Tag Archives: bee swarm traps

Homestead Update 4/16/2017

16 Apr

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I had some slopes on the Homestead that were starting to wash and develop the beginnings of gullies so I went to the Nursery and bought 1/2 of a pallet of Zoysia Sod.

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I used my Kubota tractor and disc to work and loosen the soil before laying the sod. Since then I have been watering the sod every day and it is supposed to rain several days in the coming week so I hope it takes hold. If this works out I plan on doing more of this next Spring because I have several spots with washes starting.

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The lettuce in the raised bed is doing really well. Sweet Thing picked a big mess to take to the in-laws for Easter dinner and I expect it will be delicious.

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Speaking of Sweet Thing, she has been working to straighten up and organize her sewing room. I noticed 5 different sewing machines over there and I asked her why she needed so many. She asked me how many woodworking saws I had so I just shut up and smiled!

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She really has everything neat and organized. Maybe I should ask her to come straighten out my workshop!

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On the bee keeping front, I caught my first ever cluster swarm. This lady called three weeks ago and said she had a swarm in a bush, but before I could get there the bees left. Then she called a few days ago about this swarm.

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The swarm was so low to the ground I couldn’t rake them into the box so I just reached into the swarm and pulled off several double handfuls of bees and dropped them into the box. Eventually the stragglers began to go into the opening on their own.

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After the cluster got smaller, I got brave and removed my glove and scooped up a handful of bees barehanded. That is a really strange feeling to have a hand full of bees, and not one single sting! I transferred them into a hive when I got home and now after 5 days they seem to be doing fine.

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I was out and about putting out my swarm traps and I noticed this shrub. There were many of them in this fence line and most of them had really pretty red flowers on them. I researched it and determined it is a native plant “Red Buckeye”. I think it will be suitable for naturalizing so I am going to dig up some of the smaller ones and replant them. Have any of you had any experience with this plant? And oh yeah, my swarm traps. I put out 22 traps, some of them have been out 3 weeks, some 2 weeks and some 1 week. I checked them all Friday and I had no bees. Skunked! 0 for 22. I still expect to capture several swarms and I’ll keep you posted.

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I hope all of you had a peaceful, blessed Easter. Keep prepping everyone!

Honey Bees!

30 May

I want to do a quick post about my bees.

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This is what my best hive looked like yesterday. I have just been dying to get in there and split that hive before they swarmed again, but I just have not had time until today. Not only did I split the hive, we kept 3 frames of honey for ourselves, which was our first! Oh, and as I was looking through the frames, I actually found the queen! That is the first time I had a positive ID on her! That made me really paranoid, I VERY carefully put that frame back into the super and carefully put the next one beside it so I would not smash her. That would have been tragic because she seems to be a super egg layer!

 

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I don’t have an extractor so I used the scrape and crush method.

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We scraped 3 frames and ended up with just over 3 liters of honey. It seems to be a bit foamy after we screened it through a screen colander and a nylon mesh paint strainer. I’ll look in the morning to see how it looks then. Of course we had to sample the goods while we were working, and it was the best tasting honey the world has ever known!

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I also ended up with 2 quarts of this honey/wax mix. I don’t know what it is good for so I will just freeze it for now. I managed to transfer two hives that I caught in my swarm traps, and I have 4 more swarms trapped that I am sure about. I need to get them this week if at all possible.

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This trap had a swarm for at least 2 weeks before I brought it in. The trap was so heavy, I had trouble lifting it. When I opened it, I found lots of bees and lots and lots of brood. I put them in a hive and immediately gave them another empty super to build in. I am going to keep a better check on this hive than I did my other hives last year.

