Save the Bees

'JSC' Carefoot Family

This beautiful pink and turquoise 10 frame Langstroth Hive is the new home to the JSC honeybee colony. Started this year in April 2017, this colony is already off to a great start.  We rescued these girls from a Cincinnati elementary school.  They were found on a playground in a pine tree about 3 feet off the ground.


INSPECTION DAY May 14, 2017

We did our first full inspection on the hive on May 14th, 2017 around 4PM and we're more than happy with the progress they are making.  The queen has a beautiful egg laying pattern and seems to favor more of the right side of the hive, verses staying in the center.  We also noted all stages of development in a beautiful brood pattern.

The other great thing we noticed in this colony is that the genetic diversity looks well mixed.  From our experience, we have found that this is pretty common in swarms and is said to contribute to their survival rate.  The queen is absolutely beautiful and is a good size.  We took a photo to see if you can spot her... can you find your queen?

Queen Bee

After we spotted her, we gently marked her with a non toxic pen in the color yellow.  Each year has a color that indicates the age of a queen.  For 2017, the color is yellow.  Although we do not know truly how old she is, it helps us identify her and lets us know that she is a "new" queen for us.

We are very happy to see the JSC Hive doing so well starting out.  They have plenty of room for growth, stored honey, pollen and all stages of development for new bees.  The next time we get into the hive we plan to add more room for them to continue to grow.  


INSPECTION DAY JUNE 9, 2017

On June 9th, we did our second inspection on the 'JSC' Hive, and the bees seemed to be doing fantastic. They were very calm and docile as we were handling the boxes, which is more than ideal.

This colony of honeybees is thriving and quickly growing in numbers. When we opened up the boxes, we noticed they were favoring the left side of the hive, so we took an empty frame from the right side and moved it to the left. The population is doing so well and expanding so quickly that they even started making queen cups– we noticed about five of them!

We couldn't seem to find the queen but we do know she is in there because there's an abundance of eggs and the bees were crafting their queen cups, which means they could potentially swarm. The queen cups are a signal to beekeepers to add a new box so there's enough room for the growing population.

So what did we do? We added a new box at the end of our inspection to support this thriving colony.

Overall, these ladies are looking great. Stay tuned for more info on the next inspection!


INSPECTION DAY JULY 30, 2017

We went down into the apiary again on July 30th for our third inspection on the 'JSC' hive and the new box we added last time, didn't seem to have many bees in them this time. 

We're getting to that tricky time of summer when it's much too common to find the hives being infiltrated by mites and other unwanted species. We saw these bees had fallen victim so we ended up having to treat them for Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS). 

Reports from the Ohio Department of Agriculture are indicating that the varroa mite population this season appears to be excessively high.  We wanted to see if this was true with our hives so we did a thorough inspection on 10 of our hives.  Of those 10 hives, 6 had obvious signs of heavy mite infestation.  Including but not limited to:

  • bees with deformed wing virus
  • poor honey storage
  • spotty brood pattern
  • larva that appears melted in their cells.

Not to worry! Just because your hive has mites, doesn't mean its the end of the world– or their world, really. We believe these ladies will pick themselves back up and become a healthy, thriving colony once again in no time! 


inspection day august 5, 2017

Once we discovered the varroa mites and educated ourselves on PMS, we went back to the apiary to make some changes.

First thing's first; we opened up every hive and checked for infestations. Then we treated every single hive for varroa mites. 

The 'JSC' Hive seemed to be doing better this time around. We started and will continue treatment every five days for the next twenty days to ensure the brood, currently in the larvae stage, undergoes full treatment and is able to hatch and mature without being infected by the mites. 

TREATMENTS 

Because of the high number of Varroa mites throughout the entire state of Ohio, we spent the month of August treating all hives.  We did an organic treatment of oxalic acid in 3 treatments, 5-7 days apart in order to treat all capped brood as they hatched.


fall extraction season: late summer - fall


Inspection Day September 9, 2017

After treating all of the hives and monitoring the bees behavior throughout the month, we opened their homes back up on September 9th to see how everyone was doing. We specifically went in to check on the status of the Varroa Mite treatment and to see where their food supply is at. 

The treatment looks like it worked tremendously and everyone seems to be happy and healthy! Therefore, we proceeded with checking the food supply and decided to add in some Easter marshmallow candies on the inner cover until we start the feeding for fall. 

Feeding during fall is necessary after extraction season so that the bees can continue building up their food supply for the winter months, before the cold gets here and they're forced to bundle up indoors just like the rest of us!

IMG_3251.JPG

october 3, 2017 inspection day + final extraction!

On October third, we went to the apiary to gather the frames for our final extraction of the year– the beloved fall honey!

Fall honey is dark in color, plus rich and bold in flavor. It is a bit thicker and more of a dark amber color compared to spring honey. While darker honey is more flavorful and intense than light, it also contains more nutrients; including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

We didn't pull many frames from the newer colonies this year so the honey you will be receiving will be coming from some of the stronger, more established hives– so yours can continue to thrive. 

The final step, in the first week of November, will be to go through and consolidate some of the colonies and insulate them.

CLICK HERE to see a video of how we will be preparing the hives for winter


We will be sure to keep you updated on our next visit out to the apiary. Be sure to follow this blog for updates and feel free to post any comments, questions or concerns.

