Home Made Frames and Hive Inspection

All of these were made yesterday from 2x4's

Yesterday, I tried making frames for a beehive from scrap 2×4, a table saw, a miter saw and a sheet of plans.  I wasn’t able to make everything I wanted because I ran out of time.  But I managed to make ten top bars, ten bottom bars, and started twenty-two deep side bars and completed one of them.

I only had about two hours to spend learning how to use a table saw in somewhat creative ways, making several mistakes, and then finally making usable products.  All without loosing any fingers.  For which I am glad.  I won’t have another chance to make frames for another two weeks, so I had to break down and order new hive parts for the larger of the two swarms.  The smaller swarm can probably last a while before I need to expand its hive.

A finished vs unfinished deep side

Speaking of hives, all the hives currently have laying queens.  David was here today to help me inspect all four hives.  The blue hive finally requeened itself and there are eggs in at least two full frames. The green hive is still filling supers and drawing out comb.  The one frame with no foundation in it at all still has nothing in it.  I will be putting some foundation in it sometime in the next week.

The larger of the two swarms is doing exceptionally well.  It is quickly drawing out frames.  The bottom of that hive is made up of an open box.  I suspect that the bees will start filling that with comb before I get in the hive body parts, so I will be learning first hand how to do a cut out.

The queen of the smaller hive was spotted today, along with eggs and larva.  It has also done a good job of pulling out the foundation, but for some reason it started at one side of a super.  It has expanded the brood nest to three frames and is working on a fourth.  The frames with bees got moved to the center of the super in the hope the bees will expand the brood nest more quickly that way.

 

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May I Have a Volunteer

A very small, volunteer cabbage.

I was finishing up moving my compost pile off my garden plot today when I discovered what appeared to be a weed growing in the middle of my garden.  As I went to pull it, I realized it looked suspiciously like the cabbage that was growing there when I moved in three months ago.  I am not sure yet if I will be leaving it to grow where it currently is or if I will transplant it to another location to allow for crop rotation.

I have completely finished moving my compost pile next to the Full Metal Shed.  Now that the grass and weeds are growing, I have started adding clippings to the pile.  This has resulted in a very noticeable increase in the pile’s temperature.  In spots, it is so warm that it feels hot to the tough even thru gloves.  I don’t have a compost thermometer, but I suspect it is well over 100°F.

The green hive is doing well

My hives are still doing wonderful.  I’ve been keeping feeders on both hives and they are going thru feed like crazy.  The jar in the picture was full two days ago, which puts it about 7 oz of feed a day.

In the greenhouse, more peas are starting to emerge from the soil, but it looks pretty much like it did a couple of days ago.  I am planning on starting another batch zucchini seeds sometime this week, as there are still only two plants sprouted.  Those two plants have gotten so large, I’ve had to remove the covers as they are touching.

First Hive Inspection of 2012

I had my brother-in-law over today and we opened the hives for the first time this year for an inspection.  We got the hives last year around May, just in time to miss the main nectar flow here.  This year, we have full, healthy hives and are expecting to get some honey.

One of the two hives, the one in a sky blue box, looks ready to explode.  It has 9 full frames of brood, all in the top brood box, and a very prolific queen.  The other hive in green had six frames of brood, but had much better food stores than blue.

We cleared off some of the burr comb and set it aside to do something with it later.  The brood boxes were swapped. We did this as bees tend to move upwards, but don’t move back down.  By swapping the two boxes, the queen will move upwards into what used to be the bottom box.  Each year the boxes will be swapped, so they are constantly moving upwards, but not needing additional space to do so.

The bees were a bit angry about us doing this, and a couple followed us arround for a while, even after we closed the hives I will keeping the feeders full for the next couple of weeks to help the hives build up for the spring nectar flow.  I am looking forward to a good season.