country garden brugmansia picture


January 1st

This has been a mild winter so far.The bees have been bringing in pollen and nectar from Camelia,Loquat and the broccoli I have let go to seed in the garden. I put sugar water feeders on three hives today to see if the bees were interested.Daytime temperature had a high of 56 degrees.

January 3rd

The bees are not interested in the sugar water and have taken the level down only about an inch.Temperature around 60 degrees and the bees are flying.

January 9th

Removed the feeder bottles.Bees flying well.I lifted the back of the hives to get an idea of how much stores remained.All hives seem to have plenty. Temperature 64 degrees with intermittent light drizzel.The picture below is a honeybee and a sweat bee on a brugmansia bloom.It was taken today in the greenhouse.

January 21st

Robert E Lee's birthday and the bees are flying.Temperature is 64 degrees.They are working on broccoli and henbit.I noticed the first of the red maple bloom today.If these warm days hold they will be in the swamps soon.I need to watch them closely.This is actually the most dangerous time of year.Stores may be getting low and the bees are going into full brood rearing mode.

January 24th

Opened, checked,and put grease patties on all hives.Temperature was around 70 degreesF and the bees were flying well.

Hive #1 Plenty of stores but weak in numbers.Add frame of brood soon.

#2 OK on both brood and stores.

#3 OK on brood but light on stores.Feed

#4 Major amount of brood but light on stores.Feed.Consider for breeder.

#5 Good brood and stores.Odd as this one was a little weak going into winter.

#6 Good brood and stores.

#7 Excellent brood-some stores but could use more.Feed.consider for breeder.

#8 Excellent brood.Stores in box below brood???

#9 Good brood.Plenty of stores.6 shb in trap and the trap was propolized shut.This hive can spare some honey.

#10 Good brood and stores but all in top box.did not check bottom boxes.

January 25th

Temp 70 degrees F.Went back into hive #10,which was three deep boxes and removed the bottom box which was empty but had all drawn comb.I can use that comb and wish I had more.

January 26th

Spent the first part of the day painting new hive bodies.White and light blue this time.Second half of the day was spent pruning our grape vines.That is a chore I always dread.Glad it's done.

February 10th

Checked all hives for weight.#2 and #3 were light so I put feeders on them. Took a quick look into #2 and found a nice looking queen with a patch of brood about the size of my two hands but NO stores.They needed that feed.

February 12th

Put more feed on #2 and #3.It rained most of the day yesterday so the bees were out in force today.The young bees taking their orientation flights and the field bees busy bringing in pollen and nectar.The air was full of bees and the sound was almost like swarms were coming out.A good day.In the picture below,that is henbit blooming.It's one of the first things to bloom here.

February 25th

Bees flying well and working maple,willow and Ti-Ti.Took 16 frames of brood and honey,and 4 empty frames of drawn comb, from the 8 strongest hives and made 4 five frame nucs.These will be emergency queens and will be replaced later if needed.Note to self--overwinter some queens this year for next spring.

March 4th

Checked the nucs.Good and bad news.2 of the nucs had nice queen cells,1 was in good shape but without a QC.1 had been robbed and had starved on a couple of cold nights.Tomorrow promises 70 degrees so I will put some brood/larvae in the one with no cell and split my breeder queen hive.

March 5th

Warm but with high wind.Took brood from #9 and put in nuc with no QC.Maybe they will have better luck this time.NOTE;I assume this was operator error in that I probably did not put in young enough larvae for them to use for queen cells. I need to keep an led light handy to check for eggs.Eyes not so good anymore.

Split the breeder queen hive but did not see queen.I will check for her in a couple of days.In the meantime I have both colonies marked as "breeder queen".

March 15th

Checked the three strongest hives for queen cells and found,and destroyed,cells in all three.Put an extra super on these three.Reduced #10 to 1 deep as the queen seems to be a little slow getting started.Will check my 4th strongest colony Monday and if I find queen cells will pinch the queens in #1 and #10 and give them a cell.Wish I had seen that before destroying the cells I found today.NOTE to self.Check the weakest colonies first.

March 18th

Checked the fourth strongest.Found no queen cells.Added a super.This one is just slightly behind the first three.

