Tag Archives: rooftop beekeeping

Closed for the Winter

This weekend we removed the grease-patties—which seemed to be effective as a lot of mites had dropped from the hive. We’ve now sealed things up and will let the ladies hunker down for the winter without disruption, aside from the occasional visit to check external activity. Good luck bees, we’ll see you in Jan/Feb!

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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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Harvest

Amidst the chaos of the swarm from one of our hives on Abbot’s Cellar, we made the decision to harvest one super from each hive and also add an additional empty super to each. We were clearly running out of room and we want to be sure the ladies have plenty of space to grow into at the height of the summer. Here we go!

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PS. Big shout to Benjie for loaning us his honey extractor!

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Swarm Part II – The Round Up

After we received the call we all dashed up to the roof. Within an hour or so the ladies had moved into the perch of a windscreen. We set up a temporary hive box and began the hunt for the queen.

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We thought the swarm was simply resting on this windscreen. It turned out they had burrowed into a narrow crevice at the spine of the structure. It runs about 6 ft high and they were mostly about four feet down inside. We did our best to smoke them out but had very little luck. The ladies were thoroughly jammed in the interior of the structure.

 

 

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Alas, we patiently tryed to coax the queen (and thus swarm) out of their temporary hiding spot and into our sophisticated swarm catching device. Upon checking in last night and this morning, it was clear they weren’t having it—the queen and swarm are still in the spine. We’re having very little success with catching the swarm, and in the meantime are working on adding another super to give more than enough room for the remaining bees in the hive. Any other tips for making sure the remaining hive bees stay where they are would be greatly welcome!

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The Hives Are Filling up at Abbot’s!

It’s been a busy summer with the bees on the roof of Abbot’s Cellar. The two hives are almost full of brood and the top supers are just about full and capped with honey. You know what that means…harvest time! No dates are set but this fall we’re expecting to harvest quite a bit of honey with the folks over at Abbot’s Cellar. More to come soon!

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Summer Deep Dive

One last deep dive into the hives on the roof of Abbot’s Cellar before we add the fourth supers for all of this summer honey. You’ll recognize tell the Italian bees by all of the ladies congregating outside of the hive. They weren’t impressed with our investigation!

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Loading Up the Hives

Finally, after an hour or so of negotiating the scissor lift and gently taping shut the entrance to the hives, we got them both loaded in the back of the truck. Whew.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/69013437 w=600&h=450]
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The Sting—Backstory

You ever wonder how a bad a sting can get? Mr. Combover shows you how a tiny little spot can turn into a big fat hand!

Stay tuned this weekend and we’ll show you how the rest of the hive relocation turns out! Any more stings? Do the bees find good home(s)? Where will they land!?!?!!?!

(Subscribe to hear the rest of the tale)

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/68812763 w=600&h=450]
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