Archive for April, 2010

Return to Winter

April 28, 2010

Day 12 following package installation.  Snow is flying and the bees are hunkered down.  We checked their sugar water supply yesterday before the storm.  The forecast suggests that temperatures are unlikely to exceed 50 degrees F in the day and will dip to 30 degrees F or so the next few nights.  The bees can cope.  They might suffer some losses from chilled brood but they should be able to cluster in the hive and keep the queen and brood safe for a few days of cold weather.  We will check on them early next week.   For the time being there is nothing to be done.

Hive Inspection Sunday April 25

April 25, 2010

Jack Whitby inspected both hives on Sunday, April 25, 2010.  Inspection was performed at midday at about 55 degrees F with intense sun and no wind.   The bees were flying and bringing in plenty of bright yellow pollen.  We shifted the South hive about 3 inches to the South to permit a better fit of the tops of both hives.   Jack refilled both in-hive feeders.   Neither of the feeders had drowned bees in them and both were bone-dry, so they appear to be working well.  We saw the North queen and saw extensive egg-laying in both hives.  We flipped the screened inner transport covers to intentionally allow bees into the hive top feeders to clean them out.  This amounts to throwing in the towel on the battle to keep bees from drowning in the hive-top feeders.  Better to just let the bees rob them out.  We will continue to use the in-hive feeders as a food source and the hive-top feeders will be use for ventilation.  Warm weather is predicted for the next 48-72 hours after which a storm is expected to bring valley rain and mountain snow with the possibility of snow on the East Bench on Thursday.

The plum trees (the Satsuma and the Santa Rosa) are losing most of their blossoms this weekend.   The Cherry trees (the small Utah Giant by the driveway, the Sweet Lapin in he back yard and the huge Bing in the front yard) are all in full bloom.  We have 2 Red Bartlett, 2 5-Pears and one 5-Asian-Pear trees in the yard and they do not appear to be flowering as intensely as in years past.  Both espaliered 5-Apple trees appear healthy with reasonable bloom.  All of the grape vines are just beginning to leaf out.  Many of the big maple trees throughout the neighborhood are flowering and will continue to do so for a week or more I would guess.

Hive Inspection, April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010

The scouts performed the first hive inspection following installation of the packages 4 days ago.  James and Jack were the scouts in charge and they did all the heavy lifting.   James’ sister Sarah and his mom Joyce joined in as well.   Both queens have been released from the queen cages.   The bees are drawing out comb and storing fresh honey.  We saw the queen in the South hive but did not look for eggs.   We saw eggs in the North hive, indicating the existence of a viable queen, but we did not look for the queen.  We removed the queen cages, added more frames, rearranged the frames, and closed up the hives.  The bees will probably not fly much over the next few days as the weather is predicted to turn cold and wet on Wednesday.

Package Installation

April 17, 2010

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The scouts installed two hives in the Harvard yard on Saturday April 17, 2010.   The scouts were busy on Saturday morning with a service project so Ruby and Maria accompanied me to Jones Bee Company to retrieve the packages.  The hives are sitting on heavy stone platforms, pitched forward a few degrees for drainage.  The hives contain in-hive feeders with sugar water as well as hive-top feeders with screened inner covers for ventilation.  JT Martin, District 6 city councilman, was there to talk about the new Salt Lake City Beekeeping Ordinance.   Danielle Downey, our state bee inspector, was there to talk about agricultural policies and enforcement.   Danielle fields media questions about bees in Utah and helps beekeepers to maintain healthy hives.

Hive Inspection at The Big Garden

April 11, 2010

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In preparation for starting their own hives, the scouts helped inspect some existing hives at The Big Garden on Sunday April 11, 2010.  This was the first near-70-degree day of the year and the warm temperatures allowed us to open up the hives and do some spring cleaning, identify the queens, rearrange the hives, and feed the bees.  Three of my five hives survived the winter and all five of John’s hives survived although one is queenless and not long for this world unless we intervene with supplementary bees and a new queen soon.

Beekeeping Blog

April 10, 2010

This is the Troop 202 beekeeping blog.  We will use it to post records of our activities with the hives so we can keep track of their progress.  The beekeeping merit badge was dropped from the official BSA list of approved merit badges in 1995.  The scouts of troop 202 are working on the merit badge just the same.  The merit badge will not count toward rank advancement but the scouts will learn valuable skills and will contribute to the health of the environment in Salt Lake City.