Saturday, August 14, 2021

swarm abscond

After a 3 week vacation, I returned to a hive with:

  • no May 10th swarm bees
  • no wax capping waste on the screened bottom board
  • wax moth egg laying concentrated on the only frame of dark comb
  • most amazing, no small hive beetle (SHB) destruction which makes me more convinced that the bees absconded leaving no brood or honey behind for SHB

I found the pre-cleanup look too sci-fi horrific for the blog post.  So, the video was taken after the cleanup of sticky wax moth destroyed comb.  Wax moth larvae were offered to the chickens which they voraciously consumed.  

As you can see in the video:

  • new comb was built on all frames showing no reluctance to build on plastic starter strips
  • previously I donated a deep frame of capped honey to this hive and now this frame of comb is intact less the honey contents

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

replacing old equipment

 beekeeping,bee,propolis,bee health,propolis envelope,hive marking,plant resin,Jürgen Tautz,darwinian beekeeping,
I prepared new deep boxes to replace boxes in use since 2007.  To assist bees in finding their hive, I added a unique painted pattern to the front of the box using an adhesive stencil.    Jürgen Tautz discussed hive marking in The Buzz about Bees - unique pattern are a better bee orientation aid than a unique color.
beekeeping,bee,propolis,bee health,propolis envelope,hive marking,plant resin,Jürgen Tautz,darwinian beekeeping,
beekeeping,bee,propolis,bee health,propolis envelope,hive marking,plant resin,Jürgen Tautz,darwinian beekeeping,

To enhance the propolis envelope, I made parallel 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) wide shallow grooves seen in the photo.  Last year, I showed that shallow grooves in medium box walls improved the propolis envelope.  This year, I made similar grooves with these deep boxes.  On old 2007 boxes, propolis was concentrated on frame rests, other right angle corners and box abutments - only a thin layer of propolis was found on its smooth box walls.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

crush and strain 2021

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beekeeping,bee,slow cooker,crush and strain,honey,combcapper,escape,wax,

beekeeping,bee,slow cooker,crush and strain,honey,combcapper,escape,wax,

Here's my crush and strain experience so far this year:

bee yard activities:

  • inserted a triangular bee escape beneath a deep box and next day removed 8 fat deep frames 
  • halfway (8 steps) between hive and Storage Tote brushed small number of bees from the frame
  • one deep frame donated to "May 10th" swarm and remaining frames taken indoors
 kitchen activities:
  • attached (with blue painter's tape) brown paper on floor and cabinets
  • placed food safe 5 gallon bucket on brown paper and attached combcapper
  • plugged frame into combcapper and cut capped comb from frames with paring knife
  • crushed comb with 2 inch Plastic Joint Knife attached to a pole
  • filtered crushed comb with small mesh fabric strainer and bottler stack - yielded 3.4 gallons (12.9 liters) of honey 
  • in 3 cycles, I used 1 cup of water, coarse cotton fabric and a 5qt round slow cooker set on high for 1.75 hours to catch wax impurities which resulted in 1.54 lbs (700 gm) of wax

Saturday, June 5, 2021

40-liter Swarm Trap

 

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scout bees,plastic starter strip,bee,swarm,swarm capture,swarm trap,bee keeping,swarm lure,

On May 9th, the front porch video captured scout bees at my new 40-liter swarm trap.  Ultimately this trap was not chosen by the swarm.  In the still photo, I reused a hanging location for the 40-liter trap where a 8-frame trap successfully attracted a swarm on May 10th.

Each 40-liter trap contains:

Two 40-liter traps were sourced from one sheet of 4 by 8 foot 1/2 inch birch plywood.   Each trap required the following pieces:

  • 2x front (or back) pieces - 19 5/8 inch by 17 1/4 inch
  • 2x side pieces - 7 7/8 inch by 17 1/4 inch with 5/8 inch by 1/4 inch rabbit for frame hanging
  • 1x top piece - 19 5/8 inch by 8 7/8 inch
  • 1x bottom piece - 18 5/8 inch by 7 7/8 inch

Additional materials:

  • 1x circular Betterbee hive portal (optional)
  • 1x 1 inch bolt and wing nut (optional)
  • 2x fender washers (optional)
  • Aluminum Roll Flashing cut with a Dremel Fiberglass Reinforced Cut-Off Wheelcutting disk
  • Titebond II wood glue and clamps 

Monday, May 10, 2021

swarm trap and capture - May 2021


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bee,bee keeping,scout bees, plastic starter strip,swarm,swarm capture,swarm lure,swarm trap
bee,bee keeping,scout bees, plastic starter strip,swarm,swarm capture,swarm lure,swarm trapbee,bee keeping,scout bees, plastic starter strip,swarm,swarm capture,swarm lure,swarm trap

On March 7th, I set out two 8-frame swarm traps hanging from crepe myrtle limbs.  I also prepared two hive stands as 8-frame swarm traps.   Each trap contains:

Immediately the traps were visited by scout bees, though I waited 64 days before a swarm would select one.  Here I share my 2021 swarm experience - so far.

