Archives for: July 2011
I use the three-deep method of building queen cells. The basis of the system is a queen-right colony that has two deep boxes at the bottom, and then an excluder and a third deep on top. This works well for building because the hive is constantly under the influence of swarm impulse, but it also means that beekeeper has to find the cells that they build IN ADDITION to the cells that were grafted. Normally I find them without any problem by going through the builder every week to remove the cells.
And yes, you have to check every frame, including those honey frames on the outside of the box.
A few weeks ago they built a cell on the side of a frame. It nestled into a depression in the comb. With all the bees, I never saw it. Then I came back and found a massacred rack of cells:
Then I discovered the chewed-out flap of the emerged queen cell, and the killer virgin that caused all the destruction. She came out of her secret cell and proceeded to dispatch all the cells on the rack.
In this case, I had more cells in development but it's always sad to lose any queens this way. Lessons in vigilance and careful timing never seem to stop in the beekeeper's world.
I decided that I had better get some more Carniolan queens on hand for people that need immediate shipment. It's great to be sold out of the Iowa queens in advance, but a lot of people need quicker delivery. Therefore, I have shipped in a supply of quality Carniolans that will be available for $24 each during the month of July/early August. We've used these queens for years in spring splits before the Iowa weather allows us to produce our queens, so we can vouch for them due to extensive experience with them.
I'm still taking orders for the 2nd half of August on the Iowa Queens.
Thanks again for all the calls--it's fun to hear from people all over the nation looking for a good Carni!
And because every blog needs a picture , here's a picture of me with the winning bidder (Minoa Uffelman) holding 5 lbs of Pure Iowa Honey at the Agricultural History Society's annual conference in Springfield, Illinois this past June. Income from the auction supports graduate students traveling to the conference.
I have a lot of coneflowers at my place, and it has been fun to watch the bees working them intensely. I never noticed many honeybees on them in the past, but they seem to like them in the Cedar Rapids area. Then again, I've never had this type of flower in my yard, so I have many more opportunities to catch them at work.
The good news is that the weather has cooperated with the bees lately. After a cool and wet June, July has been warmer and sunnier. (Today there is rain on the radar.) While there is not yet a respectable crop in the boxes, the honey season is showing some promise. We've been cutting up cut comb for over a week, and there are dozens more boxes that should be finished in the next couple of weeks. Let's hope the honey keeps coming!
On the queen front, I am now booked until July 25 for new shipments. That is, new shipments can go on July 25th. I continue to be booked a week or two in advance. Mondays in August are still open.
Here is an image of the fresh cut comb--it is my favorite bee product, even though I actually eat more of the liquid honey. It's often a challenge to produce high quality sections, so it's pretty wonderful when bees and beekeeper are able to work together and make it happen