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Beekeeper's Log

Disclaimer: Some of the rants below may not be to your particular liking. Thank God for the First Amendment.

Please click on a linked month or just scroll down.


September, 2001

Date Event
9/29/01 Day 382 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 148 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 169 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 148 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 129 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 86 (MN) - Wild swarm

My neighbor gave me a deep hive body and ten frames assembled with wax-coated plastic foundation. I put a super on LH1a on filled it with some of the frames and put the remainder of them in the rear of the top bar hive. We also took the queen excluder out of LH1a. We installed an entrance reducer and the Miller feeder on LH1a. You will notice that we have now managed to successfully keep bees in LH1a for over a year now.

The bees had finally overrun the few bees that remained in the mating nuc and robbed all of the honey out of it. I removed all of the remaining half frames and place them in the special super we made for holding half frames in LH1b. I also put an entrance reducer on LH1b. I took the mating nuc inside. We'll try it again next spring.

I finally put galvanized tin on the cover for the 5-frame nuc. It had been covered with a white plastic trash bag. However, this tended to make the wood in the cover retain moisture. I got stung in the process of putting the tin on the wood cover.

9/15/01 Day 368 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 134 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 155 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 134 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 115 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 72 (MN) - Wild swarm

Dustin and I converted 5 top bar frames into regular deep super frames. We take an empty frame and run 3 stainless steel wires through it. Then we cut off the comb from a top bar and lay it in the frame. We finish by running 3 more stainless steel wires through the front of the frame. The 3 wires on each side of the comb hold it in place when we put the frame in the TBH. The bees will build out the comb to attach it to all sides of the frame. I got stung in the process. 

9/5/01 Day 358 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 124 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 145 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 124 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 105 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 62 (MN) - Wild swarm

I put several half frames back into LH1b. They had been in the freezer to kill the wax moth larvae that had invaded them while they were in the mating nuc. They still had plenty of honey and the bees in LH1b will clean them up just fine.

I removed one comb from a top bar tonight and placed it into one of the empty frames with stainless steel wire. It was around 6 PM, cloudy and rainy. I didn't use a smoker. Not a good time for this and I got stung in the process. Three bees managed to get under my veil at the same time. I was able to quickly crush two of them but the third musketeer zapped me in the top of the head. Oh well, better that it be in my hard head than my handsome face. The Midnites were really perturbed, more so than I've ever seen them and with good reason. I removed brood comb on a bad weather day when all the foragers were home and have not been able to forage for several preceding days due to the rain. I also learned that I had better do this process a little more carefully next time as I lost several bees due to drowning (in honey). Next time I have to cut the combs from the side of the TBH before I pull the bar. I also have to rest the bar on an empty super in the upright position. When the comb is removed, I need something under it to catch any dripping honey. Honey spilled all over the top of the TBH and the bees covered the outside of it for a couple of hours trying to drink it all up. It's going to be a painful process converting all of my top bars to Dadant style removable frames but it will be worth it to me. I just have to be careful not to drown or crush our queen in the process. I did notice that the bees had repaired the comb I had previously put into a swarm-catching frame and were building it out further to fill the frame. Sorry to all of the Top Bar Hive fans out there, but my TBH was just too large to really be fun anymore. I am now a convert to hives with removable frames. TBH's just require too much maintenance and their combs are too fragile for frequent inspection. I will say, however, that the Midnites in my TBH proliferated this spring and summer. They are very strong and seem to like the hive. I just hope they like it as well with standard  removable frames. I know I'll like it better.

9/3/01 Day 356 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 122 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 143 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 122 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 103 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 60 (MN) - Wild swarm

We checked the Mating Nuc (MN) today and could not find the queen. Although she hatched, something must have happened to her. unfortunately, she hatched at a bad time as we have been plagued with torrential rains from the remains of Tropical Storm Chantal for the past 10 days. The foragers that remain in the hive are storing honey and pollen but without a queen they are soon doomed to die. If it will stop raining for a day we might try one last shot at giving these bees some more young larvae. However, experience tells me it's too late as the wax moths will overtake this hive before they can get a laying queen in 30 days.

We started making up empty frames for the top bar hive. We plan to cut the comb off of the top bars and place it into these empty frames securing it with stainless steel wire. We have 5 such frames ready to go but the rains have prevented any work in the hive.

With the current dearth of nectar, our bees are now visiting all of the flowering plants in my yard. They virtually ignored them up until this point.

August, 2001

Date Event
8/25/01 Day 347 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 113 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 134 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 113 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 94 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 51 (MN) - Wild swarm

The 4-frame nuc bees finally starved to death. The robbers left them with no stores. I cleaned up the nuc and put it back into storage. We gave the empty frame to LH1b.

On 8/24, we opened the entrance to the mating nuc. We inspected it and found at least one fully developed queen cell! So, if she hatches and mates successfully, our half frame mating nucs will work after all. If queens hatch in 16 days, she should hatch on 8/28. There are still plenty of drones around so we'll see if she can survive a mating flight then.

We examined our honey producer, LH1a, and found plenty of eggs and new larvae. Maybe it was a mating swarm we saw on 8/13. Whatever the case, we do have a queen right hive. We had suspected this to be the case as the bees have been very gentle. In fact, today they were more gentle than they have ever been. Neither Dustin or I got stung today.

We had previously given the 5-frame nuc a frame of wax foundation. They drew it out quickly and it had many eggs and larvae in it. We removed it and gave this frame to LH1b. We took one of the frames of foundation from LH1b and placed it in the middle of the 5-frame nuc. The bees in the 5-frame nuc draw out foundation very quickly.

The bees have adopted our garden water pond as their official watering hole. I know this makes our dog happy as they have been warring over her water tub. The only problem is that the flight path from the pond to the apiary follows our back yard sidewalk. While walking on the sidewalk, many bee collisions can occur. The bees are all over the flowers in our own yard now as nectar sources are scarce this time of year. At least they've seem to have done a good job of pollinating our cantaloupes and watermelons. We have also noticed that the ruby-throated hummingbirds have returned in full force. We even saw a hummingbird moth on our plants the other day.

