Archive for May, 2010

Hive Inspection – Memorial Day, 2010

May 31, 2010

Troop 202 participated in a Memorial Day flag ceremony and mass by Bishop Wester to honor our fallen soldiers.  Following the ceremony we gathered at the Harvard Yard to inspect the hives.  Nick, Trent, Danny, Jack W., and Sarah were there to do the work.

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They discovered that the North hive is healthy and growing in numbers.   The cluster is in the lower deep brood chamber and the bees have drawn out wax on only a couple of the frames in the upper deep.  The queen is laying and everything looks good.  The (former) South hive, which now sits in the middle (Middle Hive) is growing at an even greater rate.  The cluster is distributed between the upper and lower deep chambers.  Almost all of the space in the upper box has been drawn out and there are about 4 frames completely full of capped brood in the upper box alone.   The population of this box is about to explode.   The scouts need to add a honey super to this hive soon.  The in-hive feeders were removed from both of these hives.  The entrance of each is still partially restricted by an entrance reducer.   The third hive is the hive that was started from a swarm.  The swarm was captured May 8.  The swarm was installed in the hive May 15 with evidence of a viable queen at the time.  Currently the hive appears to be queenless.   There are a surprising number of bees.  They have created two supercedure cells on the surface of one of the frames.  It seems that the queen was killed, perhaps during installation, so the hive is trying to create a new queen.   We will allow the supercedure process to proceed and hope that the hive can recover.  If the queen was lost on about May 15, the supercedure cells should hatch out any day now.


Scout Family Hive Inspection

May 31, 2010

I helped James and Sarah’s family start a hive at their house from a swarm.   The swarm was captured in Jay’s garden on May 14.   It sat in the nuc box in my yard until May 23 when we installed it in a hive behind their garage.  I helped Mike and Sarah inspect the hive on Memorial Day, following the Harvard Yard hive inspections.  Unfortunately, there is no evidence of a queen.   there is a good number of bees and they have been storing plenty of pollen and honey, but the hive will soon be honey bound and there are no brood.  Mike has decided to purchase a mated queen for the hive.  Another choice would have been to abandon the hive and simply combine it with another hive.   This would be fine except that they have only one hive and they would like to make a go of it.  Alternatively, we could allow the hive to proceed with no intervention in the hope that we were completely wrong and there is actually a laying queen in the hive but she just hasn’t started to work yet.  The risk of the hive simply dwindling away would be high in this case.  We will discuss the course of action and evaluate the outcome as the summer progresses.

Top-Bar Hives for Beekeeping – A Blog

May 31, 2010

Top-bar hives might be a better way to keep bees. Scouts should consider the different methods of keeping bees and try to understand the benefits offered by top-bar hives. For an excellent resource for top-bar hives, check out this blog.

A picture of top-bar hives from Ken's blog.

City Councilman Searches for Beehives on Paris Opera

May 26, 2010

Salt Lake City Councilman JT Martin went on a quest to find the beehives on the roof of the Paris Opera. It seems he was not allowed to inspect the hives in person so he apparently parachuted onto a nearby rooftop to get a better view. You can see that he is pointing to the location of the hives on the Opera house across the way. Perhaps my vision is failing, but I am unable to discern hives in this view.

JT continued his mission by infiltrating the Opera House gift shop in search of famous Paris Opera honey. He reports that the shop was sold out of last years harvest. You can see him standing in the street giving a thumbs-down to honey souvenirs. We give him a thumbs-up for perseverance. We will have more information on rooftop beekeeping in the future.

Truck Crashes, Dumps Bees on Highway

May 26, 2010

A semi-tractor rig crashed in Minnesota, sadly  resulting in the death of one person and dumping hundreds of beehives on the highway.  Thousands of beehives travel our nation’s highways every day on big rigs.  Pollination is big business and agricultural production depends on temporary installation of hives.  Commercial beekeeping is not within the scope of the beekeeping merit badge, but scouts should be aware of the industry and should be concerned about the health of bees and the hazards they face.

Spring Snow, Grumbling Bees, Grumpy Bunnies

May 24, 2010

We had a late spring snow storm that briefly brought a few inches of snow to the Harvard Yard.  The bees could be heard grumbling in their hives.  The scout bees are, of course, raised under the supervision of three semi-domesticated bunnies and the bunnies were a bit grumpy as a result of the snow too.  Beekeeping is on hold until the sunshine returns.  Hopefully warm weather will lift the spirits of our pollinators and mini lops.

Scout Family Catches the Beekeeping Bug

May 22, 2010

James’s family decided to get into the bee business.  James and his sister, Sarah, have been having a-lot of fun with the bees, so they set up a hive at their house and we put one of the swarms into it.  The weather was not good for beekeeping and the bees seemed confused and irritated.   In the end I think they should be fine.   It remains to be seen if the swarm contained a viable queen.   Hiving a swarm is always a gamble, but with any luck their hive will survive and grow.

Cold and Rain, so Scout Takes up Carpentry

May 22, 2010

The weather was nasty and cold.   The bees were not flying, so the weekend hive inspection was canceled.  Will and his mom wanted to see how the bees were doing nonetheless, but there was not much to see.  Rather than bother the bees in bad weather, we went in the garage and had some training in carpentry.   Will assembled two deep brood chamber boxes.   He glued the joints, nailed the dadoes with galvanized nails and added staples from the air nailer.   All-in-all a good use of time on a cold, wet Saturday afternoon.   We need to stain the boxes and then put them into service.   We now have plenty of hives, so we need to continue to gather equipment when time allows.

Swarm in the Apricot Tree

May 21, 2010

I trapped a swarm from an apricot tree in the Big Garden.  I think the queen missed the box, because after 2 hours all of the bees were on the outside of the box and few inside.   The queen must have been hanging out on the outside.   The whole bee-covered arrangement was sitting on a plastic lawn chair so I picked up the whole thing and dumped the bees directly into a fresh hive body.   The weather was getting cold and blustery and the light was fading in the evening, so I felt it best to get the bees off the chair and into a hive.

Bee Swarm Killed at Movie Theatre

May 19, 2010

A report on today indicated that a swarm of bees at a local movie theatre was killed as it appeared threatening to theatre patrons.  This is a shame, and scouts can help to prevent such unnecessary loss in the future.  Become confident beekeepers and carry your beekeeping suit with you at all times so you are ready to capture and protect swarms when you find them.  Even if you don’t have your gear, in a situation like this you can still save a swarm.   Generally a swarm can be handled without protective gear and any old cardboard box or even a large grocery sack will suffice to do an emergency swarm capture.  Help save the bees, and remember to keep your pants hitched up properly and don’t walk like a sloth in traffic while you’re at it!