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This is one of my traps that ended up on the ground because the limb holding it up broke. When I discovered it, I had my ATV in the back of my truck so I had nowhere to put it. I moved it to the side of the field and came back in two weeks to pick it up. Low and behold, it had a swarm of bees in it! It was sitting on the ground, the entrance hole about 4 inches off of the ground, facing North. I guess those bees didn’t read the bee manual! Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/2/2016

3 Apr

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I managed to put out some more swarm traps this week for a total of 16. As you can see this one is about 15 feet in the air. I think I have them all positioned from 9-15 feet high. It’s not easy to haul them up that high pulling on a 1/4 inch rope thrown over a limb, let me tell you!

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I went on YouTube and copied this idea for a table saw sled to cut hand holds in bee hives.

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It makes hand holds almost as good as factory made. I couldn’t cut them on my saw nearly as fast as the videos showed. I don’t know if my saw was underpowered or maybe I was using the wrong blade. In the videos, it takes 5-10 seconds to cut this out. On my table it takes 60 seconds because I have to “hop” the sled on the blade instead of just using a steady cut. Never the less, it got the job done.

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Spring seems to be in full force now and my hostas are coming up. Take a look at the bright yellow leaves on this specimen. I forgot the name of it, but it sure is pretty in the early Spring.

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I noticed a row of these trees blooming at a park. I walked under them to look and sure enough, the bees were working like crazy.

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I’m not sure what it is. Probably a sort of Japanese Cherry if I had to guess. Anybody out there have any ideas?

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I also came into possession of this aluminum up-right scaffold/ladder. It doesn’t look too safe does it? It has a platform that extends from 9 feet to 14 1/2 feet. I had one of my employees climb up at 9 feet like you see here. He said “this is not too bad.” We raised it up to 14 1/2 feet and he said “Uh-Uh, I don’t like this!”

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It is called a Tallescope and they are used extensively in the UK, particularly in the Theater business. I couldn’t find any information about this item in the US which leads me to believe OSHA probably has banned their use. There are supposed to be 2-4 outrigger legs on the sides which this one is missing. I think I can buy some that will fit so that will make it much more stable.

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This is one in use in a theater and those outrigger legs do indeed make it look much more stable.

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We were visiting another couple last week and we got to meet Albert. The owner whipped out a bottle of Visine and put drops in his eyes and I said “what in the world is that about?’ She said he had some surgery for a condition called “Cherry Eye” and it messed up his tear glands, therefore the eye drops. She said they spend more on his Doctor bills than they do on themselves. I know the feeling! Until next week, keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 2/21/2016

21 Feb

I am in a really bad mood as I sit here writing this post but I will get to that part in a few minutes.

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I was visiting with one of my clients in his office this past week and his big handsome Sheppard was laying at my feet. I took this picture and sent it to Sweet Thing and asked if I could bring him home. She said NO! You already have two dogs. Yeah, but mine are not even remotely well behaved like this dog. I need to get busy trying to train mine I guess.

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I also went downtown and early voted this week, and yes, I voted for Donald J Trump! I don’t think he can beat Hillary, but I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils just because I think they might win. I want Donald to go to Washington and tear the whole system apart! We need to just burn the whole thing down and get back to the basics of the Constitution once again. I probably agree more with Ted Cruz than the others, but I know he has no real chance. His personality and appearance are just too off-putting for many people. I probably should have voted for Marco Rubio because he has a slight chance of actually beating Hillary in the general election. But I am ELATED Jeb Bush dropped out of the race. If he had been the Republican candidate I would have had a really hard time pulling that handle for him.

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I managed to put together 10 swarm traps this week, and I even painted a few of them in a sort of camouflage design so they would be harder to spot hanging in a tree. Maybe then some YaHoo won’t see them and use the traps for target practice!

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I can give a favorable review of the battery powered Porter Cable brad nailer. A fully charged battery will drive a lot of brads, and I mean it will fully sink these 2 inch brads into plywood and pine boards. I’m still not sure how well the brads will hold once the plywood starts to warp and buckle. Those 18 gauge brads are 2 inches long, but they are really thin. We shall just have to wait and see. Now on to the part putting me in a bad mood.

