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Progress report in the UP of Michigan

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  • Betsie
    Hello everyone... I ve really enjoyed reading this email list over the past few months. Thank you all for contributing so freely. Everything seems to be going
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 24, 2007
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      Hello everyone... I've really enjoyed reading this email list over the
      past few months. Thank you all for contributing so freely.

      Everything seems to be going fine in my hive (I have started this
      spring with only one tbh)... When I was checking things over last week, I
      discovered that there are at least 3 bars that are being capped now...
      I had to do a lot of detaching (with the hack saw blade suggestion)
      and they finally got tired of my meddling so I backed off... So, I'm
      not quite sure how deep the brood area is, but I'm going to check
      again this week now that some of the loosening is already done. At the
      rate that they are going, I might be able to harvest a bar or two this
      year, which I was completely not expecting to be able to do.

      This evening we noticed that there is a cluster of bees hanging out on
      the side of the box just above the entrance holes. At first we were
      worried that they are preparing to swarm, but after re-reading the
      comments on a similar situation within the past few months, I am
      feeling pretty sure that they are just too warm inside. I lifted two
      of the end bars and they were coating the insides of the box... since it
      is evening and the girls are all home in time for their curfew ;)

      There is a narrow gap at the back for ventilation and I propped the
      lid up this evening too.... since the hive is in the shade (the girls
      don't get going very early in the mornings) they should be fine... right?

      An especially happy observation I made this evening is that the girls
      hanging out on the outside are definitely of a smaller size than the
      ones that I installed back in May. After reading about small cell
      size, I'm really excited to know that my bees have naturally chosen
      that path.

      As for forage in our area, we don't have anything special here... just
      a lot of weeds (many of which we cultivate)... this area is also
      overgrown with tansy and spotted knapweed (both invasive species).
      I've heard that the knapweed produces an excellent honey, but does
      anyone have experience with tansy as a nectar or pollen source? (From
      the smell of the plants themselves, I am not holding out for anything
      special)... The best honey I ever tasted was fireweed honey in
      Fairbanks, Alaska, so we have been spreading fireweed seeds in patches
      in our yard.

      Oh, another thing we've noticed is that the bees are
      drinking/gathering a lot of water. They especially seem to like the
      tray that I left lemon thyme cuttings in to root... the tangled stems
      keep them from falling in. Also, we use cardboard as mulch
      (reduce/reuse/recycle!) in parts of our garden, and when the hose has
      been left to drip on it (while watering the plants nearby), the girls
      really seem to like gathering the water from the soaked cardboard.

      At what point should I consider splitting the hive? I didn't think
      that I would be able to do it this first year, but there are a LOT of
      bees in there!

      Thanks again for sharing so much here!

      ~ Betsie in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
    • Ryan W
      At what point should I consider splitting the hive? I didn t think that I would be able to do it this first year, but there are a LOT of bees in there! .
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 25, 2007
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        At what point should I consider splitting the hive? I didn't think

        that I would be able to do it this first year, but there are a LOT of

        bees in there!





        .










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        I'm also a 1st year beekeeper, in Lower Michigan. My 1st year 30 bar top bar hive is almost completely full. Tons of bees also hanging outside the entrance. I've never done it, but from what I understand it's not a good idea to split a hive so late in the season. Boths hives will be weaker, and the new one won't have a chance to build up enough honey to make it through the winter. I'm considering splitting my hive next April/May. Like I said I'm only a rookie, if someone with more experience has something different to offer, please do.

        Ryan





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      • Ryan W
        Sorry for all the garbage. Here s my reply: I m also a 1st year beekeeper, in Lower Michigan. My 1st year 30 bar top bar hive is almost completely full. Tons
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 25, 2007
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          Sorry for all the garbage. Here's my reply:

          I'm also a 1st year beekeeper, in Lower Michigan. My 1st year 30 bar
          top bar hive is almost completely full. Tons of bees also hanging
          outside the entrance. I've never done it, but from what I understand
          it's not a good idea to split a hive so late in the season. Boths hives
          will be weaker, and the new one won't have a chance to build up enough
          honey to make it through the winter. I'm considering splitting my hive
          next April/May. Like I said I'm only a rookie, if someone with more
          experience has something different to offer, please do.



          Ryan






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          Building a website is a piece of cake. Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get online.
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        • Betsie
          Hi Ryan, Thanks for the reply... I m glad to know that the gathering on the outside of the hive isn t unique... because I m really starting to get worried...
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 25, 2007
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            Hi Ryan,

            Thanks for the reply... I'm glad to know that the gathering on the
            outside of the hive isn't unique... because I'm really starting to get
            worried... they have coated the outside of the end board and are
            bearding/festooning down from the bottom about 5 inches deep... I
            really wish I had a working camera right now because it is incredible!

            We only have one good month of summer left in us up here, so I sure
            hope they know what they are doing.

            ~ Betsie in the UP of Michigan
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