Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mid-July Update

It’s mid July and while there are a lot of bees, there isn’t much in the form of food for them to gather.  A quick inspection of the hive validated my concern for them, the third box that was put on many, many weeks ago remains undrawn.  The second box has something drawn on all eight frames with one comb being less than a quarter of the frame.  It’s all very frustrating.  The constant rain has kept things from blooming the way they are supposed to, which I’m sure hasn’t helped the bees. 
I started feeding several weeks ago, with the large hive top feeder.  What happened a day later was it was full of large black ants. We removed that and put the jar feeder on in hopes of getting food to the bees and figuring out a way to stop the ants.  The ants have repeatedly filled the tray on the bottom board and the cover it’s enough to drive a person crazy.  We’ve put tangle foot on the hive stand legs again and again, I don’t know how they get through it.  I’ve now taken to dusting the cover and inner cover with cinnamon in hopes that this will repel them, because we’ve got to put the hive top feeder back on, they are going through a jar of sugar syrup a day, this does not bode well for the fall and winter.
Today when we did our inspection of the hive they were not pleased, these are some seriously grumpy girls.  We saw two small hive beetles in the tray and one in the second box.  It’s time to fill the tray with water and a smidge of oil, perhaps I’ll use some cinnamon oil too, the smell might aid in the ants repulsion.  I hate the Langstroth, I mean I absolutely loath it!  It is impossible not to crush bees when restacking those stupid boxes or even attempting to move frames.  It doesn’t matter how slow and methodical we move or how much smoke or sugar water we use, bees get crushed and it’s a horrid noise.  I can’t wait to get my Top Bar Hive going again next year, that is so much easier to work with and observe.
Lesson learned, I had a suspicion I’d hate those things and I was right.  If I get it my way I’ll have a yard full of my hybrid TBH in the future!  Send some sunshine and positive vibes to my bees please, they are going to need all the help they can get!

Compost is going to happen!

I have had bins, I have had big round compost heaps and they have all had the same frustrating outcome…no compost.  I admit it, I want to du...