Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today is just the opposite of the last post. I think one or more of the hives is dead and I had a nice day today, sunny but very cool, and did nothing. I am not sure the temp got above 50F so I didn't open anything. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

OK, the Blogspot page has changed and it has taken me a long while to get this far. IF you are reading this then I did something correct  --  which may be the only time so far today. I needed to check my bee hives as I have been gone so much lately. I had previously checked the Redbud hive and all is not well. Today I had hoped to check two more.
I started on the east hive because I just felt "something" about that hive. Man was I ever surprised. They came out in droves and attacked and attacked and kept on for a very long while. Instead of calming them, as I have been told, have read, and was taught, the smoke seemed to excite them to a frantic level.
Being attacked by thousands of angry females slowed down the whole process. Also the frames are not drawn out and I saw no larvae nor eggs in the top body. I did see five or six hive beetles which probably means I have an infestation.
The beetles were in a frame of just wax with some cells. They ran quickly and I couldn't get them without destroying the frame. I probably should have done that.
Finally I got down into the lower hive body which, I believe, is called the brood chamber.  I saw one larvae and no eggs and no honey. Oh, there was a tiny amount of honey in the upper body. So, I suppose i should start feeding again as it looks as though they are not bring in food. I did see bees with pollen.
When I finally got through with my amateurish inspection, I put everything back together and they still attacked me. More than a dozen stayed with me for a very long time. I even went as far as the shed and they came in there. That is when I started killing the little ... bugs. When I got them dow to two or three i went back over and sat on the patio.
Another group came and joined the two that had followed me that far. I started killing again and now there are many dead bee bodies on the patio rug.
I finally got inside and had lunch. Wow, what a morning.
Later I went back out to put on my boots again so I could continue work on setting new fence posts. That immediately drew a crowd of bees who immediately began trying to attack me. I walked off and they only followed about half way to the fence.
I got one post set with concrete and the other is 85% ready. I can take the post hole diggers home tomorrow. I am not sure this will completely fix the problem but I cannot afford a new fence.
No, I did not check any other hive. I hope to do that on Sunday.
Maybe I could take up mall walking again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to "The Army" working again

Returning from Australia was an easy trip but not so easy in the way of adjusting from the extreme temperature difference. Then our old friend jet lag played a part in not sleeping for a few nights.
I finally went over to "The Army" to find that almost all of the hundreds of books I left had been "sold." The shelves in the back room were almost empty of all paperbacks and most hard backs. I find it amazing that the store could sell more books in a month than the entire year previous to that. But it is not mine to question why, just mine to look and cry.
So I was in good shape to start rearranging. I am now on my third/fourth day of working and have made great strides. I may have made a big mistake in trying to switch the paperback shelves in back for the hard back place. So far it is working but today we got in a large box of papers. They were almost all just what we needed; thrillers of various genres. Wish I read faster as all the major authors had some new books in the mix.
I started a new shelf of over sized adventure/thrillers. I think I shall call all spy, conspiracy, murder, and any other of that type a thriller. Doesn't quite get what I want to say but it will be easier to type one word rather than an explanation each time.  Now I finally am getting the shelves the way I want them and the way I had them before i went to Oz a year ago. This time i knew what to do so I just did it. I took out shelves of books and replaced them with my choice. We are leaving again next week for eight days so things will be in a mess again.
That is O K as now I know what I need to do and I know I can do it.
Yep, it is good to be home with my books and my bees again. Just think, not another major trip in sight until January.
Oh well......................

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bee spotting

I was told there were no bee keepers in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia. BUT!! whilst walking home this evening from town I spotted a honey bee on the sidewalk. It looked all tuckered out and appeared as tho it couldn't fly --  but it was a honey bee.
It is possible the man at the Chamber of Commerce didn't know what the hell he was talking about and I have wasted three weeks without making contact.
C  of  C's should be banned.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wellsir, Good Intentions and All That

