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Messages - Rojodiablo

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All about beekeeping / Re: Nighttime brawl....... up in a tree!!!
« on: September 26, 2020, 11:36:43 PM »
Locally, around my house, and the hills where this church is (12 miles away) have a good mix of natural growth that is giving up pollen late, and seems to be a lot of flowering different plants.
In Alpine, where my other hives are, and where that big fire in San Diego was centered, it's really dry, and they are ok, but not pulling in stores well. Very little moisture to power a goldenrod rush. The buckwheat went dry.

All about beekeeping / Nighttime brawl....... up in a tree!!!
« on: September 26, 2020, 12:47:23 AM »
Got a call from a church in Fullerton Ca. the other day; an owl box the had up in a tree got taken over by bees. About 18 feet off the ground, in a big pecan tree. I agreed to come grab the whole box, they said the bees were quiet and docile, but just getting bigger and bigger.

    Set up for an evening removal today, like 5:30/6pm. Got the ladder up, I have a pulley setup from my roofing days that makes the ladder a crane of sorts. I suit up, climb the ladder, get into the tree..... All is good. The girls are milling about, pretty calm. I put the straps on the box, and they start to buzz me, and are irate. I smell vanilla, and it's getting stronger. I smoke 'em a good bit. They don't change their attitude one bit; if anything, they get worse. I start taking hits thru the suit. Ankles get attacked, hammered. I HAVE to lift this box so my son can lower them with the rope&wheel...... This causes great grief, I am totally swarmed. Ugggh. Just get it OVER WITH! I lift, and swing them free of the tree, and warn John of what is coming down to visit him. (DON'T LET THAT ROPE LOOSE AND DROP THOSE BEES, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!)
      He lowers hell down to his level, and on the ground. He's a trooper, he helps set the ladder straight so I don't fall, and I tell him to un-ass the area, and I will work them. Go grab the shop vac, and put water in it......
We beat them up, and bust them down. After about half the hive is vacuumed up, they mellow out. Not to mention, I smoked them out more than Cheech and Chong..... Decided there was no practical reason to save these bees, and I don't have queens to replace the genetics, and I don't really want them around my house. Vacuumed them up, have about 25,30lb of honey and a lot of wax to use.
    Ankles hurt like hell now, throbbing sore. The mean bees, seems their venom is stronger, the stings that got thru the veil into my neck don't feel so good either, but not as bad as my ankles. I showed the church manager a couple pics of our legs, neck, hands..... she was really nice; said "Just send us an invoice; thank you for taking them away." ..........Doing God's work for an evening. ;)

Since I no flow this year I dont have extra honey but this thread has some interesting  responses. I havent heard of making patties with honey. I know my grandfather fed honey back to bees from jars. Perhaps someone could start a thread with the different ways to feed honey back to bees for us beginners. I have set frames at distance robbing station from some deadouts but the the extent of my exoerience.
I have to be real careful at my house with everything honey, food related, because we have a lot of ants and they can be savage when they need food. I like to put frames in a box, 3 frames to a 5 frame nuc box, and put them on a table in the yard, with bowls of water under the table feet to keep the ants out for a couple days while the bees clean up. I found that by keeping the frames kinda pen like this, the bees of several hives get to the frames without much fighting. The frames are well exposed to sunlight as well, and this allows me to get them cleaned out without a moth infestation.
For comb from cutouts with a mix of brood and dirty honey I like to put them in a big low flat tupperware container and then set it out on a table. Two weeks ago it was stupid hot here, and I put some water in the tupperware and loaded it with combs, they float and give the bees a way to get to water easily and climb back out. There was minimal drowning, and the bees were happy enough, and the honey mixing into the water made them really go to it hard. They cleaned the heck out of it all, and I am going to do that more with my cutout combs in the future.

Last year I got mugged by moths. I don't have a lot of beetles, so for this I am thankful. Looking for a hygrometer today, will check th stuff and then pull most everything I can, based on thae moisture content.

I guess side bonus....... if I pull all the frames that are close as it were- I'm looking at another 70-100lb of honey from these hives.
I like the idea of making some pollen sub patties using the honey if it's not really dehydrated, great idea. Thanks!

Vaden, I am thinking our bees dont starve out easily in winter, but if they need that honey..... with the excluder in, what kind of risk of starving out the queen because sh cant reach the food? I have seen her move onto capped honey, have the workers clear it out, then lay eggs in the comb, and I'd rather see her take a few  clean honey frames, rather than screw up and starve her out.

