Bee Journal see end of page for history
(bees are helpful for organic gardens in Newton, Brookline)
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I made two post on the middlesex bee keeping forum:
1: history of one hive 2: list of my mistakes for the year
last hive inspection for 2010
here is an unfulfilled summer promise photo
October 7, 2010 Year recap:
started with 5 packages of bees. Two in Cambridge, two in Brookline and
one in Newton. May 21st retrieved large easy swarm which I hived
in Newton. Queens failed in one Cambridge hive and both in Brookline -
had laying workers in all three before I noticed. Tried introducing one
frame of eggs/capped brood in two with no success.
Remaining Cambridge hive has built up nicely, bees on most frames and hive is heavy. Removed the shallow super from the top and put the 3 or 4 shallow frames that were fairly full in the edges of the top deep. My two Newton hives have been quite active. Some weight to the one from package but the swarm hive hasn't been interested in storing much honey (it's light). Put Apiguard on hives in the spring and again (twice) this fall. Have sprayed multiple times with a mixture of Honey-Bee-Healthy, sugar water and honey. Use screened bottom boards on all hives but hives are only several inches above ground so am concerned that mites may be crawling back. Have yet to do a sugar shake.
Newton hives on my shed roof - noticed a few weeks ago the roof was covered with dead bees. Seem to have come from the swarm hive as that one had fewer bees inside on inspection.(bees on 5 or 6 frames in both supers (had been more inside)). The package hive had bees on all frames in the bottom deep and 5 frames on the top deep. Put feeders on both hives with some HBH. Have ordered a nifty looking pump from Dadant which is suppose to dust the whole hive with powdered sugar. (couldn't make it work so went back to hand dowsing)
seem to be interested in the feeders (looked this morning). Some yellow
staining from dysentery on the front of both hives - not as bad as have
seen it other years. A few dead bees on the entrance boards. Think the
package bee hive may overwinter but the swarm hive not.
inspection on the Newton hives: package bee hive is still active and
full of bees. Swarm hive is completely dead with dead bees in the
feeder on heavy hive in Cambridge -Brattle Street, Newton hive active
but not interested in feeder. Had confirmation on swarm hive demise
most likely was pesticide kill. Also should follow instructions (which
I had been ignoring for 20 or so years) to check the queen within a
week or so and replace if needed this might have helped with the 3
queen failures we had this year - when all else fails follow the
following notes are older (from this year and also 2009)
Jan 26, 2010
hive in Newton and two in Brookline. All had gone into the winter
extremely light to hadn't expected any life - (was correct -for once
here's what I found Jan 26, 2010:
south hive with two deep supers
Top Deep super
4 new plastic frames with no drawn comb
1 wood frame with no drawn comb
1 wood frame with some comb
1 new plastic frame with drawn comb
scattered capped brood which is milky
3 new plastic frames with drawn, unfilled comb with buried bees
no cluster but some dead bees on bottom board
north hive with one deep and one medium deep supers
some dead bees between inner and outer cover
Top medium deep super
All frames with drawn some old, some new
Scattered capped brood, not milky when I dug in
Bottom deep super
Several undrawn frames
one or two newly drawn frames and some older drawn frames
buried bees and scattered capped (not milky) brood.
No cluster but dead bees on the bottom board and a little (not much)
two deep one shallow super
Top shallow super I had returned to the hive from the processing room
as it had lots of emerging brood (see red type below). Looked like the
bees had all come out. Discovered a cluster of dead bees about 12" in
diameter on both sides of one frame. the 2 adjoining frames had 3-4"
clusters. No remaining brood or honey.
Next Deep super:
2 new plastic frames fully drawn flanked by 3 wooden frames
irregularly drawn. (looked like a top bar hive). Remnants of the above
cluster. A few capped and milky brood cells. Cells were not flat but
raised. Some bees buried in the combs and a bit of crystallized honey.
Bottom Deep super:
Newly drawn comb on 3 or 4 frames the others were bare (undrawn) No
dead bees/honey or brood.
Bottom board had dead bees and a little wax remnants.
Cambridge, Craige Street.
Hive seems to have starved. Dead cluster of bees 4"x6" on three or four frames.
some scattered honey left over away from cluster. Left one deep and one shallow super there
Installed 3lbs packages of bees at Craige Street, Brattle street, Newton and 2 in Brookline. Left queens (Italian) in cages, fed with sugar water with "honey-be-healthy" added. Also pollen patties.
Checked queens in Brookline - still in cages though workers had eaten the candy and one cage was full of bees. Made the hole in the candy larger and returned the cages in the lower entrance and waited a few minutes and the queens went into the hive (had to encourage one with a light smoking.)
recap: started with 1 overwintered hive, four 3lb packages
the overwinter hive produced 60lbs of honey. One package lost it's queen. The other three tho busy ended up the season with almost no honey so didn't make it very far into the winter (see above).