It has been more than a month since I last posted and a lot has happened. My volunteer job at Salvos (Aussie-talk for Salvation Army and a good short hand) went very well except-- the couple of weeks before I left we were getting in so many books I could not come close to keeping up. So, I had to increase my time and increase my amount of work. I almost got everything straightened out but... just before I left there were probably 10 more large boxes of books stacked with the ones I was still trying to work on. It came time for me to leave so I did.
I am in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia and it is cold here. I have been here three weeks with one more week and two days to go. I leave here on the 10th and get home on the 10th. I fly out of Sydney at 1:25 PM and land in Dallas at 1:50 PM. Now you expect me to explain how a monstrously big airliner can go almost 10,000 miles from Sydney to Dallas in 25 minutes.  Wellsir, it is magic and I don't mess around trying to get wizards, fairies and pixies angry with me so you will have to do it yourself.
I brought four books to read and have finished three of them which I shall donate to the local Salvos store. I wanted to download an ebook and thought I had made all the preparations but there is something stopping me. Yessir, I believe it is called technology. I jumped through the techno hoops and bowed to the nology gods and sacrificed 90% of my nerves and 99% of my patience but to no avail.
At first I couldn't find an ebook I wanted so after looking at several looks I settled for second best. Then that one would not fly through cyber space and land in this laptop. I have the silly program with its ugly icon on the desktop but nooo, it just sits there staring back at me and the book is probably gasping to death somewhere in the far cosmos.
That means that if my last book is not good I shall be forced to read one of the intelligent books my sis-in-law left me. Wow! Being on holiday means you don't have to think. Why would I want to dig deep into something that worked my brain muscles and caused me to exercise my brain cells. I won't stoop to bodice ripping romance books but "A Fatal Conjunction" might just be a tad heavy.
Yes, I have been getting all the weather reports from back in Oklahoma. I worry about my bees as they do not have air conditioning in their houses. After they earn their keep we can negotiate that service but they haven't provided a profit yet. Now that it is so bloody hot back there the bees may never be able to make enough honey to pay for their keep.
Each hive has its own water container so they can always have a drink. Some bees are so stupid they think they can swim and they go twirling around in their drinking water. I have lifted them out before but I have yet to administer artificial respiration. If they are that dumb they can go ahead and choke and cough.
I have tried to find beekeepers here in Broken Hill but it appears there aren't any or they are well hidden. The man at the Chamber of Commerce said they had all left because of the drought. I went to another's house and his neighbor said he had moved to Queensland as it was too cold here. I agree.
This year has been particularly wet so maybe they left or quit too soon. I would like to talk to a beek (NEOBA talk for beekeeper) here to see how much things are the same and different fom back home.
One week to go, I think I'll make it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where has the world gone

It has been more than eleventyteen days since I last blogged so I shall start.  Actually, I have an ear appointment in a few minutes so I shall not complete anything today. I may try doing better later.
The book "job" is getting more intense and the bees are growing. I learned about varroaa mite last night and suspect that helped kill the colony Ilost.
More later

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It has been too long

I get caught up in trying to do too many things and this blog gets skipped. Let me tell about books after several sessions of bees.  Books are my first love, next to pecan pie and family dinners, that is. I am still sorting books at the Salvation Army and it gets , uhhh, I dunno, frustrating at times. I love going there and being somebody as I know it helps them make money to run their save the dopey programs. This store's income is devoted to rehab program and it is a worthy cause. I have met several of the men coming through the program and i can see why I work there - other than the fact I love to do the "book work." We have had some really good candidates come through.
The last bunch had some apples which may have been over ripe but they got cut from our store and i don't know what happened to them. One guy's attitude seemed to infect the lot and they all left under rather hurried circumstances. One young man who didn't believe in helping the full time employee even went so far as to raise his voice in ire at the boss lady. Wrong!
The crew we have now are all soft spoken and seem to work fine. One even put out mu 1/2 price signs for me as I was gone Wednesday. Another and I can talk about a few topics and that seems to help him.  I have not noticed them purposefully skipping or hiding from work as I did the young crew which just left.
On another front, I found a collection of Horatio Hornblower and took it over to my Captain Jack Sparrow grandson. When he finishes reading the 10 lb. novel he is now reading he will tear into Horatio and have as much or more fun as I did when I read him. I hope he enjoys H H as much as I did. Oh, I also found that I have not read the entire series so maybe I can borrow one or two and get caught up.
Several times recently I have been able to help people find books they were searching for - or hoped to find. One lady ended up buying 10 or more books as I found them and she wanted them all. She didn't want to take a chance they would be there when she returned. It was 1/2 price day so she could afford it.
Today I helped some young lasses find books about animals or concerning animals. I really like it when young kids come in and spend time picking out books. It is even better when they are actually looking for something they want rather than a "ho hum" attitude.
My great is coming soon so I better sign off for the nonce.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yea bees!

