June 21, 2015

Nadiring Honeysuckle

Morning bee activity at Honeysuckle Hive.
By mid-afternoon, traffic is a lot heavier!

I've been keeping an eye on my bees in anticipation of adding more hive boxes. I got the colony as a 3# package two months ago. In Warré beekeeping, boxes are added to the bottom (nadired) rather than added to the top (supered). According to David Heaf in his Natural Beekeeping with the Warré Hive, this is done when drawn comb fills about half of the bottom box, the idea being to add boxes before the bees run out of room and swarm. To monitor progress, I check through my screened bottom board with a mirror. The other day when I looked I saw this

Looking up through the screened bottom into the bottom hive box

Bees were busy building comb in the bottom box. It was time to do the deed. We removed the roof but left the quilt. I gave the cedar shavings a stir and noted that they weren't very damp, which I believe is a sign that ventilation is good. I loosened all around the bottom with my hive tool, to separate it from the stand. There didn't seem to be a lot of propolis, so the job was soon done.

Dan hoisted the hive,


while I quickly slipped two more hive boxes onto the stand.

I did not to pay attention to box order & my honey
suckle "vine" is not aligned! The bottom box has the
observation window, which was built differently.

I questioned whether to add one or two boxes. It's only June and we have a long growing season, so I'm assuming we can use two. The concern for adding them at the same time is that the hive will be top heavy until the lower boxes are filled with comb, brood, and honey. If we had a hive lift we could add one at a time, keeping an eye on how quickly the bees filled them. But with only Dan's back, I figured it would be easier to add two now. One thing I noticed is that there were quite a few bees simply hanging out at the entrance when the hive had only two boxes. With more boxes they aren't; presumably because there is more room inside(?)

Now it's wait and see. I'm not really expecting a honey harvest because this is an establishment year for this colony and the bees' needs are the priority. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy them for what they are.

Next - Getting Ready for Winter.

20 comments:

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Looking at your picture of the mirror view it sure looks like you have a very large bee populations. Who knows, you may just have enough honey produced to harvest a small batch for your first year.

Quinn said...

Exciting! I'm really enjoying vicarious beekeepng :)

Leigh said...

Sandy, I hope so! I think we were off to a slow start because of all the rain we got in April. Then May was super dry. I can't help but think those extreme conditions aren't good for nectar and pollen production. Now it's super hot! I suppose time will tell.

Leigh said...

Pretty fascinating, huh?

Farmer Barb said...

We have had a strange start to our beekeeping with the weather, too. We are having rain but it hasn't been super warm. I have a bunch of Tulip Poplars that have been supplying them with flowers. The pollen is all orange. I see them in the clover, too. My beekeeper has not been back to check them, so I observe them when I go out to the animals. Busy bees!

Leigh said...

At least they have something to forage. :) I'm finding pollen colors interesting. Have you seen that great chart at Wikipedia? It's here.

Harry Flashman said...

Bee keeping requires a lot of work and knowledge. When I used to buy honey from the old bee keeper here, I never realized how much he was putting into it. I could buy a jug of honey from him for $5.00 back then. He is long dead now, and nobody I know of raises bees in the county anymore.

PioneerPreppy said...

I would be very worried that your bees are tunneling at this point. I am not sure what the actual size of those first two boxes are but they do not look much smaller than a normal full sized brood super. If that's the case and they were fully drawn out and filled they should weigh in at about 90 pounds each. With too much room bees will tunnel and only build up and down while ignoring the sides.

The only real danger in giving the bees too much room is pest build up though. Around here it is mostly ants that will move in.

Woolly Bits said...

I don't know much about bee keeping - but even if you don't get any honey, I am sure your pollination of trees and plants will have been much improved! I notice that we have less bees over here year after year - and it's very worrying for fruit harvest at least:(

Renee Nefe said...

my local friend's hives http://www.magisto.com/album/video/cCN_DEwHA1EofX0HDmEwCXt2?fb_ref=l0vsm1o0a1c0f

Leigh said...

Harry, maybe you should take up beekeeping yourself. Then you could be the one selling the honey. :)

Leigh said...

I haven't read anything about tunneling in my Warré resources, so that's something I'll have to research. The inside measurement of each of the boxes is just under 12" on each side, which I assumed is smaller than Langstroth equipment. According to this page at Sweet Valley Hives, a full Warré box contains about two gallons of honey and weighs about 35 - 40 pounds.

Leigh said...

Bettina, if all we get is pollination, that will be a tremendous addition to the homestead. Honey and wax will be the bonus. :)

Leigh said...

For some reason it won't let me see!!!!!!!!! :(

Renee Nefe said...

It could be letting me see it because I've seen it before. But it allowed me to see it when I cut and paste the link into a new window.

Chris said...

Just to verify, I tried it too and while the website loaded, no pictures were displayed. I tried it a second time however, to double check, and it let me!

So maybe try again Leigh? :)

Chris said...

I wonder if the bees on the outside, were a sign they were preparing to swarm? I think you're doing really well with them. :)

Leigh said...

Thanks for that Chris. I tried again but get a message that adobe flash is disabled for that page ????

Leigh said...

That's what I wondered too, so I was very glad to add the boxes. There is a lot of bees coming and going, but they all make it into the hive.

Jake said...

I hadn't seen that chart, so thanks for linking it! It's fun and amazing! I always wondered where my bees were getting their pollen when I see multiple colors coming back to the hive, and now I have another clue! :-)