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Old 04-18-2017, 04:07 PM   #101
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

The bee's didn't get angry with you shaking them? All I could think was Oh-chit he's shaking the bees
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:55 PM   #102
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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The bee's didn't get angry with you shaking them? All I could think was Oh-chit he's shaking the bees
Nope -- in fact, I wasn't shaking hard enough. They really just want to get into the hive and start doing bee stuff. Honey bees are pretty docile. It usually takes quite a bit for them to get aggressive.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:18 PM   #103
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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Nope -- in fact, I wasn't shaking hard enough. They really just want to get into the hive and start doing bee stuff. Honey bees are pretty docile. It usually takes quite a bit for them to get aggressive.
Evidently being thirsty does the trick. Across the road from my house, the guy leases space on his land for beekeepers to stage the bees there awaiting transport to different locations. Last summer it was very dry, and the bees would come to my house to the water container for my outside dog. My wife got stung twice while going to check the mail.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:53 AM   #104
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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Nope -- in fact, I wasn't shaking hard enough. They really just want to get into the hive and start doing bee stuff. Honey bees are pretty docile. It usually takes quite a bit for them to get aggressive.
to be(e) tested in July no doubt....
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:09 AM   #105
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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Honey bees are pretty docile. It usually takes quite a bit for them to get aggressive.
Just like me!

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Evidently being thirsty does the trick. Across the road from my house, the guy leases space on his land for beekeepers to stage the bees there awaiting transport to different locations. Last summer it was very dry, and the bees would come to my house to the water container for my outside dog. My wife got stung twice while going to check the mail.
Water them goddammed bees, Vin!
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:35 AM   #106
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

This is becoming a great thread to read.

Even with Grace getting stung she is still supporting this hobby. She is a tough cookie.

Now I would like to see Tom in the hat and gloves.

And by the way isn't it jizz not gizz??
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:58 AM   #107
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Yea I'm trying to figure out why I'm so invested in Vin's beehive success. This is great and such a cool hobby. I'm learning a lot.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:06 AM   #108
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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Yea I'm trying to figure out why I'm so invested in Vin's beehive success. This is great and such a cool hobby. I'm learning a lot.
You live! How is Tom's son doing, anyway? Start another thread.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:07 PM   #109
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Time for an update.

The plan, when installing a package of bees, is

1 - Install the queen cage in the hive
2 - Dump the bees into the hive
3 - Wait three days then inspect to be be sure the queen has both successfully eaten her way out of her cage & has been accepted by the hive (ie. they didn't kill her on exit)
4 - Wait another week (Day 10) and inspect for bee eggs

Originally, I was supposed to take delivery of the bees on April 10. Due to weather in the South (tornadoes and what not), that got pushed to April 17 as I had discussed previously. The April 10 date would have been damn near perfect for me from a New England weather standpoint, a work schedule standpoint and a personal time standpoint. I could have followed the schedule above pretty precisely.

Having instead received the bees and installed them on Monday, I was unable to do a queen cage inspection until today because Grace & I went on a mini vacation. We were both very excited to see what had been going on with the hive while we were away, and we didn't even bring our luggage into the house when we got home. Instead, we donned our bee gear, fired up the smoker, and went off to inspect the hive hoping to find a live & productive queen.


Have your speakers on to hear my panic in this video:

Queen Cage Inspection
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:24 PM   #110
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

What will you do about the space? Is that a huge comb or what?
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:33 PM   #111
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Bees, when given a width of more than about 3/8" of an inch to work with (called bee space) start to fill in that space with honey comb. The whole point of the hive frames is to give the bees a manageable area for them to build out comb in an orderly fashion. What happened in the case of my hive is that the queen cage took up a slot where a frame would normally sit. The bees did what bees do, and instead of limiting their building to the frames, they also started hanging comb from the inner cover down into the empty space where a frame would normally reside.

So while it looks cool, it's unworkable because I can't have random comb hanging down into to the hive since I'll be doing periodic inspections, and the comb is eventually going to break and make a mess of things both in the hive & for me.

So here's what I'm dealing with:




I had to make a decision, and after some gnashing of teeth and a few soothing words from Grace, we broke the comb away from the inner cover and brushed the bees back into the hive as best we could. With the comb gone, I easily inserted the frame where it would have been had the queen cage not been there.

The stress inducing part in all of this is that I couldn't find the queen. She comes marked with a dot -- literally a yellow sharpie dot on her back for ease of identification. But she could be anywhere within the hive, and it's pretty easy for a 5-thumbed bull in a china closet fat guy to inadvertently squash her.

As you saw in the video, I knew she had made it out of her cage. Here's a shot of the empty cage:


The hole at the bottom was once filled with candy and capped with a bit of cork. The queen eats the candy from the inside of the cage while the worker bees eat from the outside (after I had removed the cork), and she walks through that hole after a few days.

But I still didn't know if she was alive or where she was in the hive.

I need to digress for a moment. I believe in karma. Call it God, Allah, Jesus, Mother Earth, Eywah - whatever, but I believe there is some force out there greater than all of us, and that if you do the right thing often enough, you are rewarded with the right thing being done back.