Stay tuned!


'2 G Hive' Terrace Park Elementary School

Terrace Park Elementary School Cincinnati Ohio Host A Hive Gaiser Bee Co.

We were honored to be invited to Terrace Park Elementary School and had a fantastic time teaching the kids all about honeybees.  The kids were full of questions and seemed to truly enjoy the education and learning why they are so important to us.

The school is hosting a new colony for the 2017 beekeeping season which will provide them with the equipment they need to get started and grow throughout the year.  We brought with us some of the hive components and asked the kids to customize this hive to make it their own.  


INSPECTION DAY May 14, 2017

New honeybee colonies can start from a number of sources.  For the 2 G Hive, these girls started from what is called a package of bees.  These honeybees were from a bee farm in Georgia.  We picked them up in late April and placed them into a temporary home until we had an assembled hive for them.  So on May 14th, after the hives were painted, we took this colony and placed them in their permanent home.

Terrace Park Elementary School Host A Hive Gaiser Bee Co Cincinnati Ohio

We started this colony in an 8 frame teal Langstroth hive when they arrived as a package, waiting for their additional hive components to be customized by Terrace Park Elementary.

Upon our inspection we saw that the hive had a ton of open queen cells.  These are queens that the worker bees decided to make to either replace their previous queen or because their old queen decided to move out (swarm).   We looked deeper into the hive and we found a virgin queen, which tells us that she must have recently hatched.  We are able to tell that she has not mated yet because her abdomen is smaller than an average queen.  The other bees really seem to enjoy her pheromone and were taking to her very well.

The bees were busy at work when we decided to open up the hive.  They had tons of nectar stored in the cells from flowering plants that they were turning into honey.  

Every year beekeepers use a universal color chart to mark their queen bees.  This helps us know how old a queen is since she can live up to 5 years.  This year the color is yellow.  So we gently caught the queen and marked her yellow– this also helps us find her easier during our inspections.

After the paint dried we placed the queen back into the hive and she quickly went down into the frames.  Now we must wait until she mates and make sure they she is laying eggs.  On our next inspection we will make sure to check for eggs to confirm that she mated.

Terrace Park Elementary School Host A Hive Cincinnati Ohio Gaiser Bee Co

We placed the new box on top and closed up the hive.  Now we just let them be and check on them again in a few weeks.


inspection day August 5, 2017

We went out to the apiary for another inspection on August 5th and decided to treat all of the hives for precautionary reasons. The "2G" Hive was doing so well– the population was booming! We took the top off, looked at a frame, determined it was doing exceedingly well, then closed it back up and treated it for mites.

We're getting to that tricky time of summer when it's much too common to find the hives being infiltrated by mites and other unwanted species. We saw these bees had fallen victim so we ended up having to treat them for Parasitic Mite Syndrome(PMS). 

Reports from the Ohio Department of Agriculture are indicating that the varroa mite population this season appears to be excessively high. Varroa mites are minuscule in size but they latch on like ticks and drain the life from the victim. We wanted to see if this was true with our hives so we did a thorough inspection on 10 of the hives in our apiary.  Of those 10 hives, 6 had obvious signs of heavy mite infestation.  Including but not limited to:

  • bees with deformed wing virus
  • poor honey storage
  • spotty brood pattern
  • larva that appears melted in their cells.

But, not to worry! Just because your hive has mites, doesn't mean it's the end of the world– or their world, really. We have started treatment and will be treating every hive in the apiary every five days for the next twenty days to ensure that the brood, currently in the larvae stage, is fully treated and protected from the varroa mite infestation once they hatch and start to grow/work. We believe these ladies will pick themselves back up and become a healthy, thriving colony once again in no time! 

TREATMENTS 

Because of the high number of Varroa mites throughout the entire state of Ohio, we spent the month of August treating all hives.  We did an organic treatment of oxalic acid in 3 treatments, 5-7 days apart in order to treat all capped brood as they hatched.

We will be sure to keep you updated on our next visit out to the apiary. Be sure to follow this blog for updates and feel free to post any comments, questions or concerns.

Stay tuned!


fall extraction season: late summer - fall


Inspection Day September 9, 2017

After treating all of the hives and monitoring the bees behavior throughout the month, we opened their homes back up on September 9th to see how everyone was doing. We specifically went in to check on the status of the Varroa Mite treatment and to see where their food supply is at. 

The treatment looks like it worked tremendously and everyone seems to be happy and healthy! Therefore, we proceeded with checking the food supply and decided to add in some Easter marshmallow candies on the inner cover until we start the feeding for fall. 

Feeding during fall is necessary after extraction season so that the bees can continue building up their food supply for the winter months, before the cold gets here. 


october 3, 2017 inspection day + final extraction!

On October third, we went to the apiary to gather the frames for our final extraction of the year– the beloved fall honey!

Fall honey is dark in color, plus rich and bold in flavor. It is a bit thicker and more of a dark amber color compared to spring honey. While darker honey is more flavorful and intense than light, it also contains more nutrients; including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

We didn't pull many frames from the newer colonies this year so the honey you will be receiving will be coming from some of the stronger, more established hives– so yours can continue to thrive. 

The final step, in the first week of November, will be to go through and consolidate some of the colonies and insulate them.

CLICK HERE to see a video of how we will be preparing the hives for winter