Tag Archives: bee feeders

Homestead Update 9/24/16

25 Sep

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I finally had a good rain on my garden area to bring up the turnip greens and deer browse I planted 2 weeks ago. I checked yesterday and it appears I’m going to have a good stand of greens to pick in a couple of weeks. I love some fresh winter greens! I found this good, heavy metal barrel on the side of the interstate. I’m not sure what it held, but the label said it was some sort of coating and sealer. It looks like it was full of thick, tan, rubberized paint. I might use this for collecting sawdust in my workshop. When I start working on a lot of wood working projects, that creates a lot of sawdust that I want to keep.

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I started feeding my bees with this 5 gallon community feeder. I know I am probably feeding bees from all over the area, but I haven’t had time to put the screened feeders on the hives, maybe next week. I lost another hive recently. The hive was fine two weeks ago, then I noticed a lack of activity yesterday. I opened the hive up and found no bees, and it was full of wax moth larvae. Nasty! I still had 15 swarm traps out because I couldn’t pick them up as I have been housebound. Well, I went out yesterday and picked up 6 of them and low and behold, there were bees in one of them. I brought them home and transferred them over, but they are really strange. I don’t think they have a queen. They have built 4 pieces of comb about 6 inches square, but there is nothing inside the cells, there is no honey, pollen, or brood. It will be interesting to see how long they last.

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These are some commercial hives beside a field I check each week. I know commercial bee keepers do things differently than us hobbyists, but these hives are on the north side of the tree line. These hives will be shaded all day long and the books say put your hives in the sun to help reduce small hive beetles. I have my hives in the sun and I always worry they are getting too hot. I have lots to learn about bees, I guess. Keep prepping everyone!

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Homestead Update 9/11/16

11 Sep

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Just a quick post to let you know how things are going around here. I looked out of the back door recently and I saw 9 turkeys grazing across the yard. I finished planting the deer browse and turnip green patch in the back in anticipation of the 80% chance of rain the weathermen were promising. After I hurried to get it all planted, we only got 1/10 of an inch of rain so the seeds will just lay there until we get some decent rain.

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I started feeding bees with a community feeder. I hope to install the individual no-drown feeders in each hive tomorrow.

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I encountered this grain truck as I was making my rounds this week. The truck came around the corner of this intersection and the trailer full of corn collapsed. I bet the driver said “Darn”!

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I also encountered these pigs feeding in the edge of one of the cotton fields I check. After I took this picture, I chased them back to their pen where they belonged!

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I also saw this Mini-Mansion that had burned during the past week. It reminded me to check my fire extinguishers when I got home. You always need to be prepared for fire safety. Keep prepping everyone.

9-11

No, I didn’t forget this was the 15th anniversary of the attack on 9-11. I have been watching the lip service the politicians have been giving this event over the weekend and I have been disgusted beyond words. I don’t know exactly what needs to be done with these terrorist; there is not one, easy solution. We might be able to stop the big organized attacks, but there is no way to stop all of the lone wolf attacks, so I guess we will just have to learn to live with those. We should have left Saddam in charge over there, he kept those people in Iraq under control. They were too afraid of what he would do to them to start any bull. Maybe we need to take a lesson from him? God bless America!

Swarm Traps!

20 Mar

I would like to welcome my newest follower, Jon. Jon has his own blog detailing his Journey To Homesteading, and his interest in honey bees. Go check him out at The Sweet Beeness. Jon asked for some details on my swarm traps so I will answer him here.

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I make my traps out of 8 frame deep supers. That seems to be the proper volume to attract bees. I started out just nailing a piece of plywood on to the bottom of the super, but I came up with an idea. Normally, when you transfer a captured swarm to a hive, you take the top off of the trap. Then you pull the frames out and transfer them to the hive, all the while, bees are swirling all around in the air. After the frames have been transferred, you will still have a bunch of bees in the bottom of the trap which you will have to try to shake out into the hive. I thought there might be a better way. I thought if I had an easily removable bottom on the trap, I could just remove the bottom and set the whole trap onto a bottom board and they would be transferred in a matter of seconds without even opening the top. But how to do this?

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I thought I might make a similar bottom like I use for the top. But no, that wouldn’t work well. Anytime it rained, the water would run down the sides and collect in the bottom of the hive.

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Then I thought, what if I made the frame for the bottom fit inside the trap instead of the outside? It would be almost rain proof and I could just take out two screws to remove the bottom. I made five of the traps like this so I will see how it works out.

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Oh, I made these 5 traps out of 1X12s that I did not rip down to the proper size to be a deep super. My box is an inch and a half deeper than a super. I needed the extra space so my deep frames will fit inside with the bottom attached. The only real negative I can think of is the bees might not like that extra space after I set the trap onto a bottom board. The old Beeks in my bee club are interested in my idea and they think the bees will just draw out a little bit of comb hanging from the bottom of the frames. That shouldn’t be a problem since these frames will be brood frames and won’t go into an extractor.

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This is a picture of one of my traps hanging in a tree about 15 feet high. I put out four traps today while the temperature was 40 degrees with a 20 MPH wind. I even saw a few flakes of snow flitting by! That sure doesn’t seem like swarm weather does it? Well, last week we had temps in the 80s! I have 15 traps to put out, so I need to get started because it will take a couple of days to get it done. Oh yeah, my two surviving hives are doing really well. Last week I went through them frame by frame. As a matter of fact, one of the hives was so strong I did a walk-away split. I don’t know how it will work out but I thought if it will ever work it should be now because that hive was so strong.

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I made this 5 gallon pail feeder last week and it is working really well. I drilled holes all around the bucket so that the little indentions around the top will hold the sugar water when you invert the bucket. The capillary pressure keeps it from spilling out just as it does with a jar feeder with holes punched in the lid. I have some other topics to discuss but I will save that for later. Keep prepping everyone!