Beekeeping Timeline

2014     2015     2016     2017

2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

  • fixed insulation on top bar hive #1 as it partially came off

2016

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2106

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 

August
  • made wasp traps with some fatal funnels and two liter soda bottles, it is yellow jacket season
    • ended up hanging the wasp traps on shepherd hooks and low tree branches, tried a miracle-gro plant prop but the trap ended up being too heavy for it, also sued mirale-gro garden tie tape and yarn
  • all six beehives look active and healthy, worried about the top bar hive started from a top bar hive this year, seems to have the smallest population and a constant ant issue
May
  • installed overwintered nuclear bee package
  • installed two spring produced nucs, have a current total of 6 beehives
  • removed insulation and ants from top bar hive (hive #1)
April
  • delighted to see two hives survived the winter and when the weather is good in April, it is a flurry of activity of bees outside the hives
  • installed one package in top bar hive
  • ordered one traditional three pound bee package in February and it is to arrive Friday April 8th or Saturday, April 9th. Plan to put it in the top bar hive that froze over the winter in 2014, but place the hive in a different location
  • installed 3lb bee package in top bar hive
March
  • was able to order an overwintered nuclear package, should have ordered earlier for an overwintered nuclear package as they were all taken by the time I ordered in early February
  • received orders of pollinator friendly seeds, to include more information in gardening section of this blog
February
  • ordered two spring nuclear packages, waited too late for ordering an overwintered nuclear package, was contacting and looking into all of the local beekeepers selling nuclear bee packages, next year plan to order an overwintered nuclear package early from the same place I found on the Illinois Queen Initiative website
January
  • made beeswax candles
  • looking into planting pollinator friendly plants such as milkweed
  • researching buying nuclear bee packages from some local northern Illinois beekeepers as they have better survival rates than regular three pound bee packageshomemade beeswax candles

2015

November
  • winterized two beehives, one was polystyrene the other wooden
  • sent registration update and letter to Illinois Department of Agriculture
  • beehives have less activity
  • looking into planting pollinator friendly plants such as milkweed
September/October
  • beehives appeared strong and busy
August
  • harvested some honey by the crush and strain method from the hive that froze over the winter, plan to use it in bath and body products for self and gifts
  • placed some empty dark colored honey comb in the solar wax melter and have ants crawling in and other the cover, for a few days some honey did come out of comb and into the where the melted wax was and it separated nicely from the wax, the ants may be coming in and out of the solar wax melter because of honey, the comb has bee in there for days and most of it ishoneycomb not melted, this is a test batch luckily, came back next day and there were no ants in solar wax melter! 🙂 I wonder if some of it is not beeswax as it is taking some quite some time to melt.
July
  • looking into winterizing and making fondant and or buying winter food for bees
  • ordered harvesting equipment
  • worried about hive numbers 3 and 5 (which are both polystyrene)
  • looking into ways to winterize the hives
  • almost finished assembling solar wax melter, interested in other harvesting equipment
  • plan to take photos of the hives and post them soon
April
  • checked on hives a week later and the bees built their own comb in the package that was left in the hive due to the weather. In retrospect should have left the packages in the hive.but took them out. The weather was very cold and leaving them out could have killed half the bees. Have some E-Z Letter characters to place on hives. First hive will be labeled at A, second B, and so on. Looking into a page on this blog for notes on each individual hive. Put name on wait list for apprentice beekeeping class at Oregon State University (OSU).
  • picked up the four packages of beehives and installed them
  • inspected hive and entire colony died, have photos of the honey and beeswax below, some of the bees look frozen, as was basically harvesting the wax and honey had a wasp, bumblebee and spider came near the honey, would have left the comb in the hive but it was attracting antsfailed beehive 2014
  • still preparing four more beehives and waiting for the four more hive packages
  • drove to Indiana and picked up the four packages of bees and installed them, surprised the farm ordered 1500 packages of bees for customers and they came from Louisiana, thought I found a local source for honeybees, most bee packages in the US do come from the South
January/February
  • Looking into purchasing three to five Langstroth hives and enrolling in local beekeeping classes. Also looking into harvesting equipment and ordering several packages of bees.
  • Ordered four packages of bees and have partially assembled three Langstroth hives and looking into purchasing one more Langstroth hive. Two of the Langstroth hives are BeeMax polystyrene hives and are a thicker polystyrene material and not as fragile as feared they might have been. The other hive is a standard wood Langstroth
    hive from a local store that has a small selection of beekeeping supplies. It still needs to be assembled and painted and has four deeps.

