Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crazy Nuc UPDATE and CONCLUSION !!!!!

Well after a few more days of observation etc on all my hives I have come to the conclusion that the large population of bees in the nuc was in fact forager drift over several days. The other nucs although not as packed, are packed! In hind sight I was lucky I did this with the onset of the cold weather blast which could have crippled my little hives etc. if I had not given it the foragers.

Looking quickly at the parent hives that I moved over and stole foragers from, they are faring well with little set back. It seems the drones must have chilled on the outer frames due to this cold weather as I have a small number, maybe 20-30 drones at most, laying outside pulled after they chilled to death… I consider this a small lost to sustain a nuc which will continue to lose bees over the next month and a half roughly while the queen hatches, matures, mates, lays her eggs, and hatches her first brood 21 days later… (Basically 13 days to hatch + 7 days to mature and mate + 21 days for the brood to hatch)…

I highly recommend using the “swap” procedure when making nucs or when you have weak hives…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Attached you will find pics of my crazy nuc from yesterday. Here is a little time line and history to add confusion.

·         Weekend before last I put a weak hive with about 300 bees and a queen into a nuc box to help them preserve heat.
·         This past Saturday I moved them up to my garden area and moved a strong hive during the day and placed this week on there to give it all the foragers.
·         Sat and Sunday was uneventful and normal amount of bee traffic
·         Yesterday I got home and said “What the heck” they are getting robbed, well upon further looking they weren’t and bees were hanging out like mid summer
·         Well I got my jacket on and lifted the top to find about 2 inches of bees piled on the top and every frame covered not to mention bees below the screen bottom, on the front, etc
·         I swapped the frames into a single deep for room and the hive still covered all ten frames, piled outside all night, and were just unbelievable.

The only thing I can think of is a hive swarmed and took over, or a hive I lost (just was empty weekend before last after I had inspected it 2 weeks prior and found a queen etc), I am thinking either a hive swarmed somewhere in my yard and usurpatation (whatever, read Wyatt Magnum’s recent article in ABJ…) or the hive that left was sitting out somewhere waiting for a home and here was this little weak nuc in its original location so it “went home”. Either way a hive that had a queen, goofball size brood pattern and less than a cup full of bees is now about 4-5 lbs of bees!

These creatures never stop amazing me…

Below is basically a order of pics from the time i got home (6:30 pm) till i was done and cam back just before dark...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Breeder Hogs

Well i decided to step into Breeder Hogs and try my hand at raising hogs on pasture and piglets. I purchased this weekend 3 hogs, a hampshire sow (black and white), a Tamworth sow (big tan/red), and a Duroc boar (red hog). They are great looking hogs and are very gentle already. I cant wait till i finish the 2.6 acre fence with pasture, woods, and creek access.

Below is a picture of the 3 hogs and then my current hog lot i have been using to raise 2 feeders for the past 3 years.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Splits are done

Well went through 8 hives and in most cases was able to make extremly strong splits. I feel real confident I will have plenty of bees when the Russians arrive.

One note to make in many hives I had backfilling of the brood nest occuring, so I doubt very seriously the bees would have hung around until my russians arrived...

Swarm season IS going to be 2 weeks early and strong IMO...

Not only that but in some cases I still have a full double deep untouched since about a month ago I had placed entire boxes of drawn comb on my strongest ones. For three hives I had three deeps of solid top to bottom brood patterns. All I simply did was locate the queen, verify I had eggs in my split portion, and lifted an entire box. I also repositioned the parent hive with the laying queen and placed the split in its place, thus mimiking a swarm! The old queen is gone from the hive,and left behind is brood, no queen, and reserves, so the returning foragers believe the hive has swarmed!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not for the Faint at Heart

Well today i will dig through ALL my hives and make splits where i can and the hives can aford the brood and bees. i have a few hives in mind for this, 9 in particular. I dont really expect to be able to make 9 splits, but we will see. I have a bunch of drawn comb and stored capped honey so maybe bewteen the two things will work out.

My biggest concern is not temps etc, but that i have 10 Russian Queens coming the week of April 11th, exactly one full brood cycle. So i am praying that i wont wind up with a bunch of hives that i pulled splits from that dont have enough brood and or bees to make 10 more splits when the queens arrive!!! I am hoping with good weather and drawn comb the queen will go right back to laying in the comb and by April 11 week comes around i will have the same number of eggs/brood frames as i do today...

We shall see.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Failing Queen or Hygenic Behavior????

This is a post written by Randy Oliver on Bee-L which really sums up how to identify if your "spotty" brood pattern is from a failing queen, disease, virus, or expression of hygienic behavior (which is good). I believe it is important enough to post for documentation and to share...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: randy oliver <randy@randyoliver.com>
Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Subject: [BEE-L] Intermittant brood pattern

> > How does one tell the difference between a failing queen and brood
> > that
> has been removed due to hygienic behavior.

Mike, there are other possible reasons for the shot pattern:
Miticide or pesticide contamination of comb Virus mortality Fast-acting AFB strain

All above, plus failing queen, could be ruled out by inserting a drawn comb in the center of the brood nest.  The queen should start laying immediately.
 Then simply follow that brood up to capping, and a few more days.  Hygienic uncapping won't happen until later.

If queen is failing, then you will see a poor egg pattern.  If larvae or eggs are removed shortly after queen lays them, then suspect nutritional stress.

If the egg and larval development pattern is uniform, and the larvae uniformly develop through capping, then you can rule out the above.  Removal after that would likely be due either to hygienic behavior or virus mortality.  If hygienic, the removed pupae will be white and solid during removal.  If virus, they will be miscolored (gray) or disfigured.

Hope this helps!


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Here is a picture of a solid brood pattern (top) and a spotty brood pattern (bottom) i found at University Of Ga's site http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/disorders/non-infectious-diseases-pests.html

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Little Farmer Girls

These are two pictures of my 2 yr old twins walking across what was my watermelon patch and now is back in pasture seed for our Alpacas and soon a Angus Steer for beef...