Hello Ladies!
April 27, 2015, 2:34 pm
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
10,000 ladies arrive at the farm

10,000 ladies arrive at the farm

April 27, 2015

Last Friday my bee packages arrived. I of course was not ready 😮  Oh well, I dropped almost everything else and scrambled to get my new Top Bar bee hives ready. I want to try these old/new hive bodies for raising bees on the homestead. I sold or gave away most of my equipment that revolved around the traditional Langstroth style of boxes and frames. I just got tired of losing bees, maintaining equipment and storing stuff to keep wax moths out etc. I guess it was part of my trying to downsize some of my work…problem is… I miss having the bees here.

I ordered two Top Bar hives. My plan was to hive them with purchased bees. New bees, new woodware, new plan, everything should be great…right?  Wrong! I forgot to get my hives put together until I got the call saying my bees are here! Thank goodness my wife helped me prepare. She helped with assembly and she painted the beeswax on the frames. The beeswax guides the ladies where to build their comb.

Connie paints on the beeswax

Connie paints on the beeswax

We got the hives all built last Friday night. Other folks go out to dinner or a movie on Friday nights. We spent ours screwing……hive boxes together 😮 Once the were completed, all I had to do was get the bees put inside. I have handled many wild swarms, but this was my first experience with purchased bees. I give many thanks for the folks at YouTube. I spent some time watching and learning!

I placed the hives in a good location, sprayed the inside with sugar water, placed food in there and then prepared the bees for placement. On YouTube, nobody wore their bee suits…I sure as heck did. I am not afraid of the occasional sting, but I also know the kind of pandemonium that can ensue when working bees. Much better to be dressed and prepared than running like a madman for your veil.

I followed the instructions laid out in YouTube and it worked great! I twisted some grass and installed it at the hive entrance to reduce the opening size. I will remove it later, once the hive has built up and can defend itself from intruders. I dumped the bees into the hive after hanging the queen inside in her cage. The bees will remove candy cork that holds her inside. Then the work begins as the queen sets up housekeeping.

I placed the bees, installed the food then put the lid on the hives…yes, hives, I ordered two packages of bees! I waited outside the hives watching the new neighbors acclimate themselves to the neighborhood. As I left the bee yard, only about 1000 bees were in flight around the two hives. I am hoping all is well. I will check them on a sunny day next week. In the meantime they will settle down and settle in. Welcome home ladies!

Moving in day!

Moving in day!

Top Bar hives are not new. They have been used around the world for centuries. They allow the bees to draw honeycomb just as they would do in the wild. They make their bee cells the correct size for their larva, not larger ones like commercial hives do. The larger cells allow for Varoa mite infestation and other problems. Once the bees draw out comb and fill it with capped honey, all I have to do is slice it off and strain it. It is easy. It is natural and it is as good for the bees as it is for a busy farmer.

Holy Cow What a Day
August 28, 2014, 10:17 pm
Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

One of the girls

One of the girls

August 28, 2014

My day started early, long before sunrise. As I walked the dogs, I got the chance to get lost in the night sky. It was beautiful. The stars were shining brightly. The moon just a sliver, allowed the stars to be the focal point. It was awesome!

The dogs and I shared a couple of minutes of friendship, before I left for work. The morning was cool and fall like. Oh how I wished that I could have spent the day splitting wood or better yet, working horses! I left the farm with a heavy heart.

The day was busy and passed by quite quickly. I was soon on my way home, singing with the radio. I butchered a few songs while I relaxed during the drive. Supper was waiting when I walked in the door, along with a wonderful hug…and like the morning stars…it was awesome!

Chores were done quickly so that I had time to go get our bull. We are half owners in Solomon, a Murray Grey. He was so happy to get with the girls even though they are all “in the family way”. Very soon calves will hit the ground. I want him to breed the ladies back as soon as possible, so as to reset their clocks and make for spring and summer babies.

I filled the water troughs as the sun began to set and darkness fell. I was satisfied with my progress, tired and content. I shut the barn door and headed for the house thinking to myself… Holy cow, what a day!