2014

October/November/December
  • Bees still have not made it to the end of the hive. Considering wrapping the hive in insulation due to the harsh winters here in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Not harvesting any honey this year. As of
    Thursday, October 9, 2014 can see the bees entering the hive with pollen sacs full, but not as many as when the weather was warmer.
  • Ordered mouse guards from Better Bee.  Inspected hive and noticed bees have many pests to deal with: spiders, small sweet ants, earwigs, and wasps.
  • Added insulation to outside of hive. The roof now contains expandable foam and an extra layer of insulation. The bottom of the hive and two sides now have an extra layer of insulation. Buying supplies for building five more top bar hives for next year. Interested in using Plexiglas for one of the hive sides to allow for observation of the bees.
  • Received a letter from the Illinois Department of Agriculture – Apiary Inspection Section to update apiary/colony information. Still, only have one hive. Letter encourFebruary 2015 beehive
    ages beekeepers to register colonies on driftwatch.com to minimize exposure to pesticides. Also, mentions can use www.itouchmap.com/latlong.html to obtain GPS coordinates.
  • Brushed away dead bees from hive entrance near sugar water feeder. The other hive entrance is sealed with duct tape and also closed off due to the divider board as the bees have not made it to the end of that side of the hive. There were so many dead bees I thought the hive was lost especially because due to the insulation added to the outside I could not hear the buzzing of the hive. However, once I brushed a good deal of the dead bees away I could hear the buzzing of the hive. Several minutes later when I went inside and looked out the window there were bees climbing on the front of the hive and a few flying around. The weather was surprising not too cold today (Saturday, November 22, 2014) and that could explain why the bees left the hive. When it was very cold none of the bees could be seen outside the hive. It was almost as if they either trapped themselves inside the hive with dead bees at the entrance and or used the dead bees as insulation.
  • Purchased  a copy of Acres USA magazine (December 2014 www.acresusa.com)as it had an article on the cover titled “Keeping Bees: Protect Pollinators on Your Farm.” Also purchased a copy of Hobby Farms Beekeeping magazine Volume 10 2013 and Bee Culture magazine November 2014 (beeculture.com). In Bee Culture magazine saw an ad for an online Master Beekeeping Certificate from the University of Montana School of Extended and Lifelong Learning that am interested in (umt.edu/bee).
August/September
  • Removed quite a few spider webs from the hive with the bee brush. There were two ear wigs in the cover the hive that left when it was opened.
  • As of Sunday, August 24, 2014 the bees still have not made it to the end of the hive and am concerned will not harvest honey this year. There were quite a few brood frames, like seven toptop bar beehive bars away from the queen’s area.
  • Ordered another top bar hive and plan to build several more over the winter for next year. Looking into splitting the colony/queen rearing for additional hives next year.
  • As of Sunday, September 21, 2014 the bees still have not made it to the end of the hive. Purchased and put out one soda bottle wasp trap (made by gadjits.com). Having issues with spider webs on the hive and a few bees getting stuck in the web. The one bee taken out of the spider web still had web on it and it was struggling to move. Have also see small sweet ants around the hive and it appears the bees swarm the sweet ants. May have seen supercedure cells toward the middle of the hive.
June/July
  • Received bees in the mail Saturday, June 7, 2014 and set up the hive. For the first time setting up a hive it did not go as smoothly as I thought it would. The bees were flying everywhere.
  • Have checked on the bees and given them sugar water twice to once a week. Have used the smoker and Fischer’s Bee-Quick and expanded the number of top bars they have. As of Monday, July 7, 2014 they have built comb on less than half of the bars.
  • Registered bee hive with the Illinois Department of Agriculture via the Application For Apiary Registration form https://www.agr.state.il.us/programs/bees/beekeep.pdfTop Bar Hive
  • Had some issues with wasps and spiders. Yes, a few bees got caught in some spider webs around the hive. The wasps left after being sprayed and am just manually taking down the spider
    webs seen around the hive.
  • Possibly having an issue with small sweet ants trying to enter the bee hive. The bees have the entrance blocked pretty well and seem to be handling the situation on their own well. There are a bunch of bees always blocking the entrance and may have seen some small baby bees.
  • Received apiary Registration Certificate and the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act and Rules in the mail.
January/February/March/April/May
  • This is my first year beekeeping. I decided to start with a top bar hive, but have interest in eventually trying the Langstroth and Warré hives. I took some local classes and purchased
    an online beekeeping class at sustainlife.orghoney from failed beehive
  • After shopping around I purchased a top bar hive from texashives.com and a bee feeder kit and bee brush. The hive was assembled at home and varnished not painted. It is pictured to the right.
  • Bees (Minnesota hygienic) were ordered from a farm about 116 miles (186 km) away, 2 hrs 15 minutes one way.
  • Ordered a beekeeping suit and molds for beeswax and a smoker and hive tool. Collected newspaper and sawdust and woodchips for smoker and interested in eventually ordering cherry spray to make harvesting the honey easier as the cherry spray will cause the bees to leave.
  • Due to the weather and it being unusually cold for late April, still am waiting for the bees to arrive. Expecting the bees in June.