Here are photos of my six active beehives/apiary as of May 2016. I was hoping to make a nice PowerPoint out of this to post to YouTube, but maybe in the future. It was not working out as I had to re-purchase the Microsoft office suite and Open Office was very different. This is what I am using right now to document the beehives I have started. There are currently six beehives and two (numbers 4 and 3 have colonies that survived the winter since 2015 and were started from packages). The other four were started in 2016. The top bar hive from a package and numbers 4 and 7 from spring produced nuclear packages and number 6 from an overwintered nuclear bee package.
Here is a current inventory synopsis of the beehives as of May 2016:
- Hive Number 1
- top bar hive, built and in use since 2014, first package did not survive the winter and looked like it froze over, was then placed in storage and inactive for a year, put a package in the hive in 2016 and bees have made progress building comb, but appear to be suffering from ants and may be placed near and or on ant nests, when the cover was lifted there were huge large black ants in May 2016. I removed the ants and they were not near the comb. The were between the cover and the top bars. This hive looks the weakest of all the hives. It looks like it will not survive the winter again. This was painted with clear varnish, so the hive is a natural wood color.
- Hive Number 2
- wooden Langstroth hive, currently has a spring produced nuclear package, wasps destroyed in 2015 and is now in a different location, color of the hive is red
- Hive Number 3
- polystyrene BeeMax hive, started from a package in 2015 and survived the winter, currently over 1 year old, color of the hive is red
- Hive Number 4
- wooden Langstroth hive, started from a package in 2015 and survived the winter, currently over 1 year old, color of the hive is red
- Hive Number 5
- polystyrene BeeMax hive, currently in storage and inactive, the package installed in 2015 did not make it to the winter, possibly the queen was weak, color of the hive is red
- Hive Number 6
- wooden Langstroth hive, started in 2016 from an overwintered nuclear bee package, color of the hive is blue
- Hive Number 7
- wooden Langstroth hive, started in 2016 from a spring produced nuclear bee package, color of the hive is blue
As of May 2016 I have six active hives and one inactive polystyrene hive in storage. The hives are not lined up in numerical order as some did not survive the winter or were invaded by wasps and those hives went into storage and were then reused. I no longer have an interest in the polystyrene hives as the one did not make it to winter and is in storage. Also, to obtain organic certification one of the rules is that the hives have to be wooden. The purple wildflowers in the one photo are very close to the beehives. I am not sure what they are called. In 2016 I added blue hives as it is one of the colors bees can see and it is supposedly good to vary the colors so the bees do not enter hives that are not theirs. As per a beekeeping class I took bees see red as a shade of gray. Red beehives are not all that bad as bees live in hollowed out trees in the wild and and those are not exactly the colors of wildflowers that bees can see. Red is a pretty similar to many trees, anyway. A red hive next to a blue hive distinguishes the two hives rather well from each other. I planted tansy and mint around the top bar hive and it did not come up. This is actually probably due to the fact the top bar hive is near black walnut trees and they produce a root toxin that is poisonous to many flowers and plants. See the links below:
I may put some landscaping fabric and stone or mulch around the top bar hive. However, if it does not survive the winter I may consider another location and the mulch or stone would have been unnecessary. I am also looking into wasp traps right now as I had a hive that was entirely cleared out by yellow jackets and August is yellow jacket season. They get hungry this time of year and run out of food and bees become a good looking meal to them. An article on this from the website KeepingBackyardBees.com is below:
Article is entitled “They’re Here! Yellow Jacket Season Begins” by Susan Chernak McElroy on August 9, 2016.