New beehives

We started keeping bees last year, with two hives. Those hives have survived the winter, and should be able to provide some honey this year. We don’t harvest honey the first year, as they need to build up the colony, and have reserves to take them through the cold months when they can’t forage.

Anyway, we have now added two more hives.

I built a second hive stand a few weeks ago, and installed it yesterday; see the photo of the day on my personal blog.

Then this morning we drove out to Ruhl Bee Supply in Wilsonville to pick up two nucs — nucleus hives that each contain four frames of small established colonies:

Once home, we took our new hive boxes etc out to our apiary (bee yard):

Jenn then started transferring the nuc frames into the boxes:

Inspecting each frame:

A full brood box: four nuc frames in the middle, two empty frames on either side for them to expand into:

Some bees left in the nuc box, which we tipped on top of the hive:

Putting the inner cover and top cover on:

Installing the second hive:

The little black squares on the corners are mite treatments, to protect the bees from a common parasite:

The hives closed up, with 2:1 sugar syrup feeders in front:

We briefly opened the older hives to add mite treatment to them, too:

Our expanded apiary:

Heated shelter for outdoor cats

It’s a little chilly at present… like dipping down to 25° F / -4° C overnight. Which is fine for us, and as discussed is okay for the chickens, but not entirely pleasant for the feral outdoor cats. Sure, they can snuggle together in a sheltered place, but I still felt bad for them.

So, I decided to get them a heated shelter. I bought an outdoor multi-kitty A-frame shelter from Amazon, that is big enough for several cats, and includes a pad that emits a bit of warmth.

I placed it next to the deck, under which the cats often shelter from the elements. I put a camera pointed at it, so I could see if they used it:

I really wasn’t sure if they’d try it, or avoid it as something strange, being cats. But pretty much moments after I left, they started “investicating” it, and soon afterwards some of them went inside. They looked very comfy in there:

I think it might be a success. But we’ll see how it goes long-term… and whether or not the raccoons cause trouble for the cats.