The beehives seem to be doing fine. I have added two supers over the past month. I’m using supers instead of deeps so it will be easier for me to check on the hive during hive inspections.
Last weekend I made a swarm trap to try to get some more honeybees. I used an old bee box and added a bottom to it. I used mill ends of cedar for the bottom and a new top. Some of the instructions I found on the Internet suggested painting it a dark color and all I had was a dark purple.
I used lemongrass essential oil as swarm bait. I put a few drops on a paper towel in the bottom of the box. There are only 4 drawn frame of comb in the box. On the tops of the frames I put a swarm bait paste I made. It is made of olive oil, bees wax and lemongrass oil. I made the paste the same way I make lip balm.
I check the hives at both locations this weekend,
The hive in my backyard had two deeps and two supers. It was full of capped honey and brood. I added a third super to this hive.
I checked on the hives a my inlaws, including the captured swarm. The first hive there had two deeps and two supers and it was full of honey and brood. It looks like a queen mated and took over that hive. I added a third super to this hive.
The swarm hive has one brood box and two supers. All boxes are full and now I’m fixing up old boxes and frames to add a deep to this hive.
Checked on both of the beehives yesterday and they are doing great. Both hives have several frames of capped and uncapped brood. I gave them another deep with 4 frames of honey and drawn out frames. Since I have so much honey left over from last year, I’m feeding them honey instead of sugar water.
The bees should not be starving right now with all of the flowering trees and flowers. There are lots of open flowers and flowering trees blooming. Right by the hive is a maple tree with blooms, tulips, daffodils and irises.
The weather forecast looks great for this week. The temperatures will be in the 70’s and 80’s. The bees should be happy this week.
Yesterday, I went out to feed the bees. In past years, I’ve just cracked the corner of the hive where the inline feeder is and topped up the feeder without much notice from the bees. Normally, I would wear my bee suit to do this but as I was just going to top up the feeder I though it would be fine to not wear one. Well these new bees sure noticed me cracking the corner of the hive. Before I could even start pouring the syrup I had multiple stings. At first I was fine but as more of them came out and started to sting me I started to panic and ran. As I ran into the garage, I tripped over the threshold and stumbled down some stairs and into a shelf and concrete wall. As a result of my panic, I now have a black eye and bruised leg.
This experience inspired me to make these posters for beekeeping. The poster above will be placed by my beehives.
Over the weekend I checked both of my beehives and found that both of the colonies had died over the winter. I can’t tell why the one died but the cluster was very small and most of the bees were gone. It was very clean except for the small cluster of dead.
As you can see the bees died with lots of food available but they just didn’t survive. It looks like the varrola mite took its toll on this hive and the cluster size just got to small to keep it alive.
My second beehive was attacked by what appears to be a small rodent. There were signs that the small creature had crawled in and eaten the comb and honey in the bottom brood box. This forced the cluster up into the second brood box but by the time they moved up, I believe that too many of the bees had died from the attack even though there was lots of honey and food stores in the top brood box and super.
As you can see from the photos below that cluster was very small and had started to mold. You can also see the frames that had eaten out by the rodent and the path that attack.
My new packages of bees will be here on April 13 and they will have lots of honey to get started with in these hives.