We have also learned that, as of 8/16/01, Harris County (where we live) has been quarantined for Africanized honey bees. We'll just have to continue to keep a close watch on our bees.

8/13/01 Day 335 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 101 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 122 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 101 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 82 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 39 (MN) - Wild swarm
Day 9 (4-frame Nuc) - Swarm from LH1a

On 8/11, robbers completely consumed the honey from the frame we had placed in the 4-frame nuc. The bees, however, to their credit repaired the damaged (but now empty) comb. The capped brood still seems to be intact, however no eggs or larvae remain so no chance of a queen cell from this frame.

We took the half frame from it's temporary holder in the 5-frame nuc as it had some eggs in it now. We placed it in the mating hive with more nurse bees. We then closed the entrance and fed the mating nuc through a Boardman feeder. We placed a large piece of Styrofoam over the top of the hive for shade. We'll continue to feed the bees and leave them closed up for ten more days. Then we'll check to see if they have made any queen cells from the eggs or young larvae.

We replaced the half frame in the 5-frame nuc hive with an empty frame from the 4-frame nuc. The half frame we removed from the mating nuc was full of honey so we put it in the 4-frame nuc. However, I suspect it will just be robbed also.

We worked without our gear (only veils) and received some more stings (this time somewhat more potent) in the process.

8/5/01 Day 327 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 93 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 114 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 93 (5-frame Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 74 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 31 (MN) - Wild swarm
Day 1 (4-frame Nuc) - Swarm from LH1a

I went to the apiary this morning and found a lot of dead bees in front of TBH, LH1a, LH1b and the MN. A lot of bees were flying around too. I glanced over at my neighbors wall on the side of his house and saw a few small groups of bees. Then I noticed what appeared to be a small swarm on their gas meter. We got the Styrofoam 4-frame out of storage and placed our queen rearing frame in it. (This frame was the only extra we had available but it had drawn comb and definitely smelled of bees.) The swarm immediately started crawling down into it and workers began fanning their scent. Once all the roaming bees were inside, we moved the nuc back into our apiary.

Now came the task of finding out which hive had swarmed. We examined the 5-frame nuc as it was always so crowded this year. It wasn't them as we found the queen and the bees all seemed content. The observation hive was fine also. We had just removed two supers of honey from LH1a about a week ago. Could this have crowded them? The bees in the swarm sure looked like the ones from LH1a. We hadn't examined LH1a's brood nest since we bought the queen from Mr. Ivy  on April 7th earlier this year. So, it was time for examination anyway. We took the deep super and queen excluder off first and set them to the side. This super will be the bees' winters stores. We then examined the two deep brood box frames. We found several apparently unused queen cups. We also found one queen cell (opened - couldn't tell if it had been used) in the middle of one frame. The bees had plenty of honey and pollen We found a lot of capped brood and some larvae, but no eggs and no queen! There were several frames with empty open cells. So, something must have happened to our queen. We are guessing that the swarm issued with a virgin queen. We will give the new nuc some more frames of foundation and see if it's true. If she's in there, she should mate and start laying eggs within 30 days.

The bees in LH1a were not in good humor (of course they wouldn't be as they are queen-less). We were fully suited-up and had the smoker going but still managed to get stung several times each. I got stung 4 times and Dustin got stung three times.

July, 2001

Date Event
7/31/01 Day 322 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 88 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 109 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 88 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 69 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 26 (MN) - Wild swarm

We extracted the honey from LH1a tonight. This was our second harvest from this hive this year! We expect that we will net 5 gallons of honey this time. Our first extraction was 5/15/01. Once again, Mr. David Henderson (of Henderson Feed & Supply, 101 E. Davis St, Conroe, TX  77301 Phone:(409) 756-2423) let us use his 4-frame extractor for the same $5 fee that our beekeeping association charges for the use of their extractor. David is a great guy and sells beekeeping equipment and local honey at his feed store in Conroe. Thanks David!

7/29/01 Day 320 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 86 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 107 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 86 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 67 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 24 (MN) - Wild swarm

Dustin modified a frame top bar to accept one of our mating nuc frames. We placed this in the middle of the 5-frame nuc in the hopes that the queen will lay eggs in it. Once they are the right age, we'll pull this frame, remove the mating nuc half frame from it and place it in the mating nuc in the hopes that they will raise a queen. It surprises me that the mating nuc continues to survive without a queen. Of course, we know that they will slowly die of attrition but they are not so weak as to be invaded by wax moths, yet. We hope to have a queen raised there soon.

We pulled the shallow and medium super off of LH1a today. They are full of capped honey. This will be our second extraction this year from this hive. We have left the hive a full deep super of capped honey for their winter stores. Dustin was stung multiple times today but seems to have finally built-up an immunity.

We put a deep super on LH1b. We also placed a frame of capped honey from the 5-frame nuc hive in it. We plan to build more frames in the 5-frame nuc and then transfer them to LH1b in the hopes that we can build up LH1b faster. The queen in the 5-frame nuc is extremely prolific. We really should have her in a full-size Langstroth hive. But for now, we want to use her hive to build up LH1b and try to get some queen stock larvae from her.

7/21/01 Day 312 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 78 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 99 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 78 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 59 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 16 (MN) - Wild swarm

We inspected the mating nuc and found that the bees had once again removed the eggs and larvae from the cell cups. Either we didn't have the right age larvae or we just have foragers that don't have a clue about being nurse bees.

We placed the honey-filled queen rearing frame in the rear of the top bar hive hoping that they would clean it out. They didn't. So, we placed it in the back yard, poked the cappings with a fork, and let the bees rob it out. They cleaned it in less than two hours.

The 5-frame nuc is overflowing with bees. They crowd the landing area and have even taken to filling the front side and fence next to the hive. When all the foragers return at night they have a big "beard" of bees hanging off of the entrance platform as they can't all fit inside the nuc.

