Starting a package of bees. That sure gets my heart racing!
It appears that your installing the queen after the bees are dumped in the hive? Or are you removing the queen cage after she was released? I usually place the queen cage into the hive before I dump the bees in.
Another question. The screen on the bottom of your hive. Is that a pollen trap or is it something else?
I love that close-up of the bees on a frame.
I remember starting out with the thin wax foundation. You had to be real careful extracting the honey. We would slowly spin the first side to remove about 80% of the honey on that side, then we would spin the second side real fast. Then we would flip the frame to spin the first side again to remove the rest of the honey.
If we spun the first side too fast, the foundation would crack or blow through. I love that plastic foundation! You can spin it as hard as you want and it won't break. Good stuff.
After the frames are extracted. I put the frames back into the boxes and set them outside on their sides and let the bees clean up the remaining honey off the frames. Then the boxes are nice and clean and not sticky for next year and ready for storage.
I installed the queen after I dumped the bees in. I pulled the queen from the shipping box and put her in my pocket. After I dumped the bees into the hive I pulled the candy side of the plug and installed her between the frames. It took her about 3 days to get out. The screen you see in the pic. is the bottom screen I have the mite control grid board installed which I removed not long after the pic. All this bee talk has me looking forward to spring!! LOL
Hidy, I'm new to the site, I grew up in WV, but have been in eastern NC for the last 15 years. My wife and I are planning on raising GS in a couple years when I retire and move back to Appalachia. I was tickled to run across the beekeeping thread on here. We have 5 hives of bees, we are in our 4th year now, and it is truly rewarding. We are in a local chapter of the NC Beekeepers Association, the Neuse Regional Beekeepers. I'll tell y'all, I was born & raised in the holler, grew up on a dirt farm with a sawmill and livestock. I've been around hard workin mountain people my whole life. When we got into beekeeping 4 years ago, we met the nicest of the nicest group of people. Everyone is eager to help beginners, and share what knowlegde they have learned. It's alot of fun, and I just happen to like honey too. It's definitely a diverze business you can get into that see m ost of the labor required before the GS harvest. We do hive maint i nthe winter, and harvest honey in June and August. Plenty of time for 'sengin after that!
No pollen substitutes, I'm kind of 50/50 on doing this. I try to do things natural, but pollen subsitiutes help with bee pop. which will produce more honey. I'm kind of stuck in the middle with doing this. I would not rule this practice out at some point.
I agree with your thought on pollen substitute. But there are situations when you really should feed them pollen.
Especially on new package hives, there is no pollen reserves from the previous year. And if there is no pollen flow coming into the hive that early in the year, then the brood cannot be fed. So everything would come to a halt, until there is pollen to feed the larvae.
I prefer to feed pollen sub in a shallow box that is sheltered from the weather. I usually feed pollen sub for about 1-2 weeks and remove it as soon as I see natural pollen coming into the hive. That way the brood have a good start!
I was wondering what you've done with requeening your hives since the hives are three years old.
Have you requeened them or will you allow them to requeen themselves by a Supercedure queen?
I try to requeen every 2-2 1/2 years before the queen starts going down in production. I've bought queens for requeening and sometimes I just get rid of the old queen and allow the hive to make a new queen.
I requeened one of the hives last year. I didn't like the way she was laying so I ordered one. I think I paid about 25.00 plus shipping and had her in about 2 days. I think If I had more than two hives at this time I would have let them iron this out. I would perfer them to replace the queen but sometimes you have to step in. I really like the story about the Old Beek that looked at your hives he knew what they needed without ever looking in those hives. It truly is all about timing!!
I've always wanted to try making my own queens from my own brood stock. By cutting \"swarm Queen Cells\" in the springtime and attach the cells to an empty frame and make my own nuc with a few frames of capped brood, eggs, honey and pollen. Then when the queen starts laying well, I would use her to requeen a hive. Or start a whole new hive with that Queen.
And I think that old beekeeper really knew what the bees needed, just by watching them. I guess that with over 50 years of watching bees, that could be possible.