Subject: working bees
Today (Sun 2/27/11) I started cleaning my extra hive bodies and checked on and cleaned the frozen hive. I noticed the remaining hive was very active so I sat down to watch them. I didn't really believe it but I saw some bees bringing in pollen. I then started to really pay attention and saw that many bees were bringing in pollen and all the bees were busy. My first thought, after I was convinced, was "where in the heck are they getting pollen?'
I removed the entrance reducer without getting stung, but with a stern warning, and then the bees really started to get busy. Whenever I get really brave, I will remove the wrap I have around the hive.
Yea bees!
C C Cook

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's alive, it's alive

Sometime just before noon I was out attempting to clear enough for the mail person to get our mail without her having to walk in the snow.  Then, as I was finishing the driveway somewhat later, I was at the back of my pickup near the end of the driveway. Sudden;y a small bee came and flew around me until; I made notice of her.
Then she flew away and I could not tell where.
later, after going in for a very late lunch, I saw bees coming and going at the hive. I thought I had lost everything but there must be enough left to keep that hive going.
SO! Back to plan 1. I shall start two new nucs, replace this queen or use the new queen to do another starter hive.  I think I would like to have three here again and then two over at the ranch. OR-- I could do the opposite. Either way will be good.
Now I must get some frames & hive bodies ready. I hope for a long nectar flow in the spring. I hope to enjoy spring honey.
Yea bees.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Well, DUH!

I must have the dumbest bees in the world. No, make that formerly had the dumbest. I went out today to fix their entrance where snow could not block it as I want them to be ale to continue to breathe. We are due for another storm which will drop eight to 14 inches of new snow.
Wellsir, there were five or six bee bodies in the snow. IN THE SNOW. One had made it almost six feet away, the others were much closer than that.
They looked around, crawled over a dead guard bee who had frozen in the doorway and then took off. Since one got about three feet or less and dropped, the others thought they would try it. It reminds me of the Red neck/Teenager joke about;"Hold my beer, watch this."
I am way ready for this cold weather to be over so my bees can go back to attacking me instead of committing hari kari in the sub-freezing weather.
Dumbass bees.

Monday, February 7, 2011

way too cold

Here in Oklamania we have the extreme temperatures. There are several reasons for it, so I am told, but I don't like it whatever the reason(s). Anyway, last week we had below -0- temps every night for a while and then it was only 5 or 6 F the other nights. I did wrap my bee hive but I don't know how any warm weather bug could survive -0- temps.

I went out last Tue. or Wed. because the sun had been out most all day. The temp was still only about 15 - 16 F and guess what. The stupid little creatures decided to go out and play. They did, however, forget their little fur coats so the ones who made it out the door froze. I counted eight bee bodies in the snow I could plainly see. There may have been other I couldn't see.

If this weather continues I will not have any bees. Next year, after I start all over, I may put all my bees in Styrofoam containers with a small light bulb for warmth. That couldn't be worse than losing two hives. Of course, that sort of thing is unheard of and the light would probably short out frying all of them. I do not think I could have fried bees for Sunday dinner.

For those not from Oklahoma, this is an unusual winter. Our temps seldom get to an actual -0-F and when the temp does get there, it does not stay long. Yes, I should be singing, "Oh Lucky Me, I get to learn the worst on my first  winter of my first year." (To be sung to the tune of Happy Days Are Here Again. Yes, it can be done, just squeeze some of the words together)

According to the experts, it is time to start feeding bees a formula to promote more broods. Wellsir, that will be hard to do as I have a great deal of difficulty getting to the hive and then if I raise the lid to put in a feeder, that will let in 12 F cold air and freeze all the bees that are left alive - if any.

I think I shall wait to start the brood formula as I can't afford little fur coats for all of them.

I have ordered two starter hives and a new queen for this hive. I want a queen from a gentle hive as she would produce more gentle bees, not like these smart alecks. You would think they were all Middle School girls all trying out for cheerleader.

