Looking at Hives From Space.

Posted in Neat Idea on March 18th, 2011

When mapping out my hives, I noticed in satellite view I could see my hive.  (The white dot just below the marker) The sun just happened to be hitting the metal cover and reflected it back up.

Wiring Frames for Honeybee Hives

Posted in Bee Tools, Neat Idea on March 11th, 2011


Last year when I was extracting honey, I found the extractor would bend the wax in some frames. I could very gently press them back into place, but I wanted to avoid this problem. So I am adding wire to my frames. Basically, instead of using pins to hold the wax in place, wire is stretched across frames and pressed or melted into the wax foundation.

Working with a friend and copying commercial designs, I built a platform to assist in holding the frames for wiring. On the left, there is a commercial wire holder with a piece of spring steel holding the wire. The wire is fed to the right, where the raised wood block holds the frame. The wooden block is at the center of the frame.  I used scrap wood which is why it is stenciled. Containers for nails and grommets are kept at the top. The embedding tool is also shown at the top of the photo.

The first step is to press brass grommets into the frame edge. A hand tool and hammer is used for this. You can see a grommet in the first photo. The frame is then placed on the wooden board.

Two nails are nailed 1/2 way into the frame left near the two grommet holes. Wire is then fed around the frame to point 1. It enters the frame at point 4 then around from 3 to 2 then 1.  The wire is wrapped around the nail at point 1. The nail is then pounded in and the extra wire is clipped off. The wire should be pulled tight. The easiest way to do this is to pull it tight at point 2, then at point 4. The wire makes a nice twang sound when plucked it if is tight enough. The wire is then wrapped around the nail at point 4.  The nail is pounded in and the wire trimmed.

The wax is then inserted into the frame as normal. I like to use the wedge top frames but this is all about personal preference. The wire is pressed into the wax with the embedder tool. I have seen gadgets which heat the wire and melt it into the wax. This seems to be a neat idea but I don’t see it as necessary.

A completed frame, showing the two extra wires running across the frame. It is recommend that frames which will be put into an extractor be wired. It was also suggested to me, wiring helps prevent problems when hives are transported.


A Long Cold Spring

Posted in Things to do in Winter on March 7th, 2011


The storms over the weekend proved to be a good time to reread some beekeeping books. I picked up  Hive Management by Richard E. Bonney. The book starts with a Farmer’s Almanac saying “On the first of February, a farmer should still have on hand half of his winter’s firewood and half of his winter’s hay.”  The book goes on to explain how this also applies to bees and what the beekeeper should be doing as spring approaches. Amazon has a preview of the text on their website, well worth a few minutes.

This year the weather in New England is showing this saying is true, and spring can really drag its heels taxing the bees with rain, snow, and cold. For comparison, a photo from Brown’s Bee Farm showing pollen being carried back to hive on March, 16th 2010.

I have been watching my hives closely and monitoring the food stores. The bees are starting to increase the amount of brood in the hive, and will require more food soon.   My bees have been eating away at the sugar boards, I placed on them several weeks ago. Showing they are alive and hopefully feeling well. I hope this rain will wash away the snow and bring out Dandelions and Silver Maples. I am sure the bees are as excited for warmer weather as I am.