April 2009 Over wintered hive. Reversed supers to detour swarming.
One super has 6 or seven frames of bees, noticed capped brood.
Cambridge, Brattle Street
install one 3 lb package of bees with queen
two 3 lb packages of bees
Newton – tried two hives of 3 lb
bees, discovered that my marked queens were not also clipped.
First queen flew out and landed near by – I assisted her in entering the hive. The second queen was more ambitious and flew up and out in a south easterly direction. Turned out for the best as the next day the 3 lbs of bees in the second hive moved themselves over to the first hive so I had 6 lbs of bees with more of a chance for a honey harvest. Put on a second deep super.
Brattle Street: only three frames of bees, a little capped honey. No sign of a marked queen, capped brood or eggs. Hive seems active.
Craige Street: Hive has 6-7 frames of bees in the deep super, 4-5 in a shallow. Notices some bee larva so queen is present and laying. Added 2 shallow supers.
Brookline: both hives have 4 frames of bees with capped brood so added one deep super to the north hive and one medium deep super to the south hive for brood chamber.
Newton added 2 shallow supers for surplus honey
Brookline added 2 shallow supers to each hive and dowsed both with powdered sugar for mite control.
Both hives have 5-6 frames of bees in the lower (deep) super and 3-4 in the upper brood chamber.
Brattle Street: added new queen. Noticed drone cells – an indication of laying worker
gave the bees a few minutes to become acquainted with the new queen before I released her.
Added some powdered sugar for mite control.
Craige Street: first shallow super has
some weight (honey), the second a few bees. Dusted with powdered
Newton: Has two shallow supers, added
third as was some capped honey in the second.
Don't remember if I used powdered sugar.
July 11 2009
Brattle Street: Bees in one deep super, mostly on 3-4 frames but also spread out. Some scattered drone cells (laying worker). No evidence of new queen or new brood.
Bees still active and storing some honey.
Craige Street: Hive has 1 shallow super,
one deep, one Ross round and two shallow supers on top. Added third
shallow super. The two shallow supers are already heavy. dusted
tops of supers with powdered sugar for mite control. Need shims as Hive
Newton: Hive has 2 deep and 3 shallow
supers. Some weight to all three shallow supers. Bees in all supers but
only on one side of the two deep supers. Sprinkled powdered sugar on
the tops of all supers. may need another super.
July 14 2009
Brookline: both hives full of active bees. Some weight to both shallow supers (10-15lbs honey est), Sprinkled powdered sugar on tops of all frames.
August 16 2009
ReChecked for queen - no queen, no bees, any honey robbed out.
(hope springs eternal - next year may be better)
Craige Street August 16 2009:
Bees in all supers which are heavy. Added one shallow super. Dusted upper supers with powdered sugar.
Newton August 16 2009:
supers heavy but still with some empty frames. the two deep supers are only half used (no bees/honey). dusted with powdered sugar - all supers.
Brookline August 16 2009
South Hive filled with bees but all supers are light (little stored honey)
dusted with powdered sugar.
North Hive: Same - lots of bees but
middle MD super had some weight as did the top shallow super. dusted
this one also.
Early September: Went thru hives and
harvested a bit of honey. In the rush to gather the supers didn't get
to my note taking so the hives are a bit of a blur now.
One Cambridge hive never got started even with a queen replacement. The other one which miraculously had over wintered produced maybe 60lbs of honey. My hive on the shed roof I had thought would produce only gave a few (maybe 6) pounds of honey though it has a lot of bees. Seemed light when I hefted it though may have gained some weight after cleaning out my supers and extracting equipment. One of the supers I discovered in processing was full of capped brood which were starting to emerge so at 10 at night and me on my third beer I climbed up in the rain an put the super back on the hive. In a couple of days I looked and bees were covering all the frames.
The two in Brookline though active produced about 6 lbs of honey and the hives are quite light. I didn't like the look of the brood in some of the frames - Packed the supers in plastic bags for later inspection.
My friend who lives in Millis brought his supers over for extraction he got maybe 50-60 lbs off an overwintered (Italian) hive and 10-20 from a first year hive. So there is honey out there.
Noticed cleaning out the bees from the harvesting supers only the one from Millis had a lot of bees which means to me mites are more active in the other hives. will try to add some more powdered sugar.
pre-2000 no record tho think I got alot (1978-1999)
2010 could have got 10-15 lbs but returned it to hive
2000 one hive
2001 two hives
2002 two hives
2003 one hive
2004-6 none I think
` 2008 ?
2009 brookline2, newton 1, brattle street 1, craige street overwintered
2010 five new packages.