March 20th

Caught a football sized swarm today.These were in a small Loquat tree at the four foot level.These were anxious for a new home and walked right in.Couldn't be any easier.

March 21st

Caught another football sized swarm today.These were in an elderberry bush and about three feet off the ground.Very testy.So much so that I had to put on my veil to hive them.This is unusual for a swarm and indicates that they had used up their stores and were on the verge of starving.Hived and put on some feed. If these are still hard to handle tomorrow afternoon then this queen gets sent to meet her maker and the swarm will be combined with the previous days swarm.

March 22nd

Yesterdays swarm is now calm and easy to work.I put in some drawn comb and topped off the feed.They were just hungry.

March 25th

Went on a 75 mile wild goose chase today.The swarm I was called to get left just as I was climbing the ladder to shake them into the hive.Oh well,can't win em all.

April 2nd

Noticed that a swarm had taken up residence in one of the bait hives in the yard.That helps balance out the wild goose chase earlier.

April 4th

Basketball size swarm in the peak of the old greenhouse.This is a problem since there is a tangle of grapevines there so the can't be brushed into the box.Put an empty box in the rafters and brushed down all I could.Some bees in the box and some still in the tangled vines.Left box in place.We will see what happens.

April 5th

Checked box.Some bees in box,cluster gone from peak.Moved box and will watch it for a few days.

April 12th

Had a surprise last night.Koby,our big outside dog, was having a barking fit just outside the bee yard.He had a large black bear cornered inside an old shed.I thought he was barking at something in our neighbors yard and got entirely too close before seeing the bear.When he saw me,Mr bear decided to take his chances with the dog.A very large bear makes quite a noise when he hits a hogwire fence going full tilt.This was actually our fourth bear visit but the first time I had seen him.The other three times he managed to tear up a hive each time.Those first three visits were BD(before dog).

April 13th

Slept in truck in the bee yard.Bed fellows were dog and shotgun.Yogi came but did not enter the bee yard.I think the dog kept him out.No chance for a shot.

April 14th

Slept in the bee yard again.Companions this night were the dog and a pistol.The shotgun is too long to handle in the truck.No bear.

April 15th

Truck too uncomfortable.Slept on a cot behind the hives.Bear came but the dog kept him out of the bee yard.Beginning to suffer from the "sleep deprived stupids".

April 16th

Put up a single strand of hot wire around the perimeter of the bee yard(on top of the existing fence). Slept in the yard again.Bear came and hit the hot wire.Noisy bear.Between the dog and hot wire I think my bear problems may be solved.

April 24th

Took off 3 medium supers of honey today and this from one hive.There are three more hives stacked up and will require taking honey off next week.

May 1st

Took off three more medium supers.Nice,extra light amber, honey with excellent flavor.66 pints of honey so far from the 6 medium supers taken so far.

May 8th

Put "paper towel"mite treatment on those hives I have robbed so far.See the "Grease Pattie page for details.

May 15th

Paper towel treatment seems to be working.I did not do a mite count before putting them on but did count after the first 24 hours.Drop count on the three hives was 136,98 and 142.That is almost as good as the drop count from the Hopguard used last fall.

May 17th

Took off a little more honey and some comb.Took chunk comb for the pints and a few 4x4 pieces for plates.Both of these are always a hit.

May 20th

The bear still patrols on the forest side of the road,throwing the dog into major fits.At least now he is leaving the bees alone.

June 1st

Five of the hives are now stacked 6 deep and there is a pleasant,loud roar in the bee yard.Lots of nectar coming in and the girls are making the roar by fanning air to cure the nectar.

June 7th

Taking off more honey today and more comb.All the colonies but one seem to be in good shape.The one just doesn't seem to get going.It will be combined with one of the others.

June 15th

I am thinking of doing some splits in early July and moving some hives around. July may not be the best time for splits but it will have to do.I would like to get my numbers up to twenty strong colonies going into winter.

July 1st

Chickened out on the splits.I don't want to take a chance on losing colonies at this stage.All the colonies seem to be doing well.I see some bearding but this is normal for July in Florida.

