Sunday, December 16, 2012

Queen Cell Frame Project

Today's project was making queen cell frames. This device is used to raise queen bees. The frame holds 3 cell bars.  Plastic cell cups are attached to the cell bar. 12-24 hour old larvae are grafted from mother hive into the cells cups. After some manipulation the bees turn these larvae into queen bees. And walla, we get queen bees.

Today's project was a challenge of my woodworking skills and equipment. I was finally able to get all of the dimensions right after a bit of trial and error with scrap lumber.  The thing that saved me was cutting extra pieces. Inevitably a piece gets ruined by the table saw every now and again. Nothing goes to waist though.  Once a mistake is made, the ruined pieces magically become fire kindling.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Project - Queen Stool

Ever wonder what a beekeeper does in the winter? Well, we make stuff like this queen stool. This handy gadget let's me carry around my tools and gives me a place to sit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Do you want to learn how to identify eggs, larvae, pollen, and nectar?

I love finding stuff like this on the Internet.    You've heard of those projects where you can sit on your computer and map universes for astronomers. This project is the same concept with frames from beehive.  You sit at your computer and map the cells on a frame for his research project.  The cool thing is that there is a tutorial that teaches you how to identify all the eggs, larvae (in different stages of growth), pollen, and nectar.  Give it a look at"

Broodmapper: Honey Bee Development and Citizen Science - eXtension

The project is run by Reed Johnson. He is a bee researcher at The University of Ohio.  I've met him a couple of times and he's an alright guy.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Swarm Season

The sweat clover started blooming a couple of weeks ago.  The weather has also been very warm and not too much rain.  So, feral bee hives started swarming around April 15th. Here is a swarm I caught yesterday on the May the 4th be with you day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Package Install Day

I've got new places to keep bees this year.  In fact, there are so many places that I had to by packaged bees.  All of the packages are being started at our main apiary. I got through the entire day and tens of thousands of bees without getting stung at the farm.

Bad news is that I stuck my hand in my pocket once I had my gear off. You guessed it, there was a bee in the pocket that got me right on the knuckle.  My hand looks like it was hit with a hammer. Oh well.... I'll head back in a couple of days and see if I can let the queens loose without any stings.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring is in the air - and a whole lot of rain too

The flowers just starting popping up and it has rained all week. The farm is muck:(

Fortunately, happiness can be brought in by a FedEx delivery. My four new apple trees arrived today from the nursery. Isn't funny how we get things delivered for a self sustaining life style from a global transportation company.

Friday, February 17, 2012

When you are least prepared.

So I took my sheep equipment out of the truck this week. I was confident that we would not have any new lambs this week.

Wrong, the kids and I got out to the farm around 12:00. I heard that unmistakable sound of new lamb. Upon further inspection, the lamb was still a little bit wet. We missed the birth by an hour or so. Maybe out luck will be better next time.

The kids are very excited because they get to name the new lamb ewe.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two More Lambs

I get really giddy every time we have new lambs. Two more were born this week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lambing Epic Fail

It is lambing time again. My spidy sense told me that I'd have lambs when I went to the farm. I was right!!! I saw a ewe with a little lamb. My joy turned to "epic fail" when I found that she had twins. And, the twin had fallen into the water trough and drown. I've fixed since covered the trough so there is a small opening.