Queen cells

While inspecting our hive this weekend we found some queen cells – a possible sign that the hive might have been preparing to swarm.  We made a quick decision to attempt a split.  We moved these new queen cells into a nuc hive along with a few frames of brood, bees and food (honey & pollen).  Now time to wait and see if it is successful.

New Hive – Pay It Forward

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but it has been rather quiet with our bees.  We tried splitting our one hive, but it was not successful, and we had to combine it back with the original hive.  So we have been here with our one hive…until today.  We got a new hive!  All thanks to a new program called Pay It Forward by Bee Understanding.

Bee Understanding is a non-profit organization dedicated to the understanding, education and promotion of honey bees and beekeeping. The Pay It Forward program gives away a free starter kit, consisting of a hive box, bottom board, lid, frames and working bees to beginner beekeepers in the South Florida area.  For more information on the program, visit www.beeunderstanding.com.

New setup against ants

Well we finally made our new setup so that ants can’t get to our hives again.  Here it is:

 

We built a wood frame, then got some long bolts and PVC caps.  We drilled holes into the wood, stuck the bolts into the wood and placed the other end inside the PVC cap.  The cap is filled with vegetable oil to create a moat around each leg to trap any ants.  So far so good, no ants have made it past the traps.

Bees of Greece

So we are here in Greece and had the opportunity to visit the bee yard of my brother-in-law.  I snapped a few pictures so you can see what a Greek beehive looks like – they are very colorful.

Bee yard in Greece

Beehive - They use old tires as a stand to raise them off the ground.

More beehives

A screen entrance reducer

A top feeder - notice the dead yellow jackets in the frozen syrup. Yup - it is cold here!

Inside of a Langstroth hive

Storing hives bodies and supers over the winter - since it is so cold here they can keep these outside without having to worry about insects and pests.

Another type of entrance reducer

Plenty of pollen for our bees

It has been a very warm and wet winter so far for us here in South Florida.  It is already Dec 20th and we are still in the upper 70’s – 80 F (upper 20’s C).  With all the warmer temperatures and rain we have been getting, there are plenty of flowering plants and grasses all around.  Our bees have a good supply of pollen and honey stored up.

We noticed a variety of pollen colors and it looks so pretty in the comb – vibrant oranges, yellows and white.

Then we saw this little bee full of pollen on her legs – she was certainly busy collecting.  See the white puffs.

And then we were graced with seeing our wonderful queen from this hive.

Next week we will be visitng our family in Greece.  I am hoping I will be able to post some pictures of Greek bees and beekeeping practices there.

Happy Holidays everyone!