Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hive check’ Category

Rainy week last week kept me out of the hive. Today, hot day, bees were happy though. The queen is laying profusely, 10 or 11 full frames of brood. She’s moving between the two hive bodies still, but there was a lot more room on the lower, so we did a reverse of the hive bodies. Added a super. More details later.

On an unrelated note, got an email about a swarm in Winnetka, but after almost dropping everything to go catch them, learned they were about 20 feet up a tree. Too high for me today, I’m afraid. Hope someone gets them.
–Liam

Read Full Post »

M & R

M & R

M & R visit the bees

A bonus photo from last summer, when the kids visited the bees.

Read Full Post »

Up and down

So while South2 is doing very well, South1’s self-raised queen has disappeared without being productive. Once I consult with Helen, I’m going to order a replacement queen and see if we can’t salvage the hive. We’ll see. The hives Helen has at her house–our splits–are doing well, and they should be back on the rooftop soon. South2’s queen has been busy, and has five-plus frames of brood ready to hatch, plus new eggs and larva wherever she can fit them. I’m expecting to add a second brood chamber on next week or the week after.

I’ll augment this post tomorrow, and add some photos in another post. In the meantime, I ran across an interesting story–albeit likely from a military press release originally–on U.S. military efforts to help revive beekeeping in Afghanistan. A link is HERE

— Slim

Read Full Post »

Did a quick check of the two hives on the restaurant roof early this afternoon. Helen still has the smoker, so I suited up and checked them without it. Not always advisable! But although they were a little annoyed, no bees stung me.

To distinguish among the hives this year, as we will soon have four, I’m going to call the ones that are on the roof now South2 and South. We have two hive stands that each hold two hives, one that my friend Joe built last year, and one that Helen’s husband Mike and others made this year.

Diagram of our stands

Diagram of our stands

First, an update on the splitting. It was pretty simple. I made sure the two empty hives had enough frames and constructed hangers out of copper wire for the queen cages.  (Queen cages that come in packages tend to have strips of metal attached, but that’s not always the case when the queens come separately.) Without something to hold a cage between two frames, it may slip down into the hive and the queen may not be released.

I may have taken a few too many bees from South2, the north hive of the two, but otherwise everything went well.

Today, S2 seemed busy, if less populous than South. S2’s queen took longer to get out of her cage, and so I wasn’t surprised when I saw no brood in my quick check of the hive. (it can take a while before a new queen starts laying.) But I also didn’t check all the frames. South, however, whose queen was released earlier, already has some brood going.

They both are bringing in honey and pollen, and still eating sugar water. More later.

— Slim

Read Full Post »

Using an uncapping knife to get the wax off a frame.

Using an uncapping knife to get the wax off a frame.

Getting set to uncap and extract honey

Getting set to uncap and extract honey

Helen and I getting bees off a frame of honey
Helen and I getting bees off a frame of honey
Pulling honey out for harvest

Pulling honey out for harvest

Just a quick note, as I have some book work to do tonight before I turn in.

I did a quick check yesterday and the bees apparently got scared after I put the second super above the bee escape on Tuesday. There were still a number of bees in the supers, and they were in an odd, although evolutionarily understandable mood. They had started making queen cells, thinking not just that they were cut off from the rest of the hive, but that they suddenly were a queenless hive, I think.  I didn’t see the queen, so I assume one of the workers may have started laying drone brood.  I’ll know better when I check them again in a few days and they’ve capped some of it.

In any case, yesterday I put the lower super back connected with the rest of the hive–there really wasn’t much capped honey in it, anyway–although above the queen excluder, and just put the full super above the bee escape. Late this afternoon, we pulled the full super and a couple frames of the other super out.  And extracted!

We had quite a collection of folks, including a neighborhood beekeeper, Dave, who lent us some of his extraction equipment. Also joining us were Ann, Milo, and my friend Brian, who introduced us to Helen and Mike in the first place and a number of the folks from the restaurant, as well as a few folks from Rogers Park who had heard we were going to be extracting. The best visitors were Helen’s parents, who along with Brian and Dave helped mightily with the extraction.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, so I’m happy to report it all turned out pretty well.  I’m kicking myself for not being able to take the time to put cross-wires on the super frames, because the comb worked its way out of some of the frames.  But live and learn. Most of them are usable again for next year, although I will have to jerry-rig cross-wires into the salveable frames for next year, so that won’t happen again.

It was thrilling to see the honey accumulate over the course of the hour-and-half or two hours we worked on it. Uncommon Ground got about 25 pounds of honey, and I got about 9-1/2, just from the 12 frames, not all of which were full. When I have time later this week I’ll describe the process a little more fully. But what a feeling to walk home with a big bucket of wax-filled honey, after all our work this summer. (We filtered the honey for the restaurant, but kept mine unfiltered.)

Also later in the week, I’ll add some photos.

–Slim

Read Full Post »

Visits

Sept. 24, Sept. 20

So we’re getting ready to harvest the honey, which means that last week I went up to the hive one morning before work and reversed the supers, putting the bottom one on top. Then I took the inner cover and insert a bee escape. A picture of of this process is here, which also has some good tips on removing honey supers and extracting honey.

The bees are doing well, starting to wind down on bee production, although they both still have lots of brood.  I’m thinking it may be time to start feeding South again, although they seem to still be bringing in some honey.  Will consult with my more experienced beekeeping friends.

The big news is that we will be featured in a column by my friend John Kass in Thursday’s Tribune.  John’s father kept bees, and so it was a pleasant surprise for him when we first started working together that I had kept bees for a long time myself.

John, his new Legman, a videographer and photographer came by early this morning. I put the bee escape under the second super, although I’m having second thoughts about that…might take it off and let the bees cure it a little more. But it was fun. John brought some yoghurt his mom made, and we ate fresh honey with the yoghurt and some walnuts.  Lots of fun.  And a fun video: chicagotribune.com/beekeeper.

More soon. I’m also adding photos to some old posts, so stroll through and see some more of our visits & visitors.

–Slim

Read Full Post »

Sept. 7

Not much time to say much, but things are going well. We haven’t seen the queen in either hive, but the queens in both are laying well. Checked them today on my own, a very Zen feeling, just me and the bees. North’s got one full, almost entirely capped super, and is almost done filling the second. South has probably the equivalent of six frames of brood and eggs, and North still has about 12, although the queen there appear to be transitioning to a smaller number of active brood frames.

Last Sunday, my brother Greg and his wife Aimee visited the bees with me.  One photo Aimee took is here. I’ll add another later in the week.

Greg and I examine a frame from South

Greg and I examine a frame from South

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »