October 18th: Built the Hive Stand Skirt

My plan is that I can heat the open, screened-bottom hive by putting a heating pad underneath, inside this skirt.  There will be a hole in the back for the cord to come out and I will put it on a timer so that it only comes on at night.

These two photos show the mulch underneath for insulation and wind protection (also to inhibit any Varroa mites that fall out from climbing back up into the hive), and the installed skirt.  It is made from a cedar 1X12.

Mulch under hive

Hive Stand Skirt

October 16th: Last Time in the Hive this Season

Got into the hive for what will probably be the last time this season. Lots of honey, and it looks like, from all the capped brood in the first photo, that the queen is still going strong.

The close-up photo shows a bee with deformed wings as a result of the virus carried by Varroa mites.

I’ve been determined not to put pesticides in the hive. I’ve taken three steps to help control the Varroa mites. 1) About a week ago I pulled out the solid board at the bottom of my screened bottom board. I am going to leave it out permanently. If any mites fall through, the can’t crawl back up into the hive. 2) I dusted the bees with powdered sugar today. As they groom that off of themselves and each other, many of the mites are groomed off. 3) I was going to pull any capped frames of drone brood and replace them. The mites tend to enter the drone cells. But, there wasn’t any drone brood in the hive today.

10-16-2015 - 01

10-16-2015 - 02

October 11th: Varroa Mite Control Experiment

On September 26th I first noticed dead Varroa Mites on the hard, white bottom board insert.  Today I was researching VM control, primarily on honeybeesuite.com.  I found the posts inserted below.  As a result:

  1. I’m going to leave the bottom board out permanently.
  2. I put a bunch of wood chips under the raised hive.
  3. I put red cedar chips, from the pet department at Wal*Mart, on top of those wood chips.

In a week, I’m going to put the bottom board insert in, overnight, again, to see if I still have any Varroa Mites.

Screen shot 2015-10-11 at 7.37.33 PM

October 9th: Checked Top Box

I looked in the 10-frame deep box that I had set on top of the hive, above an inner cover, so that I could make the 4 deep frames with left-over honey and nectar available to the bees to clean up from inside the hive.

As I suspected, in six days they had cleaned up the honey, but there was still quite a bit of nectar on a couple of frames.  There were a number of bees working on these frames, but not a lot.

I will give them another week.

October 3rd: Made the Frames with Left-Over Honey Available to the Hive

I removed the top two medium boxes, above the inner cover, with the deep frames that had had some left-over nectar in them.  I inspected those frames and it looked like virtually all of the nectar was gone.  Plus, there were very few bees on those frames.

I looked into the medium box below the inner cover and it was jammed full of honey.  So, I added a medium box with 8 new, undrawn, beeswax foundation frames.  This is so that the bees could have some more room to put the additional left-over honey and nectar I was about to give them.

I set a 10-frame, deep box on the very top.  (I have no 8-frame deep boxes.)  I sat it above a 10-frame inner cover and taped the slot where the overhang was so that the bees could not go in and out there.

I put the three frames that I had harvested honey out of in the 10-frame deep box so that the bees could clean them up and take all of the left-over honey and nectar down into the hive.

Hive 10-03-2015

Entrance 10-03-2015