of posts. Here are some photos of my outing today!

I went to both sites in Park Heights to check on some hives for the other keepers. I found that I am at 50% of my hives made it through which isn’t so bad. Only one was invested with moths. Here are some more photos below:

I will be doing some visits as the weather cools and I will be doing some feeding. I added some entrance feeders today so that they have a chance.

Happy Fall! I will post again soon!

Michelle🐝

Feeding at Dusk

This is an update on the feeding process and my latest visit at dusk on December 13, 2017. After working on a few projects this week, I finally got a chance to check on the bees, on Wednesday evening at dusk. The forecast for that evening was for light snows and sleet and the weather was in low 30’s to high – 20’s.  The wind was biting cold and my fingers despite having on gloves froze quickly so I tried to be as efficient as possible while still trying to document the visit with my SLR.

Due to the temperatures, bees tend to cluster.  Definition of Clustering: The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering to keep the center between 27 °C (81 °F) at the start of winter and 34 °C (93 °F) once the queen resumes laying. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold.

Below are some key details from my visit:

  1. Bee Candy Results: The results of my no-cook bee candy (candy bar). It crumbled because I may have added too many drops of essential oil.  It smelled great but it was sort of fail. I am going to have to reassemble new bars.
  2. Removing Frames: I took out empty frames and added honey from other hives that failed. I froze these other frames for at least 48 hours at home as per the advice of other beekeepers to remove issues of wax moths.
  3. Second Hive Issues: In the second hive (this is a stronger hive) the frames were glued together (propolitized – propolis) due to greater activity by the colony in the second box. Due to the cold temperature and impending nightfall, I did not spend a lot of time so I left the sugar on top and closed the hive quickly.

Lessons Learned: 

  1. Bee Candy Redo: I will try a cooked version or use less essential oil in my no-cook recipe.
  2. Next year I will be better at: Working my frames more. Get into these hives more often to reduce the issue with propolis
  3. Time well spent: That the care and feeding of these bees has been worth it and I have learned a lot!

I will do another check soon. Over the last few weeks, I have been collecting equipment and beginning my winter rehab and preparations. This next few posts will be on these endeavors.

Michelle 🙂

 

 

Hive update – late November

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.

Michelle

 

 

Bee Inspection

On Friday, I had my annual inspection by the state.  I would have taken more photos except I was actually busy learning.

Things went well and I learned a lot from the state inspector.  She was very knowledgeable and provided some good information.  Registering the hives in the State of Maryland is free! Here are some resources on City Beekeeping and the link for the City Registration process that I recently just got done.

What I learned from the visit: I learned that my orange hive is queenless and that I will probably have to combine the two for the winter.  When a hive is queenless the workers try to produce new queens, but the hive does is not producing brood and it will be directionless until a new queen is established. Thus, the bees sort move around the hive but, are not really building new comb.  If it was earlier in the season, I could introduce a new queen but, it may be too late due to the date.  I started these hives later so, I am going to check this week to see if I find out if one of the queens have taken over. We could not spot her on Friday.

The other hive is thriving but, they are a bit aggressive. When I was looking closely at a frame I got too close and I was stung in the face. Being a beekeeper is not easy, but it is fascinating. My lesson is not to lean in so close and I probably need to upgrade my suit. I have a few cheap suits that I got online but, my bee mentor Mick is right, I need a heavier suit. I resisted because I wanted something lightweight for the summer but,  this recent sting convinced me 🙂

Over the next few weeks, I will be visiting the hives weekly midday to feed them more so that “the girls” are ready for the winter.  I will be changing the formula shortly to the heavier syrup.

The bees are busy right now doing forging because we know that these Maryland 80 degree days are not going to last forever.

Below are some photos that I took of the Park Heights – Woodland garden as left.

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