Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Temps Dropping/Merry Christmas

I covered the two hives that are remaining in the backyard with a tarp. Was careful not to occlude their entrance/exit. I did not harvest honey from them this fall in hopes that they will have enough honey to make it through the winter without starving. I'll keep an eye on them just in case. I hope all my followers have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you for commenting on my postings, especially you Kat.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

July Swarm Lost

Well, Today is December 10, 2010 and I checked on the swarm that was caught earlier this year in July. See posting below. The hive was nearly empty of bees. No honey, no brood, only empty comb. This has happened to me every year when I catch a swarm after May. I am convinced a swam in July really is not worth a fly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Swarm In July Is Not Worth a Fly.

Regardless of the title of this post, I have caught another swarm. Today is July 2 2010. I have never had much success with swarms caught this late in the season but I am going to give it a try. I plan to feed this hive more often. Maybe it will make it through the winter. We will see. See following video of this swarm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Honey Harvest Report

Today I harvested the honey from one of my hives in the backyard. This hive has one brood hive and 3 supers. All 3 supers were full of capped honey. Yielded 8.5 gallons of sweet light color honey. I was overwhelmed with the honey that this hive produced this year. Video to follow soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

First Harvest

My Dad and I harvested the honey from two of his hives. We were careful to only obtain the capped frames, yielded 3 1/2 gallons. Not bad but certainly not great. This was a darker honey as well. Had fun doing this. I think our next harvest with his hives will be in about a month and a half.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Not much happening with the bees lately other than adding supers as needed. Swarm season is pretty much over here in North East Louisiana. Here they begin swarming at the end of March and the first few weeks of April. After that, swarms are not common. Should be harvesting the first hives within a couple of weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bees in the Garden

This is an overview of my garden. Lettuce, onion, potatos, tomatoes, peppers, and oregano. I am going to plant peanuts this weekend.
Blanc Dubois grapes looking great this year. They are loaded.

Just pretty

Romane lettuce. (I think that is how you spell it)

Swarm Transfer from Bucket

Finished with the swarm transfer

Almost done with the transfer. The base is some styrofoam that I found on the side of the road. It makes a good platform for my bee hive.

Have you ever seen the inside of a swarm hive in a bucket?

Ok, I finally opened the bucket lid after much distress. The bees had built several sections of honey comb in the top lid.

Yep, there is a swarm in there.

Could that be a swarm in my bucket?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another Swarm Caught

Today I checked on my swarm boxes and noticed that the 5 gallon bucket (see earlier post) swarm catch now has a rather large swarm in it. I am thrilled that this worked. Now you guys can replicate what I did and feel confident that you are doing the correct thing to catch a swarm.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blackberries and Bees

I now have 5 hives on the tree farm. They are doing well. I should be getting lots of honey this year.

There is lots of blackberrys at the farm. The bees love them.
Should be good honey.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Swarm Transfer

These are the hives that I have on my tree farm. The first hive (with 3 supers) is a hive that my Dad caught this year as a swarm. It is a very strong swarm. The bees are more black in color than the other hives that have a higher percentage of of italian breed queens. The second hive is a hive that I split from my hive at my residence. It is fairly slow to grow, but steadily improving. The last hive is a hive that I caught this year on the tree farm property. They are more italian breed type bee and they are growing fairly well. I built a metal hive stand that will hold 4 hives.

This is me transfering the swarm that I caught to a full size brood hive.

This little bee seems happy with his new home. Out of the nuc home and into the full size brood home.

This is a photo of the swarm in its original nuc catch hive. It is simply a nuc hive made from scrap wood. It works fine. The bees do not seem to care about the quality of wood the hive is made.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just a Note

This is basically a note for swarms. Here in Northeast Louisiana the bees began swarming at the last week of March. My Dad has caught 4 swarms in the past 4 days in the first week of April. Lots of activity with all of the pollen. The pine trees have released their pollen and every thing is now green with pollen. They strarted releasing the pollen during the last week of March. On April 8th, all trees are full with fresh green leaves. This year I will attempt to maintain 6 hives of my own and 4 hives of my fathers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Swarm

The white nuc hive is the swarm that my Dad caught for me. It is actually a quite large hive. I plan to move them to a regular brood hive later this weekend.
Another view

This is a make shift swarm catch hive made from a discarded ice chest.

