Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winner of the Contest

The winner of the contest is announced.  Gary Kula!  Congratulations!!! I need you to email me at theobservationhive@yahoo.com so that I can arrange to send you your prize.  I tried to message you through google + and for some reason it wouldn't let me.  Congrats again.

I had fun running this contest and can't wait to put together another.  I hope the hobby Beek's will agree that if we are only keeping a few hives there is nothing wrong with personalizing our hives.  I think it adds a little flare especially if they are kept in the yard... Of course you definitely want to take precautions to make sure it isn't considered an "Attractive nuisance".  I have read a few blogs and articles saying that if kiddos are attracted and they get stung then it can cause major issues...

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Part Two.. and Contest!!!

I hope everyone had a good weekend.. I know mine was definitely busy and that really is putting it lightly.  Now that I have finished making the Wax sealer I can now start thinking of other projects and information to produce.  I like how the sealer turned out especially by using the Box Elder.

One thing I did notice after collecting all my video clips is that I didn't show the drilling of the second hole on the handle.  I will definitely address this on the next show but if you go and look at my video of me demonstrating how to use the wax sealer you can see where the location of the second hole is.

Now on to the next part.  I have been wrecking my brain trying to come up with an idea for a good contest.  Most of my favorite wood working web shows have project contests but i just didn't think that it would be a good thing to just say "Hey build something for beekeeping and present it"... I just don't think that this show is at that level yet.  Just in case I didn't cover all the bases on this clip... To win the Wax Sealer that I made on "Teach a Man to fish Part 2" You have to leave a comment on this Video log about a good contest idea, this will be open from August 27th (Yes i know I said the 26th, but I was a little slow getting the video edited) to September 7th.   Once I have screened through the ones I like then on I will let all my subscribers Vote on the top 5 and I will announce the winner on my September 10th Video.  I will have more info on this once I have the top 5.  I hope that I can get plenty of participation on this because the more subscribers I have the more I can keep these video's published for all to see also I will be able to talk to some of the well known beekeeping suppliers about may donating really cool items for future contests on this show!  Also I have set up an official Email address so that subscribers can email me any time it's theobservationhive@yahoo.com.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Give a man a Fish...

A nice sleepless night and now it's time for catch up.  No No I don't lose sleep over new technologies and beekeeping rumors--heh heh... Just one of those side effects.  So as the title is written this is about the philosophical statement "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day--Teach a man to fish and he will feed himself for the rest of his life."  I have always liked that statement and actually used it A LOT during my service in the Navy.  In fact when I was young my Step-grandpa use to tell me that all the time and that is exactly why I am considered the friend that is FULL of useless information and knowledge.  I am honestly a Jack-of-all-trades and that quote "Plus some genetics and my dad telling me when I was 13 'Don't focus on just ONE interest; because, if you can not DO that one thing for one reason or another then you are stuck'".  Once I had been set on the path of researching BeeKeeping I learned that even though the hobby is most DEFINITELY a Jack-of-all-trades hobby it's not treated as such.  You have scientists that want to make research almost impossible to even want to read, inventors that want to flood the hobby with "You must have this" ideas, crafters that want to make something WAAAY more complicated.... Wait.. that's even a better description all over.  Let me start again.  Beekeeping offers opportunities for one to be a scientists (of course this includes biology, entomology, chemists, ect.), wood crafters, inventors, engineers, plus many many more hats--and lets not forget ARTISTS!  When I discovered this I was HOOKED, couldn't ask for anything better for a jack-of-all-trades; however, not many think that way.  It's the hobbyists that want to make this a one trade hobby (or job if this is a source of main income) and try to "bank" on those who prefer to have someone give them a fish.

This poses a problem for those of us who just want to keep a few hives and not fork out a ton of cash.  I  have seen plenty of gimmicks and the funny thing is the biggest gimmick in beekeeping is being told "it's cheaper to just buy it".  Now honestly there is only ONE required part to beekeeping that I agree with that statement and that's the frames.  There are some tools for beekeeping that make the hobby soooo much easier, and yes one could do without them, and yes they are expensive and generally not worth the money it costs to buy them--but wait.. why not build them.  I am not kidding, there is absolutely nothing in beekeeping that cannot be built by you or the bee's.  Why would ANYONE buy plastic comb?  I mean yea I know it saves some time (and please I am not stepping on toes nor am I putting anyone down who uses it but no one has ever given me a straight answer as to why) but why pay for something that the bee's make.  Ok so now that brings up foundation.  Yes I have stated before that foundation should be used when producing bee's and one wants to speed up the nuc splitting opportunity window.  So yes if you want to speed that up foundation is the way to go and an expense UNLESS you can get ahold of a laminator wax mill and make it yourself with the wax that your bee's make themselves.  So truly there is nothing in beekeeping that the Beek or the bee's cannot make themselves.  The Fat Bee Man is absolutely correct, and he mills his own wood to make his hives, that amongst many other items can be done.  Although I do not agree with not using tools to make things easier.  Trust me a frame assembler makes putting frames together a WHOLE lot easier and faster; however, it's not worth the price to buy one, not at all.  Not when one can be made for pennies or free if you have some of the hardware already.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A new season..

