More about Ken’s Bees

Post by Ken  – 05/22/2008:

Well, After my first open hive check, I thought everything was going so well. And they were, for the bees, not so much for me!
I might have mentioned that they began building from the rear, starting from the follower board where the sugar syrup feeder poked through, and moving forward toward the front. They had comb on the last six bars, biggest in the rear.
On my first check, I was able to pull out all six bars and they had built comb right down the middle, no problem. These are the 1-1/2″ wide bars by the way.
Today when I opened it up, they had only progressed forward by one bar, on to the 1-3/8″ wide set.
Well, that was not so easy. They had attached comb to the bar behind it and put two on that 1-3/8″.
I had to cut through the comb on top just to get the bar out, and squished a few bees, popped open some honey or nectar and pollen stores, some eggs, larvae and who knows what else. What a mess! I felt terrible.
I took a picture and put it back in, and thought I would try to look at the progress of one of the back bars that started off well.
I guess I was losing confidence in my self because I was trying to pry the bars apart, would see wax, decide not to take it out, try to put it back together, trying to be careful not to squish anymore, working slowly, trying to get them to go back down inside with the brush, trying to push the bars back together, and close it all up. Ah. I just wanted to get out of there. I felt like I was just disturbing the whole thing.
This was the second time I used smoke, and boy, it does not seem to make them calm. I would give them just a little puff near the entrance, and wow, they would really fly out and hover around. When I was working inside, it seemed like the smoke really agitated them and made them busy and buzzy. They did not “keep their heads down”, quite the opposite, they came popping out of every crevice and seemed to not want to go back inside.
Not a good visit.
Although, when I put the smoke out and the roof back on, it seemed from the outside like nothing ever happened. Just a few coming and going while I cleaned up my workbench.
So If I listen to the bees, I wonder what they are telling me. I wonder if they do build different thickness of comb depending on their needs. How do I know what thickness of bar to use? When do they need or want it? I guess this is where years of experience comes in handy. I read somewhere that -anticipating- their needs is the beekeepers best tool.
Oh well.

About these ads

5 Responses to “More about Ken’s Bees”

  1. Carle Says:

    Hi.
    great blog!
    We live in SA [South Africa] and keep langstroth hives and Top Bar hives. We make our topbars out of recycled wood, so they are alot rougher than yours :-) . I did a posting with 8-10 photos last month. If you want to check it out, have a look on our blog http://www.ourholisticlife.blogspot.com under bees or frugal beekeeping. If you do, leave a message, I would love to read your thoughts.

    Blessings
    Carle

  2. rustling Says:

    rustling says : I absolutely agree with this !

  3. mcullen Says:

    Hey, hadn’t been at the site in a while. I see a guest blogger
    from Los Angeles area, I live in Long Beach and have a topbar
    not too far away.
    I have never fed mine and they started at the entrance and
    worked back.
    Looking forward to more posts.

    mike

  4. Tom Says:

    Hi: Found your site by accident, have been Beekeeping for 4years now and up to 8 hives if they make it through the winter. Have been a little interested in the topbar method for a while but I’m not much at woodworking. I live near you (Graham) and my wife and I like to shop whole foods, weaver st., & trader joes often. I would like to see them up close if possible sometime. I also read that you dont rob these the same time of year as the langstroth, you rob the topbar hives early spring as soon as the honeyflow starts, that way they have all the honey for wintering, you don’t feed, but you get much less honey, but I would sure like to build one of them. Only been stung 4 times so far. Yeaa!

  5. dawn Says:

    was just reading your bit on trying to check out the interior of your hives and feeling terrible, like disturbing them…bars stuck together etc…finally giving up.
    I can relate to that! I have a 4ft hive which I have not really been manipulating at all since May…have added bars but never pulled any out to harvest or check comb.
    There is a huge cluster of bees and I can barely see the individual comb. Dont know whether to just go in and slide a knife, separate some bars and get things moving. I would like a bar or two of honey…but always chicken out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers

%d bloggers like this: