Australia to Texas: Beekeeping - Part II


| 6/20/2012 9:43:48 PM


Tags: Homesteading, city to country, bees, bee keeping, raising food, Australia, Texas, Jim Christie,

The previous blog had a lot of information and pictures from the classroom and practical exercise weekend. And while we did have more practical exercise than normal due to the rapid expansion of one of the hives we were examining, there was still a lot more practical exercise to go. The instructor wanted the weather to be a bit warmer before opening the hives significantly, so the pictures following are about three weeks after the previous pictures.
  
Activities we conducted during the past weekend were:

1. On the regular hives we had examined in the previous class exercise, we  examined the hives, made sure everything is healthy, properly structured the hives and took any remedial action necessary. We also made sure there was a functional queen (either spot the queen or insure that there is good, recent egg formation).
2. We built hives for two of the students who are ready to go on their own with home beekeeping. We built these new hive boxes from two groups of bees that had been gathered by the instructor. One was from bees gathered from a "possum box" and placed into a single hive box and the other was from bees retrieved from a barn and put into a single hive box.
3. We examine a hive where the instructor had killed the queen (bees too aggressive) and attempted to insert a new queen. We wanted to see if the new queen has survived and examine the hive for other "queen-making" activities.

Getting the Smoke Ready
Here I am in a borrowed half suit (jeans on the bottom, bee suit at the top). Also I have borrowed gloves. The big problem with this outfit is that it is a bit small. The sleeves are too short, leaving room at the top of the gloves for bees to get in. The suit is also a bit short in the torso, meaning that when I bend over to work on the hives, I'll risk exposing some skin around the waist. Still, I'm ready to go and start smoking the first hive we'll be working on.

 The Class 

And here's our team for the day.  he instructor, me and two other students. The other two are building their first hives from some of the "captured" bees that the instructor has had on site for a couple of weeks now. These bees have been organizing their own hives, getting settled and now should be ready to be examined, organized and moved to a bee box where they'll be ready to transport after the sun goes down and the hive "goes to sleep" for the evening. 

 The Hives 

The area where the hives are located is just part of a normal suburban back yard. The tall fence to the left and rear of the picture meets the Australian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) rules of being at least 2 meters tall (else the hive boxes must be at least 3 meters from the fence). Given the size of the backyard, the property can only support two hives and by taking the reclaimed bees and putting them into hives that will be transported later this evening, the remaining two hives meet the requirements.




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