Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What? You still have bees?

Hey all,
This post is again about our bees. To catch you up on last year's hives they were overrun by wax moths to the point where there was nowhere in the hives to lay eggs or raise young. And so they succumbed to the moths and dispbursed to other wild colonies in the area hopefully. Then you may remember I captured a swarm from a friend's yard. They too ran out of time to build up comb and suffered losses from moths. They too were dead by winter.

At this point dismal was the mood. Bees don't grow on trees you know and I had purchased two colonies and lost 3. Sheesh it has to get better than this, right? So, I spend the winter re-reading my bee books and researching as much as I can about moths and other bee issues in our area that I wasn't aware of.

Fast forward to mid May this year. I had purchased 2 more packages of bees in January (waaay late by the way.) Remember you buy a 3 pound box of bees and it comes with a pregnant Queen ready to lay eggs and you do this in November to make sure you get some. This year the apiary I received bees from last year was out already in January, so anxiously I called his brother (literally across the road out there) and said I was getting the last 2 of the season. Whew I was going to have bees after all.

Ok spin back to May again. I get an email that the packages were shipped. Hurray! This would put them in my hands on a Thursday which is fine. On that Thursday I get a call from the next town's Post Office that they are afraid to deliver the bees to our Post Office because there are bees flying around the box and the delivery person was allergic. of course they refuse to bring them inside in order to stop attracting wild bees, but that's fine we go and eat Mexican food, which I like, alot.

So, I go and pick them up from the PO and everyone in the lobby kind of steps back horrified. "I didn't know you could buy bees like that" was heard in a gasp. I smiled and made the exit moving swiftly away from the petrified crowd.

Once home I took them up on the hill and installed them like last year except that this year I didn't have a photographer and I did not forget to remove the cork holding the candy plug in on the queen cages. These two installs went well, very smooth with no stings and minimal bee losses.

A week after I checked the hives to find both colonies had released the queen already and she was already moving around laying eggs in the bit of comb they had started making. During the first inspection I also spotted the queens for both hives as well. Everything looked all hunky dory.

And then 2 days later one colony disappeared completely, like no bees left behind disappeared. So if you are keeping score the facts are that the queen had no wings, they were not crowded, there were no bees left behind to indicate a swarm and a 3 hour window from when they were last seen to when they disappeared completely down to the last bee. Wow, again something new. The other hive however moved right in and started making copious amounts of comb which the Queen filled with eggs. Well at least this hive was ok and has remained ok since then. I am up to 3 hive bodies now and still growing.

I'll have some pictures from a recent inspection to gander at posted soon.

Well that's it for now. I have more bee stuff but will post it later.

See ya! Thanks for stopping by!
Jimily

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