A Little Update

I figured, given that it’s been a while and that its snowing in the middle of March, I might as well give a short post on the bees. First I feel the need to talk about the fact that it’s snowing like crazy outside right now. It’s the giant blobs of snowflakes that look excellent coming down but don’t stick to the roads. The grass and plants and things are nicely blanketed though, so that’s nice.

Anyway, the bees have been relatively active I suppose. They come out about once a week if the weather’s nice, and they love the crocuses that have popped up all over our yard. I feel bad though, because a few weeks ago, when they first started venturing out of the hive, they were coming out of the gap between the metal roof and the inner cover I’d left to make sure air flow was good (I think part of the problem with my first batch of bees was the lack of airflow). I took the piece of rock I’d put between the inner cover and the metal roof out, but the wood had bowed over the winter so I had to place two bricks on the hive to keep the roof flat.

The first bees to venture out had oriented themselves to the top of the hive, so when they came out again a few days later they had a lot of trouble making it back into the hive. A fair number huddled up under the eve of the roof and died. I felt bad, but I didn’t want the bees to get themselves oriented as a top entrance hive. I just think it would make opening them up a lot harder, since all the returning bees would have no idea where to go and I’d end up with a cloud of bees bigger than usual hovering around me.

I haven’t opened them up yet, simply because they’re so mean I’m not interested in being unable to venture outside for weeks on end. I’ve talked to B, the man I bought bees from originally 3 years ago, and asked him if he had any queens for me to buy. I’d like to change this hive into a much nicer one as quickly as possible.

Anyway, that’s really all I’ve got for now. Until next time!


8 responses to “A Little Update”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Oh dear, they sound like very moody madams!

    Have you got an open mesh (rather than a solid wood) floor? If so that should provide enough ventilation for over wintering. If not you could prop the crown board up with a matchstick in each corner. Odd that they decided they preferred a top entrance!

    • willowbatel says :

      Yes, I’ve got a mesh floor, but I’ve also got the hive placed directly onto the cement block , instead of propped up on a couple of bricks. I also have that white cardboardy board that you check for mites on. A mite-board is it called? The first set of bees I had seemed to suffer from the lack of ventilation, so this year i left the entrance reducer off, and propped up the crown board. I think the bees are healthier; they’ve survived the winter at any rate, and that’s what’s important. I’ve placed bricks on the top of the crown board to flatten it back out, so i’ve probably messed with the ventilation. I might go and test to see if the board has straightened its self back out tomorrow. It was snowing again today so I didn’t go out in the yard much.
      These bees are horribly mean. If I didn’t feel obligated to the environment (and if I didn’t love the idea of having a beehive and all the goodies that come from it) I would honestly get rid of them immediately. Kira got stung the other day while they were out and about. I think it was more because there had been a bee lost in the grass than because they were attacking her, but these bees have caused more stings that the previous colony, so I won’t be sorry to see this queen replaced.

      • Emily Heath says :

        The mesh floor won’t be doing anything for varroa control if you have it on the cement block, can you maybe find a way of placing the hive on runners instead?

        It sounds stressful having such moody bees, hope you can get a new queen soon.

  2. willowbatel says :

    I like having the bees on the cement block because it provides a nice working station when i’ve got the boxes separated. I suppose I could get rid of the block and just leave the hive on a couple of bricks (although, I worry how sturdy that would actually be…) and make myself a makeshift workbench off to the side. Would placing the hive on a couple of bricks turned on their side, on top of the cement block, do the trick do you think? It would make it a bit more of a challenge for the mites and keep the hive sturdy, as well as allowing me to keep the work station I’ve already got.

    • Emily Heath says :

      The couple of bricks turned on their side on top of the block sounds good…or maybe four bricks to make it even sturdier.

      • willowbatel says :

        ok, thats easy enough. Should i also remove that white piece of cardboard that’s underneath the screen? I’ve completely forgotten the name of it.

        • Emily Heath says :

          We call it a varroa monitoring board over here, I think you guys might have a slightly different name for it. Only have it in for a few days at a time while you’re monitoring, for ventilation reasons you don’t want it in all the time. When you do put it in smear some vaseline over it so the mites stick to it and can’t climb back up.

          • willowbatel says :

            it might just be called the varroa board over here… i can’t remember, at any rate we know what each other is talking about and that’s what’s important lol.
            Ok, i’ll be sure to take it out tonight once the bees are done for the day. I haven’t really touched it, except to clean it off every so often, since I got the hive.

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