2017 Apiary Season notes - Southwest Missouri

Jan 3 - All hives are alive. All have sugar boards on except for the primary hive and it has a med super for extra stores. Each hive was treated with a single OA vapor treatment just after harvest and very few mites have been found since. We added camo socks to three of the hives that were visible from the road. I need to modify the sock's upper exit hole as that bees exiting the upper entrance can't find their way out thru the eyelet.

Jan 4 - Sold a bottle of honey today, first time in six years that we have more income than expenses for the year. You really have to love bees to do this.

Jan 10 - Had a major warm up from the single digits to mid 60's today. Bees are out cleaning up on the primary hive and the zell hives. Put UltraBee patties on the primary and zell hives.

Jan 14 - Minor ice storm has set in with lots of cold drizzle. Bees have hunkered down.

Jan 16 - Larvae found in the entrance of one of the shire hives

Jan 18 - Checked the Shire hives, one of last years strong hives has completely gone thru the candy board, the other is has used about 30% of the candy board. The split from last year hasn't used much of the board and appears to have stores. Added UltraBee patties to all three hives.

Jan 21 - Checked the Shire hives and all are alive and well. The split from last year is weaker than the other two, but appears to be holding on.

Jan 22- Took the super off the primary hive today, bees haven't really moved up into it. Tried this to see if this was any better than sugar boards; doesn't seem to be, two deeps appear to be plenty to winter over in for this area. Got a sugar board with pattie and sugar on to replace the super.

Jan 24 - Placed a new hive stand and swarm trap mount at the zell site. Bees are pulling quite abit of light yellow to off white pollen at the primary hive.

Got a FLIR camera and seems to work fairly well to determine where the cluster is, in this case the bottom deep. The hot spot in the top is where the sugar and patties are located and the bees are working it. Tempature at the top is 67 degrees taken at the opening of the inner cover. Photo is of the primary hive.

Jan 30 - The weakest shire hive cluster is located in the bottom deep and the upper has a couple of frames of honey. They have not been taking sugar and very little pattie from the sugar board. I removed it and replaced with the super that was removed from the primary hive. The pattie was placed between the upper deep and super.

Feb 7 - Put heavy syrup on the shire hives.

Feb 10 - Removed sugar boards and pollen patties from the Zell hives and installed Thorne UK style top feeders. Replenished Beetle Blasters x2 per hive in upper brood boxes. Finding a lot of dead beetles on the bottom boards on Zell and primary hives today. Lots of pollen today in Billings.

Feb 12 - 2 grams OA vaporizer applied to primary hive, couple of mites fell to the bottom board. Seeing more than normal SHB's for this time of year. Apparently other beeks are seeing more than average also. Removed sugar boards and replaced SHB traps on Shire hives.

Feb 13 - Removed the sugar board and patties from the primary hive and put syrup on. Found about a total of 10 mites on the bottom board from yesterdays OAV.

Feb 22 - Checked the Shires bees, all three hives have brood and plenty of stores. Applied 2 grams each of OAV and removed syrup jugs. Plenty of hive beetles but not so many to worry about at this time

Feb 24 - Treated the Zell hives with 2 grams each of OAV and removed feeders. Left the entrance restricters on with some colder windy weather in the forecast. The stronger of the two hives had a Beetle Blaster trap using Mann Lake Beetle Trap Oil, full of beetles, and required changing out. This trap was ten days old and SHB look to be as bad as they were last year.

Mar 1 - Drones flying on the primary hive

Mar 12 - It's been warm enough for the plum, pear, and peach trees to bloom out, and it's back in the high 20's at night again. I'm losing a few bees due to the cold snap but not seeing a lot of brood dying because of it. All the hives have capped brood and some drones have been seen flying. A couple of strong hives have more than their share of SHB.

Mar 19 - Placed a screened divider and newspaper on one of the hive at the shire, supered the other. Removed it on the 23rd after no queen cells were found. Think they went thru the newspaper and allowed the queen pheromone thru too soon.

Mar 20 - Placed a screened divider and newspaper on the primary hive.

