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Old 05-26-2018, 02:40 PM   #361
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Panties in the purse? Nice pic Vin.
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:10 PM   #362
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Grace & I did a hive inspection over the weekend.


Finally grabbed a decent pic of the queen.



Inadvertently broke open some honeycomb while pulling frames, and the ladies went right to work making repairs. Clean up on aisle 3! Close up on the right shows bee tongue.



This shot shows the bees packing pollen into cells. You can see some of the bees going head first into the comb. They basically pack the pollen in by head-butting down into the comb.



Good times!
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:30 PM   #363
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Amazing what goes on in nature. Great pics!
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:39 PM   #364
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very cool, Vin!
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:11 PM   #365
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very nice. Glad that the bees are cooperating and that you have a good long summer ahead for them to build out the hive and prep for next winter.
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:47 PM   #366
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

MMM.....bee tongue.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:14 PM   #367
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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Originally Posted by massphatness View Post
Sad news in the world of bees: as I feared, the ladies did not survive the brutal cold snap we had to start to the winter. I peeked in the hive yesterday as temps got up to 50* and was concerned I didn't see any activity. Even in the winter months, the bees will leave the hive when the temps get way enough in order to make cleansing flights to relieve themselves.

Looks like the entire cluster froze to death in a big ball.

Plenty of honey stores in the hive, so I know they didn't starve.

Grace & I are going to give things another shot this spring. Going to order a nuc instead of a package. A nuc is a working mini-colony of bees: 4-5 frames of bees who have already drawn out comb and are working with their queen. You slide the frames into the hive, and away they go. They'll have a head start on honey stores from last years hive -- I think I have 6-8 full frames of honey still in the hive -- so the hope is this helps them to rapidly build up & strengthen the hive.

Look forward to continuing the adventure, but kinda' sad about losing the bees.
Take heart brother, losses in northern states like ours are averaging near 50% across the board. That goes for little guys like us and big commercial guys (as in the professionals). I lost all my hives last year (only 2). The year before I lost 5 of 6. This year I have 7 going. I should have a lot of honey to sell even though many of them are drawing out foundation. At least two are working with fully drawn comb.

Just a word of advice, be careful with queen excluders. Sometimes the workers won't draw out new frames above it. Other times they will. Sometimes, it can give them a swarm trigger as they feel like there is not enough space since they don't want to work through it. That said, there is a saying amongst beekeepers. If you ask 10 beekeepers the same question, you'll get at least 12 different answers. Do what works for you. I just offer when I've learned from others and from what I've learned on my own.

Also, if your hives are in the woods, like mine, at some point you'll likely start seeing some small hive beetles. I'm not sure how well established they are in your part of the country. 5 years ago they were unheard of in Michigan and were considered a southern states issue. Not anymore. SHBs aren't the end of the world, just make sure their larva aren't tunneling through your comb. Typically SHB are just a nuisance to a normal bee colony but if the colony is weak for whatever reason, the SHB can take over and ruin your comb and honey (making it unfit for human consumption).

Anyway, keep the pics and info coming. I love to see other folks beekeeping.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:43 PM   #368
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

this is my favorite thread....
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:37 AM   #369
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

We're going to have HONEY!!

Grace and I have been peeking into the hive every ten days or so, and while we noticed a few more bees in the honey super, they didn't seem to be actually doing anything up there.

Until yesterday when we opened the hive and saw this ...



The girls were clearly hard at work in the honey box, and we were delighted to find they are steadily drawing out comb and filling it with liquid gold.



I find the honey making process to be fascinating. Basically the bees gather nectar and bring it back to the hive for processing by other bees. If I understand it correctly, these other bees mix the nectar with enzymes in their little bee bodies and then deposit the mixture into the comb. At this point, it's not yet honey. Instead, it's simply a very wet nectar syrup of sorts. The bees then fan the open comb with their wings until the water content gets down to around 17%. How do they know it's 17%? Well, back in the old days, it was a hassle for them to measure the humidity, but now there are any number of very accurate hygrometers that can be picked up on Amazon rather inexpensively. I have no idea how they know, but they know. The wonder of nature and all. And now that the mixture has been evaporated down to 17% water content, voila - it's honey!

Once the bees get it to honey, they cap the comb with wax to keep it securely stored.
You can see they've started capping this frame.



Next step is for us to wait until they've filled and capped all the frames in the honey box, and then it's harvest time. No idea how long that will take, but boy would it be cool to have fresh honey for my herf later this month!
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:26 AM   #370
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very cool, Vin!
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:53 AM   #371
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Wow! Very cool and a great post. I think that I picked up on your excitement as I'm in "go bees, go!" mode right now.
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Old 07-04-2018, 12:22 PM   #372
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

That's awesome! Nice job, Honey!
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:59 PM   #373
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Wicked cool!
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:53 PM   #374
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Almost there ...

About half my frames look like this:



Once the rest do -- maybe by this weekend? -- it's honey time!
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:54 PM   #375
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Very cool, Vin!
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:24 PM   #376
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

HONEY TIME!
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:40 AM   #377
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Are you going to put the CA logo on your honey?
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:40 AM   #378
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Lookin great Vin! If you want to trade some honey for some honey bbq sauce made with it you know who to call
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:37 AM   #379
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

Can't wait to smear it on my...#vinsherfnounderwear....
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:31 PM   #380
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Default Re: New Hobby: Bee Keeping

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Can't wait to smear it on my...#vinsherfnounderwear....
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