Tag Archives: Hive Visit

Do Right By the Bees

This is our motto—and this is what we strive for. Last weekend we collapsed the local hive down to three supers as we did with the Italians previously. Going to go in this weekend to remove the grease patties and check on the ladies one last time before we seal them up for the winter. Hope they’re doing alright with this mighty cold snap!

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Wintergreen Grease Patties

Say what!?

Yep, we’re concocting Wintergreen infused grease patties as an active defense against the mite problem. Hopefully it’s not too late for either hive, though the Italian hive is looking slightly weak. Below are a few pics of the patties (sugar, honey, salt, grease, wintergreen extract) that we placed on top of the brood supers.

Our research has pointed to this solution as a worthy Fall treatment to kill mites and help the bees make it through the winter. As a last measure we’ve reduced the Italian hive down to three supers—they weren’t showing any activity in the honey-bound top two supers and by our calculations should have plenty of honey for the winter in the bottom three supers.

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Bottom Boards

The activity in our two hives is so very different—here we see the bottom boards side by side. The local hive (nearest) has a lot less detritus falling to the bottom of the hive and fewer mites—the Italian hive meanwhile has more mites and more fallout which we attribute to the hive’s poor performance and lower number of bees.

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Fall Dusting

While we continue to do our research on effective and non-toxic mite treatments, we’ve been continuing to dust the hives with powdered sugar. This is very clearly shaking mites from the hive, as we have been checking the bottom boards, but is clearly not our permanent solution.

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Sausalito Hive Visit

We were very lucky to visit the talented Jennifer Berry this weekend to take a gander at her impressive beekeeping setup. In all she has approximately 10 hives and has all sorts of cool beekeeping techniques going on. Below is a short summary of our visit and tour of Jennifer’s hives.

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Jennifer in front of just a couple of her hives.

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Smelling the sweet honey from one of the hives. Currently it has a very distinct flavor based on the regional flowers in bloom at this time of year!

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Jennifer overlooking the rest of her hives just below the few hives on the balcony.

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A detailed shot of the two hives and queen rearing set-up. Top tip: writing notes right on the hive lid is a great way to keep track of hive activity!

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Here Jennifer points out how she feeds her bees dry, unprocessed sugar. A real revelation for us!

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Mite Alert

Oh no!

For the first time ever one of our hives very clearly has mites. We did a powdered sugar check just to see if mites may be an issue and sure enough we have a few of the buggers.

This is a totally new issue for us so if any of you fellow beekeepers have any suggestions for organic mite removal please do let us know!

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New Visitors

This weekend we had Brooke and Lizzie up to the roof to take a tour of the hive. Thanks for visiting gang!

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Checking For Mites

As you’ll recall, on the roof of Abbot’s Cellar we recently had a swarm on our hands. Our response has been two pronged— 1) decide what has caused the swarm 2) capture the swarm. We tackled the easy one first, check for mites and see if that might be the cause of a swarm (fingers crossed this wasn’t the case).

Our test for mites was a quick dusting of powdered sugar, let the ladies clean themselves off and see if any mites or any other baddies fall to the bottom of the hive. On our next visit we’ll check the bottom board and see if anything shakes out. Literally. And now for capturing the swarm!

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The Good Life

You know you’ve made it as a beekeeper when you can sit back and let your understudies do all of the heavy lifting! Nice one Mr. Combover 😉

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