7/16/01 Day 307 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 73 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 94 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 73 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 54 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 11 (MN) - Wild swarm

We inspected the queen rearing kit frame and removed five cell cups (some with eggs and some with larvae). We inspected the queen cell frame in the mating nuc and found the eggs gone in the two cell cups we had placed there two days ago. So we put the five new cell cups in their place and placed the queen cell frame back in the mating nuc. They can try again with these new cell cups.

We let the queen loose once again in the 5-frame nuc and replaced the queen rearing kit frame with a frame of foundation.

7/14/01 Day 305 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 71 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 92 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 71 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 51 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 9 (MN) - Wild swarm

Dustin got stung again while re-filling the entrance feeder bottles. This bee stung him very hard and his foot remained swollen for two days.

We removed the frame with the queen rearing kit. It had capped honey and one side and a lot of honey on the other. We only found two cell cups with eggs in them. Since this frame was on the outside of the nuc (for our inspection convenience), we decided to replace the two cell cups and move it to the center of the nuc. Maybe she'll start laying more if she's in the brood area of the nuc. We placed the two cell cups in out mating nuc queen cell frame.

7/10/01 Day 301 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 67 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 88 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 67 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 47 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 5 (MN) - Wild swarm

Today was the day we had to wheelbarrow cement past where LH2 had been. Dustin got out early and began spraying the remaining foragers with soapy water to kill them. He got stung in the process. In fact, later when we carting wheelbarrows full of cement passed these same bees, he stepped on one and got stung again! Of course, I didn't get by unscathed. One just had to wait until I was washing up afterwards and get underneath my bare foot. 

We noticed that the closed-up mating nuc attracted a lot of foragers. We opened it just long enough tonight to smoke all of them into the nuc. We then closed it up and moved it to the apiary on the other side of the house. We'll leave it closed up at least one more day. We have been feeding it heavily. If our new queen rearing kit works, we'll have some queen larvae to give it by Saturday or Sunday. These bees will be more than ready to start building good queen cells. I don't really need the queens as all of mine are less than a year old now, but I am going to try to over winter some queens in this and other mating nucs. I can then re-queen next year or if I have to have a queen in a hurry. (It happened to us this spring.) If I am real successful, I'll give a queen to my neighbor as he'll need one for LH2. It was a swarm and therefore it's queen was at least a year old when we caught it. This will be her second year. He'll want to re-queen before next year's flow.

My neighbor decided that he would leave LH2 in his side yard (next to my apiary) for a few weeks before moving it to his cabin on the lake. The bees seem very content in his yard. I told him that he should just let this hive build and keep (for winter stores) the super  we just put on it. He can start harvesting honey next year from them.

7/9/01 Day 300 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 66 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 87 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 66 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 46 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 4 (MN) - Wild swarm

Dustin closed up the mating nuc and moved it even farther form LH2's old position. Our mating nuc has two 2" circular vents so that the bees won't get too hot inside in the Texas heat. Just to be safe, we covered the mating nuc with a large 1/2" piece of insulating Styrofoam.

7/8/01 Day 299 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 65 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 86 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 65 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 45 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 3 (MN) - Wild swarm

Dustin moved the mating nuc a few feet every few hours today until it was about 8 feet from yesterday's location. There are still a lot of stray foragers around LH2's old location. Way too many to get wheelbarrows full of cement past without getting stung.

7/7/01 Day 298 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 64 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 85 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 64 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 44 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 2 (MN) - Wild swarm

I moved the mating nuc a few feet every few hours today until it was about 8 feet from yesterday's location.

I got motivated and removed a frame of drawn comb from the 5-frame nuc hive today. I cut out about a 6" x 6' piece and mounted my queen-rearing device in it. I then replaced the frame in the nuc. I want it to get the hive odor and some bee traffic over it prior to placing the queen in it. I'll probably put her in there on Wednesday of this week.

7/6/01 Day 297 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 63 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 89 (LH2) - Wild Swarm (now at neighbor's house)
Day 84 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 63 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 43 (OH) - Wild swarm
Day 1 (MN) - Wild swarm

"Well, I hate to say I told you so, but..." (Actually, I do like saying it to my wife because my small victories are few and far between.) Just as I predicted, the foragers from LH2 returned to the my yard where LH2 had been. There were so many pollen and nectar laden bees that they clustered into a small swarm on the fence near LH2's old location and were flying all around. They were not in a very good mood either. We certainly couldn't wheelbarrow cement in past that bunch!

I decided that I would hive them and slowly try to move this hive a few feet each day until it will be out of our way. I got my new mating nuc hive out of storage. I then removed my special half-frame super off of LH1a and put five half-frames into the mating nuc. I then placed the mating nuc where LH2 had been. The bees immediately started marching into it. I don't have a queen for the mating nuc yet but I do plan to raise some. I got a graftless queen breeding device from Mann Lake last night. Even if I don't get a queen in time to put here in with these bees, at least they will have drawn out the comb and provisioned it with stores for when I do.

I placed the half frame super on LH1b for those bees to finish drawing out the comb and hopefully having their Buckfast queen start laying in the half frames. If she starts laying in them soon enough, I'll swap some half frames with the mating nuc and let them raise an emergency queen.

I also put my neighbors queen excluder and medium super on LH2. They desperately needed the room for stores. I expect they will draw out the foundation on these super frames quickly. I have decided that I definitely do not like the plastic type of queen excluder like my neighbor bought. I imagine that it will tear apart very soon. I like the metal bar excluders and especially those that are wood bound. Oh well, today made it official, the wild swarm we had collected this spring and placed in LH2 are now the property of my neighbor. I think that they will do well for him. I was able to populate my observation hive from a split (3 frames) of them and maybe I'll be able to populate the mating nuc with the forager stragglers I captured today. So long LH2, live prosperously!

7/5/01 Day 296 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 62 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 88 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 83 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 62 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 42 (OH) - Wild swarm

My neighbor and I moved the wild swarm in LH2 to his backyard tonight. My wife wants to use that side entrance to the backyard to bring in some concrete so she said the hive had to go. I told her that this was not going to get rid of the bees on this side of the yard unless we moved the hive at least a couple of miles away. But...sometimes you have to pick your battles so we moved the hive to the neighbors backyard on the other side of my house. I got stung in the process. One bee was head butting my veil and I pointed it out to my neighbor. Just as I said that it's funny that only one bee got upset, it zipped down and stung me behind the knee. My neighbor snickered. His time will come....

