This is a 6-minute Reader’s Digest version of the 20-minute video I posted yesterday that shows how I install a nuc.
In the video I spot the queen, show off some fresh brood, a frame of pollen, the frame feeder I use with most of my nucs, and the holes I drill into my deep foundation so the bees can move between honey frames easier in the winter.
Here’s a 20-minute video that documents what it’s like to get a nucleus colony (or a starter hive) on the island of Newfoundland. It’s not always easy. (I’ve also posted a 6-minute version for those who want to cut to the chase.)
Introduction: I’ve had my beekeeping photos and videos used online without my permission on several occasions, and every time I’ve either had the websites or YouTube channels shut down for copyright violation, or I’ve compelled them to cease and desist. The latest incident was from a clickbait company called Cheddar Gadgets. I would have said yes if I’d been asked first, but I wasn’t. If anyone happens to notice any of my photos or videos used on another website or publication, I might be able to send you some honey as thanks. And if anyone wants to use any of the content I’ve created, just ask me. Chances are I’ll say yes.
July 24th, 2019: One of my videos was recently re-edited, re-packaged and posted on the Cheddar Gadgets Facebook channel without my permission. That’s a copyright violation. Whoever owns Cheddar Gadgets is now profiting from content I created. I have yet to earn a dime from any of my videos. While I think they did a fine job on the edit, it was done without my consent, without my approval, without any consultations with me whatsoever. That’s not cool. It’s what some people refer to as theft. I’m taking action to have the video taken down.
Cheddar Gadgets re-edit of my video posted without my consent.
July 26th, 2019: It appears that the unauthorised video stolen from me by Cheddar Gadgets has been taken down. The system works. The ultimate justice would be for me to get paid for the revenue my stolen video generated for Cheddar Gadgets (probably enough to order some pizza for my friends), but this is probably as good as it gets on the internet. Thank you to everyone who left comments on the Cheddar Gadgets Facebook channel. Facebook’s response:
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We have removed or disabled access to the content that you have reported for violating the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. We understand that this action will resolve your intellectual property issue.
I’ve been experimenting with drilling holes in my foundation so my bees can move from one frame of honey to the next in the winter without breaking cluster.
The bees reduce the hole to the size of bee space. It some cases they seem to fill in the hole altogether. They seem to keep it open closer to the brood nest, though it’s difficult to judge that this early in the game. I suppose the bees can open and close the holes as needed. But whatever is going on, it doesn’t seem to bother the bees and I imagine it helps them move between frames in the winter.
It’s possible the holes could create an unwanted draft in the winter, which means this modification to the foundation would do more harm than good. But I’ve been doing it for four or five years now and so far so good. None of my colonies have starved to death over the winter by not being able to move between frames of honey.
I stole some comb honey from my bees for the first time in about three years.
The bees quickly drew out and filled the comb soon after local fireweed came into bloom, which makes me think it’s mostly fireweed honey. Pure fireweed honey is virtually colourless. It almost looks like it’s made from sugar syrup. I’ve only tasted it once in Newfoundland from hives set up in Logy Bay. I’ve tasted other honey in Newfoundland that claims to be fireweed, but the colour and taste of it makes me think it’s a mix. A pure varietal honey in Newfoundland, with wild flowers growing everywhere, seems unlikely.
Many backyard beekeepers seem to go into a panic about providing water for their bees. I don’t see how it’s even a problem in a wet place like Newfoundland. But I guess we have dry spells from time to time and it might be a good idea to keep water out for the bees so they don’t congregate around some neighbour’s swimming pool.
A bucket of water and peat moss. It might work after the peat has begun to rot, but I gave up on it.
In my experience, the magic ingredient is stinky dirt or pieces of half rotten wood that can float in the water — something that gives off an odour that’s attractive to the bees. That black earth boggy compost smell seems to be a winner with most of the honey bees I’ve known. Also, the more money and the more effort that’s put into creating a source of water for the bees, the less likely they are to use it.
I’ve written about this before, but for me, the chicken waterer works well because it can hold water that will last for days (much larger chicken waterers about the size a bucket probably work even better), though a large terracotta clay plate full of stick and rocks does a pretty good job too.
A bowl full of marbles and water is a pretty way to provide water for bees if you can fill it every day. I still think anything with stinky dirt works best.