Mar 23 - One of the Zell hives had about 3 frames of bees, several frames of honey, but no queen or brood. There are a few unhatched drones indicating the queen was there 28 days ago. I considered this a strong hive a month ago. Combined them with adjacent hive which has lost a significant portion of the bee population also.

Mar 26 - Made two splits from an isolated deep from last week at the shire. Isolated another deep on a second deep for next week.

Apr 1 - Moved the last hive from the Zell location to home to keep an eye on it. We have lost every hive but this one at this location and it is questionable as to it's survival. Re-evaluating keeping an apiary at this location.

Apr 2 - Inspected the shire hives. The induced split from last week has the queen in the upper body and it was removed and set as a new hive. All the induced splits have queens cells with the sides torn out and are being removed by the bees.

Apr 7 - Inspected remaining Zell hive and found capped brood, pollen, and stores. Replaced BB traps but did not see many beetles. Queen is laying primarily in the upper deep. Removed and cleaned the West SHB trap on the primary hive, seems to be very effective.

Apr 17 - Finally got queen cells in breeder hive, split it and gave one frame of brood and a queen cell to the Zell hive.

Apr 24 - All six hives at the Shire are putting up brood. The three original hives have been supered and of the three splits, two are now on two deeps and the third one looks like she just started laying this week.

Apr 25 - Zell hive queen is laying, one of the two breeder hives queen is laying, the other has a capped queen cell.

May 1 - All hives have laying queens except for one a the shire; it had a queen cell that hatched, but she either didn't get mated or it has a laying worker, lots of drone cells. Places a frame of capped brood and larvae in it to attempt a re-queening.

May 21 - Inspected all hives this week and found all but one at the shire to be queenright except for the one split at the Shire. Added another frame of eggs to it to encourgage queen building. Three of the hives at the Shire and one a home are putting up honey with new white wax. Found the queen in the Zell hive and appears healthy and starting to lay.

May 30 - The weak breeder hive is queenless. Combined it with the Zell hive.

Shire hives - May 2017

May 31 - Did a cutout for the Steiger's in their garage, got a little honey and a lot bees and brood.

Jun 15 - Pulled a super from the garden hive today, got 22# of honey, very light color with a buttery taste.

Jun 20 - Pulled another 21# from the garden super.

Jun 24 - Pulled 4 and 1/2 supers from the Shire hives. Produced 105# + 3 frames of comb honey

Jul 3 - Pulled another 42# from the garden hive.

Jul 16 - One of the Shire splits has failed, combined with the other split.

Jul 17 - Garden hive upper deep was honey bound, harvested 37.5 # and returned it to the hive. 122.5# so far off this hive.

Aug 14 - Garden hive appears to have swarmed and left it without a laying queen. Brought a shire split home with a nuc split to salvage for brood and eggs. Found multiple eggs in the garden hive lower body and neither that hive or the nuc seems to be interested in creating queen cells from the installed egss. So we wait and see.

Aug 17 - Removed all supers from the shire, leaving one on the Staiger cutout hive for the winter as we placed a lot of brood in the two deeps at the time. 131# extracted.

Oct 9 - Laura spotted a small swarm and retrieved it. It was placed in a NUC box atop another full size hive with vents to exhaust heat into the NUC box. Considering the time of the of the year and size of the swarm, the're chance of survival is pretty slim without help.

Oct 17 - Shot all hives with OAV. My established hives, all had a < 5 mite drop and no other treatments were done. The cutout hive, had a large drop, and was given another OAV treatment about a week later. The large drop surprised me because this cutout had been living untreated for a couple years in a wall without any ill effects.

Oct 19 - Inspected and found the queen was laying with about 4 sq/in of capped brood on the outside of the frame nearest the outside of the NUC box, facing southeast.

Dec 26 - Tempature have been in the single digits, and there is a lot of dead on the bottom board. If this keeps up, there will not be enough bees to keep themselves warm. Moved NUC inside the house.

All hives except for the cutout hives, have entrance restrictors and candy boards with sugar blocks installed.

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