Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our First Rooftop Beekeeping Partner

The Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (MVTCID) has agreed to let us place two hives on the roof of their new office located at 4th and Eye Streets, NW near the CityVista development.  These hives will represent the commencement of the MCTCID's sustainably initiative that intends to enliven the urban environment by providing habitat for the area's fauna while promoting the planting of local, native vegetation.  We are proud to have the CID as our first sponsor!

We expect to be able to populate the hives with new bees this March.....stand by for our progress on this blog.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Cut Me Micky!"

Being so cocky about managing these hives without protection has its drawbacks.  I thought I was supposed to get some immunity to these stings after a spell!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Some Results of My Splits Experiments

  • On the split into the small nuc where the fail queen reappeared....dead colony and the queen has gone awol.
  • On the other half with the queen cells...cells now hatched.  I have not looked into that hive yet, but next week hope to see some eggs to verify we have a laying queen there.
  • On the splits with the original two B Weaver queen hive is going gang busters and the other is very quiet in spite of the queen running around.  I did not see any eggs so am fearful that this queen may be on her way out.  
  • On the split with the 3rd B Weaver queen I rescued from the ball of accepted by the colony, released from cage, and I will check for viable brood next week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Queen Envy

Having a little queen envy.  I put the word out to a few apiaries that I was looking for two queens for one more split.  I was assuming that if they have an email address that they look at it regularly.  With no response from multiple sources within 24 hours I went to my go-to group B Weaver, which by the way has treated this beginner beekeeper with extreme kindness, to get my additional pair.

But I really want to try out so many other queens too!  Russians, Kona Queens, Buckfast, etc etc.  It looks like my spring will bring more hive splits than honey as I reconnect with those who kindly reached out in spite of my lack of patience.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Improving My Nuc Design

I have changed from using my four-frame nuc as shown in my earlier video to a six-frame nuc with stackable boxes to expand the hive.  I use 1 x 12 stock boards for the top and bottom, and 1 x 8's for the sides.  If anyone wants to see how this looks I will post some photos.  The dimensions of the pieces are listed below:

Bottom (1 X 12) 21 3/4
Top (1 X 12) 22 1/2
Sides 19 1/4
Ends 11 1/4
Plywood Inserts 9 3/4 X 6 1/2

Sides 19 1/4
Ends 11 1/4
Plywood Inserts 9 3/4 X 6 1/2

There Goes 30 Bucks

I did a hive split yesterday hoping to create one more colony before winter.  I used a queen purchased from B Weaver Apiaries of the same breed of my other splits.  When I released the queen after a couple of days of introduction to the hive, the bees went crazy on her in a way I had not seen in the last splits.  It turns out I had accidentally transferred the original queen in the split, and so the bees were attacking this rogue queen.

I was able to grab her and quickly introduced her, without a cage, to the queen-less split.  But I think they smothered her as she had not been properly introduced.  Beans.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Developments in My Split Hive Experiment

As you may remember, I split my weak hive in two, hoping that the brood and bees in the queenless half would produce their own queen.  Luck has not been with me here.

The frame I put into this queenless hive had a queen in development but this cell was damaged in transfer.  I hoped that other cells might provide good queen potential, and thus inspected the hive today to look.

I was surprised to find many cells that included multiple eggs, four or five in fact, which is an indication of a laying worker bee and the potential demise of the colony.  There is an uncapped queen cell that remains in development but info in the web suggests that even if a healthy queen hatched, the colony might reject her and dispatch her.

I hope to have two new queens sent this week....perhaps if I introduce this queen while protected by the queen cage and let the bees slowly accept her the laying workers may invite her to stay and begin laying.

Here's to hoping!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Follow Us

If you like what you've seen so far, it would be great if you could give us some feedback!  We have lots of new things to video and post, but don't want to waste our time if there is no audience.

Any potential urban beekeepers out there? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Inexpensive and Homemade Nuc

Another Experiment

My weak hive has set several capped queen cells to replace the failing queen.  My hope it that these new queens will be as prolific as the older one was earlier in her life.  We should have enough drones from our original strong hive to provide the new queen some consistent and strong genetics.  These are Carniolan bees.

So I have two frames from these weak hives each with their own capped queencell.  I am going to further split this hive with following procedure:
  • Take one frame with the brood and queen cell, sweep off all the bees, and put it in an isolated nuc.
  • Take two frames of bees from our strong hive and include in the nuc.
  • Add pollen patties and feeder to strengthen this tiny colony while the brood hatches.
  • Watch the hive for the queen to hatch, then breed.
  • Hopefully this hive then produces new brood to grow to a healthy size.

I'm looking forward to see how this works!  I could get two healthy carni hives out of this failing hive, plus the split I did with the new queen last week.  A good investment I'd say if it works.  My new 4-frame nuc boxes that I built will come in handy for this effort.  I'm going to need to slow down on these little experiments now that the weather is getting colder.  These colonies will need to build up to survive winter.


Got stung on the lip yesterday evening, and it swelled up like a balloon.  First sting in a few weeks, however.  I'm still working with the bees without a veil so that's not a bad percentage.