Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is this okay?

What is the deal with the sugar water lately?! They are sucking down a liter in a single evening. If I put it out after work, it is gone when I get up in the morning. They are also a bit more hostel. I feel the need to gear up to simply change the sugar water. Today, it has been 6 days since I added the new hive body IN BETWEEN the old hive body and honey super. I checked the new hive body. There was a decent amount of bees on it but they weren't doing anything with it. No comb buildup and certainly no eggs or larvae. You might guess they were simply traversing it to cap the honey in the super I moved it (as it was mostly capped).

I didn't get into the main hive body as I was trying not to disturb them too much. OKAY, it did do one thing: I robbed on half of a frame of the capped honey. We just got a taste of it last time and were left wanting! This time, I got plenty! We ate until we were sick of it (which didn't take as long as we thought it would). This was the good peach orchard honey! Anyone know if this is considered MUCH worse than pulling the supers at harvest time? I scrapped one side of a super frame with my hive tool and put it back dripping honey. I also sprinkled powered sugar on the new hive body hoping to attract them into that section more as well as pay them back for the honey (no hard feelings?)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The pic wasn't worth it (Got stung adding sugar water last night)

There were a lot of bees on the feeder when I pulled it. I thought it'd be a good picture so I was trying to hold the bee covered feeder in one hand and take a picture with the other. No gear, of course. Before I could get it framed up, I had made a mistake - I crushed one in the feeder. My fault! That triggered their attack response! That would be sting #4 of the year. Funny - didn't hurt - but it DID open up my lungs! The venom is an anti-inflammatory and causes a steroid to be produced by the body. Still, I prefer the inhaler for asthma.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is the wrong way to do this - eh?

The bees were pretty crowded. I added a super and they started working on that but they were still crowded and they looked like they were honey bound. (I had a queen excluder on the super). After sampling the honey in the super and realizing they had pollinated the peach orchard a half mile away, I was determined NOT to give them that honey back! (It was unbelievably yummy!) So I decided to insert another hive body in between the 1st hive and the super. If this were not disruptive enough, I had a couple of frames stick to the honey super. They were ticked! The next morning, I looked very early and there were NO bees in the entrance. I hadn't seen it like that lately. I popped the case and saw them. Again - they were irritated and started emerging. It had dropped to 58 degrees and I guess they were cold AND they now had lots of room. That was Sunday. They're still there so I guess I made it. I was afraid they were going to swarm on me (like last year). they are sucking down the sugar water. I ran out yesterday and forgot to add more. They went exploring and found my wife's hummingbird feeder. They're all over it! Ha! I told her they'll keep her busy now. They drink a liter a day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I need a bee blog

Since the Russian hybrid hive didn't make it, and the Italian hive was doing so well, I decided to add another hive body. Linda (of Linda's Bees) told me to burn out the hive to ensure there was no American or European Foulbrood. I was pretty sure there wasn't - the cells were clean (the hive went queenless and dronified) but thought I'd better do it anyway. I scorched it good, inside and out. I then applied lin seed oil but decided to paint it since it turned out so dark I was afraid it would absorb too much heat.

My mother's mother's mother's mother

Since I was dropping my racing pigeons from the land of my ancestors, I thought I'd stop by "Granny's" grave. It is kind of sad. She died before I was born but I remember by grandmother speaking of her and I remember her daughter, my great grandmother: "Ma". Ma had always wanted a nice headstone so my great uncle bought this 30-40 years ago. He was the last of her grandchildren and died at least 10 years ago. I don't think anyone else knows of this anymore. She is my great-great grandmother.

It is a beautiful land. Sad to think they had to leave this to go to east Chicago after WW II to work in the steel mills.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

See what I mean?

This feeder works well - but it is fairly intrusive compared to the other style.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend of scout camping

The dining area from our weekend campout at Harmonie State park. Pretty nice weekend. The 20 minutes of rain Saturday evening made things interesting. That's a nice park. We had never been to that section. It is usually gated off (since it is not open to the public - only groups).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Too full?

I think the thing to do is add another brood chamber to make the colony bigger and stronger (and hopefully diminish the possibility of swarming). However, that might also diminish the likelihood of a honey crop. I've always been under the impression you shouldn't rob honey from the first year hive. Of course, then you're at risk for losing them over winter. Should I add the hive body from this year's failed Russian hybrid colony? Would the scent be wrong? Would it be disruptive?

More hive pics

All of the brood frames are covered in capped cells. There were lots of larva and lots of honey. I didn't see the queen but I didn't pull too many frames. The bees are really packed in there!

Hive inspection

A more careful inspection this time. Not sure what to do. The main brood chamber is pretty full but at least half of it appears to be honey stores. I'm inclined to add another brood chamber. Is it too late in the year. My lack of experience is a major stumbling block. What to do?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Inspected Hive - Lookin' Good!

I have been trying NOT to bother them. I thought that was what caused them to swarm last year. Now I believe it was the feeder. This year I had TWO hives. The old hive had the old feeder and it failed. The new hive had a new feeder and it kept me running out there daily with a liter of sugar water and it thrived.

Anyway, it looked great (to me)! Bees completely filled the super frames and the center frames were full of honey. I will get a honey crop this year!

P.S. This doesn't fit well with the other stuff on this blog. It is perhaps too eclectic. I need a bee blog.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fun with ZFS and other Sun tools

I decided recently I'd better start using OpenSolaris to get more familiar with the new advances they are driving into regular Solaris. I really like the new ZFS file system and I had an old 6 pack SCSI JBOD ... so, I attached it to my system and created my home directory as a RAIDz. The disks were only 16GB a piece so I only ended up with about 70GB - still pretty healthy. Even cooler - I can create snapshots at will. Fun!

I thought I had set up a hot stand by - guess not (see image). Knowing the disks were pretty old, I figured I could experience some failure and practice recovery. Today is the lucky day! I heard the array make a wheezing screech and then a CLUNK! nothing else. I went about adding Windows XP to Sun's Virtualbox without a hitch. When my shiny new Windows XP was all installed and patched, I started looking around. That when I noticed this (again, see image). Weird? "resilvered"? Never heard that term before. Fortunately, Jeff Bonwick's blog had the answers. Well, he had the definition of "resilvered" anyway. It worries me that it wasn't notified other than an entry in /var/adm/messages. Luckily, I routinely look at zpool status and the logs (but an email would be nice). I guess it is not yet completely broken. The link they provided indicated if it were really bad, zfs would fail the drive. It looks like it only remapped 6.5k. So there's nothing to do (except blog?). So, I ran "zpool clear junk c2t13d0" and it cleared the error. That was it.