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.