Author Topic: Fritz's bees  (Read 3143 times)

Offline fritz_monroe

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Fritz's bees
« on: April 08, 2017, 08:44:52 PM »
About 5 years ago, I started keeping bees.  I was able to keep them for a couple of years, but lost the last hive 2 years ago.  Last year I went without them.  But I got 2 packages this year and am hoping to successfully keep them and grow my apiary. 

I do not plan on going into business with them.  I hope to get some honey out of it, but my main interest is to just keep them.

I use all medium boxes with plastic frames.  The boxes they are in right now are the standard white.  But I was trying to get my daughter interested in the bees, so went with a bunch of different color.  That experiment was not a success, she wants nothing to do with them.  But it makes my apiary nice and colorful.

Here's a couple of pics for those that are interested.  I couldn't get my wife to come down for action pics.

These are both supposed to be 3 pound packages of bees.  Obviously there are many more bees in the one on the right.  Maybe they gave me a 4 pound package.

Here's a shot of the new set up.  I did learn from my previous hives.  I put the earlier ones too close to the fence.  Every time I mowed, it pissed off the bees.  I also had them a little too close together.  This time I have room for 4 hives and they will be about 6 feet apart.  If I get bigger than 4 hives, I'll create a new area like this.


This is just showing that they eventually settled down.  This hive had the smaller number of bees.  The other hive that had the bigger package also seemed much more pissed off than this hive.  I got stung on the hand when installing the bigger package, this is my 5th or 6th package install and I've never been stung doing this.  Usually they are fairly docile, but they were up in my face the whole time.  Both packages came from the same supplier in Georgia, so I'm not really sure why they were so much more aggressive.

I'll post again once I pull out the queen cage and get another box onto the hives.  Should be next weekend when I do that.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 08:28:19 PM by fritz_monroe »
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Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 10:15:57 PM »
Good luck with the bees!

(Your images don't work -- I think they're visible to you alone, when you're logged into your Google account.)

Offline Cedar

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 11:22:46 PM »
 :'( I wanna see your pics!! I am happy you are raising bees again though.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 08:24:33 PM »
I was wondering if the pics would work.  I'll try to get them going.  Since Google got rid of picassa web it doesn't work the same.

I'm going to give it a shot with photo bucket.  Check the original post.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 08:33:50 PM »
Thank you for the pics. Maybe the latter package had fatter bees? Keep us posted. Iike seeing other people's apiaries.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 02:01:56 PM »
I pulled the queen cage out of the hives today.  As much as I hate to pull out this new pretty comb, it's in the way so had to go.

In the past, I was able to go down to the hives and pull the queen cage out without any issues.  But that one hive is still pretty aggressive.  So I put my jacket and hood on and gave it a shot.  There were too many aggressive bees coming at me.  So I closed up the hive and went after my smoker.  I'll be glad when that hive calms down.

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Offline LvsChant

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 03:42:32 PM »
Nice work... keep us posted on the progress.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 04:37:44 PM »
I forgot to mention that after taking out the queen cage, I put another medium on each hive.  The first of the colorful boxes are in my apiary.  I've always used different colored bottom boards, it's easier to keep track of what I do with each hive.

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Offline LvsChant

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2017, 07:00:25 AM »
looks nice! great spring colors.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2017, 07:38:09 PM »
Thanks, I like the colors.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2017, 08:31:43 AM »
I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, but I may have robbers.  Lots of bees hovering around.  But there's a lot that are bringing in pollen.

I did close down the entrance a little.



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Offline CharlesH

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 10:23:41 AM »
If there are robbers you should be able to see bees leaving with markedly distended abdomens.  They may also have a little dip in flight as they go airborne because of the weight.  If you are seeing a lot of pollen coming in I'd lean towards a good nectar flow underway in your area.
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Offline Stwood

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2017, 03:41:25 PM »
Kewl. I like the colors. mY wife decided to try bees. We have 2 hives to be delivered to us any day now.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2017, 07:43:13 PM »
The colors were an attempt to get my daughter interested.  It failed.  But I like the colorful hive bodies.  It makes it easier to keep track of if I rotated boxes.  And it makes the apiary more interesting than plain white hives.

Those sample sized jars of paint at Home Depot will paint 2 medium hive bodies with a little left over.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2017, 02:08:48 PM »
I got home from work today and there were thousands of bees flying.  Of course I had to check it out.  It's been rainy for the past week and it just cleared up.  I thought maybe I'd be lucky and they were just doing cleansing flights.

No such luck, the one hive was swarming.  I've had them swarm in previous years and I caught the swarm.  But this time they are about 40 feet up in a holly tree.  I can't get to them.  I'm hoping that they will move to a lower area and I'll grab them.

