Beekeeping in zone 7b what to do with all these honey bees Thoughts from how to get rid of ants in my house the Catholic Cave

Today’s post is the continuation of the saga of beehive how to get rid of ants in my house ‘luigi’ and its progeny. No videos today, but I took a few pictures. On easter sunday after mass, I inspected both hives to assess the success of the how to get rid of ants in my house walk-away split I performed early last month. The new beehive which was split from luigi’s lower brood box last month was named ‘herman’, after the author of moby dick. I successfully resisted the new beekeeper’s perennial temptation to mess around with the hive and how to get rid of ants in my house just let them bee for over a month, but I monitored traffic at the entrance with great interest. All month I watched herman gradually become more and more how to get rid of ants in my house active with forager traffic bringing in generous amounts of pollen how to get rid of ants in my house and nectar, a most encouraging sight.

To sum up the results of sunday’s inspection, the walk-away split was a resounding success, and luigi also threw a major curve ball at me. First, herman’s brood pattern was solid and they had a nice how to get rid of ants in my house band of multi-colored pollen around the brood nest, along with good stores of nectar. The population was strong relative to the size of the how to get rid of ants in my house hive, and the addition of a honey super was warranted. The super I added was filled with frames of drawn-out comb, a couple of them still capped with honey stores leftover how to get rid of ants in my house from last year. This was the last of the honeycomb I had in how to get rid of ants in my house storage after the demise of my first beehive. I also implemented my plan to use drone frames for how to get rid of ants in my house varroa mite control. Green drone comb frames

I added one drone frame per brood box on the how to get rid of ants in my house outer edge of the brood nest, staggering their sides so there would be an even distribution how to get rid of ants in my house space-wise. The theory behind using drone frames for mite control is how to get rid of ants in my house that because the varroa mite vastly prefers to lay its how to get rid of ants in my house eggs in drone cells as opposed to worker cells, encouraging the bees to lay frames of nothing but drones how to get rid of ants in my house will draw the majority of the mites away from the how to get rid of ants in my house future population of worker bees. After the drone cells are capped and the mites are how to get rid of ants in my house sealed inside, the beekeeper removes the frames before the drones emerge and how to get rid of ants in my house replaces them with new drone frames. The old frames are frozen for 24 hours to kill how to get rid of ants in my house the mites, then the drone pupae are removed and the frames ready how to get rid of ants in my house to reuse for the next rotation. If you have chickens, they thoroughly enjoy drone pupae as a protein-rich treat. Drone frames have demonstrated good results, and my hope is that I can use them successfully how to get rid of ants in my house in my tiny operation either as a total substitute for how to get rid of ants in my house chemical mite treatments, or at least to keep mite levels low during the how to get rid of ants in my house spring and summer build-up.

Herman’s start-up was mostly trouble-free. The only problem I had at the beginning was tiny how to get rid of ants in my house ants crawling into the hive through spaces between the boxes, before the bees could seal them with propolis. I remedied this situation by applying generous amounts of diatomaceous how to get rid of ants in my house earth at the base of the hive and on the how to get rid of ants in my house ground around it in a one foot radius; this technique resulted in a small amount of bee mortality how to get rid of ants in my house from foragers that inevitably land on the ground, but it was worth the small sacrifice to get rid how to get rid of ants in my house of the multitudes of tiny ants which threatened to overwhelm how to get rid of ants in my house my small start-up colony. Also, I smeared powdered cinnamon on the sides of the boxes how to get rid of ants in my house where the ants were crawling in and out of the how to get rid of ants in my house exposed spaces. Ants hate cinnamon and it works great as a natural how to get rid of ants in my house deterrent.

