Monday, June 5, 2017

The Return of the Queen - Long Live The Queen!

These days I am much more reluctant to use the word "Miracle" when curiously great things happen. It seems lately every time I do, the next day it turns to crap.

That being said, I was amazed to find the queen that had flown away last week had returned. It turns out that it really isn't that uncommon. In fact, when I looked it up this morning, the question came up quite often. This is what Michael Bush said on back on 5/14/2011:

First let’s look at what to do if the queen flies. The first thing you do is stand still. She will orient on you and probably find her way back. The second thing to do is en-courage the bees to guide her back with Nasonov pheromone. To do this, take a frame out that is covered in bees and shake them back into the hive. This will cause them to start fanning Nasonov. Third, if you don’t see the queen fly back in (be watching and you may) then wait ten minutes with the cover of the hive off so she can smell the Nasonov. If you do these three things the odds are very good she will find her way back.

If you didn’t do those things, there is probably a little better than 50/50 chance she will find her way back anyway.

So dear friends, sometimes, they come back. However, I'm still worried that my queen might be damaged from the hairclip squish I gave her last weekend. Time will tell.

Moving On:

It only violates Child Labor
Laws if I pay them. :)
This weekend I finally managed to paint the (15) mini nucs I built a few month back. It is a pitiful accomplishment considering I need (750) of them to meet my goal.

Nonetheless, I invited my nephew Zane over to help me. I did this on a whim - I think subconsciously I was trying to share the misery with anyone who would be gullible enough to help. He in turn, invited his friend - probably for the same reason. However, since I'm not a complete dick, I decided to make it as fun as I could. So first they had to paint the boxes with primer and paint (I did the last coat to make sure all the spots were covered)... then I let them finger paint the fronts.

They actually seemed to enjoy the whole process.

I didn't take any pictures of the ones they finger painted but to be honest, they all look like shit. Of course that was after I had to shoot down several of their 11-year-old ideas. The top ones included, homages to their favorite famous YouTubers, a picture of a hand giving the finger, and other general curse words. Silly me, I expected cartoon bees and flowers rather than belligerent graffiti!

Luckily, they actually enjoyed painting the boxes solid more than finger painting and so they only defaced five or so of them. The rest I painted with different solid colors as originally planned.

That was Saturday. Sunday I built five frame nucs. That isn't totally true. I actually spent most of the weekend playing video games. I am sure Joel Salatin (Author of You Can Farm) would take great joy in chastising that epic waste of time. He would be right. If fact, despite the fact that I love video games, I rarely play them for fear of being sucked into them for days on end. I've since asked my son to keep his damn video games in his room since I can't be trusted!

However, the five frame nucs were actually a revelation. The evolution of my pallet repurposing project has made a huge breakthrough. The sides of my hives are now built with (3) 1x4's (which are actually 3/4"x3 1/2" wide) - that makes the side 10 1/2" tall. Then I make the fronts out of (4) one-by strips that I have ripped down to 2 1/2". This locks all the boards together. When the finished product is put together, I trim it down to 9 5/8"on the table saw to give it a nice flat bottom.

The best part is that I ripped all of the material out for (5) nuc boxes in about an hour and could assemble them in about (15) minutes. That sort of production could make it possible to manufacture all the hives I need in just a matter of days rather than months.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am considering going to all (5) frame nuc boxes rather than standard (10) frame hives. Don the Fat Bee Man promotes this idea and I can see the benefits - the lighter boxes not being the least of these.

Wednesday, Noah and I will be heading out to Dr. D's place to do several walk away splits, as well as fixing up a couple of five frame nucs to bring home. I will also be transforming Hive-D (the one at my house) into a triple stacked five frame nuc. This will give me (3) separate nucs rather than just one hive at the house. This will give me more options for my breeding activities.

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