Bees: inspecting the hives

The sun came out for a while, so we did the second inspection of the bee hives (not counting the initial installation).

One of the boxes was getting sufficiently full, so we added a second 8-frame deep box to give them more space for brood.

Here’s some drawn-out comb, with honey in the upper corners:

The other side is still being drawn out on top of the darker plastic foundation:

A bunch of worker cells:

More honey:

Not sure about these… might be drones or worker cells:

An example of a foundationless frame, where the bees build the entire comb, attached to a bar at the top:

Beecoming beekeepers

Time for another phase of our homestead: we are now beeks — beekeepers.

This morning we picked up two nucs (nucleus hives) at the “local” bee supply store in Wilsonville (about an hour away, but pretty much everything is from our place):

The nucs are four-frame ones, half the size of our hive boxes, giving them each four empty frames to expand into before we need to add another box:

Here’s Jenn examining one of the frames. One or two bees there, all happily doing their thing:

After removing the four frames, there were a bunch of bees left in the bottom of the box:

So they got dumped in too:

Jenn in her bee suit (and you can see the new chicken coop in the background, which will give you an idea of where the hives are located):

Bunches of bees:

A frame from the second nuc:

Both hives populated, with sugar water feeders (plus pollen patties inside):

Settle in, girls! I hope you like your new homes.

Building a beehive stand

The little project for this morning was to build a stand for our beehives. I built it using recycled wood we inherited with the house, with the design inspired by ones I saw online.  The legs will sit on top of concrete blocks, for a firm foundation.

We currently have two beehives, but there’s room for three or four without getting too crowded, if we want to get more later.

We haven’t finalized where we’ll locate the hives… but we’ll be getting our bees on Friday, so we’ll decide soon!

Beehives assembled

As previously mentioned, we’ll be getting into beekeeping soon, as the next homestead adventure. About a week from today, in fact! Eeek.

Yep, next Friday we’ll be picking up two “nucs”, or nucleus hives: a few frames of established hives, each with a queen, all ready to go.

So we’ve got two sets of hive boxes etc that we’re preparing to house them. They are all assembled, and waiting to be stained & painted (one each), which Jenn will do this weekend.

Mower & beehive

It’s raining today, and the canopy is rather out of commission, so I spent some time today replacing the blade drive belt on the big zero-turn mower, and assembling one of the two beehives.

The belt had become derailed and damaged while cutting really long grass on the field — we’d left it a bit longer than we’d liked for the first mow, due to the lack of sunny days recently. So I needed to remove the damaged belt, and feed in a replacement. Not a trivial operation, but I’ve done it a few times before; takes about an hour.

(I also cleaned off the mower, of course.)

Next, I started assembling one of the beehives. I didn’t have time to finish, but I got the two brood boxes and the honey super done. Some other day I’ll finish off the frames and roof, and set up the second box.