I began herman with smaller numbers of bees than I how to get rid of ants in my house probably should have, especially since they experienced another spat of freezing nighttime temperatures how to get rid of ants in my house shortly after the split. The small number of bees meant they had less ability how to get rid of ants in my house to protect the space from ants, and it took them longer to seal off the cracks how to get rid of ants in my house in the boxes. However, after the population began increasing (due to the frames of capped brood emerging), they got on their feet and were able to take how to get rid of ants in my house care of themselves with no further interventions needed. Beehive ‘herman’, now established and progressing nicely with its own locally-produced queen.

As for luigi, I was a bit shocked by what I saw on how to get rid of ants in my house sunday. To back up a bit, on march 24th (a mere 2 weeks after splitting the hive in half) I added a super to luigi to give them more how to get rid of ants in my house space, due to a sudden onset of uncharacteristically aggressive behavior. I was suddenly getting harassed by guard bees when I how to get rid of ants in my house got close to luigi, and the last straw was when several bees literally chased how to get rid of ants in my house me away while I was doing yard work near the how to get rid of ants in my house hive. The next day when I added the super, I didn’t inspect the hive but it was abundantly clear after how to get rid of ants in my house removing the lid that its population was exponentially exploding and how to get rid of ants in my house they were overcrowded in the two-box setup. When I added a super, I gave them mostly empty frames they would have to how to get rid of ants in my house draw out. I figured this would keep them busy, and busy bees generally are friendly bees. Adding space successfully calmed them down within 24 hours, and I was once again able to work around the how to get rid of ants in my house hive, including mowing the yard beside them, and watch them in close proximity without being bothered by how to get rid of ants in my house the guards.

When I inspected luigi on sunday, they were once again overcrowded in their three-box setup, not happy to see me, and much of the extra space between boxes and frames how to get rid of ants in my house was packed with unfortunate accumulation of drone cells. Removing frames resulted in the accidental destruction of large clusters how to get rid of ants in my house of drone cells. The entire situation was chaotic. The bees were none too pleased at the destruction I how to get rid of ants in my house was inflicting on their hard work, and after several guard bees pinged my hands I had how to get rid of ants in my house to go inside and suit up in full gear to how to get rid of ants in my house continue the inspection. I was pleased to see that they had drawn out how to get rid of ants in my house honeycomb on all the frames without any supplemental feeding, and were in the process of capping honey. The brood nest extended well into the top box and how to get rid of ants in my house I was happy to see the brood pattern was very how to get rid of ants in my house solid, no longer spotty like it was earlier last month when how to get rid of ants in my house I checked on them. Now I know which hive retained the original queen during how to get rid of ants in my house the split.

What I didn’t want to see, however, was the numerous queen cells scattered about the frames. Some were situated along the bottom of the frames and how to get rid of ants in my house some were on the middle of frames. Some queen cells were fully capped, some were open with larva visible inside, and some were empty. Not every frame had a queen cell, but several of them did. I did a mental checklist: extremely robust spring buildup in an established hive; unusual number of drones being produced in every available space; queen cells in various stages of development scattered about the how to get rid of ants in my house hive; bees overcrowded in their hive. Yep, this looks like a hive preparing to swarm! Not exactly what I wanted to see, but it was encouraging to know that luigi was doing how to get rid of ants in my house so well (swarming is generally a sign of good colony health).

My immediate remedial action, aside from scraping out as much of the annoying drone how to get rid of ants in my house cells as I could (they got fed to the chickens), was to find all the frames with queen cells and how to get rid of ants in my house put them in a separate box. I didn’t really want to start a third beehive, but I figured three was better than two, especially if splitting luigi again might possibly dissuade them from how to get rid of ants in my house swarming. I also still had to put drone frames in the how to get rid of ants in my house brood boxes, which aside from varroa control might work well to keep how to get rid of ants in my house them from building drone comb in inconvenient places. At this point I had been in the hive much how to get rid of ants in my house longer than I should have been, and all my scraping and frame manipulations, which inevitably squished bees due to their massive numbers, utterly infuriated the colony.

