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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: bees

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This Saturday, I found time, around 8 PM, to wander out to the honey bee hive.

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My sidekick, Mr. Barry White, accompanied me. Since I needed both of my hands free, he was temporarily hooked to the tree that overshadows our hive.

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Looking in once again at the empty top “honey” super, I thought about how fast time goes and how winter is coming. That open space is not insulated; and it needs to be.

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So, I took the measurements of the inner walls of the super.

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14″ Wide by 17.75″ Deep. I’ll cut a flat board that size and attach a handle to one side. Then, I’ll carefully place it on top of the queen excluder mesh/screen (handle side up).

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I was thinking about filling the empty space with straw. I’ll have to think more on that. The top cap will still go on as usual. The main hive should stay warm enough, especially with the massive amount of honey bees and winter food storage down there.

That rusty reddish color is curious. I pulled the following from this article;

How to read the frames

Capped honey
There should be a reserve of capped honey at the very top of the frame, this often extends around the corners. If there isn’t, then the bees are running extremely low on food reserves and you will need to feed them. This can happen at any time of year, even in summer if the bees haven’t been able to fly for a week because of bad weather.

Nectar
In the rows of cells immediately underneath the capped honey, there should be stores of nectar. This is a snack food for bees, the equivalent of having a bowl of nuts on your desk, which you can dip into as you work. The bees consume this and feed it to the larvae.

Pollen
Next will be pollen, this may not be so clearly defined but you should see cells packed with pollen, often different shades ranging from bright orange and red to almost black. Pollen is the protein, which bees eat, if there is none it would probably coincide with a prolonged period of bad weather.

Maybe it’s pollen? I’ll have to read up or ask around…

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CLOSE

While I had the top cap off, I went ahead and took a few close-up photographs.

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CLOSER

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CLOSEST

The only insect that tried to bite me tonight was a mosquito. To date, since getting the honey bee package in March 2018, I have been stung 4 times. That’s not bad, considering that I’ve only worn a mask and gloves a few times. I prefer risk with a clear view.

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At the least, you’ll get Sweet Saturday Bees.
Sting you next week!

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Follow https://farmette1769.blog/ below for Friday Night Bees… And More!

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7:41 pm

Our Honey Bees should be coming in for the night,
but are still coming in and going back out.

9,965
9,969
9,964
9,970
9,968
9,999

10,000

Happy Friday the 13th!

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HoneyBees1769_A.jpgThe package/box of around 10,000 honey bees was brought home on the 18th of this month. The following is how far they have gotten with building the comb(s). So far, everything is going really well. I will have an article on the pickup through installing the bees into the hive soon.

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With the hive top off looking down at the top bars.

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The comb(s) being built (around the queen bee).

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Another pic of the comb build. They had already started into their project when I put a bees wax guide on one of the top bars. It has been ignored as they continue with their original natural plan.

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One last photo before closing the top cap down for the night.

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Sugar Water Honey Bee Syrup of 1:2 for egg/brood laying just started. You can see the mason jar on the plastic feeder that extends into the hive entrance. There is also a homemade wooden feeder to the right of that…

See you next Friday for more Adventures with Honey Bees.

 

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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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side

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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