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I bought this used Honda ATV for Sweet Thing to have for her exclusive use. I went to check it out prior to purchasing it and I was happy with what I saw. The only negative the owner could tell me was it had a gas leak when the engine was off, so he had to shut off the gas line after each use. I looked and decided that could be fixed so I bought it. It also needs some brake work, but that is something I can handle myself.

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I decided the leak was coming from this spot on the old carburetor. That black knob is a fuel pump knob for use when the temperatures are extremely cold. I researched it on-line and discovered that part has a rubber seal that often goes bad after years of Ethanol gas. If you buy that knob as a OEM it would cost $51. Even buying it as aftermarket it costs $31. I bought that entire new carburetor for $57 and figured if that knob didn’t fix it I could replace the entire carb. Well, sure enough I replaced the knob and it still leaked. RATS!! What I hoped was a 10 minute job is back to a two hour job if I am lucky.

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But what really upset me is I discovered two of my bee hives have died since last week. The temperature was 68 degrees today so I opened the hives to add some more dry sugar on top of the inner cover. As soon as I lifted the outer top I knew it was bad news. I pulled up this frame and all those bees are freshly dead. I guess they starved to death even though each hive had a deep super full of honey going into winter.

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I opened the other hive and saw these bees also dead.

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If you look closely you can see some hive beetles in that open section, but they are also dead! I took several more pictures to show to the old timers at my next bee keepers meeting to see if they have any ideas about what happened. Last week both hives were flying on warm days and I had no inkling that any thing was amiss, so I am really ticked off by this development. Oh well, that is all part of the learning experience. I still have two hives with live bees, and I gave them some dry sugar today so I hope they make it. That’s all for this week. Keep on prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 2/14/16

14 Feb

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Today is Valentine’s Day and I hope you guys didn’t forget so you won’t have to sleep in the doghouse. I bought Sweet Thing some flowers, candy, and a mushy card. She said I did good!

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A few days ago, I was in my home office working on my income taxes. Yeah! Big Fun! Anyway, I heard my dogs start raising a ruckus and I knew someone was coming to the house. I went to the door and it was FedEx bringing my order from Mann Lake. He had six big heavy boxes and he asked where I wanted them. Fortunately, my pickup was in the driveway so I told him to put them in the cargo bed. That saved me from having to pick them up off of the ground myself, because did I mention they were heavy? The boxes were full of unassembled hive bodies and frames. I took the boxes over to my shop and today I knocked a few of them together for my swarm traps. It was too cold to do much more so I will wait until later to finish.

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Since it was cold, sleeting and dreary, I went inside and put together an AR-15 from a kit. That is something I always enjoy!

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You can go on-line at hundreds of sites and order everything you need to assemble a fully functioning AR-15, and FedEx will deliver it right to your door.

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Everything that is, except this little part right here. This is a stripped lower, and it has a serial number on it. Therefore, you must go to a licensed dealer and fill out a form 4473 so the ATF can find out where this gun is located and who purchased it. Someday they may want to confiscate all of our guns and it sure would be handy for them to have a master list of all the guns purchased since 1968 wouldn’t it? Oh, I don’t think they will have enough nerve to try it in the immediate future. They will have to go through a slow, gradual process of registration, taxation, forfeiture and regulation before they feel confident enough to try for full-fledged confiscation. I hope I am not around when that happens, it could get ugly in a hurry. I have enough to worry about with the declining dollar and the bloated national debt; not to mention our corrupt political system. I read a good account today in The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/a-guide-to-the-billionaires-bankrolling-the-gop-candidates/391233/ of all the billionaires that are contributing to all of the candidates for President. ALL of them are taking money from the elite, and you know those people are expecting some favors in return. All of the candidates are taking big money that is, except Bernie Sanders, the avowed Socialist. At least he has the dignity to admit what he is and not try to hide it like the rest of them do. Donald Trump is not taking Billionaire donations either, but I know he can be bought for the right amount. After all, he is THE deal maker and he is proud to admit it. It’s enough to make my head explode!

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Keep prepping everyone!