7/4/01 Day 295 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 61 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 87 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 82 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 61 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 41 (OH) - Wild swarm

I made a swarm catching frame similar to Dee Lusby's design on I removed a top bar full of honey comb and placed this comb in the swarm catching frame. I then placed the frame into the top bar hive. I have decided that I am going to eventually go to all removable frames in the top bar hive (luckily some genius designed the TBH so that it would accept standard sized frames). With several hives now, I've decided that it's just too time consuming to try to keep the comb straight and off the bottom and sides of the TBH... just too much constant comb trimming. So back to removable frames, slowly but surely, one frame at a time.

7/3/01 Day 294 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 60 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 86 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 81 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 60 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 40 (OH) - Wild swarm

The nuc hive is still building comb well. I removed another frame that I had placed there on 6/27and replaced it  with another frame of foundation (from LH1b). I moved the mostly drawn frame (one side honey and the other eggs and young larvae) to LH1b. This helps build up LH1b rapidly by supplying them with drawn frames and plenty of brood. The nuc hive does such a good job that I'll let them draw all of the remaining empty frames in LH1b, one at a time. I worked the bees in cutoffs this evening but no stings today! I used the bee brush and hive tool to gently remove the bees that found my calves and ankles to be good landing spots.

I still have the wild swarm in LH2 and it is really strong. My neighbor will need to move them soon or at least put his super on them before they are pressured to swarm.

June, 2001

Date Event
6/27/01 Day 288 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 54 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 80 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 75 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 54 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 34 (OH) - Wild swarm

The nuc hive is really building comb well. I swaped a frame that I had placed there about two weeks before with another frame of foundation (from LH1b). I moved the fully drawn frame (one side honey and the other 50% honey & 50% capped brood) to LH1b. This helps build up LH1B rapidly by supplying them with drawn frames and plenty of brood. The nuc hive does such a good job that I'll let them draw all of the remaining empty frames in LH1b, one at a time.

The second super on LH1a is getting filled in but I suppose it will take the bees at least two more weeks to completely fill and cap it. They have been filling a lower deep body super that started as just foundation on 6.3/01. We will leave this deep super on them for the winter.

The bees in the OH are doing something weird. On 6/19, I thought they had made two queen cups on the bottom frame but then they capped the cells, Then these cells looked more like drone cells. This morning they uncapped the cells and I saw large white larvae in them. I guessed that the bees were going to dispose of the larvae. But this evening they are re-capping the cells again. What the heck are they doing? Obviously my bees haven't been reading any of the really good textbooks on bee behavior. Or, maybe they want to write their own chapter?

I still have the wild swarm in LH2 and it is really strong. My neighbor will need to move them soon or at least put his super on them before they are pressured to swarm.

6/19/01 Day 280 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 46 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 72 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 67 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 46 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 26 (OH) - Wild swarm

The queen in the OH is laying well although she has to search a lot to find an empty cell to lay in. It appears that the bees may have made a queen cup near the bottom on the face of the bottom frame. We'll have to monitor this closely. If it's truly a queen cell, we'll want to raise this queen.

6/15/01 Day 276 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 42 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 68 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 63 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 42 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 22 (OH) - Wild swarm

I spotted a large beautiful golden queen laying eggs in the observation hive. We think that this is a queen that the bees raised, instead of the one from the LH2 hive that we stole the 3 frames from to initially stock the OH.

6/12/01 Day 273 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 39 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 65 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 60 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 39 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 19 (OH) - Wild swarm

I examined the nuc today. It's completely full of bees. This hive is so strong that the bees have to hang out (literally) on the front landing board. It looks like we will be able to split them or more than likely move them into a full-size Langstroth hive. We have decided that we are going to quit feeding the nuc hive as all of their combs are fully drawn and they have plenty of stores.

I checked the supers on LH1a and the medium can't possibly hold anymore capped honey. They have cleaned up the combs on the shallow super and are beginning to fill the middle frames. I got stung in the process of moving the supers. I examined the deep box with the half frames and the bees are just now beginning to draw comb on the upper surfaces of the foundation.

6/8/01 Day 269 (LH1a) - Buckfast
Day 35 (LH1b) - Buckfast
Day 61 (LH2) - Wild Swarm
Day 56 (TBH) - Midnite
Day 35 (Nuc) - Buckfast
Day 15 (OH) - Wild swarm

Three days later and the remnants of tropical storm Allison is still flooding Houston. We had close to 20" of rain today in about an 8 hour period! Definitely not great bee weather but might mean that we have a long honey season this year. It also means that the unofficial state bird of Texas (the mosquito) will be out en masse to feast on the young, the innocent and the unprotected.

6/5/01 Day 266 (LH1a)
Day 32 (LH1b)
Day 58 (LH2)
Day 53 (TBH)
Day 32 (Nuc)
Day 12 (OH)

Tropical storm Allison decided to hit Houston today and it rained all day and all night. No bees flew today.

6/3/01 Day 264 (LH1a)
Day 30 (LH1b)
Day 56 (LH2)
Day 51 (TBH)
Day 30 (Nuc)
Day 10 (OH)

We worked on the Langstroth hive today. We removed LH1b from the top of LH1a and placed LH1b on its own bottom board, entrance feeder, inner cover and telescoping outer cover. We put it on cinder blocks in front of LH1a.

We arranged LH1a as follows (from ground up):

  • Screened bottom board
  • Insulated (Styrofoam walls) deep brood chamber
  • Deep brood chamber
  • Deep brood chamber (10 frames of foundation)
  • Modified deep brood chamber with 20 half frames of foundation
  • Queen excluder (with upper entrance facing to the rear)
  • Shallow super (frames of drawn comb)
  • Medium super (full of capped honey)
  • screened inner cover
  • telescoping outer cover

We were surprised that the bees had already filled the medium super that we had just put back on them on 5/16/01. It looks like we'll have two honey harvests this year.

