In 2006 I bought 50 beehives. Life happened and I was forced to abandon the project. In March 2015 I began again with the 3 surviving hives.
Now I am trying to move from a Clueless Beekeeping Novice with 3 hives to Professional Beekeeper. So with that in mind, I will share my adventure, my follies, and hopefully my success with you. Enjoy.
I Have No Idea What I'm Doing... But I'm Doing It!
Noah and the (3) MMNs ... and poison ivy
all over the damn fence!!!!!
The new Mini Mating Nucs (MMN) we made the other day aren't doing well.
For starters, they had dysentery as could be seen from the brown streaks on the front of each box. At first I thought it might be Nosema but after doing a little research I concluded it might have come from my sugar syrup.
Why the sugar syrup? Well a couple of reasons.
1. I didn't measure my sugar to water very accurately. It turns out that too much water in the feed can cause the solids in the bees stomach to swell and that could give'em the shits.
2. I mixed too much sugar water the previous time and let it mold - or whatever that slime is called that it produced. Then I rinsed the jug out with dish soap but didn't really disinfect it. So the water could have been tainted that way.
At the end of the day, I concluded it wasn't Nosema since the parent hive seemed healthy. So I made fresh syrup, treated it with Tea Tree Oil as is a natural remedy for dysentery, and then discarded the old syrup.
The next problem I had with the (3) MMNs is that all the bees went into a single MMN. That is great for the winner but the other two MMNs failed to keep their queen cell warm. Real shame.
So Noah and I decided that the best course of action was to skip splitting hives and just correct our MMNs.
This time we decided to cut the queen cells and the adjacent comb out and rubber band them into MMN frames. This way the brood and the queen cells were together and would encourage the bees to keep both warm.
This turned out to be best as half of the queen cells had already hatched - or at least had been opened by the first queen to hatch. Only (4) viable cells were left.
So we did as planned. Queen Cells from Hive-D (which actually came from Hive-D.2s eggs) and then we took bees from Hive-A.
Hive-D was as vicious as I've ever seen a hive. I accidentally bobbled one of the cut outs (which might cause the queen cell in it to fail) but when I did, Hive-D swarmed me so completely that I almost couldn't see through the onslaught. Luckily my suit did it's job. I still got stung (15) times but I had more than (20) or (30) stingers in the chest of my suit. Hopefully the new queen will mate and then calm the hive down.
Noah got stung (3) times.
We then took nurse bees from Hive-A. They too were on the cantankerous side. Possible due to all of the pheromones radiating from the stingers in my suit. However, we shook a few frames of bees into the (2) MMNs and then closed them up.
Note the brown streaks
I closed the entrance holes with duct tape. Then, once at home and on their new site, I removed the tape from one of the MMN and left the other closed to ensure they don't all go to one nuc again.
Mabel eating cheese dip
Lastly, my dog, Mabel was stung on the ear and it swelled to about three times its thickness. I felt terrible - not that she seemed upset by it. My wife and I spent the whole night feeding her treats and loving on her. We also gave her 25mg of diphenhydramine and by this morning the swelling was much better. If my backyard bees continue to cause her problems, I will have to move the hives back out to Dr.D's place.