Honeybee Journal

My 2010 goal is to raise 2 colonies/hives of bees at a friend's hobby farm. There a pond for water, a tree for late afternoon shade, and plenty of food. Food supplies for the bees are hay fields with lots of Alfalfa, Basswood, Honeysuckle, and Plum trees. I planted Mother of Thyme in the corn field near my hive for bee health.

Saturday May 8th, 2010 - I took delivery of two "singles" from B&B Honey Farms. A 10 frame brood box full of brood and ready for a second brood box to be added.

Sunday May 9th, 2010 - I added a second brood box to each colony/hive. I ripped the staples out and added a screen for catching Varroa mites for each colony. I noticed the bee were returning with a bunch of pollen (dark yellow and orange from dandelions).

Wednesday May 12th, 2010 - I moved a frame from the center of each full bottom brood box up, and placed an empty frame in it's place.

Sunday May 16th, 2010 - I checked some frames from the top brood boxes. They are starting to draw the comb out, but it feel slow to me. I watched a few foragers return with legs full of pollen.

Sunday May 23th, 2010 - The top brood box was full of bees on both colonies. I pulled a few frames and they were full of honey, they had more comb on the top and bottom of each frame and they had larva in them. I ran home to get my supers and installed 2 to each colony.

Wednesday May 26th, 2010 - I checked the supers after doing some reading that said I shouldn't add the queen excluder right away, I should wait for the workers to build up some comb first. I snapped a few pictures, I had the focus way off on most, to the right is the only usable picture.

Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 - I received a call from a tractor club member, who lives across the street from Lloyd. His son ran across a swarm, and his wife wanted to call an exterminator. He called me instead. I called Bob Sitko who was listed on the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers website for swarm information for a few tips. This was my first swarm and I’m a green rookie at beekeeping.

The swarm was located in a short tree about 3 feet off the ground. I calmed everybody down by walking right up to the swarm and talking as if I knew what I was doing. I started with only my head protection, and quickly got stung in the thumb. I threw on a long sleeve shirt and my gloves to continue. I just shook the heck out of ‘em until about 80% were in my cardboard box, then I had a beer next door at Lloyd's with the tractor club crew. I came back and almost all of the bees were now in the box. I taped the box up. I could feel the whole box buzz as I carried it to my vehicle.

I opened up my weaker colony and pulled the un-drawn supers, and replaced the queen excluder with a sheet of newspaper with a slit. I put the supers back and pulled 4 frames and dumped the bees into the supers, I carefully replaced the frames to not crush bees. After I loosely covered everything I left. I hope this will bolster my weaker hive.

If all goes well, one queen will die this week, and hopefully I will have the stronger of the two. Either was I added about 3 to 4 pounds of mature foragers to my hive. They should quickly learn the land and become proficient in gathering nectar.