The bees have started to build swarm cells on the bottom of top super frames. I put another box on to give them more room in hopes that it will stop swarming. .
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.
The hives seem to be wintering okay. I noticed condensation on the bottom edge of the lid 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.
Last weekend I check the beehives and winterized the hives by installing insulation. The bees have been active this past week, with temperatures in the 60’s during the day but dropping to 36 at night. I have seen them out collecting pollen even today on the few flowers that are left.
Last week I installed a wire screen, one foot in front of the beehive, to prevent my dogs from getting too close to the entrance. It appears that’s causing a bit of a traffic jam at the entrance of the hive. The screen is big enough for the bees to get through but they have to slow down and crawl through the screen or fly up and down to the entrance. It looks like I will have to install chain link fencing this weekend.