Some mixed news to report on our bees. It has been a while since we last posted and a lot has happened. This Fall we suffered a dearth of nectar in our region and the bees were not able to build up much honey reserves. Even early in the Fall the hives were both suffering. The hive that was growing the most during the Summer months and having the most problems with crooked comb was also doing the worst of the two hives. They seemed to have spent too much time building comb and not enough time gathering nectar and building up their honey reserves. Subsequently their population must have grown too large and they ran out of all their honey before it even got really cold around here. Continue reading
Tag Archives: honey
This past weekend we finally got a chance to do another inspection on our hives. We were surprised at how built up the comb had gotten in the 2 weeks since we had done a full inspection. It was so built up that it became a problem in some parts as the bees had developed comb that went off sideways and into comb from neighboring top bars! This is a pretty common problem with top bar hives but we thought we were ok since our last several inspections showed them staying in line on the top bars, but over the last two weeks or so they went crazy building comb and some got a bit out of alignment. The result was as we lifted up one top bar the crooked comb would break off from the next top bar.
We decided to go ahead and cut off all the comb that was developing at a bad angle. Most of it was honey comb so we saved it to eat later. The rest had a lot of brood and larva, as well as pockets of honey and lots of nectar and pollen. So we laid the rest out on top of the hives so the bees could salvage as much as they could. After a few days it had all been picked dry so we brought in the wax to melt down for use later. We did not really know what to do to address the crooked comb development so we gave our beekeeping friend/mentor a call to see what he had to say.
Our friend assured us this was a common problem with top bar hives and can be resolved by putting in some top bars that are slightly wider as the bees like to make the honey comb thicker than brood comb. He also suggested we take the bars with crooked comb and place them between bars that have straight established comb. To our surprise after helping us out with these ideas our friend also made us a set of wider top bars to use for the bees’ honey comb.
We prepared these new wider top bars by using string we coated in our bees’ wax as a guide stapled to the wood. We then placed about 4 of these wider top bars in each of our hives in between established comb so the bees would have straight guides. Hopefully between the wider top bars for honey comb and placing the crooked comb in between fully developed bars of comb our problems with crooked comb should be fixed! We’ll check back in a week or two and let you know how it worked!
Check out more photos from this inspection on our Facebook page!
It finally happened, we are totally caught up on our beekeeping progress with our website!
Today we did an inspection on both hives and instead of snapping a bunch of photos we decided to make a video of the experience.
We’ve split the video into two parts, the first of our Lexington hive, and the second our Concord hive. The Lexington hive is looking very strong with lots of comb filled with capped brood, larva, eggs, nectar, pollen, and even some honey! Our Concord hive is the weaker of the two but still relatively well off with a decent amount of capped brood, larva, eggs, nectar, pollen, and some honey.
Please enjoy these videos as we do talk a lot more in the video about the inspection process and more about the details of our two hives. We’d love to know what you think of our hive inspection and if you have any questions feel free to post them here!
Its now been about three weeks since we first installed our bees and I wanted to share with you how they are doing. We were a little apprehensive after first getting them installed because we went on vacation for a week three days after installing them and worried something might happen while we were gone and we’d lose our hives. As you’ll see, the bees made it through the week we were on vacation despite our absence!
The day after installing them I was very excited to see how they were doing. Before going into work I went out back and took this video of them. This was about 7:30am yet they were out early flying around getting oriented. One even flew over to say good morning, landing on my hand while I was recording the video. It was a great feeling seeing them there after the first night and not all flying away (I had lots of worries after reading about all the things that can go wrong when introducing a new package of bees into a hive).
Prior to leaving for vacation we did a mini-inspection of the hives. The first thing we looked for was how they were doing with the syrup. Since we’d be gone for a week we wanted to see how fast they were drinking the syrup to determine if they had enough to last the week we were gone. You can see from the picture that they were all over the feeder but after two days it looked like they’d be fine for another seven with the remaining syrup.