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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: beekeeping

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This first photo is of the front entrance at about 10:30 PM. They were all very calm, so I had the opportunity to get really close.

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This honey bee is not alone by far; but, for some reason, no one else showed up in this particular pic.

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There are some of her fellow co-workers moving out to investigate a potential intruder – aka – me, myself and I.

Videos seem to auto-zoom on my iPhone SE. That’s a good thing for this hive front entrance video.

Lastly, I opened up the cover to look into the top super. That plastic mesh is the queen excluder material that helps keep the queen out of the space that was added just for honey.

I’m sure our queen bee is laying eggs galore in the bottom main hive area in order to create more workers. She has to keep this going to replace the ones that die off.

The workers wander into the the additional super a little, but for this first year with a top bar natural maze-like comb structure, the honey bees are focusing on the base hive area for their honey storage.

We’ll have to be patient. I’m thinking that the inevitable up-close-and-personal honey harvesting will be worth the wait.

 

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Since there really hasn’t been any change since last week, I decided to write a combo article.

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Here are a few bees at the entrance of the hive… The End

Just kidding. The really big news is that we finally released our homing pigeons. Actually, it is just a pigeon – singular.

I had purchased a pair, to train as wedding/memorial doves (yes, those are actually white homing pigeons, not real peace doves).

But, there was a small gap in the cage door. A snake got in and tried to eat the male pigeon. He could not, since the pigeon was too big, but in the process of getting to the impassable shoulders, he smothered the bird to death.

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This is the inside of the female pigeon’s new digs. I was in the process of building this when the snake got into the old cage.

It is designed specifically for homing pigeons. The photo shows “Petunia” inside, from the viewpoint of looking in from the newly opened gate entrance.

She had gotten settled in for about 2 weeks. This is long enough for homing pigeons to think of a new space as home.

My husband took a pic of me taking a pic of Petunia. She made it to the landing pad.

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Then our sole homing pigeon hopped up to the top of her house. It is attached to the main chicken/duck coop.

Petunia tried to hang out with the chickens on the ground. One of them got territorial and chased her, so she flew up to the coop’s roof.

26E8E98D-2A68-46D2-832F-1C03A6118267This photograph shows our one and only wedding rental, enjoying the top of her personal home. This image is from the day after her maiden voyage out into the world.

We’ll take our girl farther and farther away from our house, until she knows the home base location well; and can then be used for events.

I’m hoping that the people that sold me the pair are at Carolina Chickenstock poultry sale again in September (It is held twice per year in Taylorsville, NC.).

It would be wonderful to get a few more that are this smaller-sized pigeon (They tend to run larger.), so that she has some matching buddies.

Happy Weekend! Have a great one!!!

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It has been raining a lot. The sun has come out today and will remain for most of the day. Our honey bees are taking their time getting out and about. In a few short hours they will be out full force.

In the meantime, here is a video from today to start your day… Saturday.

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I’ve been letting “our” honey bees fend for themselves a lot. They’ve likely been visiting our gardens, our wild flower patches (aka bunches of weeds), and our neighbors gardens, and the ones down the road…

This pic and the following video (from this past Wednesday), show the lack of mason jar in the sugar-water drinker base at the hive entrance. Rain is coming, so I’ll likely add supplemental food back into the mix in the upcoming 10+ days of thunderstormed weather forecast.

 

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I opened up the top of the additional space super to the main hive just now. Retrieving that mini drinker incentive is a no go tonight. The bees were less than pleased with me peaking in, even though my expectation was that they would be calm in the darkness. I may be able to sneak it out when the rain comes in soon. They’re usually pretty chill during wet weather.

What I am very pleased with is that the bees have started to move up into the super. They have not made any comb on the top bars (not shown), but at least they know the extra space is there. Maybe they’ll make some honey-focused comb soon.

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But in the meantime,

Good night moon,

Good night honey bees,

Good night everyone!

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Well, it just keeps getting later and later. It’s been extra busy here for personal reasons.

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But, better late than never, so, a day late, here’s this weeks rendition of FNB @ Farmette 1769.

The following two videos show our thriving honey bee hive. The population seems stable. The extra super is still empty, so I think that I’ll add back in the queen excluder tomorrow. Maybe they don’t want to venture up there and temp the queen to move from the well-protected hub of the main hive.

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I did have to duck and run at the end since one flew at my uncovered head,
but I did not get stung!

Happy Friday! May The Fourth Be With You!

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Every time I decide to buy a hive and bees, I hesitate. There is never enough money for even the top priorities on our project list. So, as usual, that project gets pushed down the list. Sometimes, out of the blue, I get the urge to resurrect a project and search until I find a way to get it done – very low cost or nearly free. For every project that needs to get done, I also have to overcome nerve pain from my damaged neck. So, contrary to my normal way of approaching building, I am not only looking for CHEAP, but EASY.

Here is the magically, wonderful reference site that I was thrilled enough with to share ASAP; Easy Beekeeping (re-titled). I really began to focus on the article at the “So what are top bar hives?” paragraph. And I was ecstatic about “So where do you get bees from?” You can buy them or catch them, or if you are lucky, they will adopt you! And for those faint of heart (so far, bee stings just make me cuss) “Will I get stung?”.

I had to get used to the lengths of wood concept of building when we started the mini farm. Before that , plywood seemed the solution for everything. But building in pieces gives you a lot more flexibility and usually, better and/or reclaimed wood choices.

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The best part of the Barefoot (Easy) Beekeeping site is the FREE, downloadable PDF file for How To Build A Top Bar Hive. The only part that I found confusing was the section on Top Bars. Just so you know, Top Bars are just long pieces of wood (17” x 1 3/8” x ¾”). They are very important since this is where the bees make their honey.

The pictures shown in the PDF are diagrammed as if you looking at them from the end (1 3/8” x ¾”). I’d like to try the author’s favorite, half-round section. This involves adding rather than subtracting – which I would prefer too. We just bought quarter round molding for floor trimming in our son’s room. I wonder if they have half circle somewhere at the supply store? Or maybe I can figure out how to split a dowel down the middle…

The DIY store sells half round molding. It is almost $5 for 1 long piece, so I bought two – enough to make nearly half of the top bars this way. The rest will be concave strips filled with bees wax. The approximately 1″ x 2″ by 8′ pine boards were found in the construction section for less than $1 each which makes quite a few top bars for not a lot of money.

top bars - with half round to be attached

Honey bees will just start building their hexagon-structured, Frisbee-shaped combs hanging from the strips of wood, but the shapes act as a guide. When coated with bees wax, these “top bars” will attract the bees and train them.

And the rest of the hive goes on. It reminds me of a coffin. I figure if someone asks me what it is, that is what I will tell them…

coming together

and so on

Legs and the roof (which does not have a bottom since it merely rests on the hive legs) were equally big parts of the project, after mesh was put in the bottom of the main compartment. I splurged on the roofing material for $20, but there is more than half leftover. There is ventilation on the far side of the roof made with some of the mesh material from the bottom of the main section. And let’s not forget the separators (for the long 3 section version at 48″) and the “top bars” themselves…

made mine hit or miss - this is likely a better way to make a separator - stolen pic #1

stolen pic #2 - main section with two separators


And then there was painting, the fun part in comparison to the gathering of supplies and building.

final - with bee decoration

in the landscape with a newly planted flower under the end

The pony water trough is on the other side of those weeds in the gully. A water source and bright sunlight are essential parts of bee hive placement.

Now, we’ll see what happens…

PS: Please refer to that free pdf and barefoot beekeeper site. This guy did a great job.

And don’t forget the 1″ diameter holes drilled for the bees to enter the hive sections!

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