Tag Archives: rooftop

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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A Hearty Fall Season

Okay, so it’s clear one of the hives on the Abbot’s Cellar roof has mites—but they seem to be thriving in numbers! This has been a huge stresser and we continue to debate the best way to handle the issue. Adding to the complexity of the situation, both hives appear to be thriving, but as we check the bottom board we’re seeing a high count of mites that are dropping from the hive.

We originally looked into Mite-Away strips but the utter toxicity (though organic nature of Formic Acid) so we’re returning to regular dustings of powdered sugar and reading up on additional DIY mite-treatments that will help our bees get through the winter! Any organic, non-toxic recommendations and tips are readily welcome!

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/79511199 w=600&h=450]
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Fall Harvest

At Abbot’s Cellar we’ve got so much stuff going on. A mite issue, an abundance of bees and a TON of honey. With 3 supers of honey and brood and two additional supers full of honey-bound frames. We’ve decided to harvest 1 super from each hive to provide enough space for the coming months (still beautiful and sunny here in SF) and also leave plenty honey for both hives for the winter. A few pics below from Chef Adam and the team doing a bang up job!

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Thanks to Hobson for the loan of the 9-frame mega-extractor! It’s so much more efficient!

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Capturing the Swarm!

Someone called it a few weeks ago when they said “I bet that windscreen is going to get torn apart.” After waiting for the bees to move on from their temporary home for a few weeks, we decided to go in and get ’em!

Thank goodness for Chuck Rossi who had a spare hive and a few extra hours this weekend. He and his wife swooped in and grabbed the swarm. Only keeping bees for three months and they’re already pros! Thanks Chuck, happy beekeeping—I hope the swarm treats you well!

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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!!!!!!

Yesterday we got a call from the neighbors saying there were bees allover the hive. We thought they might be ‘bearding‘, unfortunately we were not so lucky. More to come…

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Scissoring Hard

Here we go gang…the first in a series of posts from the hive. As promised, big news. The following videos, images and words will all explain our future vision for the hives and our plan for urban beekeeping. This is the first of many—stay tuned.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/68806656 w=600&h=450]

PS. You may want to turn your speakers way up…then way down.

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