May, 2001

Date Event
5/31/01 Day 261 (LH1a)
Day 26 (LH1b)
Day 53 (LH2)
Day 48 (TBH)
Day 26 (Nuc)
Day 7 (OH)

We brought my neighbor's new bottom board and deep brood box over to my house and placed the frames of bees from LH2 into it. (I got stung in the process.)  He had a migratory cover (which I think is too hot for Houston) so I placed my telescoping covers back on the hive until he buys one. I think it will be much better for the bees to have a telescoping cover when they get transported 2.5 hours in a car. My neighbor plans to take these bees in about two weeks.

I cleaned up my bottom board and deep brood box and placed them in the apiary under a Styrofoam cover.

I checked the observation hive and I think that what I thought at first was two queen cells might only be burr comb they are building out to the glass. However, I'm almost sure that I did now see two queen cells on the opposite side of the OH. These bees are really starting to suck down the sugar water now and I've noticed that their foraging activities have increased.

5/29/01 Day 259 (LH1a)
Day 24 (LH1b)
Day 51 (LH2)
Day 46 (TBH)
Day 24 (Nuc)
Day 5 (OH)

I replaced the 4 frame Styrofoam nuc hive with the 5 frame wooden nuc I built yesterday. The transfer of frames form the old nuc to the new nuc went smoothly although many returning foragers were confused when they came home expecting to see their old hive. By dusk all the bees had settled into their new home.

It looks like the bees in the observation hive may have started one or two queen cells. This is exactly what we wanted to happen. We'll see if they can raise a queen.

5/28/01 Day 258 (LH1a)
Day 23 (LH1b)
Day 50 (LH2)
Day 45 (TBH)
Day 23 (Nuc)
Day 4 (OH)

Still no sign of a queen cell in the OH. We'll just keep waiting to see if they build one. If not, we plan to combine the frames into LH1b.

We examined the nuc today since so many bees were in it. The bees had put burr comb everywhere. The frames were very difficult to remove from the hive without tearing up the polystyrene walls. The bees had chewed a larger entrance and had dug out the bottom somewhat. They also chewed a new entrance in the rear near the Boardman feeder. It was such a mess that I decided to build a wooden 5-frame nuc. After the paint dries, we'll put it in place of the 4-frame Styrofoam nuc hive. We'll just swap the frames into the new wooden nuc and add a frame of foundation. We plan to use the Styrofoam hive as a swarm bait hive. We'll paint the outside of it brown, put in a top bar with wax foundation strip, add a swarm lure and hang it up in a tree in the woods near our house. Then we'll just check it every so often and hope it works.

We built our first queen box today. It still needs to be painted.

5/27/01 Day 257 (LH1a)
Day 22 (LH1b)
Day 49 (LH2)
Day 44 (TBH)
Day 22 (Nuc)
Day 3 (OH)

I removed the screen from the entrance on the observation hive. Many bees came out. We'll see if any of them return. There are still plenty of nurse bees in the OH and many bees were feeding from the jar feeder.

5/25/01 Day 255 (LH1a)
Day 20 (LH1b)
Day 47 (LH2)
Day 42 (TBH)
Day 20 (Nuc)
Day 1 (OH)

Dustin removed the entrance feeder to the swarm hive (LH2) as the landing pad was becoming congested with bees. He removed the top cover and found the hive completely full of bees with all frames fully drawn and filled with either honey, pollen, eggs, larvae or capped brood. He removed three frames of brood, larvae and eggs and placed them in the observation hive. He screened off the entrance to the observation hive (OH) and placed a full quart of sugar water in the feeder. We hope that the bees will select some young larvae and make some queen cells. Dustin replaced the three frames in LH2 with three frames of foundation.

Our neighbor is painting his new equipment (a hive with one deep and one medium super). Next Thursday, we'll plan to install the bees from LH2 into his hive. Then, next Friday he plans to transport the bees to his lake house (about 3 hours away) in his Ford Explorer. We really have to make sure we screen over all openings in the hive so that no bees escape during the trip. I'm really going to miss these bees as they were the very first swarm we ever caught and the queen has turned out to be quite a producer. The bees are very industrious and very gentle. Oh well, it'll be a great hive for my neighbor to begin his new hobby as a beekeeper with.

We have decided to make four "queen boxes". Our friend and mentor, Mr. Don Ivy (of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association) showed us his "queen boxes" in his apiary. We learned that's how he keeps spare queens on hand.

We made twenty half-size (lengthwise) deep frames with foundation. Next we built a deep super but placed a special divider board in the center of it that will provide frame rests for each of the half-size deep frames. We'll place this super with its 20 queen box frames on one of our Langstroth hives. Those bees will then draw out the foundation on the queen box frames for us. We'll build four queen boxes. Each queen box will hold five queen box frames and a Boardman entrance feeder (which will be installed at the rear of the queen box). We plan to use the queen boxes to keep spare queens on hand. We've learned that every beekeeper needs ready access to queens (thus, our queen boxes) and spare frames of comb and brood (like our nuc).

Speaking of our nuc hive ("nuc" stands for nucleus, by the way)... I opened the cover today and I saw that it is exploding with bees. We may have to remove one of the brood frames and replace it with foundation. I don't want these bees to swarm. It's just amazing how quickly they have built up in population. We'll use the frame of brood to strengthen the hive in LH1b.

5/19/01 Day 249 (LH1a)
Day 14 (LH1b)
Day 41 (LH2)
Day 36 (TBH)
Day 14 (Nuc)

We built our own solar wax melter today. We had to as my wife said that the cappings that are draining into a pan in our her kitchen must go!

A pair of Chickadees has taken over the bird house I built this spring and from the traffic at it's entrance I'm assuming they have eggs already laid.

Dustin also found a mockingbird nest in our yard today complete with eggs.

I got some photos of a mourning dove and a male cardinal at our seed tray feeder.

