Thursday, June 7, 2012
The other day I decided to put one of my hives on a new bottom board. Unfortunately while doing so the Queen got loose, I did dot realize this until I had layers of on the on my hive. Sometimes I guess I don't have enough to do or maybe I just don't know when to leave well enough alone.
Some closeup stills from the video. (And excuse my spelling, I wasn't paying attention. LOL)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I got this swarm Tuesday 04-04-12 with only netting over my face and a chain saw. It came from a tree that was being removed by a tree service about two miles from my house. The guy who found the swarm wanted me to give him some honey after I captured the bees. O rly? I was unsure if there was a queen, though the bees were not aggressive. I put a q-tip with some lemon oil on it in the hive and then just pulled the brood out by hand and placed it between frames in the hive, and added sugar water because there wasn't any honey. The process took all afternoon. The next morning when I went to the hive, I noticed the swarm was in a tree near the hive. Then I noticed a mass of bees on the ground next to the tree that they came in. I lightly smoked the area and to my amazement, found the queen on the ground. I put the queen in the hive and all the bees went in after her. What a blessing. I really felt the Lord blessed me with this. The swarm was fairly large, and I got a lot of bees, brood, and the queen. And only was stung 2-3 times. It was amazing watching their behavior in following the queen even with all the changes and threats to their situation. (Sorry the movie isn't longer but my battery ran out.)
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
|newly mated Queen|
|uncapped Queen cells|
If someone is handy a Cloake board would be very easy to make, Michael Bush, a well know beekeeper, instructor and authur, has a very good photo of one on his web site Bush Bees, which contains a wealth of information.
Monday, February 20, 2012
|once supers, now nucs|
I like to open feed in half barrels filled with hay the bees don't drown and I don't know but I like think them crawl. I used to use primarily jar feeders, but this is not only easier but it prevents robbing and seems more natural. It's just my own idea, but bees naturally go out from the hive to feed. I do know that a lot more bees were killed in the other types of feeders I've tried, and this is very simple, cheap, and easy to maintain. I just procured this shelter from a friend, but before that the barrels just sat out on the lawn.
Bees are not the only things that sting in Florida, and it's always a good habit to look before putting your hand under something. This is a Black Widow spider I found moving pallets and empty supers. Snakes and scorpions are also seen around here frequently, so I have to really look at what I'm doing. It's probably made me less concerned about safety around bees than I should be. Getting stung on the face is always the worst to look at, but the fingers hurt the most.
The State of Florida now has a regulatory system for Cottage Food Operations that allows for the production of non potentially hazardous foods, including honey, prepared in a personal residence using home kitchen appliances. Annual gross sales cannot exceed $15,000 and your products cannot be sold on the internet, mail order or wholesale, which includes such places as restaurants and retail outlets. There are food labeling requirements, and the Department of Agriculture has the authority to investigate home-based food operations if there is a legitimate complaint and enforce penalties for non compliance.
These are examples of our new front and back labels we ordered for our 2 lb jars this year. We've never bothered having labels on our honey since we could only take donations. We tried once to make them, but the ink ran since we only have an inkjet and we didn't realize the labels had to be printed on a lazer printer to hold up to use. This year with the cottage food law, we started looking at labels to buy. What worked for us was a label made by Anne Turnham at Custom Honey Labels. Anne is a Minnesota beekeeper who started making honey labels for her bee club and is now taking orders from across the U.S. and Canada. She's got a wide variety of designs to suit whatever your image is, the prices are very good, and she pays personal attention to what you need on your label. Really a full-service business; it makes us feel important even though our orders are small.
Spring is a busy time in the bee business. Though I've been working all winter here in Florida, plants are starting to bloom and the daylight is lasting longer, so I tend to work longer days just like the bees.
Friday, February 3, 2012
I came across ROBOS WORLD on the internet and was very interested in the way he was rearing Queens. It is a combination of using the the Nicot System and Cloake Board.
The aquaponics and BeePonic's continue to do well I recently started some collard greens and cumbers. The lettuce and chard are still doing well with the warm weather. I expect the tilapia will start to consume more food and begin to grow more rapidly. I would like to get some catfish in order to keep the tilapia population controlled, otherwise they will over produce and which will stunt their growth. The catfish will keep the fry population down and hopefully avoid any problem with overpopulating.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
|screened bottom boards|
I have also have been able to make several splits already, which I was happy about after having a couple of hives swarm last year . I've been told it's natural, in spite of precautions, to expect 1-3 swarms a year which can be a disaster if that's all you have, but it happens.