It was cool to be there when they swarmed.  But to lose all these bees sucks.

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Offline Cedar

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2017, 02:22:34 PM »
Got an empty hive availabile? Not the one they just left... Upend a garbage. And use lemon grass, and hopefully you can regain they.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2017, 04:32:54 PM »
Yeah, I have some extra hive components.  I'm really hoping that they com down lower so I can catch them.

But I'll try putting out a bait hive.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2017, 07:10:54 PM »
I put a bait hive out near the other 2 hives.  I didn't have any lemongrass, but I did put a couple of drops of lemongrass essential oil in the hive.  As I was putting it in place, there were some bees checking it out already.

My wife took the dogs out and they ran after a rabbit.  The wife yelled for me since it was a baby bunny.  I ran out there barefoot.  On the way into the house, stepped on a bee.  My toe is swollen pretty good.

Not a good day for Fritz and his bees. 
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2017, 07:24:22 PM »
Got meat tenderizer for your toe? I forgot why it works , but if you have some, make a paste out of some and gingerly slap it on .

I use lemongrass essential oil too. The bait hive, not on toes

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2017, 05:01:14 AM »
We never have meat tenderizer on hand.  My wife swears by toothpaste on a sting.  I just pop a Benedryl and deal with the slight swelling I get.

I'll check on the bait hive when I get home.  Any idea how long I should leave it?  It's got some frames with comb, I don't want the wax moths jacking it up.
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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2017, 07:52:29 AM »
If it were .me, id leave it out until mid June, if you don't get your swarm, you might pick up another.
Did you investigate and see why your hive high tailed it? Too crowded?


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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2017, 10:30:46 AM »
I'll look tomorrow.

But I think it is because it's too crowded.  They are new packages this year.  That is the package that was extra full.  I would have gone into the hive 2 weekends ago and put another medium on it, but the weather the past 2 weeks has been either too chilly to open the hive or rainy.  Both hives have just 2 mediums.  This hive was MUCH stronger than the other one.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2017, 09:37:17 PM »
I was mowing today and while mowing around the "orchard" I noticed this.


One of my hives cast off a swarm.  The other day I went into the hives to put a third medium on each of them.  The hive that cast a swarm that I missed was fine, but the other hive was kind of aggressive.  It was pretty full and I thought it was probably going to cast a swarm.  Must have happened today.  But this time around, it was reachable.  I waited a couple of hours to make sure they didn't have time to regroup and cast off again.  At about sunset, I caught the swarm in a box and they are now in my apiary.  Hopefully they will stay there.  Here's some pics from me catching the swarm.

I used 2 mediums and a screened bottom board.  I used painter's tape to make sure they didn't separate.  This is a shot just after I dropped them into the box.  This was a classic drop.  They weighed down the branches.  I pulled down the branch and let the spring of the branch drop the bees and spring back up.


Another shot of the bees just after dropping them into the box.


Just showing that even though I thought they all fell in the box, a big group of them hit the ground instead of the box.


Not sure why they all went to this end of the box, but they did.  This affected my ability to put the frames into the box.


Once they were pretty much in the box, I moved it into the apiary.  I put an inside cover on top to limit their exposure to the elements.  There were plenty of workers fanning the pheromones out to their sisters.


We can see the rest of the bees working their way up into the hive.


Here's a shot of my apiary now.  Notice that the 3rd spot for a hive has a medium on it's side.  Since the bees were all on one side of the hive, I couldn't put the frames into the top box.  I'm hoping this doesn't cause me any problems.  I think I'll probably give them a couple of days before I go into that hive again.  Then put in the frames.  I'm just hoping that I don't have to scrape off a bunch of comb.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2017, 07:29:12 AM »
Nicely done Fritz, and congratulations for finding a new one to replace the one that flew the coop. You are now making me nervous, and I might go check on the hives I take care of, as last I heard they are filling out the two deeps really quickly.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2017, 07:38:40 AM »
I had a feeling they were going to swarm.  One day last week, I went down to put another medium on the hives. I put on my jacket and veil and headed down.  I figured since I wasn't going to dig through the hives I wouldn't need the smoker.  I popped off the cover and there were bees all over the top of the inner cover.  I popped off the inner cover and they were all up in my face and on the front of my pants and jacket.  I stepped away and lit my smoker.  But it just showed me how many bees were in that hive.

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Offline Cedar

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2017, 08:24:21 AM »
We didn't use packages this year, we got nucs. So with a newbie who checked them last and just texted me what they saw, I am now getting  nervous and heading over there in a bit to check. Sounds like I might do splits on two of them.

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Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2017, 08:25:29 AM »
Cool photos, Fritz!

Offline Stwood

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Re: Fritz's bees
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2017, 02:58:14 PM »
Yes. Great pics.
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