You may recall that this is the aggressive bunch of bees. I can just say out loud, "Today is about the time I should check to see if the bees still have feed," or any other subject of that nature. That hive of bees knows when I get in a hurry and do not get completely suited up.

They quietly walk around the top bars and quietly whisper orders. They wait until I have the top cover off, have taken off the feeder and have my back turned to place the feeder on a stand and then...

"ATTACK" some beeness screams and here they come.

After I have replaced everything they continue to buzz me. I usually back as far away as I can but one or two continue to harass me.

Keep in mind that these are not Africanized bees, these are just naturally mean little buggers. The hive that froze (called the West hive) was the same bees; in fact, the aggressive bees came from that hive. I could work the West hive with very little or no protection. I would just be slow, gentle and careful.

This bunch, the pink hive, have been mad at me ever since I captured them in their first swarm. I really believe they thought they were going to start a new colony in some far away exotic place. "But NO!! That same old man got us and moved us about 30 feet away. Here we are in the same old place and there are absolutely NO wild flowers anywhere as we were promised by the Beeness who talked us into leaving the original hive."

I have it on good authority that confabulation took place. The rest of that story is that they have tried to wreak revenge ever since I recaptured them as they swarmed and put them in a new hive box in the same yard.

And I thought I was being so clever.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New info on frize bees

I have been reading up on doing bees over the winter. I must have messed up and that is why my bees froze. One place even suggested nailing black tar paper to the hive and I think that is what I shall do next January - even December if it is as cold as this one. Tomorrow I shall  fix a cloth around my surviving hive and hope I am not too late. It is supposed to be about 25F (-3.8C) tomorrow so maybe this will save some bees.
I have also been re-reading about starting a nuc from an existing hive. That will cut honey production but I want more bees than what I have. I hope to buy a queen and also buy another starter hive from Carl. The one I got from him is doing quite well at the ranch.
IF I could afford it I would take the course again. I shall try to read more and will try to be better prepared.
I hope to get very lucky and capture a swarm in the spring. I am ready for that. If I could work in the garage I could build a bee vac. I think I know how except I would like to have the plywood material from the cabin. Maybe I can not ruin the parts I have.
We'll see.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wear black for mourning

Wellsir, bad news. I went out to check my bees day before yesterday and found the west hive had all frozen. There was one live bee but she wasn't doing very well.  Yesterday even she was gone. The hive is/was full of bee bodies that were not (apparently) harmed in any physical way. There were frames full of honey so they did not starve.
I DO NOT understand it as the two hives are about 40 feet apart, at most 40 feet and the temperature would seem to be the same for both. This was supposed to be my strong hive but it got wiped out. There was a message on the message board today of someone bragging they had not lost any hive - yet. So, I sorta-kinda-almost feel a little better as it may not be that unusual.
I have a "cover" thingie I use in the car to put down over the back carpet when transporting lots of "stuff." I seriously considered wrapping it around the hive to block out some of the cold. Then I thought, and someone else actually said it out loud, that bees have survived for millions of years so they knew what to do.  I am guessing my bees were too stupid to know what to do so they all froze.
I was planning on buying another starter hive this spring so now, IF  I can afford it, I shall buy two.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More bees & more books

I have finished a cupla books but the one I just read was the better. TRAFALGAR, the story of Nelson's sea victory over the French and English. You would have to read it but I am not as convinced as i was previously that Nelson had any more to do with the battle than the weather or Napoleon's total incompetence.
In any event, it was a good read.
As it is very cold here I was advised, and did, close off most of the opening to the bee hives. I was told that the guard bees would die and by closing, it would cut down on the number of guards the bees kept. Shorter space, less need. So maybe I'll have enough in the spring to start a couple of strong hives.
I am hoping to obtain at least one more hive but would prefer two more hives. I know i could do one more here and I know I can do two more at the cabin. Two more there would be good as they would have lots of forage room over there.
There are flowering bushes, berries, alfalfa and who knows what else where they can buzz to their hearts delight.
I did bee candy in the west hive and still have sugar water in the pink hive. I will change from 2:1 to 1:1 about the end of January.
Bee club meet tomorrow night and Greg is the presenter. Should be worth going to.