Monday, December 28, 2009

Compost Worms

This is a view of the screened vents, one on each side of the lower castings harvest tray.

This is a view of inside of the worm bin. The bottom grate allows for worm castings to be raked to the collection tray by the rake that is mounted on top of the grate. The thought is that as I pull the rake, the castings will be dislodged to the collection drawer below. I insulated the inside of the worm bin with 3/4 inch rigid foam insulation to help keep a consistant temperature in the bin. The insulation also protects the worm bin from moisture.

This is a view of the rake that has been swept across the grate.

This is the handle of the rake that has been pulled to show you how this works.

The rake is now in its storage position

This is a view of the complete worm bin. It is mounted on 4 casters and has a drawer at the bottom to retrieve the worm castings. A top is not necessary. The idea is that the worms will stay in the top 4 inches of compost (where the food is). The waste will remain at the lower label where this is dislodged with the rake to be harvested. Simple in concept, I just hope it works.

A view of the lower collection bin and drawer. Ventilation holes are also seen.

A better view of the collection tray with collection drawer.

Drawer open for collection of excellent quality worm castings.

Ok, So nothing is going on with the bees other than occasional feeding as needed. The remaining hives are looking good. I started reading about composting and thought this would be a good winter project. I began reading what I could on the web and decided to build a flow-through worm composting bin. I've seen several commercial ones on the net and a few basic ones made from plastic totes. I decided to build one of my own design based on a flow-through system. These systems are easily cleaned and castings are harvested relatively easily. I purchased about 2000 worms from a local worm grower for the bedding of my new worm bin. Check out the photo's. Maybe you will be entertained some how.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fed the Bees

I removed the dead hive from the apiary today. I'll keep the wax in a sealed tote for use next year with a new hive. No sign of disease, the simply starved. So, you guessed it, I fed the other bees today. It was a beautiful day at up to 60 degrees F. The bees were active as well. I fed the bees honey, one quart each hive. Hopefully this will make a difference. I'll keep a check on them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hive Lost Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Ok, I have been busy installing solar on my house and I have neglected to check on my bees like I should have. You guessed it, I lost a hive. There were many dead bees at the entry, I opened the hive, there was about 4 inches of dead bees on the bottom board, that made me frustrated. The combs were empty of any honey. No obvious sign of disease, I think they starved to death. The other 3 hives are doing ok though. This was a hive that I split later this summer. It seems like anytime that I attempt to mess with a hive late in summer, something bad happens to that hive. I must have left them with too few honey stores. O well, you live, you learn. I should have been checking them more often. My fault. Come on winter solstice December 21. I do not like cold weather.