My fellow Beek's--it has been a long hard road but alas this thing I am living with makes things hard.  I am definitely trying to overcome this autoimmune but the medicine that treats it also cause Lupus symptoms.  It tends to limit my time in the sunlight.  With the help of the doctors flare ups are declining.  Enough of that, let's get to it.  Our four packages actually did very well.  All four created swarm cells and in my absence (not being able to tend to them during the flare ups) all four swarmed.  The recovered decently from the failed splits.  Failed splits you say?  Yes--when the bees were ready I attempted 3 splits but I made a bad mistake.  Instead of putting the two frames of eggs, larva, and nurse bees in side by side I checker boarded.  It only took two somewhat chilled nights here and all three failed.  When went to check on them they were flooded with ants and dead bees. larva, and eggs were at the entrance.  I was worried--at first I thought if was disease, and after talking with my dad he explained to me that if the frames of brood were not together then the nurses cannot ball up to keep the little ones warm.  Lesson learned.  Even though I depleted the original nuc's they rebounded rather nicely and swarmed within a month.

I also learned something else--and I will cover this subject extensively in a future video.  These next video's I will be covering a ton of building equipment.  This is a part of Beekeeping that not many get in depth with.  I personally have watch very few videos this subject save for "How to build your own Hive stand".  Funny enough we all know that's probably the easiest thing to make.  Really a couple of 2x4s and cinder blocks will take care of that--but what about hive's? or frames? or how about form boards? or feeders? Maybe a wax tube fastener?  If you are a beekeeper that wants to do a little more than keep two hives or want to produce more bee's then ordering gear is an option but the shipping is a killer.  While 15.00 is pretty cheap for a hive body I can actually build one for for 25 cents in glue and staples.  That's just because I can mill my own wood, but even if you went to a lumber store then add 3.00 for wood.  Now if you order that hive body it's 15.00 for the hive body (not the bottom board or lid) then you have to add shipping--just plain old ground shipping to my place is around 15.00 just for that hive body.  So 30.00 total and with UPS ground heheheh they do tend to be slow.  So for the amount of money I would pay just for one hive body plus the time to get it, I would have already built (this is if I buy the wood) I can make 10 bodies.  Of course there are many other things that can be made for less and hopefully I will be able to cover those too.

Here is a little music video made from music donated to the show by Matt Leonard.  It's definitely better than the music I have made on my Mac with the Garage band APP... I truly appreciate and support for the show and anything sent to help with be used just for that.  For anyone who does make a donation i will Make them something too.  I thank everyone who are my subscribers...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Splits with Dad

Hey everyone--I know I have been behind on things.  I have had flare ups that have been preventing me from spending too much time in the sun.

I had attempted to do some splits and took a loss.  I have a lot of clips on this and have been trying to edit through the personal stuff but I will get it done to show what NOT to do... hehehehe.  I still have the original Nuc's and they are doing good--recovering--but good.

This video is a demonstration of a couple of my dad's methods.

Two things to think about while I work on the next video....

In Bee Keeping--where does science end and the art begins?

Also For the Bee's? or Not for the Bee's?  This is DEFINITELY the question..

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

treatments treatments treatments..

Good evening my friends, I have to apologize for the delay.  I have a medical condition that tends to take me down for the count every so often.  This week was pretty hard.  Although I have had time to think of a few things and one thing that seems to come up most often are treatment options.  Now while opinions vary a lot one thing I can DEFINITELY tell you is be very careful with which ever treatments you use.  I will be posting a video on my experience with Oxalic Acid.

