Sunday, June 21, 2015

More bees and better prepared

The last couple weeks the equipment around here has been getting modified and ready for some new arrivals.  The new trays under the screened bottom board are working out great and are a big weapon in the war on hive beetles. 

After installing one of the newly designed bottom boards with tray of diatomaceous earth in the hive behind our house I spent several hours watching the activity around the hive.  Sure enough, the hive was besieged by hive beetles trying to break back into the hive.  When I tore the hive down, many of them flew off and were trying their old tricks to re-enter the hive but to no avail.  Not only did I secure the bottoms of the hives but the tops were also secured with fine mesh screen to keep any sneaky beetles from coming in from the hive covers and through the inner hive cover.  Now when they try that they are stuck in the upper chamber with nowhere to go ... until I open up the hive and squash them. 

But back to the hive beetles trying to breech the entrance.  They kept landing on the front surface of the hive and tried to make a bee line to the entrance which was now only a few inches in width and surrounded by guard bees.  The bees keep a close guard on the hive beetles and do what they can to keep them out of the hive.  Before they could fly under the hive and crawl in through the screened bottom board as the mesh on that is big enough for a hive beetle to squeeze through. No longer an option for them.

After several days the trays of diatomaceous earth under the bottom boards were loaded with dead hive beetles.  They may have been pushed through the bottom board screen by bees.  It's working as intended.  The surprising result came from the gargoyle hive which in the first day dropped a whole lot of maggotty little hive beetle larvae AND wax moth larvae into the tray.  Quite a bit.   They were pretty infested with those pests.
Two new hives (left, on the stand)

Today I picked up several new Nucs from a friend and installed them at the Bee Farm.  As it felt like a thousand degrees out there the install happened as quick as possible.  It looks like the next project will be some shade cloth over the hives.  I'm now thinking that all the beekeepers who recommended full sun for the colonies were not of sound mind.  Why subject bees to these temperatures and have them expend so much more energy to keep the hive temperature right.  Shade cloth will also help the dripping beekeeper that's working on the hives as well. 

Now up to 5 hives total.

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