5/18/01 Day 248 (LH1a)
Day 13 (LH1b)
Day 40 (LH2)
Day 35 (TBH)
Day 13 (Nuc)

We bottled our honey today...5 1/4 gallons worth. We got 12 quarts from our medium super and 9 quarts from our shallow super. We believe that this was mostly wild Ligustrum honey. We put the medium super back on top of LH1a.

David Henderson informs us that we are about to go into the Tallow tree flow period and that our bees should be able to rapidly fill our supers again.

5/15/01 Day 245 (LH1a)
Day 10 (LH1b)
Day 37 (LH2)
Day 32 (TBH)
Day 10 (Nuc)

We extracted the two honey supers today. They yielded a little over 5 gallons of honey. It's amazing to me how much honey actually comes out of one little frame. And to think that a honey bee only makes 1/12 of a tablespoon of honey in her entire lifetime! That's a lot of work. Many thanks to David Henderson (of Henderson Feed & Supply, 101 E. Davis St, Conroe, TX  77301 Phone:(409) 756-2423) for letting us use his 4-frame extractor for the same $5 fee that our beekeeping association charges for the use of their extractor. David is a great guy and sells beekeeping equipment and local honey at his feed store in Conroe.

We plan to put the medium super back on LH1a as the topmost box above the deep super of foundation we just put on them.

We began feeding LH1b (the split hive) today via the Miller feeder. We know it's a little late but better late than never?

The nuc hive is getting stronger everyday and soon we might have to split them so as to prevent swarming. I hope we have to as we will put them in our 3-frame observation hive.

My neighbor promises me that he is ordering his hive equipment tonight so that he can take the swarm hive to his lake house. The swarm hive is doing well and I will sure hate to see it go. However, my neighbor will be giving it a much nicer home and we can add one more beekeeper to our dwindling numbers (according to the May, 2001 issue of American Bee Journal there are < 211,600 beekeepers in the US).. 

I am so upset by the "stories" two of the local television stations (Channel 2 & 13) ran that I posted a new page on my site "News Media" just to vent. There, now I feel better already.

5/13/01 Day 243 (LH1a)
Day 8 (LH1b)
Day 35 (LH2)
Day 30 (TBH)
Day 8 (Nuc)

We examined the nuc today and confirmed that the queen had been released. We removed the queen cage and put in a fourth frame of foundation. These bees have literally exploded in population. We examined two the three existing frames but it was literally impossible to find the queen as the bees covered the frames at least two bees deep. The bees are really sucking down the sugar water now.

We examined the split in LH1b and saw that the queen had been released. We removed the queen cage and placed in a new frame of foundation.

Today we removed the honey supers from the Langstroth hive (one medium and one shallow). Our method was very low tech and low budget. We cleaned up our poll bathroom and placed a sheet of plastic on the floor. We put two 2x4's on this and one of the new deep bodies on these boards.

We removed the two supers and then Dustin and I removed each frame one-by-one. As we removed each frame, we brushed all the bees off of it and then Dustin ran it into the pool bathroom and placed it in the empty body. Twenty frames later and we were done. We then put our other deep body and ten frames of foundation on LH1a above their two deep brood boxes. We'll let them draw out some more comb during this flow. We also put our custom "observation" Miller-type feeder above the split in LH1b.

We staggered the super and the deep body now full of capped honey frames and put a fan blowing on them to reduce the water content of the honey. Tomorrow we will start gathering up the supplies necessary to extract and store the honey. We are estimating that the medium and shallow super will yield about 3.5 gallons of honey.

We also decided to make a screened inner cover to go on top of our Miller feeder to increase the ventilation of LH1 but yet keep out robber bees from the Miller-type feeder above LH1b.

5/12/01 Day 242 (LH1a)
Day 7 (LH1b)
Day 34 (LH2)
Day 29 (TBH)
Day 7 (Nuc)

The queen has been released in the nuc. The bees are starting to drink the sugar water and are foraging well. We see them coming and going from the entrance of the nuc.

The split in LH1b seems to be doing well. The bees are foraging well from the entrance.

The "swarm hive" (LH2) is really going strong. Dustin and I removed the frames and examined them two days ago and the queen is very large and laying brood and eggs extremely well. These bees are now very active at the entrance to their hive.

Both of our honey supers are fully capped on LH1, Tonight we will build two deep bodies. We plan to remove both supers tomorrow. We will replace them with a deep hive body and ten frames of foundation. We hope to get the bees to draw out new comb on foundation. Our goal is to get all 20 of our new frames drawn out this spring and summer. Then, next year we'll have plenty of frames with drawn comb to use when manipulating our hives.

5/6/01 Day 236 (LH1a)
Day 1 (LH1b)
Day 28 (LH2)
Day 23 (TBH)
Day 1 (Nuc)

We purchased two Buckfast queens from B. Weaver Apiaries today. We decided to populate our new nuc hive so we took two frames of brood (with nurse bees) and one of honey and placed them in the nuc with a clipped and marked Buckfast queen.

We then decided to place the other queen in LH1. The Buckfast queen we obtained from Mr. Ivy had produced a nice brood pattern in all three deep bodies in LH1. We removed the uppermost deep body from LH1 (leaving the original Buckfast queen in the lower two deep bodies) . We stacked our two supers back on top of the two lowest deep bodies. We then installed our homemade double screen board on top of the supers. Next we put the third deep body (now with a new marked Buckfast queen) back on top of the double screen board followed by the inner and outer covers. The double screen board has an entrance for the upper deep body and it faces toward the back of the hive. Our goal is to get this new queen laying well in the upper deep and then transfer her, a frame of brood, a frame of honey and a drawn comb frame to our 3-frame observation hive

If this is successful, we hope to leave the double screen in place and see if the remaining bees will raise their own queen. If so, we will begin raising queens and keeping them in mini-nuc hives.

For the first time, we got to see new bees emerging from their cells and watched their sisters help them out.

Our shallow super had every frame full of honey and all of it was capped. We need to extract this super!

5/3/01 Day 233 (LH1)
Day 25 (LH2)
Day 20 (TBH)

Dustin had to replace some of the plain top bars with ones that had starter strips to stay ahead of the Midnites as they are building comb so fast! He actually got to see the queen lay eggs in some of the new comb.