Seen a hive from the northern area where this was exactly what happened, but I don't think we have the same risks.

On a side note; if you know a decent property between Port St Lucie and Orlando, my son is there, closer to Orlando than Lucie now. Looking for a house for him, I am in a spot where I can help him out to get into something. If you know a place, a small house would be cool, on a lot big enough to park some kind of fishing boat and maybe sneak a few hies in under his nose..... :P Please let me know. He's just starting out, and I'd like to get him settled if the stars align right.

All about beekeeping / A very different question about pulling honey......
« on: September 02, 2020, 08:41:51 PM »
This one will be lengthy....... and wordy. (Sorry)  :P But I think te answers will shed a lot of light on honey pulling for newer beekeepers, so here goes:
I have several hives in my yard that were pretty stacked with honey; large bee populations, and most wound up with 2 honey supers, one wound up with three. I saw fully loaded, capped frames a couple months ago, and since they were working like mad, and so was I, I put an extra box on, and walked away for a while. Subsequent checks saw frames built out and filled, but not as much capped as the first boxes were. The two biggest hives had 3 honey supers, the bottom one 100% capped, the second half capped, the third built out between 10-90%, varying levels of nectar and honey in them.

Some of the capped honey wound up opened up, yet still full. I think when the heat wave hit, they tapped into the food fast, things went dry quick, and the flow stopped cold for like 3 weeks. Let's say these frames were 60-85% capped, and most of them were still 100% capped. I pulled these, and even the uncapped sections are like roofing tar, very dehydrated and thick. Good stuff!

Now, the second box, has been on a good while. 3 months give or take. Almost completely full, and about 20% capped. It's thick, and does not drip if I tip a frame sideways for a couple minutes. If I give them a shake out, I have no drips from nectar, it's dried beyond that.

The upper boxes are nowhere near ready, so I am letting them stay on the hives. So here's my conundrum....

Do I pull the second super, and maybe leave a frame or two in the upper box, then move it down? We do not freeze (Santa Ana California. They will fly 350 days a year here.) But I get the feeling I should pull the queen excluders within a couple weeks, and allow them access to that upper box for lean times and I know come November, December they will slow down a lot, and need to access the reserves for more body heat. Am trying to find a hygrometer on Friday to check moisture content.

So, for guys with more seasons at this, your thoughts? 1. Double box for brood and resources, no excluder, no 3rd box? OR, double brood box, giving them the upper or a mix from the upper and #2 super, and then keep the excluder and a 3rd box on top?
2. To the 3 deep hives, completely remove the 3rd box, give them the upper box for resources and no excluder?

We will get eucalyptus coming in late October, Nov. This is year round growing, so there are always trees and ground flowers blooming, so it's not likely they will outright starve regardless how dumb I am. (But I do give them 1/1 to help build comb when there is no honey supers on.) I know for my San Diego bees, I am in full emergency feed and salvage mode on them, for the next two months. These are a different issue, and not nearly so dire.

Thoughts please, I think a lot of us who are seeing their first big honey pulls are having similar questions about this. Thanks!!! ;D

I got both coming, the ten pound pails, and the 50 pound patty mix that's labeled as economical from Mann Lake. The bummer is, there is darn near zero pollen coming in, and they are stressed at the moment. Going back to feed them this weekend, trying to keep them going for a few more weeks till the heat breaks. (110+ forecast for them this weekend. )  :o


MY bees down south are struggling from a lack of pollen at the moment pretty bad. Temps were 100+ for the last 3 weeks nonstop, and they do have water available, but there is almost no pollen coming in right now. There is a lot of eucalyptus that is starting to bloom a few miles away and at a higher altitude, where it's say 10 degrees cooler especially at night. That means the eucalyptus in the valley is about three to five weeks away unless we cool down a whole bunch. (October....) So I do feel they need a pollen sub to get them thru. What would you choose?

I've learned that once you have a new queen in the hive....... you have to just wait it out a bit to see if they settle in and get going. It can make you nutty, as one new queen drops a half a frame of eggs in a day, yet the queen next door seems content to wait till you die of old age or she has no workers left.  :P

UPDATE: More than half the splits I moved south did not requeen successfully. That heatwave hit like a ton of bricks, and started drying out the buckwheat really bad.  have a few doing ok, bringing in pollen and some nectar, chugging along. I have a few dead outs, and a couple on life support.
Strangely, I have caught 5 swarms locally within 15 miles of me in the last 2 weeks; and better than half started laying eggs almost immediately. Going to try and pump them up so they can be large enough to make it thru winter.

