Tag Archives: swarm traps

Homestead Update 4/2/2017

2 Apr

Just a quick update, my phone and computer are not communicating properly so I couldn’t upload any new pictures.

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I do have this picture I haven’t used yet. Two weeks ago when we had the below freezing cold snap, I covered my Hostas with a blanket. And I literally mean a blanket. This is an old reject I use for hauling furniture and such so I didn’t figure it would be a big loss if it was ruined. The next day was cold but sunny so I just laid it out across the hood of my truck and it dried just fine. I’m glad I covered them up. I missed one and the freeze bit it back to the ground.

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I also managed to put out 15 swarm traps in the last 2 weeks. I still have 10 more to go. If the weather will cooperate I hope to put them out next week. Hopefully I will get my computer issues corrected, until then, I’ll let you know how it goes. Keep prepping everyone!

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!

Homestead Update 6/25/16

26 Jun

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It has been so long since I posted anything I hardly know where to start. The picture above is what a good garden should look like, unfortunately it is not mine. I just grabbed one from the net to show what I hope to obtain someday. I do have my one raised bed that is looking very good, but now is the time of year to determine whether the raised bed gardening method is do-able. It is becoming very hot and dry so I will have to see how the bed holds up with the amount of irrigation I can apply to it.

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My longtime readers know I am a fan of Hostas. I recently received these Hostas in the mail. I was real leery of the condition these Hostas would arrive in, but they looked great! I ordered them from Hostasdirect.com and I have received one other order from them and it arrived perfectly as well.

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I planted them in pots and placed them under a tree. You might notice the two pots on the right seem to be empty. That is because they ARE empty! These pots are sitting on an 18 inch tall table, so the only thing I can figure is a squirrel got up there and ate them. Well, if it’s not slugs or Voles it is going to be squirrels. Just another reason to hate those filthy treerats!

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I’ve had another bad experience with my honeybees. I ended up with 7 swarms captured, but through my own neglect I lost one of them. I went out late one evening and picked up the trap then placed it atop the new hive where I intended to transfer it to. When I went out at 7:30 am to do the transfer, there was a passing, brief, pop-up thundershower occurring. I needed to go to work so I left, planning to be back by 10:00. It turned out to be 1:30 and when I opened the trap I was sick. Those bees were dead, suffocated from heat. I killed those bees plain and simple. Well, I will chalk it up to  a lesson learned. You can’t leave the traps out in the direct sun when the temperature is 85 degrees. That is making me wonder about my other hives sitting there in the full sun. I am definitely going to construct some wire vents to put on some of them when it really gets hot to check if they do better than the conventional hives.

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Two weeks ago, I developed a case of shingles. I had these red sores under my arm and running down my ribcage. I went to the doctor and got some medication for the problem. About one week after I started this round of medicine, I had a severe (and I do mean severe) allergic reaction to the drugs. The rash started out as whelps on my stomach and back and it has steadily gotten worse.

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Now I am covered with this rash, front and back, from my neck down to my knees. As you read this, I will be checked into the hospital receiving treatment, so I will update you on how this works out. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/10/2016

10 Apr

I didn’t get a lot accomplished around the homestead this week. I worked at my job two days then spent 3 days working on my parent’s house so that didn’t leave much time for anything else. I did manage to put out 3 more swarm traps, giving me a total of 20. I put together enough frames to fill the remaining 4 swarm traps I have made that are now ready to go. I looked in my hives and they seem to be doing really well. I hope I can get 10 more hives before this Spring is over. One of my employees was working in Missouri on a day when the wind was blowing 30 MPH. When that happens, sand and dust will blow in your face and get in your eyes, ears and nose. I told him he needed a Shemagh. He asked what is that? I sent him this picture and said it is a Shemagh worn Special Forces style.

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He texted me back “Looks more like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to him, HaHA!” That’s not showing much respect for your elders is it? Oh well, Keep prepping everyone!

Rain And Flooding

27 Mar

Two weeks ago we had 8-10 inches of rain in this area. Further South, where my parents live, they had 18-20 inches of rain in two days. That was not good.

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The lake is so high, this is the dock and little fishing house mostly submerged. I know it has never been nearly this high in the 20 years they have lived there.

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This is a cemetery near their house. Yes, those are headstones peeking up out of the flood waters. That is not what you want to see. But worst of all, we were preparing to move my parents into town and the house we just bought flooded 10 days after we closed the deal!

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There were over 200 homes flooded in this town, and some houses had it much worse than we did. Some houses had 2 feet of water inside them. We only had 1 inch in ours, but that was enough to ruin all of the carpets. The 2X4 base plates for the walls were saturated so I had to remove the baseboards and cut off 3 inches of the drywall so the base plates could dry before mold set in. I bought a high velocity fan for each room, and someone has been going in twice a day and moving the fans around to keep the drying out progressing. Since the flooring has been removed, and there is no furniture in the house, I figured now would be a perfect time to repaint the walls. This is the room I chose to stay in when I go to visit, and I decided that “Princess Pink” just wouldn’t do! I had those walls painted a nice, neutral beige color. I still have a lot of work to do before the house is move in ready. Just another thing on the long, endless list of things I have to do. I did manage to put out 4 more swarm traps yesterday. Every time I was putting out a trap, I heard bees buzzing around foraging on wild flowers so I know there are some in the area. I will try to put out of the rest of them this week. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

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!

Homestead Update 2/6/16

6 Feb

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I was in the Post Office yesterday and I saw this flier posted on the door. $25,000 reward for assaulting a postal worker in Memphis. That is a big no-no. I thought everyone, even the crack heads, knew better than to mess with a postal worker. The Postal Service don’t play that! Traditionally, in the past all of the government checks and Food Stamps were delivered by mail and it was just understood that the Postman was off limits. Postal workers could still go into some of the roughest parts of town without being assaulted or robbed.  I guess now since the checks and EBT are delivered electronically the hands off tradition is ending. Although I guess a $25,000 dollar reward might just make some thugs own Mama turn him in. (for his own good, you understand) That should make even the most stupid criminal think twice about robbing the Postman.

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I was going into one of the local Flea Markets/Antique stores last week and they had one of these signs posted on the door. I asked the proprietor if he really meant it.  He replied “absolutely, the more good guys that carry, the fewer bad guys will be willing to rob and assault people.” I felt right at home in a store like that. I sure feel safer there than at Starbucks!

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Today I put together my first swarm trap of the new year. I need to get on the ball if I expect to have 25 ready to put out when the time comes. I was finally able to use my Porter Cable battery powered brad gun. I discovered you really have to be careful to hold the gun straight or it will shoot those brads out of the side of the wood. Oh, so that’s why the instructions say to keep your fingers at least 3 inches away from the nose of the gun. I can imagine you would NOT want one of those brads driven  into your finger. The tool has enough power to drive a 2 inch brad completely into the wood. I still am not sure how well those skinny wire brads will hold once the wood begins to warp and twist. I will give them a try and if they don’t hold well, I will put some nails into the top and bottom just like I did with the three traps I made last year.

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I even had the opportunity to use that piece of wire grill that I salvaged off of the air conditioner unit I found on the shoulder of the road last Summer. I cut it into small sections and stapled the wire over the entrance hole to keep birds and squirrels out of the box. Tomorrow is Stuper Bowl Sunday, but there is no way I am going to sit around and watch the pre-pre-pre game show all day. I will go out to my shop after church and put a coat of paint on the trap. I plan on painting it a sort of camouflage pattern so it will be difficult to see hanging in a tree. Maybe that way, some Yea-hoo won’t shoot holes in it for target practice. Keep prepping everyone!