We have three artificial swarm lures and are thinking of conducting an experiment. We'll build equal volume bait hives (one styrofoam, one wood and one plastic 5 gal, bucket) and place them very near each other. We'll see which one attracts a swarm.

April, 2001

Date Event
4/21/01 Day 221 (LH1)
Day 13 (LH2)
Day 8 (TBH)

We checked LH2 (the swarm hive) and found a frame full of larvae. So, the queen is laying and it looks like they have found a permanent home.

We checked LH1 to make sure they weren't making any more queen cells. We found a frame of larvae and no queen cells in the top two brood boxes. We didn't check the bottom most brood box. The middle brood box was missing a frame, but the bees made an entire frame worth of comb filled with honey that hung off of the frame in the brood box above it. We cut this comb loose and Dustin pressed out the honey. Delicious! It tasted like peaches! I gave a jar to my next-door neighbors (who are very tolerant of our bees). Mr. Ivy informed us that the queen we bought from him was a Buckfast queen. The bees seem to have calmed down quite a bit.

4/18/01 Day 218 (LH1)
Day 10 (LH2)
Day 5 (TBH)

We flipped the inner covers on the LH's this evening. Doh! For future reference, the flat side goes down toward the top bars and the open side with the groove goes up. The groove faces toward the front of the hive. We noticed that the bees in LH1 had begun to cap some of the honey in the upper super.

We pulled the first two frames in LH2 and found the queen. This was the first time we have been able to find an unmarked queen. She is very light in color with just a small tip of black on the abdomen. The bees had begun to cap some of the honey. We didn't find any eggs, only honey and pollen. Sure hope she starts laying soon.

These bees are very sensitive to their queen. When we removed the frame with her on it for examination, the bees in the hive started "roaring". As soon as we replaced this frame, they quieted down and didn't roar as we removed other frames. They are sucking down the sugar water much faster than the Midnites in the TBH.

The Midnites are busy bringing honey and pollen into the TBH.

I designed a 4 frame nuc hive that can be made from scrap sheets of the 9/16" insulation foam sheets that are left over from all of the homes being constructed in our neighborhood. It should serve to allow me to raise a spare queen or in case another swarm opportunity comes our way. It is so lightweight that I should be able to mount it on the side of the fence. I need to buy some more frames with foundation.

4/17/01 Day 217 (LH1)
Day 9 (LH2)
Day 4 (TBH)

I checked the TBH tonight. The queen had been released from her cage and the bees were all clustered around the two honey-filled frames we had placed in the middle of the hive. It is certainly nice to have an interior-lighted observation TBH! Some of the nasty bees from LH1 decided to hit me but I was well protected as I had suited up in anticipation of this possibility. I can't wait until the new queen's offspring populate LH1 and these mean old nasty bees die off.

I don't want to ever get into another situation where we need a queen in a hurry (see log of 4/7/01) so I think I'll go about raising a few queens. I plan to populate my 3 frame observation hive and a five frame customized nuc. I plan on building a nuc from some insulation sheets like I did with my lightweight deep hive body. I'll mount the nuc to my fence since it will be so light.

4/15/01 Day 215 (LH1)
Day 7 (LH2)
Day 2 (TBH)

Everything is right with the world (EXCEPT TAXES! - note today's date). Our hive we captured from a swarm (LH2) is now bringing in nectar and pollen and seem to have adapted well to their new home in our south side yard. So, now we have hives in both our north and south side yards. <== Note to all would-be thieves: Honey bees on guard duty!

The Midnite bees in the TBH are doing well. They have already begun collecting nectar and feel right at home in the TBH. I was worried that the bees from LH1 would come looking for trouble but, so far, no robbing our fighting has occurred between the two. The bees from the TBH were doing a lot of house cleaning today by dragging out the dead bees that had died in the package during shipment from Georgia. Tonight I get to turn on the back light illumination lights in the TBH to study the Midnite bees through the observation window for awhile.

Even the bees in LH1 seemed a little less aggressive today. However, I notice that they have guard bees meet me whenever I open either the front or back gate of the the north side yard apiary.

4/14/01 Day 214 (LH1)
Day 6 (LH2)
Day 1 (TBH)

We picked up our Midnite bees from the Spring post office this morning. Five pounds of bees arrives as two separate bee packages (2.5 lb each) that are nailed together with four strips of wood. I liked this as it tends to keep the whole package from turning over on its side. Its easier for the postal workers to keep upright. One package had the queen in her.

We installed spacers on the inner covers of both LH's. This elevates the telescoping outer cover to promote more ventilation. I got stung in the process from one of those nasty bees in LH1.

We installed the Midnite bees in our TBH. We also gave them two honey filled frames that we had stolen from LH1 earlier. We put on an entrance reducer and built a homemade entrance feeder.

4/12/01 Day 213 (LH1)
Day 4 (LH2)

We released the queen we had purchased from Mr. Ivy in our original Langstroth hive. The bees accepted her well and began feeding her immediately. I really hope she produces gentle offspring and helps to settle this hive down as they have become downright nasty to me.
These bees had fully drawn about 10 frames from just foundation in about two weeks. Of course, the entire hive was full of honey and pollen, not an empty cell anywhere. Mr.Ivy told us that the bees would clean out the cells to make room for the queen to lay. We pulled two honey-filled deep frames from the top-most deep box and placed them in the observation hive. We intend to give these two frames to the Midnite bees when they arrive.

4/11/01 Day 212 (LH1)
Day 3 (LH2)

The new hive is drinking the sugar water at a good pace. They were performing orientation flights today. York Bee shipped our 5 lb. package of Midnite bees today. Although we had requested delivery in the first week of April, the weather in Georgia had prevented them from shipping any sooner.

4/10/01 Day 211 (LH1)
Day 2 (LH2)

I got in the shop and built a proper bottom board and telescoping cover for our new hive. We put the hive together up on bricks in our south side yard. We removed the branch from the hive and filled it in with new frames of foundation. We placed an entrance feeder and reducer on the hive and noticed that the bees seemed to be content.

