Earwigs in the Hive

Just for the record, August in earwig month in Newfoundland. More and more of them are showing up under the top covers of our hives.

Some earwigs eat only plants and aren’t a problem for beekeepers. Other types of earwigs will feed on larvae and other protein rich goodies in the hive. I’m not sure what kind we have in Newfoundland, but to be safe, I squish them whenever I find them, which is just about every time I open a hive these days.

Hive Humidity Video


This kind of humidity probably wouldn’t be an issue if I could find a screened bottom board or a screened inner cover somewhere. Or I suppose I could try to build one.

Imagine how difficult it is to dry honey inside such a humid hive. My ventilation rim helps, but a screen bottom board would probably help out even more.
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Four Hives in a Row

We moved Hive #1 to its final location today. Here’s a photo of all our hives in a row shortly after the move.

We did a full inspection of the hive too. Most of the top box was full of honey with a few frames of brood in the middle. We pulled one frame of honey and replaced it with a frame of foundation. The bees will draw out the comb on the foundation and use it either for brood or honey, whichever they need most, I suppose. The bottom box was full of brood frames at various stages, and it’s all looking good. We pulled the last foundationless frame (with drone comb on it, of course) up into the top box so we can conveniently migrate it to the designated foundationless hive, Hive #1, as soon as we have a chance. We’ll probably extract the honey from the pulled frame, because, well, it’s likely to be the only honey we get this year, so we’re going for it, honey super be damned. I’ll post a video soon that shows exactly what’s involved in moving a hive. It’s a wacky bunch of fun. You’ll love it.

Still No Honey

We took a peek at the honey supers on our two full hives a few days ago. The bees in Hive #2, the mostly foundationless hive, have shown no interest in their honey super. My guess is they’re still backfilling all the foundationless drone comb instead. My prediction: Hive #2 will be a complete write-off for honey this year. The honey super on Hive #1 is looking better, though it still has a way to go. Most of the frames have only partial comb drawn on them. Here’s the left side of one of the foundationless frames in the honey super:

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Homemade Bottom Board

I made this bottom board from scrap wood I found in my shed today:

I cut the thick plywood 16.5 inches wide (about 42cm) and 2 feet long (70cm). The brace wood, if you want to call it that, was the same dimensions as a super, 20 inches by about 15 inches, something like that. The hive entrance (once a hive is placed on top) is about 1 and a quarter inches high, which is fine. It’s not pretty but the bees don’t care about pretty. I think it’ll work. I’ll post a photo of it in a day or two when I put a hive on top of it. I should have been making these all along. It’s way cheaper than ordering them from a supplier and having them shipped here. If you had to pay for the raw material, though, I’m guessing it would be less than $5.

FEB. 09/13: This bottom board has worked out fine. It’s ugly and half rotted now, but the bees don’t seem to care. Today I would use thick plywood instead of chipboard, and I’d paint it, but there’s nothing wrong with getting by with one made from cheap scrap wood.

JAN. 20/15: Don’t lay this flat-bottom bottom board on a pallet or anything kind of flat surface support, if that makes sense. The wood can easily become moist, and you don’t want moisture if the hive. You want the hive off the ground, but preferably with something that makes minimal contact with the bottom board.

Photo of a Friendly Bee

I know this bee like the back of my hand.

Other photos I’ve recently uploaded but won’t bother posting: Bees drinking up vomited pollen; fresh natural comb from the honey super on Hive #1 — wide shot and close up; honey bees festooning on fresh natural honey comb from Hive #1; honey bee loaded with pollen on Hive #2 — front view and back view; grainy shot of a bee coming in for a landing; and another bee from Hive #2 resting with pollen.

Improving Langstroth Honey Bee Hive Ventilation with The Mud Songs Ventilator Rim™

UPDATE: I’ve since converted all of my fabulously patented ventilation rims into moisture quilts. See the updates at the end for more details.

I made some improvements to the design of my ventilator rim (a.k.a. a ventilation eke). It’s still cheap and easy to make and should do a fine job (I hope) at improving the ventilation of any Langstroth hive. First, I cut four pieces of wood for the front, back and sides of the rim. Here’s a shot of the side pieces:

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