3/26/16: Pollen!

March 29th in the heart of the Rockies. Partly sunny and 55° at 7,000 feet. The little champs have found pollen!

3:29:16 - Pollen

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3/24/16: My Current 1:1 Sugar Syrup Recipe

Current 1:1 Sugar Syrup Recipe

Get a pH tester with calibration solution and calibrate it.

In a 1 gallon pitcher:

     Add 2 quarts of warm, distilled water

     Add 2 quarts organic cane sugar  (this will all fit with a little room to spare)

     Stir until sugar is thoroughly dissolved

     Test the pH – it will read somewhere around 6.0

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of ascorbic acid powder in 4 oz of warm, distilled water

Add to gallon of sugar syrup and stir until well mixed

Test the pH again – the goal is 4.0

Add additional dissolved ascorbic acid until approximately 4.0 pH is reached

March 21st: Cut-Out in the SLV

I went down to Darrel Alexander’s, in the San Luis Valley north of Moffat, at country roads AA and 60, to do a cut-out.  The afternoon was sunny and still, and hit a high of 66 degrees.

I arrived at 12:40 and Darrel started the siding removal about 1:00.  (I had borrowed a bee suit for him from Dave Angelo.)  I started the cut-out about 1:30 and finished about 2:45.  The honeycomb I dropped into a 5 gallon bucket; the brood comb I rubber-banded into foundationless frames.  I ended up with two medium-depth, 8-frame boxes that each had 6 or 7 of the foundationless frames of brood comb in them.

After cutting out all the comb, I added an empty third box on top and set an inner cover on it.  All three boxes were sitting on a screen bottom.  This all got cam-strapped together and set near the old hive.  Each of the three boxes had its own entrance.  I let the new hive sit by the old location while I took a lunch break for a couple of hours.

When I returned, I could see that some of the field bees that were returning were clumping together at the top right of the old hive location.  I misted them with plain water, brushed them into a plastic bucket, and dumped them in the top empty box of the new hive.  I did this twice, but after the first time they seemed to reach critical mass and began nasonov-ing around the hole in the inner cover.  I felt fairly confident that I had the queen at this point.

I waited until almost dusk before closing up the hive and leaving.  As dusk approached, additional bees were finding the new hive and going in.  Again, it seemed a good indication that I had the queen.

Darrel was never stung and I was stung once on the ankle, below where I had rubber-banded the legs of my jeans.

After returning home, I left the hive in the car, overnight, because I thought the bees would be warmer there.  I did add a top screen so that they could ventilate overnight and finish drying out.
I set them on a hive stand the next day (March 22nd).  All of their cut comb was in the bottom two boxes and I added a box of drawn comb and honey, from another hive, to the top.  So, a total of three boxes.

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March 19th: Bait Hive version 3

At the beekeeping class in Durango, I was able to speak with Jim Marquis from Farmington, NM.  He is a trapper and has had good luck catching swarms with bait hives.  He said that it is not a good idea to put resources in a bait hive, the bees will not want to move in there because they will be worried about being robbed.

He said that 2 medium-depth, 8-frame boxes will work well, but he said to put the following in the top box: one empty frame of drawn comb and the rest empty foundationless frames.  And, leave the bottom box completely empty (no frames at all) so that the bees feel like they have room to expand.

He suggested hanging the bait hive in a big cottonwood along the river.  I am planning to hang one on the Blakeslees’ property, but also talk to them about where they’ve seen feral hives before.

March 6th: Bait Hive version 2

Bait Hive version 2. Upon further study, it is recommended that a bait hive have at least 40 liters of interior capacity. This amount of volume in the cavity gives the bees a sense that they have room to expand inside the hive, and they are more likely to select this bait hive as their new home. With two 8-frame, medium-depth boxes, this bait hive has 48.5 liters of interior volume. While the bottom box still contains frames of honey, pollen, and drawn wax, the top box contains only empty, foundationless frames. Again, so that the bees have a sense of room to draw their own comb and expand.

Bait Hive

Bait Hive 2