All about beekeeping / Re: Feeding
« on: August 28, 2020, 08:04:59 PM »
Take a walk around where your bees are kept, and see what's blooming, from small to large. I have near my house several hedges that have tiny flowers on them..... loaded with bees. I have some bigger flowers around that don't have a single bee on them, ever, as best I can tell.
My southern bee yard did real well until this mad heat showed up mid August; it's probably similar to your area (Alpine, Ca) They are in a dearth, and I have to go feed them quite a bit nowadays. They are pulling almost no pollen, so I have to keep them fed until the heat breaks and some new growth will go off, and there will be some trees that will flower for fall. The numbers will drop, not much new brood will be formed. But if you see little to no pollen coming in, and it's a small hive still, I would feed a protein patty to them to keep them laying and growing for the next month or two and then the fall and wintering plants will start up for them.
Your bees city/ urban bees, or desert bees, or mountain bees?

I didn't think this was a good time to do splits. If there are drones why not.
Like a half dozen splits, and 4 of six made it and are laying. Two are gonna bite the dust. :o No queen,and this ranch is two hours away from me, I can't possibly go twice a week to check on them. I am consigned to the fact I will be letting nature play a bigger role than the hives at my house.
I agree with you, it's really late in the season to make a split, drones or not. But I had to....... so that's where we are.  :P

So, an update: The splits from the two big hives are on fire. The box in the pic above, I believe I took the queen home on that one. I put a box on top of them (10 frames...... I seen what they do with less!!!  ;D ) And a small feed bottle. They made 4 frames up in a week, and she's laying hard on them!
Center box did not make a queen. I gave them a hot new frame from the big hive, they got their chance........ won't even look for two weeks, let them do their thing.
Third box, successfully made a new queen. She's laying eggs, and all is good for now.  8)

My friend's family has a few hives, and they had been busy, and not working their hives much, for a considerable time. He said the hives went vicious on him, and his mom, and the bee tender friends who are there (It's like a retreat) are older, and in no way able to deal with the bees....... so come out, and do whatever it takes, whether it's remove them, spank their hiney's, or set fire to them if need be. :P I asked him how long since they had been opened up and checked.......... "Oh, a long time. At least say seven months."

I went in, expecting and prepared for once for a dogfight. They were pretty aggressive, but not insane. I have dealt with quite a few, and am trying to learn the how and why of their aggressiveness at times. And I got it right this time!

Three hives, a single, then a double, then a double. The single wasn't just bearding, it had a good inch and a half of bees all the way around the box. They really needed like 3 boxes. So many bees. I decided to split them, to just take off pressure for the population, and give them new frames to work. Pulled a ton of bees, split up the frames- most the frames were old, and locked together, propylized. Cut stuff up, cleared it out, and reset new frames between old frames. And they settled down, a lot.
Next hive, high numbers, not bad. Just juggled stuff around, and pulled a few frames. Strangely, the entire hive was up top, bottom box was empty comb. No food, no bees, nothing. All ten frames up top loaded.
Last hive...... top box was hell under the lid. They had a separator board under the lid. Glued down, comb under, and op top of the separator. Everything stuck to itself. The entire box, slammed full of bees..... and only 6 frames inside.  :o They built every single inch of the hive shut. Comb on comb, cross comb, burr comb....... a lake of honey falling out of everything. I pried out one big busted section of comb, and the bees got froggy, I took twenty quick hits. So I just scooped the whole box off the top..... 92lb box, and replaced it with a new box with ten frames, and locked them up.
The 3 splits are in my yard, and it looks like they are making it two weeks later.  :D Here's the clogged box, yesterday. They have cleaned it up inside and it's crazy how much they built in there!

All about beekeeping / Re: Washboarding/Overheating?
« on: July 23, 2020, 10:59:52 PM »
I'm in Northeast Louisiana. It's hot as Hades & just as humid.  Thank you for your help!
You guys get wicked cold snaps in parts of Louisiana, so what I have for my hives is a simple piece of cardboard that will drop in the screen  cutout (Screen is on bottom so there s a pocket in the hive) I lift the box up off the bottom a bit, and my son or a friend reaches in and drops the cardboard in the hole. It's not a super tight fit; it allows some airflow still, but blocks like 95% of the opening.

The girls will glue that thing in, very fast........ Like two weeks and its IN. That's why I use cardboard. When it gets warmer, I just tear it out easily, and the hive breathes.

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