Thursday, January 31, 2013

Honey Bees 1.31.13

I have a Langstroth hive, a Top Bar Hive and a 5 frame swarm catcher…….all empty.

I had a trap-out swarm in the Langstroth, last year, but it was over run with big red ants. That really cut down on the bee population. I bought them a Queen but it still didn’t survive.

I purchased a 3# pkg of bees for the Top Bar Hive. They seemed to be doing well. It has an observation window and I could see them building comb. But, looking back, I realized that they had stopped adding comb and I had noticed them carrying dead bee larva out. Being new at this I didn’t realize that the wax moths may have already been in the comb that I could not see.  We went away for 10 days and when I came back the bees were gone and the comb and hive were full of wax moth larva.

I burned all the comb and larva. Probably should have put it out and let the birds have a feast, but didn’t want to create a problem for other beekeepers in the area.

I would like to try again this year. I have all 3 set up, hoping to attract a swarm. I check them regularly to be sure nothing has moved in (other than bees) and put Lemon Grass Oil in them to attract bees.

I’ve put a screened inner cover on the  Langs’ and screen on the Top Bar.  A friend with a few hives had screened inner covers on his hives and found wax moths on them. It kept them out of his hives. So I’m trying that this year.

It is the end of January, here in Florida, and there are  a few flowers blooming…but not many. My Bottle Brush bushes are just starting to put out blooms and they draw bees. I would love to get a swarm of feral Honey Bees.

Here are some photos of the bees that come…..this is the top of a mason jar.



I put some honey on a tape measure …..but I don’t know how big a small cell bee is….


If anyone can tell  from these pictures, please let me know.



The jar has 3 holes in the lid and sits on  1”x 1” sticks so the bees can get under it.  There may be a dozen bees on it at a time with others coming and going…….. until I put some on the top and let it drizzle down….then within a few minutes it is swarming with bees. As soon as the excess is gone the number of bees dwindle.

What are my chances of attracting a swarm by having a feeding station?

My friends, George and Debbie, have 2 hives and that is where I buy my honey. They are only a couple of miles away, so I could just be putting it right  back into their hives.

Does the dark bee in the picture below look like the same kind of  bee as the others?


March is the swarming season here, so I am a bit early, but the weather has been warm all winter, with only 1 hard frost in my area, that I know of. I noticed some of the palms in the tree farms surrounding us, have started to put out blooms. I am hoping the warm winter will help the bees to survive and increase their numbers……and that some will want a nice place to live……preferably in one of my hives.


  1. Love your blog and how you got the bees to measure themselves! I have no idea how to tell if they're small cell bees or not, but I can say that the dark bee is a honeybee indeed. She's just old and all her fuzz is worn off. Good luck with your hives this year!

  2. This is fascinating! I have gotten very interested in beekeeping lately but the fact that I'm a little scared of them is holding me back. Good luck with yours!!

  3. Monsanto is a huge bee killer. They produce pesticides and herbicides, stuff like Roundup. I boycott them forever. I have absolutely no use for any "-cides" in my quest for organic living. They are a huge, financially powerful death provider, and should be stopped. They're doing nothing good for life on Earth, and only serve to poison plants, insects, animals, and humans. I pray for bee's to survive... they won't if people keep buying and using poisons. Bee's are crucial for the chain of life. If they go, the dominos will fall and plants will not be pollinated and life, as we know it, will rapidly collapse. BOYCOTT MONSANTO!! Use NO poisons! Got weeds? Pull them up. It's simple. Even with my severe and chronic back pains. Love your blog pages Carol!
    Joris on "Slow Motion"

    1. I agree with you about pesticides or herbicides. My yard is nothing but weeds..I even raise weeds (milkweed for Monarchs & Queens). I want to raise natural size honeybees with no chemicals.


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