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Category Archives: apiculture

  • A successful introduction

    I installed 2 colonies today and everything went extremely well. Having done this once in the past really helped; I knew how to read the bees better and kept them very docile during the whole process.

    The second package introduced into the top bar hive

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    The hives in all their glory

    A close-up of the new Langstroth hive this season (up-side down because iPhone)

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    Busy figuring their new place out

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    The weather kept me on my toes but fortunately left us alone for a good while. The rain poured heavily a couple of hours afterwards, I hope all the bees found their way inside before.

  • It takes a surprinsingly long time to paint

    I still need to add a few decorations to make it cool. Unfortunately, the supplier has delayed delivery of the colonies by a week to allow the queens more time for their mating flight since the weather didn’t cooperate so far.

  • Getting ready for a new season

    New hive, with all the bells & whistles

    With plastic pierco frames, the smell of beeswax (of which the frames are coated) and pine is great

  • The hive is dead…

    Sad doesn’t begin to describe it

    Pulling what can be used, no way we’ll eat the honey.

    The last stand of the last nucleus of bees, all frozen in their last action. Barely decomposed as they probably lasted until a couple of days ago when the temperatures reached -15F.

  • The hive is a lighthouse

    The hive helped me find my way back home from the forest on more than one occasion. On an unrelated note, I ordered a borescope to see if the bees are still alive. If they are, I will built another top bar hive for next season for sure. If not I’ll have to consider what to do.

  • Hive & a ton more snow

    I’m thinking about getting a snake scope to see if there’s any activity in there. I couldn’t hear anything by sticking my ear to the hive but they’ve slowed down so much I didn’t really expect to.

  • Hive & snow

    I hope they’re warm enough.

  • Plastic foundation integration

    This is what my hack looks like as it is being assimilated by the bees.

  • Everything is back under control in the hive

    The unfortunate effect that I had in the hive by trying to fix things and enforce straight comb drawing had me pretty pessimistic about the chances of my bees this winter. Everything was completely disorganized with brood and honey in random places, way too many drones and barely any honey.

    The lesson I learned is that the hive is self healing and surprisingly so. Today’s ¬†inspection was an amazing discovery of their capacity to adjust. They reorganized all the frames, gathered some very good honey reserves late in the season and have a very healthy population.

    And the best part is that the approach of enforcing straight comb drawing with plastic foundation every other frame worked! It’s still not an ideal scenario to have plastic in my “natural” top bar hive but it definitely takes care of the problem and I still get half of the frames 100% built by the bees.