Friday, April 19, 2013

Bees and bunnies and seeds, Oh My!

It must bee spring. We traveled to California to pick up seven packages of bees last week. It was a nice trip but feel really bad for the bees. They went from an 80 degree climate where everything was blooming to high 20s and snow. Most of them fared really well, but we ran into some problems yesterday while checking hives.

This package was so cold they went into a dormant state. I thought they were all dead until I broke out the trusty hair dryer and warmed them up. There was an even bigger ball of bees sitting on the bottom of the hive (the last place you want your bees balled up) I am hoping the queen was somewhere in that pile of bees safe and warm. Today is supposed to be warmer so we will see if they get out and fly.

Another problem we had not expected was the difficulty of finding the queen on the foundationless frames. Out of all seven hives, we only found one queen and she immediatly flew out of the hive. I watched her zoom in and back out a couple of times before I lost sight of her so I hope she want back in and settled her court back into making comb.

There is a very big difference between productivity in some hives and others. Some were doing nothing at all, some had already started building comb. I know which hives I will pull my drones from!

I am going to attempt queen rearing this year using the nicot system. It's just too hard to climatize bees from other locations to our weird crazy weather here. I am going to use my nuc queen (now named Charlotte) as my mother queen and drones from my most productive hives as my breeder drones. I have a few ideas on how to select which drones I want an ensure that is who she mates with but I will go into that later.

My Utah hive is queenless. Don't know how that happened as her hive is incredibly strong. There was only one emergency queen cell in the hive (which broke open as we seperated two frames, grrrr.) So I know she didn't swarm. It is still so cold right now I would have a hard time believing they could swarm yet anyway. Our last remaining Nevada hive has been very weak. When we opened it yesterday, there were only about 200 bees and the queen was very weak. We decided to kill two birds with one stone and combine the Utah and Nevada hives. What in the world am I going to call THAT mixture!?!? Maybe I should name her Gracie. A Utah queen in a Nevada home. Hrmmm. That has possibilities, lol.

We got the first of our rabbits a few weeks ago, his name is Max. He has lived his whole live as an ignored house bunny. He was well fed and petted once in a while but he has obviously never been outside. We put him out during the day in a large excercise pen.. He jumps and twists and has decided that he is a wild jackrabbit. Until nightfall when he crawls into his crate and shivers. Being domestic reallly isn't all that bad I guess.

I have been getting so excited to start my garden this year. I just have to find a way to kick all of the chickens out of the back yard first. They seem to think my raised beds are their own personal dust baths.

That's the basic quick catch up on what's been going on in the world of Gracie. I am really going to try hard to get better as this whole blogging thing.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the bees, they ARE a challenge...

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