On May 3rd, I set out two 40 liter (2441 cubic inch) swarm traps which contain similar elements as above except that there are just 5x deep frames in the top half and considerable volume (space) without frames beneath this tall and narrow configuration.   I'll share more details and photos of the 40 liter trap in future blog posts. If you are keeping count, I now have set out six swarm traps.

On May 6, the Nextdoor website mentioned that a swarm had landed at gusto! on Ponce, a restaurant near Clermont Hotel.   Last year I used Nextdoor information to locate and capture two swarms.  Nextdoor continues to be my main source of social media knowledge of local swarms.

On May 9 mid-afternoon, active scouting began at one swarm trap and by late afternoon two other traps had active scouting.  

On May 10 noon, all six swarm traps have scouts with the most intense active scouting focused at one hanging swarm trap.  I went for a 30 minute dog walk and in that short time I missed the swarm arrival.  At 3:30 I captured the attached video of bees completing their move into the 8-frame hanging swarm trap.

On May 11 dawn, I lowered the hanging swarm trap, closed its bottom entrance and set the left-right leveled trap onto a 3-step A-frame ladder.   In following days, I moved this 'ladder + trap' configuration at dawn 3 meters (10 feet).  I repeated these moves until I reach the desired backyard hive stand location.  Moving the trap created bee confusion and including a nearby closed patio umbrella in the move seemed to reduce this confusion.  On May 19, I transferred deep trap frames into a deep 8-frame box with a screened bottom board.   Every frame contained bees building new comb with the majority of bees found on the frame of dark comb.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Google Trends and the "honey bee season"

bee,beekeeping,google trends,bee removal

Here I'm using Google Trends to see whether Google search words correlate with the "bloom season" or "honey bee season".  My use of Google Trends is an interesting works in progress and its utility is yet to be determined.   Google Trends filter using: 
  • Google search words
  • date
  • location 
Web marketers use Google Trends to purchase Google Ads.   In public health, data scientists use Google Trends and other social media to track COVID-19 symptoms (loss of taste or smell), suicide risk and food poisoning.

I picked my "honey bee season" search words and time range in a trial-and-error manner and arrived at these choices:

Google Trends search words & why

  • "bee removal" - surrounded by quotes, this filters for these two words in this order.   Here I'm using this as a surrogate for the "bloom season" or "honey bee season" and trying to avoid other Google searches which include the "bee" search word  (for example, spelling bee).

Google Trends time range & why

  • 5 year range - accumulates search results into weekly bins which reduces noise

Viewed at United States scale, Arizona, California, Florida, Texas and Nevada are top contributors to these Google search words.   These data points are noisy with the lowest number of Google searches at the start of each year.   I used a triangle (saw tooth) curve fit as dashed lines and the peak signal date appears on the graph.

bee,beekeeping,google trends,bee removal

I choose 4 states that are located in the eastern third of the continent, which stack more or less south-to-north and which have sufficient data points to analyze.  State based data points are even more noisy than the combined states data points.  I set my noise concerns aside and fit each year using my triangle curve method.  In general and consistent with the south-to-north bloom calendar, Georgia or North Carolina peak first and Pennsylvania or Michigan peak last.

GeorgiaNorth CarolinaPennsylvaniaMichigan
April 1, 2017August 26, 2017August 12, 2017August 19, 2017
June 30, 2018July 28, 2018September 2, 2018August 19, 2018
April 6, 2019April 20, 2019September 7, 2019August 18, 2019
May 10, 2020April 4, 2020August 22, 2020August 22, 2020
    
(week number)(week number)(week number)(week number)
13343233
26303634
14163634
20143434

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

tulip poplar windfall and other spring flowers '21

 

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bee,beekeeping,tulip poplar, white clover,spiderwort,spring,swarm trap,swarm lure,
bee,beekeeping,tulip poplar, white clover,spiderwort,spring,swarm trap,swarm lure,

I discovered my first 2021 tulip popular flower windfall.  Click to zoom and see ants attracted to tulip flower sweetness.

Stuck working from home, I have become impatient with all things, including waiting for the Atlanta swarm season to start.  On March 7th I hung 8-frame deep swarm traps from crepe myrtle trees and baited unoccupied hives too - welcome to all scout bees. My overwintered bees are heavy but not drawing new comb or scouting the swam traps as I hoped.  The Atlanta swarm season will start when it starts.