Honey Bees

Its been a few days since a post has been made, the weather has not led itself to doing much outside, the greenhouse plants are doing fine but slow, I did get a max/min thermometer to record the temperatures inside. I need to do a better job of recording temperatures outside and inside the greenhouse, data is only as good as it is recorded and used.

I also need to do a better job selling, specifically at this time honey, I sold some the other day to the same restaurant I normally sell too. I have discovered that with them I need to be proactive, they always buy if they are low but they won’t tell me that they need more so I have to document how often they actually want to buy so I know when to come by and see if they are out. If they were more inconvenient it wouldn’t be worth it but being they are probably less than half a mile from my wife’s business it isn’t a big deal, and they are a great restaurant with a relationship to my wife’s business so I want to support them and appreciate their support of me.

As the title goes this is about honey bees, there is a saying, if you ask 20 bee keepers how to keep bees you will get 20 different answers. I generally prefer to let them do their own thing and not bother them more than necessary. However necessary is the key word here, I don’t know for sure what is necessary. Twenty years ago necessary was never and now it is much more, we have many more diseases and parasites in the United States now than we used to have. In the winter it doesn’t seem that there are as many parasites as in the summer, if they were taken care of properly with mite treatment and hive beetle control whatever that is. This year food seems to be the problem, with the drought at the end of the summer most hives are being fed across the state now. It is easy for me to neglect the bees because I prefer to let them do their own thing and they seal up their hives which helps in the cold. If you go into a hive you break the propolis which is the glue the bees make to seal up their hives, it also has antibacterial properties. When it is cold they don’t do much other than survive. If the seals are broken they may not get put back they way they intended for the winter weather. You most definitely do not want to pull the frames if they are not going in out of the hive with a goal in mind, going out to go to the bathroom doesn’t count, they got to be flying places before any frame is removed. Personally I see no point in pulling frames in the winter. What are you going to do? If they are sick they will die anyway, if they are healthy you may kill the queen and then they die. If they are sick and have diarrhea you can see it outside the hive, if they need food you can look through the top and see that.

Today was the first time I was home during the day this week and it seemed that they may need food so I gave them some. The good news is that all three of my hives are alive.

Starting out today I was happy just to see that bees were alive, this may look like the same hive but it’s not.

167I got more concerned when I realized that the bees were in the chicken food, that can’t be a good sign.

170I did have sugar water already made so giving it wasn’t a big deal but I did have to swap out the entrance reducers to put the sugar water suppliers in. Tonight I will need to order some protein patties for them because sugar is not enough.

I almost didn’t put on the suit for this but I am glad I did, I don’t always suit up to go into the hives but there is one hard and fast rule I always have and that is to take off my wedding ring. My ring is tungsten carbide, supposedly it can’t be cut which would mean if my finger started to swell up they would have to cut my finger off. Most people have gold rings which would be easier to deal with but why risk it and have to deal with cutting your ring? Nothing else is that big of a deal, watches, necklaces, and bracelets can all be removed after the fact if swelling begins.

Earlier I said I didn’t like going into hives much in the winter but one thing I don’t mind doing is taking the lid off if it isn’t cold out.

168They don’t really seal the outer cover, this is the inner cover with a hole in it, the other two hives I could see bees active in the frames. On this hive they were definitely active, I would have taken a picture of the others but I couldn’t get to my camera due to  my suit, this one I opened with out the suit on just to check and take a picture.

Author: millcreekhomestead

Just a stay at home Dad trying to become more self sufficient in a world getting more dependent. It’s easy to get lost in all the things of the world, sometimes the best therapy is getting your hands dirty and growing something good!

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