liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
The weather has been finally getting really hot, in the mid to high 90's for a few days, and I knew that I had to get better ventilation into the hive for those weeks when it would be close to 100.  The hard part of it all is that I have to replace the bottom board to do so.

There might have been other ways? But I've did this both years when I had my last hive, and I liked having the bottom board be sealed when the colony was small and needed fewer entrances to defend.  It was obvious, from watching the bees coming in and out each day, that they had good numbers to defend themselves, now.  Plus, the girls might need more room, so I prepared a super with another eight frames for them to build on and fill that would fit above the deeps that I was leaving for them to keep full of honey, pollen, and brood.

Read more... )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
When we first set up the hive, it had to be away from the house because we were replacing the roof and the solar panels on the south side of the house had to come down before the roof could be put on. So we put the hive on the North side of the yard, facing South to catch the sun in the entrance on most days.

But the entrance also faced the biggest part of our backyard lawn, and the flight path for the bees was right over the grassy area where all the kids would play if we had a party again in our backyard. So we had to move the hive.
Read more... )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
We're leaving tomorrow for vacation, and for the last week, it's been on and off again rain.

I don't really like to go into the hive when it's raining, since the bees get grumpy about getting exposed to bad weather.  So I just held off for four days. I'd been hoping to do the inspection on Wednesday, but it wasn't good and sunny until Sunday morning.

So I skipped church, and went into the hive in mid-morning, when the sun was full on, and a lot of the field workers were out. I prepped with a sugar water spray bottle, my suit, and head gear, and just went right in.

And I found what I'd hoped to find... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
One of the interesting things was that when I first started down the competitive path, I lost about 15 pounds of weight from my high of about 172 lbs, during the worst of the stressful days of moderating. Then, over the course of the six months of competitive, I got down to about 150 lbs.

I'm not a small woman to begin with, I'm 5'9", and I did and still do construction, so 150 was kind of frightening. The only time I'd ever hit that weight since my late 20's was also during my moderatorship, when I'd gone four months on extreme stress and got to the point where I came down with vertigo before I could actually stop and rest for a week. I regained my weight fairly quickly with actual sleep and food.

I did that again.

Within two weeks of quitting competitive, where I was cooking again, lifting again, and went from doing about 3000 steps on average per day to doing about 7500 a day now, I got back up to 155. Now I'm at 158 and steady with the usual daily fluctuations as I had been before all these adventures. The interesting thing is that even with the weight gain, I still fit into my skinny clothes, so I suspect that a lot of the weight regaining was mostly muscle mass that had atrophied when I wasn't moving around all that much and forgetting to eat. I went from getting breathless just going for a walk to being able to do my usual three mile walk easily.

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liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
It paid off.

Putting the mini-marshmallow in instead of having to dig the cork out later. I did like I did last time, and waited three days to make sure they'd all settled in before I went into the hive in order to figure out if the Queen had made it out and if there were things I had to do in order to get the missing frame back in.

There were things I had to do, the girls were really busy.

And they were very clever about it all, too. )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
Murdoch's called last week to say that the bees would be in town on May 1st, and that I'd have 24 hours to pick them up. Then yesterday, Sunday, they called to say that people could pick them up Sunday afternoon/evening as well as Monday; but since I wasn't actually expecting them, I didn't get the message until today. And they said that we could pick them up until 5pm today.

So we went there a little before 2pm, as I had 911 all morning. It was kind of a rough set of incidents, including one with a suicidal father whom the dispatchers called directly to get him out of the house without weapons... that worked out; but it was odd to listen through.

But it was good to be with John and getting the girls. )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
As posted on [livejournal.com profile] ursulav's journal:

“Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error!–
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.”

— Antonio Machado

I went out last weekend, in the sunshine, to find a cloud of active, healthy bees around my hive. John and I were happy for a moment, thinking that they were actually orienting bees, and the mite treatment had worked, but it turned out that it was a healthy colony robbing out the last dregs of my poor hive...

No pictures as it was just too tragic... )

Drat....

Sep. 30th, 2014 08:03 pm
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
Went in today to put the MiteAway strips on the top bars of the bottom of the two brood boxes. I also took the feeder off and wanted to put the super back on with the emptied frames so that the the bees could take the leftover honey off of them.

And when I opened it up, I found very very few bees in the box. The top box was practically empty. The honey in the feeder was about half gone, and while there were a few bees up there, there weren't that many. It was a shock given how many bees there were earlier this month.

Read more... )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
On Saturday I went in and took the last eight super frames, I think the theory is that if the beekeeper takes all the supers off by the end of summer, the bees will still have the time, through the fall, to put in honey supplies in all the brood chambers. Two frames weren't built at all, four were half-built and half-filled and uncapped, and then the last two were completely full and capped. So the last two are the only ones I can jar to sell, the others might not be dehydrated enough for common consumption.

The local keepers say to use it for mead, and I may well do that as my husband's a brewer.

In the meantime I'll make ginger ale instead... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
The girls have been very productive, indeed... and I've been kind of remiss about actually recording everything.

In July, on the 25th, I actually pulled four frames, or one and a quarter gallons of honey, from the bottom of the two supers I had on the hive, and I swapped the positions of the supers, so that they'd work on the "lower" and half-full super before they worked on the upper one. John and I scraped clean the four frames, and the next morning I put them all back in to let the bees clean them off.

Cut for Pictures... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
I pulled my sticky board from the screened bottom board and found that there were a pretty good number of mites stuck to it, so I knew I wanted to treat the girls with more of the powdered sugar. (You can see them in the close up of the picture under the cut that they're pretty thick on the "sticky board". It's actually a piece of cardboard with petroleum jelly smeared on it to make the mites stick). I'll probably stay with powdered sugar for most of the summer, and after all the honey supers come off, I'll probably treat with a miticide in the late fall.