Sometimes this manifests itself in small ways. I spent a good couple hours on a plane ride today playing peekaboo and making funny faces with a kid who was probably 9 or 10 months old. If I stopped, the kid cried -- and I mean screamed -- so I kept it up all though the flight. It was actually a fun way to pass the time since JetBlue's internet service doesn't work over open ocean; plus I'm a goofy basterd at heart.

Anyway, Grace is watching me come unglued over the situation with the honey comb in the hive and the status of the queen when she looks down and right in front of her feet is the queen! As near I can tell, she must have been in the mass of bees on the comb and fallen to the ground. Grace happened to notice a few bees on the ground, and one of them also happened to be the queen! Karma? Coincidence? No matter - I very gingerly picked her up by having her walk on to my bee brush & transported her back into the hive.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:49 PM   #112
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very cool, Vin.
Bees, and stinging insects, make me very nervous. But I can certainly enjoy the experience through your efforts.

They are fascinating creatures.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:49 PM   #113
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Quote:
Originally Posted by massphatness View Post
Bees, when given a width of more than about 3/8" of an inch to work with (called bee space) start to fill in that space with honey comb. The whole point of the hive frames is to give the bees a manageable area for them to build out comb in an orderly fashion. What happened in the case of my hive is that the queen cage took up a slot where a frame would normally sit. The bees did what bees do, and instead of limiting their building to the frames, they also started hanging comb from the inner cover down into the empty space where a frame would normally reside.

So while it looks cool, it's unworkable because I can't have random comb hanging down into to the hive since I'll be doing periodic inspections, and the comb is eventually going to break and make a mess of things both in the hive & for me.

So here's what I'm dealing with:




I had to make a decision, and after some gnashing of teeth and a few soothing words from Grace, we broke the comb away from the inner cover and brushed the bees back into the hive as best we could. With the comb gone, I easily inserted the frame where it would have been had the queen cage not been there.

The stress inducing part in all of this is that I couldn't find the queen. She comes marked with a dot -- literally a yellow sharpie dot on her back for ease of identification. But she could be anywhere within the hive, and it's pretty easy for a 5-thumbed bull in a china closet fat guy to inadvertently squash her.

As you saw in the video, I knew she had made it out of her cage. Here's a shot of the empty cage:


The hole at the bottom was once filled with candy and capped with a bit of cork. The queen eats the candy from the inside of the cage while the worker bees eat from the outside (after I had removed the cork), and she walks through that hole after a few days.

But I still didn't know if she was alive or where she was in the hive.

I need to digress for a moment. I believe in karma. Call it God, Allah, Jesus, Mother Earth, Eywah - whatever, but I believe there is some force out there greater than all of us, and that if you do the right thing often enough, you are rewarded with the right thing being done back.

Sometimes this manifests itself in small ways. I spent a good couple hours on a plane ride today playing peekaboo and making funny faces with a kid who was probably 9 or 10 months old. If I stopped, the kid cried -- and I mean screamed -- so I kept it up all though the flight. It was actually a fun way to pass the time since JetBlue's internet service doesn't work over open ocean; plus I'm a goofy basterd at heart.

Anyway, Grace is watching me come unglued over the situation with the honey comb in the hive and the status of the queen when she looks down and right in front of her feet is the queen! As near I can tell, she must have been in the mass of bees on the comb and fallen to the ground. Grace happened to notice a few bees on the ground, and one of them also happened to be the queen! Karma? Coincidence? No matter - I very gingerly picked her up by having her walk on to my bee brush & transported her back into the hive.
Good On You, Brother!
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:50 PM   #114
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

The Queen Bee found the queen bee. Karma.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:13 PM   #115
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

One final photo.

I was able to closely inspect the honey comb we separated from the top board, and I found bee eggs!! This is HUGE because it confirms that the queen is doing her job.

The eggs are the little tiny rice-like protrusions jutting up from the bottom of the comb.



The worker bees will tend to the eggs, and they'll go through a larval and pupa stage after which they will metamorphasis into a honey bee. The whole process takes about 21 days, and I hope to have some additional photos of the various brood stages in future updates.

For now, I need to leave them "bee" and let them do their thing. I'll check them again in about a week & top off the feeder frame. Once the spring flowers start to bloom in earnest here, there won't be any further need for that as the bees will forage for nectar and pollen in the wild.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:16 PM   #116
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Ah Vin, they look just like you. You must be so proud
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:19 PM   #117
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very cool I actually was like "what .. there has to be more!!" when the video ended. Riveting stuff to say the least, as we all live vicariously though you and Grace.

I was wondering, what are you using in the smoker? When I was younger we went to visit a guy that had dozens of hives and he was using pine needles and the the smoke was everywhere he flooded them with it, in the video you couldn't see that much smoke, why I asked.

Also are you going to get a spinner to spin out the honey or is that only for larger operations? so many questions
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:23 PM   #118
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

I use some punk wood for the smoker -- it produces a very light smoke. You can over-smoke the bees. They get used to the smoke, and start to ignore it. I figure I can always get it smokier if I need it.

As for extracting honey, my plan is to take it to a professional to have it done. I don't want to invest in one, even a hand cranked model at this point. Down the road, I could see it though.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:06 PM   #119
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very cool, Vin!
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:21 AM   #120
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Thanks for keeping us updated Vin.

What happens to the queen if you didn't find her? Would she not find her way back into the hive?
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