Second pass with Round Up to control the perennials in the corn and soybeans, then back into the cereals and canola with fungicide. The technology we have to crop is simply amazing. We have many tools now which help manage our weed, pest and fungal crop risks. Risk management plays an important role on our farm.
We hit a heavy start to the honey flow, alfalfa, clover and canola flowers must be dripping with nectar because these boxes are filling up. More honey boxes asap!
We are 2/3 through the split hive queen check and consistently finding over 90% mating success. Frames like the picture below is what I have been seeing all day long until we started the last mating yard. This last yard was set up a bit later. It seems with the later mating and the heavy start to the flow the bees plugged the hives with honey before the queens got a chance to lay properly…now with supers ontop, the bees should make room below.
I typically set up my split hives with two frames of foundation on either side of the nest. By doing this it helps buy me time when I need the time the most. I’ll exchange these with brood comb and use the newly drawn frames in my supers.
We started the long overdue split hive queen checks this afternoon. The first mating yard of 130 hives ran a mating success of 92%. That and 4-5 solid frames of brood. I couldn’t be happier with the way these queens are laying. Supers needed asap. Another 200 hives to queen check, super and then move them all out to their summer yards.
We now work a weekly graft which will continue throughout the remainder of the season. The cells will be used in our minis to mate and the extra cells will be used to fix up problem hives within the apiary as we find them. We have simplified our cell starter unit. The starters are simply queenless with a continuous rotation of brood frames through and shook bees into it. The incubator helps us keep the starter working to our weekly schedule.
A couple more days inserting excluders and then we get into the long over due split hive queen checks. These units will get supered, regrouped and moved out to the fields. Spot checks show good things…
Today we started to insert excluders. We worked through 240 hives today which leaves 1000 left to go. The hives are in tremendous shape. We are adding thirds to everything. As school finishes up my summer staff has started to file in for work. My work schedule is flexible to accommodate time needed for exams and grad. With my two guys now, this summer I’m adding another four. Busy times ahead
This time of year everything happens so fast! I’ve been putting in the extra effort these last few days skimming the boomers and boosting the smaller in an effort to relieve my swarming pressure. I’m having trouble harnessing some of these yards…
The flow began on one side of my apiary this weekend and it’s close everywhere else. These hives are ready to explode!! Over the next 10 days we will insert excluders and super everything up into thirds. Queen checks on the splits start asap, new yards will be gathered, supered and moved out to their summer yards.
Our livestock nutritionist brought me some of their companies honey bee protein supplement, Bee Pollen-ate.
A yeast based supplement formulated by AllTech. Mixed with HFCS, the product mixes like water ( I mixed 100 lbs batch with a power drill), poured into moulds and it set up like cake in about an hour. We cut and wrap with wax paper.
Bee uptake is the best I’ve seen. We are near the end of a heavy dearth, one pound of patty placed last week is GONE, replaced with sheets of lush larvae.
I’ve found my protein supplement, scratch the need for a mortar mixer.
I finally got some microscope images of mites from a biter colony. Unfortunately the lighting prevents a good view of the legs, but some detail can be seen. There are various mutilations, but the most common was a bite across the shell, or a missing let or two. Some had massive damage (no legs), while most were minimal. I did see a mite fully intact but dead, or so I thought. As I staged a photo, I noticed the mite’s legs twitching. Over time it began increasing movement but very uncoordinated. I’ve heard the bee’s bite contains a chemical that paralyzes it’s target so it can be discarded from the hive without a fight. This appears to be the case. I never saw the mite regain normal mobility over about a half hour. There are often bees in the bottom of these hives cleaning the mites out with other debris, so I assume most paralyzed mites are removed before they can awake. This would explain why I’ve had a hard time catching many on the boards to photograph. I hope you find these photos useful. Did you get any biters to try out this season?”
We are heavy into derth and the bees are bringing in very little. We feed protein supplement to bridge our spring and summer flows. High time for supplemental feeding. Large nests have been stimulated by our lush spring. I want to maintain that growth right into summer.
We started with patties and pails today and followed with brood shifting to equalize the yards. 70% of the hives are perfect 25% need brood pulled, 15% need a boost.