Cut for the pictures. )
liralen: Finch Painting (sheep)
My child is far more responsible than I am. I think.

This afternoon, when he was mowing the lawn, he told me, "Mom, you should really plant the tomato plants. You keep saying you should, so you might as well do it."

So I did.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
Had a really truly full day today, and I absolutely decided that I had to fit an inspection in today.

The next week was supposed to be 60+, but given that tomorrow's Easter and our day was full, and the following week the out-of-state Biloxi rebuilders are coming HERE to do flood relief, I knew that I was going to be totally busy and physically exhausted for most of the coming week. And doing it today would allow the bees to take full advantage of the coming days of heat and spring flowers. Inevitably here in Colorado there is going to be at least one more snowfall before the frosts end in late May.

Cut for pictures and the very very long day... *laughs* )
liralen: Finch Painting (Otter)
I've had a really bad cold for the last two weeks, upper respiratory that went into the lungs and aggravated my asthma all to heck and back again. So I missed doing the digital transcripts for the 911 dispatch center last week, and also had to skip on my bee venom shots because they don't like me doing them when I need my immune system to fight something off. For that matter, I probably shouldn't like dampening my immune system when I am fighting stuff off.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
And the bees are going in and out with a bunch of pollen. They seem to be doing quite well, and even though the weather people promised snow today, there wasn't any, and the girls were happily working away.

There were a lot of orienting flights every single warm day after two or three cold ones, so they're really building up quickly.

I really need to go in sometime and look at the frames that are there and replace the really misformed ones with clean bases again. There were a few frames where they'd hung two sheets of wax, and I was advised that they'd eat all the honey out of them over the winter, so that I could clean them out in the spring. I'm tempted to do it soon so that they'll also have more space in the hive and feel like they have to stay and keep building instead of swarming.

It was pretty funny today, though, as I just sat outside the entrance watching them come in with their pollen pellets. I saw some black flies at the front entrance. They were just there, and the bees were ignoring them, and finally the flies annoyed me enough that I started swatting them. The bee-girls didn't seem to take any more notice of me swatting the flies right on the entrance board than they had been taking notice of me without the violence I was doing to the flies. It's nice to know that my girls are quite tame.
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
It was 70° today and yesterday. The girls have been tumbling over each other getting in and out of the most restrictive entry. They even shoved the bar over so that they could get in and out one side of it, and they're all carrying pollen. There's silver maple here than blooms early, and I saw the aspens blooming as well, but they're not bee-friendly.

So I went in, today, opened up the hive, put more of the feeding patties on, as I have plenty of them and the girls were gobbling them up, using them as brood food. There's enough sugar and corn syrup in them for me to know that they're not going to starve. There are a lot of bees in the box, and I'm going to have to watch to make sure that they don't swarm. I didn't take apart all the frames today, simply because it was cloudy and there was a wind blowing, and my snow cover is a pain to take off from over the hive and it's supposed to snow tomorrow.

I know. Colorado weather.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
It was warm today, nearly 60, and the side yard was sunny and bright. When I went out at 2pm I heard the hum that Jet calls 'the vacuum sound'. It's the usual sound of new bees orienting themselves!

After the other article about the fact that the bees are still rearing young in the winter, it wasn't as unexpected as it would have been before. But I was still pleasantly surprised to see the cloud of bees hovering in front of the hive. It made me put on my suit and veil and have John light up my smoker, because I was going to approach a living, active hive instead of the one that was very quiet and didn't have that many bees in December.

Cut for pictures... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bee2)
Donald Studinski is one of the more outspoken beekeepers in the Colorado beekeeping associations. He's knowledgable, experienced, and very very opinionated about how he sees the world of beekeeping. I often enjoy his missives, and recently he came up with a really nice article about what really happens with bees during the winter: Deep Freeze, Honeybees, and You. The title is kind of funny, but it has some really intriguing details about what bees really do all winter and how they actually are raising young through the cold months.

Some of my own recent adventures with the bees and the cold... )
liralen: (crane)
I want to start by wishing everyone a very very Happy New Year, and to thank you for your support, friendship, and time. I am very grateful.

I'm not a fan of the New Year's Resolution, as I think if I'm going to resolve something or promise something, it really doesn't matter what day of the year it is. *laughs* But I am hoping that this new year will be good for everyone, and there are a few things that seem to be coming together for me in the coming year, and I shall do my best to make them work out.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (snowflake)
We had about a week of really cold weather here, down in the sub-zeros at night, with single digit highs during the day.  Of course, it being Colorado, yesterday, today, and tomorrow we have 60 degree days with snow still on the ground in the shadows of all the buildings. I'd bought a bunch of Bee-Pro patties from Mann Lake when they were having a sale on the ten pound package. I'd been thinking of either buying the protein powder and making my own bee candy or just buying the patties, when they had the sale, I decided on the patties. The second and third ingredients are sugar and high fructose corn syrup, so I figured they really were about the same thing.

They arrived in plenty of time for our warm spell, and I went out today to check on them in the morning, just to see if they were alive. It was really the first time I'd gone out to see them since the really cold spell, and they were busy flying, getting water from the neighbor's pond, and cleaning out the dozen or so dead bees that were inside the hive. There were dead, but it wasn't bad given just how cold it had gotten.

Then, when John came home for lunch, I went in to put the patties into the top bars. One of the local beekeepers said that he always put a sheet of bee candy onto his hives, just at the top, around Christmas time, and it's close enough for me to do it now.

Read more... )

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