Monday, April 22, 2013

New Farm Critters

I put an ad on Craigs List for the baby turkeys that were hatching and also to sell turkey eggs.   One phone call I received was from a couple who raises pigs so I bartered.  I offered to hatch them turkeys for a couple of pigs that we could raise and later breed.

Papa Bear and I completed their pen and shelter and picked them up a few days ago.  They are both Babcocks .  The little white one has been named Miss Piggy and the black one is Kermit!

The goats have never seen such critters before and lined the fence.  It was funny.  They looked like an audience waiting on something to happen.   I did entertain them for awhile.  Miss Piggy had louse pretty bad on her so I tried to catch her and spray her with some medication but she was having none of it.  I finally just sprayed the stuff at her as she ran by me until I got her good and wet with the stuff.

Great Nephew thought they were pretty cool little critters and spent most of the day in the pen with them.  Hopefully this time next year we will have a bunch of Miss Piggy's and Kermit's.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

@#$% BEE"S

and now for the rest of the story.....

No pictures today.  I told Papa Bear to stay far away while I handled todays situation. He got enough stings taking pictures yesterday.

I planned on putting a frame of eggs into the brood box today as Pioneer Preppy at the Stronghold  suggested.

I milked the goats this morning.  The little spoiled things were out of Alfalfa pellets so I needed to go to Tractor Supply.  I decided to run my errands and then deal with the bees.

I got back home and Papa Bear and I were standing outside at my Mom's who is next door when a swarm of Bee's started clouding the air. Almost at the same time as yesterdays swarm.  Papa Bear jumped in the golf cart to chase them and I ran to the Apiary to see if they were ours.

I got to the Apiary and opened the hive we had put the swarm in from yesterday and the little witches were gone!  On second thought I opened the top from the swarm we installed on the second of April and they were gone as well....CRAP!

The only thing different I did with the week old swarm is yesterday I took a feeder from the top and put anew feeder I had ordered on the front.  I didn't like it when I put it on as it has a space on each side that robber bees can get to.  I don't know if this is what caused them to leave or not.  When I checked them yesterday they had drawn out part of a frame but I did not take the time to see if the queen was laying.  I assume not as I did not think they would leave eggs.

I walked back toward the house and saw the empty golf cart sitting by the fence.  Papa Bear had jumped the fence and was following the bees.  He called me and told me to suit up he was coming after me and the equipment.  

This time the swarm was over a thousand feet from the hive and was up in a tree far enough that I needed a small ladder.  I sent Papa  Bear back for an empty brood box as I saw after the first attempt in shaking into a bucket, this was going to take a while.

I must have got the queen on the second try of getting them in my bucket.  When I shook that bunch into the hive, the others slowly started gathering on the outside of the brood box.  I had the opening blocked and when I opened it a little they started going in.

I put a bungee cord around the brood box and it and myself rode on the tailgate of the truck back to the Apiary.  I opened up my established hive and stole another frame of eggs and put it in at once with this swarm. 

Papa Bear came in from taking hay to the spoiled goats and told me to go look at one of my swarm traps.  It had bees all over it and they were going in.  This is either one of my swarms I lost today or another.  Doesn't matter to me.  I am back up to what I had yesterday.  We got those tonight and I put them in a medium super.  I want to do an experiment to see if I like it better than the brood boxes.

I saw a couple of frames of brood in the bottom super of the established hive so as soon as I milk in the morning I will take those frames out and give them to the swarm.  Maybe this time they will stay.

I will be camping out at the Apiary tomorrow around 1:00 PM....just in case!   


Monday, April 8, 2013

Caught another swarm today !!!!!

...but it was mine!

Papa Bear called and said he was picking me up, something was happening in the apiary.  When we arrived at the bee yard there were thousands of bees in the air.  I told him our hive was swarming but to just watch and we'd see where they were going as I had read they do not go far to begin with.  I had seen 3 queen cells in the main hive Saturday and thought I had a few more days until they emerged to give me time to set up another nuc...WRONG!

Sure enough they landed on a limb of a fallen tree from the last storm about 50 feet from their hive .  I went back to the house for a bee suit and sent Papa Bear after a bucket with a lid.

Every time I shook the limb I would get a bunch of bees but hundreds would fly back into the air.  By the time I would get that bucket load shook out into the new hive  and go back to the limb they would be settled again. 

 Now that is a bucket of bees!  Not to mention they were all over me! 

I think I made four trips to shake another bucket into the hive.

 I am trying to get the last of the bunch here.  I tried to cut the branch off with some loppers but it was so dry it snapped and fell before I could catch it and a pile of bees hit the ground and the remainder took to flight again.  I am praying the entire time that I had already gotten the queen.

 They buzzed angrily for some time after I got them tucked in and fed so I was a little worried I had lost the queen but after a couple of hours they seem to be settled in.

What a day!...I am so thankful Papa Bear saw this going on so we could capture the swarm, even if it was ours!  We had no guarantee they would have went into one of our traps.

Mama Bears stings for the day 0
Papa Bear 6...that man has got to learn to suit up! 

Bee-utiful Sunday

Papa Bear was riding around the property testing out the truck after repairing the radiator He called me to say that there were a few bees around the SE trap!

A few minutes later he called to tell me there were a few bees checking out the SW trap.  I wanted to see! Papa Bear picked me and the grandson up. We checked all the traps and all five of the traps we have up had some activity around them.  I do hope the bees liked the traps and move in this week.  How exciting!  It will be awesome if we are outside and be able to see a swarm go into one of them.

I will be getting ready just in case and setting up more brood boxes in the apiary today.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Caught My Frst Bee Swarm!!!

Yesterday when Papa Bear was cutting the weeds grass outside the bee yard he noticed some activity at one of our swarm traps. 

Rather than use the hole in the bottom they were going in and out of the gap that didn't quite pull to when we screwed the pots together.   We decided to give them another day and then get them tonight.  

We took two frames out of the center of a brood box and shook the bee's in.  They were a little angry so I calmed them with some smoke.

 The trap felt really light when I took it down from the post so I was surprised to see this many bees...Needless to say we were thrilled!

In just the day or two they were in the trap, they had built several small combs.  These were a few of the bees that didn't want to leave the comb until I tapped them hard on the top of the frames. We didn't get a picture but I cut the comb loose and rubber banded it to an empty frame and put it in the center of the brood box to encourage them to stay.

This is a beautiful sight to see!   I managed to shake out almost all of the bees into the hive.  There was about 5 or 6 still crawling around inside the top of the trap so we left it propped in front of the hive.  I'll fetch it early in the morning as it has some comb scraps with a little honey.  I don't want to take a chance on robbers.  I put an entrance reducer and will observe them tomorrow to see if a robber screen is needed.   I would not think so as there is nothing in there but the 3 small combs but this really is my first rodeo!

Macho Man Papa Bear didn't wear his bee suit again and got two stings in the tummy...  I wonder how many stings it is going to take before he decides to wear it?

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