UPDATE (Sept. 23, 2015): Skip this post. It’s all wrong. All I had to do was fill the trap with sugar water and jam, not cat food or anything gross like that. Only a few honey bees got trapped inside. Read How To Kill Wasps for all the details.
I bought a wasp trap because wasps (or yellow jackets) have been showing up in larger numbers around our hives for the past week. The young hives could be at risk if we didn’t have entrance reducers on them. We partially reduced the entrances on the full hives. They should be okay. I bought the “Green Earth” Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap and Lure as extra production, though.
The plastic trap costs about $10, but it isn’t much good without the bait that cost another $6. (Not including the bait with the trap seems a bit deceiving to me.) I followed the directions and added apple juice and some meat (cat food) into the base of the trap. Then I added the $6 packet of wasp lure. Then I hung it up about twenty feet from the hives and hoped for the best. That was last weekend. Continue reading →
I know some new beekeepers in eastern Newfoundland who read Mud Songs from time to time. If you’re reading this around 1pm on Friday, now would be a good time to weigh down your hives if you haven’t done so already.
According to the CBC, Hurricane Maria should smack into us right about now with winds around 120km/h (75mph), plus a whole lotta rain. My hives are well protected from the wind and have weathered through worse storms than this. But if your hives are out in the open, you might want to take some precautions.
I got creative this summer and built a solid bottom board and a screened bottom board from scrap wood in my shed. I can’t continue to use either of them for long because the wood I used is old and half rotted and I’m afraid the boards will collapse under the weight of the hives during the winter, and around here that means damp and soggy, great conditions for softening up old plywood. So I went ahead and got more creative with my limited carpentry skills and woefully inadequate tools (or maybe it’s the other way around), and I built a new and improved sturdy bottom board that is both screened and solid. I won’t have a chance to put it into action this year, but I’ll show it off anyway. Here it is as a screened bottom board:
The darker honey in the bottom of the jar is from Hive #1 and it has a pleasantly mild flavour. The lighter honey in the top of the jar is from Hive #2 and that honey is sweeter. Hive #2 happens to be the foundationless hive, though I don’t think that has anything to do with the extra sweetness of the honey. The honey will gradually clear as the bubbles rise to the top. Continue reading →
Note to self: Smoke the bees before stealing a few frames from the bottom honey super. The bees are protective of their honey this time of year (if not all the time).
The bees in Hive #1 are smoking hot these days, ploughing through their honey supers at an impressive rate. Instead of adding a third honey super to the hive (which the bees might not be able to fill), I decided to pull three frames of honey from the bottom honey super and replace them with empty frames.
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Two of the frames are foundationless. We’ll crush and strain them like we did with our first frame of honey. The other one will have to be extracted. I’m not sure how we’ll managed that yet. At any rate, this is my last post for the next couple weeks. By the time I post anything new, we’ll have harvested and probably bottled all our honey — possibly up to 30 frames of honey. I’ll record videos and take photos of it all. See you later.
UPDATE (Sept. 06/11): The bees have become extremely defensive since I took the honey from the hive — without using smoke. Within minutes of going in the backyard, I’ve got two or three bees buzzing around my head. I’ve never seem them this bad before. We’re managing it for now, but our backyard is too small for keeping bees. When the bees get defensive, it’s not good at all. I think I may have seen my next door neighbour swatting at some bees in his backyard. I hope they weren’t bees, but it’s possible. This could be very bad. I have to remember for now on to use smoke when pulling honey so the the bees don’t associate my scent, or human scent, with danger. This isn’t a good day. See What makes bees aggressive? from Honey Bee Suite for more info.
I recently noticed some bees with white markings in one of our new hives. Only a small percentage of the bees have the markings, some more distinctive than others.
I’m not sure if it’s a sign of some disease or simply cool looking honey bee genetics at play. The colony seems healthy and thriving. Someone suggested it could be white pollen rubbing off onto the bees’ backs. If that’s the case, I might know where the bees are getting their pollen. I shall investigate. Stay tuned for updates… Continue reading →
Nothing fancy about any of this. The honey still has plenty of little wax bits floating around, but we don’t care. We sterilized the small Mason jars and poured the honey in. No heating, no freezing, nothing. This honey is just for us. Continue reading →
We pulled a foundationless frame of honey from one of our honey supers yesterday:
Then we cut it up:
Then we ate some, biting right into the comb, had the biggest sugar rush of our lives, and then cut the rest of the comb off the frame. It came to about 4 pounds of comb honey (1.8kg). Continue reading →