Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, Sept. 28th...Continuing with mentor, Pat Ennis's, help. Diane and I really enjoyed our lunch and work session today, with Alissa and Lexi a part of the day as well. Second and final fall medicated bucket of sugar water (2-1) with Fumagillan B (rounded tsp/gal.) provided. I have one more dusting of Terramycin (3 dustings of 2 tablespoons per hive body, 4-5 days apart) scheduled for Tuesday. Then, on Sunday, October 4th, the 3rd of 5 or 6 dustings, depending on the weather, of powdered sugar (one cup of powdered sugar sifted per hive body) for varroa mite control...Productive day of work with Pat as he showed me the aggressive way to load up and fire up a smoker to make sure you've got good smoke to last with hive work on both colonies. I've been too tentative with packing up smoker fuel and then getting it flaming well before adding the final chips and grass for fuel. Both hives have some mites that need interventions but not bad enough to require going beyond natural methods (powdered sugar dustings and mite traps with Crisco) for now. Hive A has good brood patterns in the lower body with capped honey, chucked full, in the upper hive body. Larger population when compared to hive B but they haven't hit the medicated sugar pails quite as hard as the weaker colony due to the rich supply of honey stores they've created in their upper hive body.
Hive B is a little weaker and has not filled up a couple of brood frames on the upper hive body BUT they did go up and pull comb and cap some honey in the honey super provided weeks ago. SO...I've removed the honey supers from both hives, crowding the colonies for maximum brood and honey poduction in the hive bodies to sustain their health over the winter. Also, added entrance reducers with the small opening to prevent mice entering and keeping the colonies warmer as the fall temps begin to drop.

Extra bits: Learned how to balance heavy supers bracing/leaning on the end of the box below and then tilting for inspection. Broke open some hanging drone cells at the bottom of some brood frames to inspect for mites and found none, although we did see a mite on a couple of bees when inspecting hard. No deformed wings spotted so a situation hopefully not too bad and under control. Need to add some Vita B Pollen substitute on the enclosed inner cover, with sticks under the syrup pails, allowing bees to crawl under the pails and up into the bucket area to access the dry pollen substitute...want them to eat lots! Need to check within a few days to see if the empty frames in the top hive body of hive B is getting drawn out with comb and honey supply for winter...If not, Pat indicated that he would provide me with drawn frames to encourage late honey stores for the weaker colony. Good guy and wonderful mentor!

The vision continues with the initial planting, two weeks ago, of our mini-orchard...4 Halared and 4 Golden Honey apple trees at 5-6 feet tall, with mulch, fencing, and water pails installed to give us a head start next spring. Close to the bee hives and trail with a long hose provided to facilitate effective and timely watering. This spring I'll add 8 Honey Crisp trees to the orhard plan and then enjoy (and I'm sure be challenged) as nature does her "thing" over the next few years:) Hoping to have some wonderful stories to tell, honey, apples and firewood to sell (and give away), healthy water and fish population in the pond for kids and grandkids to swim in, catch fish and frogs in and generally enjoy with lots of fun adventures...All the while learning about nature, embracing her God-given gifts and helping to protect her as our modern world continues to cause complex and serious problems all over the Earth. The saga continues and life is so good!

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