By the time I was pulling frames out of luigi how to get rid of ants in my house to make a swarm-control split, a loud angry roar was emanating from the hive and how to get rid of ants in my house bees were stinging my suit. Guard bees flying head-first into my hood made a continuous plopping sound as how to get rid of ants in my house I worked. I hurried through this process, probably missing some queen cells, but satisfied that I at least got most of them how to get rid of ants in my house in a new box along with a large number of how to get rid of ants in my house bees crawling on the frames. I moved the box to the other side of the how to get rid of ants in my house yard, gave it a makeshift bottom and top cover, and closed up luigi. The next day I used some emergency savings to buy how to get rid of ants in my house more equipment from the local beekeeping shop so that I how to get rid of ants in my house could properly equip the new split and add a fourth how to get rid of ants in my house super to luigi. Whether or not I could stop the swarm mattered less how to get rid of ants in my house to me than knowing that I could at least start how to get rid of ants in my house another hive, thus increasing the overall odds of success for my backyard how to get rid of ants in my house operation. While there is certainly such a thing as too many how to get rid of ants in my house beehives, the general principle stands that the more colonies you have, the more resources you have available to keep your operation how to get rid of ants in my house self-sustaining. Given the expenses of buying the hardware needed for a how to get rid of ants in my house new beehive, and the limited space I have living in a residential how to get rid of ants in my house neighborhood, I believe three colonies will be my limit. Season is of course, justifiably skeptical of this pronouncement since not long ago I how to get rid of ants in my house said I didn’t care to have more than two beehives.

As for the new split, I stocked the lower box with brood frames that had how to get rid of ants in my house queen cells on them, and I donated some honey frames from luigi. A generous amount of bees were included in this split, unlike when I created herman with a skeleton crew. I gave this new hive a second box full of how to get rid of ants in my house empty frames but put one honey frame in there to how to get rid of ants in my house draw the bees up into the top box. As per my usual procedure, I spray all un-drawn frames with 1:1 sugar syrup infused with supplements, to encourage the bees to draw out comb on the how to get rid of ants in my house plastic foundation I use. I also went ahead and added a drone frame in how to get rid of ants in my house each box, and will replace them on the same rotation with the how to get rid of ants in my house other two hives next month.

At present the new hive is foraging in earnest, bringing in pollen and nectar like the other two hives. For the past two days I haven’t seen as much forager activity at luigi’s entrance as usual, which makes me wonder if they swarmed and I missed how to get rid of ants in my house it. I haven’t seen any large clusters of bees congregating anywhere in how to get rid of ants in my house our yard or in neighboring yards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t swarm. But I think it could also be the case that how to get rid of ants in my house they’ve simply dedicated a bunch of bees to the task how to get rid of ants in my house of drawing out comb inside the new box I gave how to get rid of ants in my house them. Generally when I add a new box, I notice an immediate drop in forager activity for a how to get rid of ants in my house while until more brood emerges. More added boxes means more space the bees have to how to get rid of ants in my house guard from pests (like beetles) and more bees that have to thermoregulate the brood nest how to get rid of ants in my house due to the sudden change of internal environmental parameters.

Whatever the case, I won’t be opening any of the hives until it’s time to switch out the drone frames in four how to get rid of ants in my house weeks. From henceforth I plan to only open the hives every how to get rid of ants in my house four weeks, as needed to switch out the drone frames. This contrasts to last year when I was inspecting them how to get rid of ants in my house every week. I’m hoping to harvest a little honey, but that all depends on the strength of the nectar how to get rid of ants in my house flow and how well luigi can recover from being split how to get rid of ants in my house yet again, this far into the nectar flow. Based on my observations from last year, I believe we have one more month of good nectar how to get rid of ants in my house flow before it dwindles into dearth. I plan to probably feed the new hive through summer how to get rid of ants in my house and hopefully let the other two fend for themselves food-wise, unless of course they need supplemental feeding as a matter how to get rid of ants in my house of life and death.

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