My Honeybees

Backyard Beekeeping


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Swarm trap

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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.

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Only One Hive Survived

Spring feeding is essential for bees. I found this out the hard way. I was a little late in getting two of the hives setup with feeders and they both died from starvation.

The one hive is doing well. I have given the bees pollen patties and a sugar water (1:1).

I’ve seen them out pollinating the cherry trees and maple trees. The cherry tree in the front yard was covered in honeybees on the weekend. When I checked on the hive I saw that they’re bringing in lots of bright yellow pollen.

Right now there are lots of dandelions and daffodils in bloom. It looks like the tulips will be blooming this week.

I plan on building swarm boxes and trying to lure a swarm the year. It is too late to order package bees so that is my best chance at getting a second hive going.

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Hive check March 9, 2014

I checked on all three hives today and they appear to be alive. I took apart hive one and found that the bees had eaten most of the honey. They only had three frames of honey in one of the brood boxes and about half of one of the supers left. I put an in-line feeder with sugar water in the brood box to hold them over. When I cleaned up this hive there was 4 inches of dead bees in the bottom box blocking the entrance. The small space in-between the hive and the insulation on the hive was filled with dead bees as well. I’ve removed the insulation on this hive.

The pollen patties have been ordered but haven’t arrived yet. I’m hoping that I will be able give all three of the hives pollen patties this week.

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Orange Vanilla Honey Lip Balm

This recipe for homemade lip balm will make approximately four small containers of lip.

4 tablespoons of olive oil or grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon of grated beeswax

1 Drop of honey

1/4 teaspoon of vitamin D oil or three punctured liquid vitamin D capsules

7 drops of orange essential oil

2 drops of vanilla extract

In a double boiler warm the 4 tablespoons of oil with the grated beeswax. Warm over low heat slowly.
Stir until the beeswax is completely melted. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in essential oil, vitamin E and vanilla extract. Set the container in a shallow pan of ice water and continue to whisk as you add a drop of honey. Once the honey is blended, quickly transfer the lip balm to your containers. Let set for three hours.

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Winter Hive Checks and New Gelli Prints

The hives seem to be wintering okay. I noticed condensation on the bottom edge of the lidĀ of the hive in my back yard. When I lifted the lid slightly I could hear the bees. There is not much to be done with the hives this time of the year. So, other than the occasional walk around I don’t bother the hives.

This time of the year is slow time for beekeeping which has given me some time for art. Here are some new gelli plate prints with bees, birds and flowers.