4/9/01 Day 210 (LH1)
Day 1 (LH2)

We captured a swarm! Of all the coincidences, a friend of my daughters' called and frantically explained that a huge "hive" of bees had appeared overnight on their new Bradford pear tree. The girls put me on the phone with their parents and Dustin and I grabbed our two honey-filled frames from the observation hive, an empty deep body, an inner cover and some duct tape and rushed right over.
What we found was at least a 3 lb swarm on a small limb about 5 feet off the ground. We placed the deep box on a sheet of cardboard directly under the swarm. We put the two honey frames in the deep box. We then smoked the bees and gave the limb a strong, quick shake. About half the bees fell in the hive and about half didn't. However, the ones on the ground soon began crawling into the hive. We put the inner cover on top and left to go eat. We wanted to give all the bees crawling and flying around time to get in their new home.
We came back after dark and peered in the hive --- EMPTY!  We looked around and found them, once again, in a swarm. However, this time they were in the neighbor's yard and about 20 feet up in an oak tree. We notified the neighbor and he gave us permission to attempt our daring feat.
We placed and extension ladder up in the tree. Dustin crawled up it and lopped of the limb with one hand while holding it with the other. He then slowly climbed down with the entire swarm and we ever so gently placed them in the hive body, limb and all! We put the body in the truck and placed them in our south side yard for the night.

4/8/01 Day 209 (LH)
We inspected the two frames that were left in the observation hive for the bees to empty. Well, we goofed again. Robber bees have returned and there were many bee fights today. The robbers then tried to go into the LH (the entrance reducer is now gone). Needless to say, the bees were extremely bad-tempered today and Dustin and I got chased around the back yard a few times. One bee just kept waiting on me at the back door all afternoon and was constantly chasing me inside. Finally I donned my veil and went outside. The bee immediately found me and hovered right in front of my face. We had a stare down for about 3 minutes and then she finally left and didn't return. Weird bee-haviour! We closed up the observation hive with the honey-filled frames inside of it.

My neighbor finally noticed the bees coming into my apiary and peeked over the fence. He told me he noticed my hives. I was expecting the worse, but he told me that he had 3 hives himself when he was a kid! He also wanted a hive for his lake house. It was surprising to him when I told him we had been keeping bees at our house since last June! It's nice to have understanding neighbors who appreciate and understand honeybees.

4/7/01 Day 208 (LH)
Dustin and I inspected all parts of our hive today. What we found was not good news. About every 10th bee was a drone! It also appears that we don't have a laying queen as we found no eggs or uncapped larvae. The capped brood cells we found appeared to be drone cells. Almost the entire hive was full of honey and pollen. Evidently we should not have destroyed those queen cells two weeks ago. We thought we were preventing a swarm but we should have left the bees alone. It looks like they knew what they were doing. (Oh, and I stepped on a bee and got stung on the bottom of my left foot. I will wear shoes from now on.)
We phoned Mr. Don Ivy of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association and he told us he could provide us with a queen. We drove out to Splendora, Texas and purchased a queen from Mr. Ivy. We put her and one attendant worker in a queen cage and (after removing one frame) placed the cage in the bottom brood box. Immediately a worker began fanning her scent to the rest of the hive. We hope that's a good sign. We'll release her in a few days after the bees have spread her scent around the hive.
We put two of the honey-filled deep frames from the third deep box and placed them in the observation hive with the glass door open. We want the bees to take all of the honey from these frames so that that we can give one emptied one back to the LH and one to the TBH. These empty drawn frames will give both queens plenty of room to start laying immediately.
4/6/01 Day 207 (LH)
I called York Bee Co  and they said that they began shipping bees today. I expect mine will arrive next Monday.
4/2/01 Day 203 (LH)
The bees seem to like it better with the entrance reducer removed. Many of them are fanning the hive at night now. The temperatures have ranged from the mid 80s in the day to the low 70s at night.  
I called the Spring Post Office today to warn them that my bees would be arriving this week and to call me as soon as they do. They are usually good about calling me early in the morning when the bees arrive.

March, 2001

Date Event
3/31/01 Day 201 (LH)
The bees are acting rather aggressively. The guard bees chased me out of the apiary all day. Maybe they just need to get the queen situation settled? Tonight, Dustin and I fired up the smoker and removed the cover from the bottom board. Now the hive just has the screen as the bottom. We also removed the entrance reducer.
We used pine needles as the smoker fuel tonight. They seem to work well and produce lots of smoke, plus we have them in abundance!
We cleaned out the top bar hive and installed an entrance reducer in anticipation of our new 5 lb. package of Midnite bees from York Bee Co. which should arrive next week.
3/25/01 Day 195 (LH)
Dustin and I decided to examine the hive today. We took off the super and hive bodies and examined each frame individually.
We found that we have MANY bees! The frames were so covered with bees that we had to shake them off just to see the comb. We found lots of brood, honey and pollen. We also found lots of drones.
Our biggest surprise was finding 11 queen cells. We assumed that this meant that the bees were preparing to swarm. So, right or wrong, we swapped the frames containing brood (in the top of the three deep bodies) into with frames in the lowest hive body and added another super. We also removed all eleven queen cells.
We couldn't find the queen because it was just impossible with all of those bees and so many large drones on the frames. However, we saw lots of brood in various stages, so we suppose she is there. If not, we guess the bees will just start making more queen cells.
We also swapped out one of our normal wooden brood boxes for the lightweight insulation hive body we made last year. 
We noticed that a male cardinal has found the safflower seeds in our tray feeder. The male goldfinches on the thistle feeder have turned a very bright yellow.

January, 2001

Date Event
1/27/01 Day 128 (LH)
It warmed up into the mid 60's today and the bees really became active. They were coming in with loads of pollen and there was a big traffic jam at the entrance reducer. I think I'll still leave it on for awhile though as I'm sure we will still have some nights in the lower 30's to come in February.
1/20/01 Day 121 (LH)
In honor of "Dubya's" inauguration, it warmed up enough today to get the bees to flying and was very bright with a lot of sunshine. We spotted a tufted titmouse visiting our suet feeder.