Saturday, May 19, 2012

OCBA/ACBA joint beekeepers field day

Today our local Bee club the Orange County Beekeepers Association and the Alamance County Beekeepers Association had a joint field day at Lewis's bee yard in the blue berry patch. We opened up beehives in two groups and looked at the bees. Lots of new discoveries were made my some of the newer beekeepers. I brought my friend Scott along and it was his first time with a group of beekeepers. We installed Scott's first package three weeks ago, more on that in a bit.
Above and below is a queen we found. The queen above you can see eggs, the little white specks in the cells around her. The photo below shows the queen surrounded by nurse bees.
Lewis showed everyone how to collect bees and do a sugar shake test for varroa mites. The tested proved the mites were at a medium level, not bad enough to worry about yet.

The video below is Lewis pulling out drone brood looking for varroa mites. The first two brood had mites, that did not look so good. Luckily the other eight he pulled were mite free.

We also did a test for hygienic behavior in the hive. We set a four inch pipe over some capped brood and poured on liquid nitrogen on the brood to freeze the brood. If hygienic the bees would have pulled and cleaned the dead brood in 24 hours. Lewis had done a test the day before and the bees did not clean up the dead brood at all.

After the field day we stopped to check Scott's three week old bees. We found 8 frames drawn and everything looked great! Below is a frame from the hive. You can see honey on the top and a reasonable pattern of capped brood.

I returned at dark to Scott's with the bees that were occupying my swarm trap in a tree. These bees have 8 frames in the trap for eleven days, we looked and found 6 frames drawn already, including 4 that had foundation strips only. One thing I learned taking down the swarm trap 12 foot up in a tree. It was screwed to the tree, very hard to take down and still have a screw gun in you hand with the bee box too. When I hang it back up I'll hook it on  some screws so it can be taken down with out a screw gun.

 Surely the box was 15 pounds heavier than when I placed it in the tree. I'm hoping these bees will be moved to the farm with my other hive there. Six hives in our little backyard seems like a lot to Meg.

Next post will be about the garlic we planted last fall. Biggest garlic we have grown, one can barely get their hand around one.


Miranda Bell said...

I couldn't help noticing your recent posting especially as I've just posted on bees on my own blog but on a swarm! I spent an afternoon with the person who helped me out to learn a bit more about bee keeping - fascinating and something I may do myself at some point as and when time allows - lovely post!

Anita said...

Great pictures! What type of camera and lens do you use? I usually use an uncapping fork when I check for mites on drone brood. It's a little faster because you can get many drones at once. I prefer using a mite count board though because I feel so bad for the poor drones. :) Nice blog.

Randy Emmitt said...


I use a Canon SX40HS digital camera, the video does great too. For once we were inspecting bees in bright sun which allowed me to boost up the speed to 1/400th second, which stops the bees.

Thanks for visiting I love your blog!

Jim Davis said...

Thanks a lot for the video and information. I find the testing for hygienic behavior interesting. I wonder--is there another method for rapidly killing a group of drone cells without using liquid nitrogen? I wouldn't want to buy some just for a single test. I've been using Minn. hygienic queens lately but with swarming, new queen breeding etc. I'd be curious to see how they are doing.

Carol said...

Fascinating Randy! I remember when you first started this journey of beekeeping and I am so impressed with your knowledge and skill today. Six hives . . . that translates into a lot of honey I guess. How many thousands of bees could that be? Great photos!!

Jason said...

I have been hanging my traps at only about 6 feet. They are still getting occupied. Great deal on your successful catch. Be careful on those ladders!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Interesting, I haven't heard of that hygienic behavior test. Here we just look for the bees pulling out Varroa infested drones, but our feral sourced bees all seem to exhibit strong hygienic tendencies. It would be interesting to quantify their behavior with a test like that though. I really need to get back into our hives for a recheck, it's just been a busy spring!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Six hives? wow, I think I am with Meg, though I am not sure how large your yard is...
You have embraced this hobby big time, sharing so much information with us. thanks.