Assembled foundationless frames

Got out my Brushy Mountain frame jig yesterday and put together about 50 Kelly Beekeeping foundationless frames. I’m going to try and go this route so I’m not using the same wax frames year after year. I had realized that some of my initial hives had the same frames in the bottom deep over 5 years!! Those got slimed least year during my Beetle Mania battle. Judging from the amount of comb one of my packages made in the empty deep that was protecting the syrup I don’t think that building foundation on an empty frame will be a problem.

The “problem” will be keeping them in a straight line when they are initially building the comb. I’ll post some pictures after the install as they progress.




Been awhile… time to catch up!

Yes indeed…. had a bad year last year in the apiary. Mostly due to my mismanagement and the beetles got crazy and drove everyone away! I installed 3 packages on May 16th and the beetles took over one right away. So it looks like i’m going to freeze some frames and start over with a split.

Here is one of the packages 2 weeks after installment. I put them in one deep, inner cover, 5:3 syurp on top surrounded by a deep box. I figured that the girls needed some food to start since I missed my pickup date for the packages and the bees were sitting in the warehouse an extra day and they looked pitiful. I’m going to spit this one pronto!

Package-CombAs you can see, they ran out of room down below and started building comb in the empty box!




Site Issues…

Somehow I got some “malicious files” in my file space on the server. Looks like all of 2015 post are going…. still investigating! Had to change the theme as well since no posts would show. Hopefully I can change it back.



Samsung Hydraulic Excavator & Honey Beees

Ok got call from a commercial hydraulic mechanic shop down the street from me (probably my bees). Said there were some bees underneath an excavator. Well when I got there, it was more like IN the excavator. The bees followed the hydraulic lines inside the bottom structure of the excavator and it’s a pretty big opening. They were not in a good mood either… probably since a major thunderstorm had just passed through. Wish I had my telephoto lense to get a better picture of the opening but you might be able to see the size of the opening. There are ALOT of bees.. the picture doesn’t do it justice. I had probably several hundred flying about me while I was underneath this rig.

Obviously this will be a trap-out if they agree to the time frame that it’s going to take.



Small Hive Beetle (SHB)

Seems one of my best nucs (or former best nuc) has succumbed to the dreaded Small Hive Beetle (SHB). Not sure what exactly has happened since this was a booming nuc, one that I made 3 splits off this spring. It was a mess and sad at the same time to see this happen. I need to obviously check the nucs more frequently to make sure this doesn’t happen to the others. I’ll update this post with pics later so you can see the disaster up front and close.

I had another 3 deep hive 2 weeks ago (and I should have taken a picture) that I inspected and there were probably several hundred dead SHB in the inner cover. The hive is tilted forward a bit and there was a mound in the corner. This is the worst year for SHB that I have encountered. I’m into Integrated Pest Management, known as IPM, using screen bottom boards and beetle traps. The good thing is that this hive is booming with bees and they were able to keep the suckers in check. Still a little unnerving to say the least. I guess I need to use more traps or find some other method to deal with them.


Early morning bearding…

Went out this am to check the bird baths to make sure there was ample water for the bees and I saw this:


Click to make larger.

And another view:

Side view
Side View

Not sure what to make of this… only 72°F this am. Could be that I added a super yesterday after harvesting the honey from another hive so they had lots of new food since the frames were dripping with honey. Maybe this is a celebration stance…

BTW, in the last two days (between thunderstorms) I harvested about 180 lbs of honey off 3 hives. One had 3 supers and the other two had 2 each. Basically the 1st super in each hive the queen had been laying so I didn’t harvest any of those frames. I guess my late spring management was alittle lacking and she needed more room. I’ll be making some splits soon out of these colonies so that should take care of that issue.

You can see that the hives are sitting on some Rohn 20G tower sections. Typically they are used to mount an antenna on (TV, Amateur Radio etc) but since I only use 25G I put them to good use!


FatBeeMan Frame building and installing wax foundation

FatBeeMan shows how to assemble frames using homemade wax foundation and securing the foundation using fishing line instead of wire. And the reason for doing so…


I’m actually going to try this. Don’t have an embossing machine… the bees will draw out on the blank wax.


Rick Flagg article in the Tallahassee Democrat

NIce to see a local (and I mean downtown!) beekeeper in the news…

From the Tallahassee Democrat, June 13 2014


Rick Flagg is the Bee Man of Frenchtown

He looks like ZZ Top.

And chances are, you’ve found his smooth sound on the radio. Frenchtown Beez frontman Rick Flagg has been the “Voice of the Capitol” as a Clear Chan­nel Media reporter since the ‘70s, but he’s finally heard his calling. It buzz­es.

A French­town resident for 10 years, Flagg started keeping bees five years ago. The neigh­borhood has changed significantly in a short time, much of it due to the community garden blossoming where drug activity once flourished.

“I add something unique to the neighbor­hood,” said Flagg. “And it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like honey.”

Flagg sells his honey at the Frenchtown mar­ket on Saturdays, for $5 to $10 depending on size and how cool you’d like your bottle to look. Some of the honey is bright amber, some a deep gold­en cherry, depending on the season in which the bees gathered the pollen. Both varieties have a wonderfully gentle, yet complex flavor. He of­fers tastes to market customers.

“When people try it, they realize how sweet it is, and how different it is from store-bought.”

He’s only been at the sales part for a year, which began once he had too much honey to give away to coworkers.

All of Flagg’s bees are extremely industrious females, except for a handful of drones whose sole purpose is a suicidal mating mission with the queen. From the moment the baby bee hatches and for the next 30 days (when she will die), she works her way up the division of labor to the prize job of “forager.” Or as we know her, “pollina­tor.”

Pollination is the rea­son bees are big busi­ness. Feral bees, native and wild, have been largely wiped out by viruses. Farmers depend on bees to pollinate their crops, so that squash flower will actually be­come a squash. Many rent bees for the job. One hive, that can house any­where from 5,000 to 30,000 bees, can go for $200. And large-scale farmers rent thousands of hives.

Flagg is never looking to get that big, though his girls do the job at the Dent Street Diggers Community Garden and iGrow Youth Farm, a program of the Tallahas­see Food Network, which happens to be in his back­yard.

He shares his passion for the work, training interested iGrow youth to keep bees. Flagg de­scribes the mentorship as a necessary function, suggesting that beekeep­ers carry an attitude of community service.

“We all have a notion of responsibility for recruiting new beekeep­ers.”

As our visit came to a close a man walking by on the sidewalk asked The Bee Man about buy­ing some honey. Flagg directed him to Satur­day’s farmers market at the corner of Georgia and Macomb, but the man wanted to bring money by when he got off work.

“It’s for the neigh­borhood,” Flagg said.


 I hope Rick doesn’t mind me sharing his picture from his Twitter account!




Extracted honey yesterday…

Got 60 lbs from 3 supers…. actually it was more like 2 1/8th supers. Seems I was not doing very good hive management in one colony so the queen decided to lay in the super so I only got a couple of frames that I could extract from. For some known reason, some of the frames were partially started but the bees seemed to not like that frame and continued making foundation on the adjacent frames. Go figure… couldn’t extract from those either.

I have one hive left that I call my super hive that has 3 supers on top. So i’ll tackle that one this weekend. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do one more extraction before fall.

There was quite a few open cells that were not capped one some of the frames so I have the 5 gallon bucket in a closed up room with a dehumidifier so make sure I get the extra moisture out.

Updated: Wanted to update with a pic of one of the frames. Notice how dark it is…
Honey Frame