Sunday, January 30, 2011

Queens ordered.

I have ordered four queens for delivery in the second half of May from Zia Queenbee in New Mexico.

They have two types, Rocky Mountain Reinas and Great Lakes Sooper Yoopers.  Both are survivor genetics, exactly what I'm looking for.  I'm attempting to add not only survivor genetics to my collection, but also better wintering ability and I figure adding queens from the Rockies and Northern Michigan could do the trick. 

The question is, will their progeny be able to handle our humid summers?

I doubt I'll get any honey from them this year as most of the nectar flows in this area seem to happen before June.  What I need is bees that get going quickly and get the job done early.  Perhaps colder weather bees will be able to do that.

What I will also need to do is get my current colonies into shape so as to donate brood and nurse bees to the splits into which I will be installing the queens.  It will also be important that I find the queen in the donor hive to make sure she does not end up in the new hive leaving me kind of hosed as far as getting this thing to turn out right.  I've never been particularly good at finding the queen, time to get some practice.  And I keep quite big hives with unlimited broodnest management so it's that much more difficult.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Wax!

I still have wax for sale.  The cupcakes were nice, but now I'm selling it in 1 lb blocks.

Pretty good stuff as you can see.  I'm selling it for $5 a pound, compare that to $15 at Hobby Lobby.  It's kinda green too, part of my processing includes melting with a solar oven.

Pictures of the new apiary.

Here it is.  You can see how I've been clearing trees in the background.  The hives used to reside back in those trees and were not visible in the summer, but I got tired of the chigger bites.

I'm also more closely keeping track of the vertical component of hive placement.  I only cared before if they were about to fall over.  Now that they are in the open, they need to be a bit more pretty.
If you're wondering, I do regret the pink.  But it was cheap.  I don't regret the color so much as that it was interior paint and therefore doesn't prevent rust and it wears off easily.  I'm going to try to take the wire brush to them and then repaint them when it gets warm enough to do so.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The hives are now out of the woods, so to speak.

They were back in the trees for several years, mostly to hide them, but I am very tired of the chigger bites, so I moved them out into the open.  It should make for great photos now as they are in a group, spaced about 8 feet apart in a grid.

Went into the winter with eight hives, still have six of them.  One I lost was a split from last year, one was a purchased nuc from last year.  Both caught swarms from last year are alive, as are the two bought nucs and the four year old bought nuc.

This year I'm planning on buying some queens from Zia Queenbees.  I am going to purchase two each from their two locations, one in the Rockies and one in Michigan.  I'm hoping to bring in the ability to survive the winter better as these Georgia bees aren't quite so good at it.  Also hoping to catch swarms, I'll make up my bait boxes again and spread them further around.

Honey prices shouldn't change, and true to the trend, I should have more honey this year than last year.  Last year was over 13 gallons.

Call me if you see swarms!