2017-06-06

June Bee Check..

Hive Check

Well, the first week in June is just about over and after a couple of weeks away I finally got back to the farm, rested for a day or two, and just today went out to check to see how things look. The first hive I checked was one of the new ones which had such rough start. It looked very good! I added a second deep, as the population and the full frames indicated it was needed.  Lots of capped brood and larva in this hive.  Clearly the new queen was accepted.
Example frame from strongest of the new hives.

The second and third new hives are not nearly as strong with the second being what I would call very weak.  Not much capped brood, and almost no eggs or larva.  Population in these hives is much lower too.  I need to do something but am not sure exactly what.  I am not sure whether the queens introduced were accepted. I think I may try and graft a queen for these hives. I have most of what I need to set up for a starter nuc. Will see ....

The original Carni hive is also struggling.  I don't see any sign of disease. It just seems these girls are a bit lethargic.  Will watch and see...

The walk-away-split of Italian is well populated.  I don't see a queen yet though, nor sign of one.  It may be a bit early as the split took place only a bit more than two weeks ago.  Otherwise, this hive is very active and looks good!

Frame Cleaning and Wax Processing

I spent the evening cleaning up frames. I am keeping all the wax for further use in restoring frames. My frames use a plastic foundation. My plan is to use a hair dryer to apply a thin coat of wax prior to putting them back into the hives. Nice clean wax comes off the super frames, but the wax from brood frames tends to have a lot of gunk in it. Thus, once the wax is removed from the frames, it is added to a pot with two inches of water in it. The water is brought up to about 175 degrees F, and the wax added. When the was is melted, the heat is turned off and one just lets it sit overnight.  Then the gunk  is scraped off the bottom of the chuck of wax that has solidified as it floated up to the top of the layer of water.

The whole process is repeated one or more times to ensure that all the gunk is separated.  What one ends up with is a nice chunk of wax to use for foundation coating, or candles or whatever crafty thing one might do with bees wax.  I will have to try making a candle or two at some point.

Propolis

Propolis is a sticky substance that the bees use to plug holes and cracks in the hive.  The term propolis comes from the greek, and means pro(before, or in front of) polis(city).  Propolis is often found at the entrance to a hive, more in nature than in domesticated settings.  So what is the big deal?

Turns out that propolis is also full of good stuff to boost the immune system. In fact it is theorized that the fact that bees DNA has very little assigned to their immune system is because the make and consume propolis.  That said, there are folks that buy this stuff and pay really well for it. It is not the most prolific substance. If one had 100 hives, one could probably collect enough of it over time to get a pound or so and sell it.  But that is not my interest....

I hope to make my own tinctures out of it. I have looked around and found recipes to make everything from essential oils to plain old simple tinctures. So I am going to collect what I have from my few hives and when I get enough, try a tincture. It is not hard to collect it, just time consuming.  What the hell, I might as well...