Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two new hives and a nuc

We put the new bee equipment together today.  I buy the not assembled and not painted stuff because it is cheaper and I want to paint it like my other hives.  When we put them together we use water to wet the wood at the joints and then a little bit of premium wood glue.  Then we put the pieces together and use two big wood clamps to hold it together.  We use a builders square to make sure that the hive boxes are square and then I nail them together.

We got 3 deeps instead of 2 like I had last year because the U of M class said that 3 work better in Minnesota.  I should have enough equipment now that I won't have to buy more unless I expand.  I now have 4 complete hives.  I plan to winter 2 of the 4 hives and the other ones will just be used to make honey.  I may change my mind and try to winter all 4.  I will also have to expand my bee yard because I'm adding 2 more hives.  There is a lot of snow here still and I can't do that until it warms up more.  I can't divide the 2 hives I have until sometime in May anyway.

Here are the two new hives.  They have 3 deeps and 2 supers.
New hives

I also got a Nuc for Christmas.  It is not the kind that babies use.  It is used for selling bees to other beekeepers.  I'm going to try to catch a swarm with it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8th check-up

Yesterday we went to Nature's Nectar to get some more bee equipment.  I bought enough equipment for two more hives.  Dad and I went to the University of Minnesota's Beekeeping in Northern Climates - Year 2 class a couple weeks ago and we learned that we will need to divide the colony in early May.  If we don't divide them, they may swarm.  I'm going to use the new equipment to do the divide.  If all goes well I should have 4 hives when we are done.  Here is how I'm planning to do it.

We also bought pollen patties.  We will put them on the hives to give them pollen until it is warm enough and there is pollen to get.  We also got two new feeder pails so we can feed the bees if they are out of their honey.  

Dad checked on the bees again this morning and they are still alive.  Tomorrow it is going to be 40 F out and the bees should come out some tomorrow.

Here is a picture of me at the U of M bee class.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1st update

Came up to clear out the driveway and check on Zander's bees.  It is March 1st, it was -24 degrees Fahrenheit last night, -7 degrees now.  Going down to -21 tonight.  Got stuck in the driveway.  Left the shovel in the shed.  Only 3 foot drifts 15 feet out from the shed.  Got my cardio in by leaping through the snow to dig the door open.  Got the shovel out and then shoveled the car out of the drift I drove it into.  Then I brought out the tractor with the snow blower and got that stuck in the snow 3 times.  So ya, I'm about done with this winter.  I think the bees are about done with the winter.  Next week it is supposed to warm up to a whopping 20 degrees.  Heatwave a coming!

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
The bee yard on March 1st.  -7 degrees.

Shoveling out to the bee yard to check to see if they are still alive.
Closeup of the bee hives.  A few dead ones outside the hive.

Are the bees still alive?  Yep.  Both hives are still alive.  Saw a bee through the top hole on of the hive on the right.  Didn't see any bees in the hive on the left.  I was able to hear them inside the hive keeping their cluster warm.  They just need to make it another couple weeks then hopefully it will be warm enough that they can get out and get some pollen off the willow trees.

January Apiary Update

We took a couple of picture back in January of the apiary.  It was about 25 degrees Fahrenheit out that day and a couple of bees flew out of the hive.  When it warms up they leave the hive for evacuation flights (they don't do their business in the hive).  Some make it back and some don't.

Bees that didn't make it back to the hive.
This bee didn't make it.  Frozen in the snow. 
Frozen bee
This bee flew out while we were in the bee yard and it couldn't make it back to the hive.  We picked it up and put it by the entrance to the hive and it crawled back in.
Time to go back in the hive.