Now all other pests aside the one that seems to do the most damage and once it locks in is Varroa.  This pest was imported and although lived in symbiosis with Asian bee's has become a nasty hive crasher here.  Many other pests; not including small hive beetle, can be treated with two things, regression of bees and plenty of ventilation.  That's it.  Varroa is not all that simple; however, regression will definitely help but treatment in some cases is a must.  There are natural treatments, there are medications, and there is just no treatments at all.  There are many classes that fall into this but the truth is--if you have a mite problem and the bees are not taking care of them then we have to step in or chances are we lose the hives.  Varroa can weaken a hive to a point of no return and lead directly to CCD.  So What if you want to sell bees?  Well guess what... although you don't HAVE to treat for them do you really want to sell someone a nuc full of varroa mites?  Yea, they will possibly come back and purchase another from you but is that really good business?  No.. it's not.  So we should treat.  What if you are in it for the Bees and you want to help repopulate the honey bee before they become extinct?  Well the Varroa was introduced by us so guess what... we need to treat.  Natural... not natural.  One thing we really need to try and do is avoid building a resistant mite.  We almost did at one point.

Here is an option that is a multi-tasker.  Yep.. can treat for mites, nosema (although that can be done by regression and Essential oils)... Sky is the limit.  Now I will definitely say that Don is a great guy, he passes on information and ideas where others would rather rob you for it.  He told me that he wants to pass his information on and that's what I am here for.  Here is his idea.  I will be putting up more videos soon including a face to face--er face to camera.  Until then.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Alternative Varroa Treatments

Good evening everyone,

No video today as I am busy transferring my files to a hard drive of it's own and it is taking a while.  Although I have had quite a few questions about the Oxalic Acid Vaporizer video.  Now first let me say that Don teaches all aspects of beekeeping.  Including what if any treatments he uses.  Second, using the Vaporizer is nasty business--not for the bee's--but for you.  This compound does exist in nature; however for humans in concentrated doses is nasty business.  I HIGHLY recommend a respirator use with it and this is because I was DOWN wind during a different demonstration two days ago and the person didn't allow the vapor to settle and re-solidify then pulled out the tool and a cloud of it went right toward me.  Had to go and see the doc and he even said mine was a minor case but needed an injection.  With that said, Don uses this method and prefers it and with just cause.  It is effective.  If you have a Varroa mite problem and would like a quick kill this will definitely do it.  What is does is it spreads the vapors into the hive, then they re-crystalize on the surfaces and will remain that way for at least a month.  During that time Varroa won't survive and it breaks one to two cycles.

Personally--I use the fogger with wintergreen.  Some other people use Thyme oil.  There are many natural treatments you can use, and believe it or not one way to treat it is NOT to and let the Bee's work it out.  This again would be up to the beekeeper.  Don also sells bee's on a regular basis so he actually has to treat and if I am correct (I might be wrong) but if you produce and sell bee's you have to use some sort of treatments of disease and pests.

Here is the Video on using a fogger instead of the Vaporizer

Also here are a few of Don's recipes for Varroa..

  1. Put 5-8 drops of Thyme oil in 16 ounces of mineral oil, shake it up and squirt it on a paper towel making a double SS. Then put it in the hive on top of the frames up till 3 weeks before the honey flow and anytime after the honey flow.
  2. Mix 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder with 1 cup of water in a blender on low speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the cup of blended mixture to a gallon of sugar water, mix by shaking, and feed it to the bees in early spring up till 3 weeks before the honey flow. Can be used again in the fall after the honey flow.
  3. Put 4 ounces of granulated sugar per deep hive box into a blender on low speed in order to make your own powdered sugar. The powdered sugar that you buy in the stores contains corn starch which the bees cannot digest. Place the 4 ounces of home made powdered sugar into a baggie. Use one 4 oz. baggie to a deep box and 3 ounces per medium box. The next time that you are in your bee yard, dump the sugar onto the top of the frames. Use a new paint brush ( must be a foam type ) to brush the powder off of the frames onto the bees early in the morning or late in the evening 4 times at 10 days apart starting in late August and continuing into September. Best to have screen bottom boards for this with a tray underneath to catch the powdered sugar dust. Then put the dust in the freezer for 48 hours to kill the mites. For a solid bottom board, place a piece of cardboard on to it to catch the dust. Then remove the cardboard and put dust in to the freezer for 48 hours to kill the mites. This is done so that the bees won’t play in the sugar and take the mites back into the hive with them.
  4. Use 20-25 drops of Thyme oil in 16 ounces of mineral oil if you use a fogger for mite control. Walk by the landing board, hold fogger 6" from the entrance for 8 to 10 seconds and then move on to the next hive.