Friday, July 25, 2008

Two Hives Gone - One More Left

The bees from the small nuc finally left. I haven't been home during daylight hours to see if I could find them somewhere. Nevertheless, with the one remaining hive I have, I have to try something to combat the ant problem. Also, a local beek suggested a "bee friendly" ant killer. I looked it up and it looks like the main active ingredient is DE (Diatomaceous Earth). I've got to try something.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bad News - Again

When I got home yesterday evening - catastrophe! The ants robbed this newly transferred colony & they were gone. On top of that, storms had blown the tops off both hives and they were wet. Since the bees were gone, I went ahead and opened it up, looked at the comb and they were thriving. I saw emerging brood, sealed brood - it all looked normal (except for the cross-comb and ants - no honey). So I started investigating and found the cluster in a nearby tree that I could easily access.
Here's what I did: I took the hive, emptied out all the short (15") bars - cross-comb, ants and all. I took a water hose and washed it down & my 17" bars. I then took a towel and dried it the best I could. I then clipped the branch and shook the cluster in. I am almost sure I saw the queen in the hive. Then I commenced to clean up the site. I wiped the concrete blocks of the ants and wet cinnamon left on them and got it ready. I left the hive under the tree until after dark, then I moved it to the blocks. There was a little cluster left on another branch, but I didn't bother them. I hope they will move in, too.
Now - about the ants - something's gotta give. I can continue to pour cinnamon around everything, but by the time I get home, it could be covered up again. Am I gonna have to build a moat around this thing? Anyway, I hope they stay, but I'm afraid they won't have enough time to build back what the ants destroyed. I can only wait and see.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Problems with Small TBH

Well, I transferred the small TBH nuc over to the old abandoned hive yesterday evening. It wasn't pretty. Cross-combed across about 1/2 doz or so bars, HOT, comb breaking, tearing, falling off. Another thing - the bars in the nuc were 15" - the TBH is made for 17" bars - but the 15" will just barely fit. They did have a tendency to try and fall to one side. I wound up just picking up most of the brood nest - bars and all and moving them over. I hope I didn't goof up. From now on I'm gonna use 17" bars on everything. I guess I just need to leave these bees alone until next year and just shake them out next spring with fresh bars.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back in Business!

Well, guess what? I called the beek Friday eve and he said he had been trying to get in touch with me. He said the last day I talked with him that he hived a swarm in both of the other TBHs (3' plywood & a small nuc) I brought him, and that they have been working in them ever since. So, Saturday evening (after another $100 for the bees) my son and I loaded them up & brought them home.
Yesterday morning b4 church I checked them and they seemed to be doing fine. It didn't take them long to find the abandoned hive I already had and they began robbing what little was left in it. My son wanted to harvest the abandoned combs, so we did (we will melt them down, later).
One 3' hive had a follower about 3/4 back. I could tell that this hive was crowded (he said the swarm was HUGE), and so when we picked up the follower to move it to the rear, there was fully drawn comb on the adjacent bar. I don't know if they started at the front, or the rear. I actually peeked in the nuc Saturday. Looks like they started from the rear & are working towards the front about 1/2 way. I will eventually xfr the nuc to a full TBH. Looks like I am back in business Very Happy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quenless - Robbed by Ants!

I am almost sure my hive is queenless. All I have been able to see are drone cells, as per previous inspections. Yesterday I went to check on them and they were all outside the hive - helpless - as small ants were taking over the hive. They had dwindled to little more than a fist-sized clump on the hive. I went in the hive, scraping & brushing ants off the interior and exterior, trying to brush away the ants from the combs that had been built. After this, I misted the clump down, brushed them in a bucket & shook them back in the hive. I reduced it down to just a few bars on either side of the nest, but I'm afraid when I get home today, it won't be a pretty sight.

Observations - Lessons Learned:

  • I should have made a better effort to ensure that the colony was queen-right.
  • I should have controlled the ants with more cinnamon or something else. I knew every time I tried to feed the bees, all the syrup would do is attract ants so I would always remove it after a few days. There was some capped honey left on the combs, but most of the uncapped was gone.
  • I think I messed with them too much. Transferring from the lang. Inspections. Attempts at feeding. Although there are still some foragers, I think the colony has pretty much given up.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...