July 12th

Put sticky boards under three of the hives with screened bottoms and am amazed at the lack of mites on the boards.The most on any board after a 24 hour drop is 12.The other two had 8 and 6.This is good news and they should be good until fall.

July 18th

Caught a small swarm today.Heavy emphasis on small.This swarm was the size of a soccer ball.Probably a virgin queen.

July 19th

The little swarm decided to leave.It probably wouldn't have survived the winter anyway.Sour grapes??

July 25th

Took off two supers of honey and some comb for the chunk honey jars.The bees will be left alone now until September when I start putting on supers for the goldenrod flow.

September 2nd

Caught another small swarm today.I put it in a nuc and added a frame of brood.That should keep the ladies in place.

September 12th

Put on first Hopguard treatment today.Found several large,sealed, queen cells in the Sept 2 nuc.There was only a small patch of brood.Very odd.

September 15th

On the way home from church today I noticed the first goldenrod starting to bloom.I will be putting on supers next week and hoping for some goldenrod honey.That is an iffy thing in this area but with the recent rains one can hope.

September 19th

Put on second Hopguard treatment.Found hive # 7 queenless and will requeen with the Sept 2 nuc in a few more days.I want to be sure she is laying well first.

September 25th

Added frame of eggs and larvae,along with some nurse bees to #7.I still plan to use the queen from Sept 2 nuc if she proves out.Today there was only a tiny patch of brood in the nuc.We will see how she looks in a few more days.Meanwhile the frame of eggs is insurance.

September 26th

Caught a tiny,hand size swarm today.Here are some pictures.

I don't really like these small,late swarms.As often as not they don't stay put.

They are fanning with their butts in the air,calling their sisters to their new home.

And sure enough,2 hours later they are gone.

The little swarm has now been hived a total of three times and is now back out again hanging in the pomegranate tree in their same old spot.I did see the queen last time I hived them and she is a beauty.hmmmm,what next?

October 3rd

We have tropical storm Karen in the gulf.I have added some weight to the top of the hives(concrete blocks) and picked up any loose stuff lying around.I had planned to put on supers today but those will have to wait until after the storm passes.So,my hurricane preparedness as far as bee colonies go,is prayer and concrete blocks,in that order.

October 5th

Tropical storm Karen turned out to be a non issue.We didn't even get much rain. Did a mite drop test on three hives to see how the Hopguard performed.Test were on my two strongest hives and my weakest.Strong hive #1 0 mites after 30 hours,strong hive #2 2 mites after 30 hours and weak hive 0 mites after 30 hours.It seems Hopguard has done its job again and this after only two applications(I usually do 3).

October 6th

Put another super on all but two of the hives.Weather is perfect for a good fall flow.Both species of goldenrod are blooming and jillions of small aster type flowers blooming in the abandoned fields.

November 5th

The goldenrod is giving up but the little aster type flowers are still going strong.I will be checking supers tomorrow to see if there will be some surplus.

November 13th

Harvested goldenrod honey and reduced the bees to two boxes each for the winter. Goldenrod harvest was much less than I hoped for.I probably should have split in July instead of going for fall honey.Good old hindsight.On the plus side,all colonies but one in excellent shape.Combined the weak one.

November 22nd

Not much happening in the beeyard until mid December when I will put on a slow feed to start early buildup.The bees are still flying well and seem to be finding something in the swamps.I have no clue what that might be.They are also working on our two Loquat trees which are in full bloom now.

December 5th

Lifted the back of all hives today and found two light ones.Put two frames of honey on each and a quart of 1-1 sugar syrup.The rest were heavy.I suspect there has been a little robbing going on.

December 17th

Put an extra empty super on all the other hives today in preparation for feeding beginning tomorrow.This will be a light,slow feed to encourage the queen to begin buildup for the maple bloom which can start anytime in mid to late January.I did notice some cream colored pollen coming in today-probably from our Loquat trees.

December 19th

Put 1-1 syrup on all hives.

December 23rd

Checked syrup bottles.Some empty some 1/2 used and some 1/3rd used.Refilled them all.

December 30th

Temp is around 60 degrees and the bees are bringing in a good amount of light yellow pollen.