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Whoa, doggie!

In my last post, I asserted that this past weekend would be the beginning of a Nuc or two in my yard. This was all based on my discovery of drones walking on the brood nest in the Larry Hive on Friday. If I had walking drones, then 14 or 15 days later (when my virgins would emerge from the walkaway splits) drones would definitely be flying about and ready to mate. Fortunately, I went out to do a full Spring breakdown inspection on both of the hives at Westover (Curly and Apache.) I found no drones in either hive and Curly is a sister hive (similar genetics) to Larry. Being conservative, I decided to wait one more week.

Feral Bee Hive in Tree Knot

When I arrived at Westover Plantation, the first thing I checked was the old knot hole where my Westover Hive (and subsequently the William Byrd Hive) originated in a swarm last April. I had yet to see any real activity until Saturday. It was alive with bees, going to and fro, bringing in some of the bright yellow pollen that my two hives were bringing in, no doubt. It was good to see that they were still alive and doing well. I hope to get up two swarm traps within the next week or two to take advantage of any other casts that they make.

I have taken some scrap wood and built Nuc-sized boxes that can hang on a tree. Within it, I am placing a frame of comb and several frames of foundation. Finally, a drop or two of lemongrass oil at the entrance and it’s good to go. The beauty of this trap is that the drawn comb makes it appealing and they will immediately start to draw out frames that I can put into a Deep once I discover that the trap is full. Last year, I didn’t get them built until late May, so they didn’t have a good shot. I am very hopeful this  year!

A bee flying with full pollen baskets

Both of the hives on the grounds were doing well. Apache was the hive that went queenless last September (for reasons that I have no idea of). I combined them with my Apache Nuc (laden with the young hygienic queen from out near Farmville). As one might expect, the bees took up residence in the upper Deep where the Apache queen was laying last Fall. The bottom deep was full of nectar and the top medium was full of capped honey (sugar syrup based, for the most part.) I simply swapped the Deeps and removed the medium (and also replaced the old bottom board with a newly painted SBB – insert in place for now.) They were bringing in a ton of bright yellow pollen (compared to the dull gray of most of my yards), which I now believe was due to the dandelions.  After setting up a new yard near Shirley Plantation this weekend, I can see that the lands near the river are about a week ahead of the yards inland, on bloom season. They have tons of dandelions in bloom, as opposed to a basic start inland.

It was a good weekend, to be sure. The bees are bringing in tons of supplies and should really ramp up over the next 3 weeks. There should be a lot of opportunities to prep my mediocre hives for honey build and my stellar hives for increase. It is even looking good for my queen rearing experiment, as I should have a hive or two to use for the Starter and Finisher hives. Well, back to churning out more frames! This weekend I start a trap out and attempt a smoke out. Both will be adventures, I am sure.

5 comments to Whoa, doggie!

  • “(laden with the young hygienic queen from out near Farmville)”
    That wouldn’t be Bobby Oaks Would it? If so our bees are related. He said they would brood up fast in Spring.

  • It would indeed, Hemlock. I am looking forward to seeing how these bees do. I have no genetics from outside of my area except this one queen, so I have great interest in Her Majesty. I cannot give an accurate accounting of her progress, as she is my only Fall combine from last year. I am happy with her progress however.

    I’m glad to meet another beekeeper in the area (I see you have a blog which I will check and get on my Richmond Resources page this evening, when I return from an evening out with the wife). I’d like to think about a future Nuc exchange (not this year, but later.)

  • I have two of the VSH queens from Bobby. They over wintered very well. One will soon start laying in the second deep. The other has at least six frames of brood in each Deep already so I put a honey super on. That’s the one I plan to cull frames for the nucs out of.

    Bobby lost all of his locally queened hive hives & nucs this winter (forty). All he has now are the VSH’s. His plans are to make splits for himself and NOT SELL QUEENS! I want to get some honey this year but I’m going to try to make as many nucs as I can manage.

    Healthy Bees & more more honey to you.

  • Good lord. What happened to his bees?

  • Doug Ladd

    It is my opinon and based on facts knowing Bobby personally that he had stopped a few years back treating his hives with anything and even when he was, he was using acedic acid vaporization (vinegar). More than likely Bobby saw the results of the live or let die scenario from not treating. Bobby keeps very strong bees, pay close attention, and is a very good beekeeper, so it wasnt for lack of attention.

    I too am having very good luck with Bobby’s queens and have ordered 2 Glen Aparies VSH and VSHxCarnie II queens this year and made sure that Tom Glen knew to NOT give me queens and drone stock from relative stock to Bobby’s.

    Bobby has become a firm believer over the past year and half to the VSH and hygenic behavior.

    He once was completly against all “grey or dark bees” but now laughingly jokes about not caring anymore what color the bees are…LOL

    I think when we take on live or let die, we assume we have enough bees to lose a large majority near 90% and still continue on with what we have left. The good years are luck in the beginning IMO, the next years are up to your breeding and selection and even still you can and probably will assume large losses.

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