Swarms Galore

We have had a really great start to the swarm season here in the Wheeling area.  There are no empty Dave’s Bees originated hives.  The dead out was filled with a great swarm retrieved in a cardboard box and it is doing well.  Then we got the swarm I’m holding
from my friends’ apiary when it swarmed out of their KTBH.

Dave holding a swarm from friends' KTBH

Dave holding a swarm from friends' KTBH

We put that in an empty bait hive since their apiary was growing faster than the hives and it absconded the next day.  That was not a big problem as they had a bait hive up in the area and it had a colony move in.  My friends frantically built another KTBH and the bait hive colony is sitting on top of the new KTBH and is scheduled to go in on Sunday June 11.  Then the same friends got a second swarm in the yard and that got put in the only remaining KTBH from Dave’s Bees.  But the story is not over; got another nice swarm in a bait hive that is going to a fledgling natural beekeeper with a brand spanking new KTBH on Monday June 12.  Last but not least…we put our old rickety hive out as a bait hive and 4 days later we had new tenants.

Bait Hive

This bait hive had a swarm move in 4 days after we put it out.

This presents a new problem for us; finding room in the car to transport them to Maine.
Speaking for myself…that’s it for this swarm season!

Honeybee Survival Report 2010 – 2011

We presently have just 2 Langstroth hives with no intention to expand prior to moving to Maine.  These 2 hives actually went to Maine and back last fall and wintered well back here in Ohio.   That leaves the 2 populated Langstroth hives and 4 populated KTBHs that were sold to folks in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  I have contacted the new owners; only 1 KTBH didn’t make it.  So that is 7 out of 8 that made it.  The KTBH that died probably succumbed to the Varroa Mites.  However the bees left plenty of honey behind and the new owners are enjoying eating it.  And…just this week we received a swarm call and retrieved a nice swarm and repopulated the empty KTBH…all is well.  Much thanks to the homeowner that called us to come get the bees.  They went to a natural beekeeper and have a great new home where they can care for themselves as nature intended.  Now there is one Dave’s Bees KTBH that was sold empty and it is presently set up as a bait hive and waiting for bees; next swarm goes to that hive.  Yes that’s right…If you are the owner of that hive… its official… we are targeting your hive next.

My Maiden Voyage – A Great Start

Welcome and thank you for checking out my blog.  This being the first post to my blog I guess I should bring things up to date.

Natural beekeeping had some serious hurdles to jump in our area last year.  While I did manipulate my first year hives most unnaturally (split them to death perhaps) the year was terrible for most of the locals.  The bees couldn’t gather enough stores and even the feeder folks failed to keep their bees going.  As nature would have it, only the strong survive.

The season started this spring with 1 survivor colony from the previous season cutout in a Kenya top bar hive (KTBH).  One colony died in February and the other three starved by November.  With a total of five KTBHs that left me with four empties this spring.  In hopes of capturing a new swarm or two we put up three bait hives in the area; all mini KTBHs in trees.

Our Kenya Top Bar Hives 2010

Our 5 Kenya Top Bar Hives

Opportunity Knocks

After giving a free seminar on beginning beekeeping, an attendee called and gave me the number of a couple with two Langstroth hives for sale.  The hives were survivor bees that had gone untreated for three years and in a complete state of disrepair.  There was a bonus hive with two mediums next to the larger hives with a cover and they contained a colony as well.  The next day and a roll of duck tape later they were home safe.  One of the Langs swarmed into a low pine tree and we put them in a KTBH… now there are two KTBHs working.


The next step was to feverishly put together three new Langstroth hives to move the bees into.  My son shot some tremendous video during the transfer, but it is in a format that I can’t use.  Anyway the Lang bees are all in their new homes.

Our Langstroth Hives 2010

Three new homes for our bees

Haze Gray - Langstroth Hive

Haze Gray - Langstroth - Perone Hybrid

Once we were all settled in with our now five hives we found a colony had moved into one of the bait hives.  We left it in the tree for a week and then on top of their new KTBH for another week…now we are at three KTBHs and three Langs. 

Bait Hive 3

Bait Hive 3

We had a second swarm checking out a bait hive but it left.  I think they found the bait hive a little small.  The landowner called and told me there was another batch of bees back in the box.  They have been there a week now and I’ll leave them another week before I bring them home.  So I guess we are at six and a half right now.  We are up to date.

To see the videos on how to build a Kenya top bar hive or bait hive go to my hives page.