Inside view of the ice chest swarm catch. The top bars are secured with melted bees wax.

This is a discarded ice chest that I found on the side of the road. I thought this could be modified to be a top bar hive/swarm catch hive. Lets see how it works.

Ok, Today I have confirmed that I have actually caught a new swarm in one of my swarm boxes. They are moving pollen in and are very active. My Dad also brought me a new swarm that he caught yesterday. This swarm is actually larger than the one I caught.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Swarm?

Today I checked my swarm boxes and 2 of the 3 boxes had bees in them. I am still not convinced there is a swarm in them just yet though, maybe they are just interested in the pheremone. I'll keep watching in hopes to see a bee actually take some pollen into the hive. Then I will be confident there is a swarm /queen in there. I am loving these beautiful days we are having. Tomorrow after work, I am going to try to do some catfishing with my bud.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Make your own Charcoal

Some charcoal made in the backyard. This is hickory charcoal.

Pretty good results with the first batch.

Just to show. The large can is the one used in the fire. The other two cans are full of charcoal from the batch that was made in the large can.

Wood gasification at work. See the large hot gas jet that is eminating from the top of the can. It sounds awesome.

In this view you can see the jet of gases coming from the top of the can.

I placed wood around the can sort of like a tee pee. Started the fire. In about 10 minutes the can was spewing hot gases that were ignited by the flames.

You need to secure the top of the container because this will be pressurized with hot gases.

The can filled with hand split hickory.

Ok, So now I have the smoker, why not make my own charcoal. That would be cool. Here is my first attempt. It was actually very successful.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Smoker Build Finished

Bees that made it through the winter.

...another bee or two that made it through the winter.

This is my compost bin I made earlier this month. Simple

All you do is turn it manually when you feel like it. It has leaves, chicken manure and food scraps in it. It is suppose to make "..excellent quality compost." We shall see.

A blurry photo of my blueberry bushes. I have 4 of these. These are rabbiteye blueberrys, climax variety. I fertilized them this winter with azelia (spelling?) fertilize.

Just good to see these.

Temp rising. I usually smoke at anywhere from 225-250 degrees.

This is smoke coming from my newly constructed smoker. It only smokes when I first start the fire. Once the fire is established there is hardly any smoke when using charcoal as the fuel. I used some hickory but is is too smokey for me. I am going to try pecan as the fuel the next time I smoke.

This is the basket that holds the fuel for the smoker. This goes in the bottom of the smoker of course.

This is how I get the charcoal started. No lighter fluid need with one of these gizmos.

The fire basket sits on the bottom grate. You can see the air intake that directs regulated air to the bottom of the smoker basket.

This is the air intake valve. All made from scrap metal.

I have the capability of smoking on 4 racks. The inside diameter of the smoker is 23 1/2 inches. The door has a high heat silicone seal (red). There is no air leakage.

Side view with the doors shut. I have 2 temp gauges. One just below the top rack and one just below the bottom rack.

A good overall view of the smoker. Never mind all of my junk around it.

Another good view of the smoker. It is a 105 gallon propane tank that I made into a vertical smoker. Another project I made in my garage.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Photo's

This is a photo of some of the wild plum that grows around the rivers in our area. The Bees love them.

This is a swam catch hive that I am trying out. It is a simple 5 gallon paint bucket with a hole drilled near the bottom. Inside the bucket is some fresh honey comb with queen pheromone inside the hive as well. Last year the bees actually began swarming at the end of March. I'll be ready. I think this may work because I have seen swarms collect in some empty 5 gallon buckets at my Dad's farm. They were simply laying around the side of the field and some had poision remaining in the buckets, and the bees actually stayed for years.

This is another swarm catch hive that I placed on my timber tract.

This is the 3rd of 3 swarm catch hives that I have on my timber tract. You can see the pheremone envelope on the front of this hive.
Maybe they will yield a hive or two.