Every hive has its own law

W170226-marsell, it’s official, or at least I am official. After an inspection this past week, I am legally permitted to sell bees in the state of Virginia. I have the stickers to prove it.

In our weather, we had three days over 70 F (21 C) this past week, and the hives are starting to raise brood in earnest to prepare for springtime.

The photo here shows Mars reduced to one medium with some extra stores on top, with Ganymede (the Lang) and Venus (the top bar) in the back. Continue reading

Our Hives They Are a-Changin’

Aside from a single white morning this winter, we have had very little snow in Virginia. The weather is unusually warm and the bees seem to get a flying day once a week or so. I suspect the insect population will be robust this year, from small hive beetles to other assorted insects, due to our lack of cold weather. Soon the bees will start ramping up for spring, and I have been keeping an eye on the mite populations in Mars and Jupiter.

170202-graph

Average mite drop per day in Mars and Jupiter. The count spiked in early December after I applied an oxalic acid dribble.

Continue reading

A world without nucleus hives would be less stable and more dangerous

After my success at reducing a standard deep nuc to a medium one (see Busy beeks are always metaling), I decided to take on the more daunting task of building a top bar hive nuc. After an adventure with hardware stores (yes, plural) and some minor angst on my part, I deem the effort a success.

170115e-tbh-nuc Continue reading

Busy beeks are always metaling

A quick post about a small project this past weekend. If you are following along, you know I am interested in making some nucleus colonies this spring, or nucs for short. Our local beekeeping club (PWRBA) coordinates sales for new beekeepers and this should be a good way to help prevent swarming in my existing hives.

One problem for me is that the standard wax cardboard nuc box is only available for deep frames, while I am trying to move to medium frames. So I kind of want to fit medium frames into a deep nuc box. I found a solution this weekend. Continue reading

Beekeeping comes but once a year

It is time for the much-anticipated annual post on my plans for the coming year. I did one for 2016, so this will be my second such post.

There is a difference between knowing something and experiencing something, perhaps theory versus practice. Agriculture, including livestock, is seasonal. There is a time for planting, a time to feed the cows hay, a time to keep the horses in the barn overnight, and a time for all the other activities that happen around a farm. We know this. Continue reading