Well, the good news is that our weakest little hive is bustling with activity. We opened it today and examined the brood box. It's full of bees and plenty of brood. We were very pleasantly surprised. They've come a long way. The bad news is they still need to build up their food stores. So we won't be robbing any honey from that little puppy, and it will be our welfare case this year. We filled the food box with drawn out frames in the hopes that they'll start making some honey and then added a feeder box on top and put the jug of sugar water up there for them. We'll feed them heavy until next spring and hopefully they'll rebound. They sure were cute today - all busy buzzing about and bringing in plenty of pollen in their little pollen baskets. They are just too darn adorable.
The other four hives are doing really well. We're going to give them a couple more weeks and rob honey from them. They have plenty. One hive has three supers on it - and the last one is just about full. Good girls!
We also put up the "Critter Gitter" we got from Mann Lake to scare off varmints that come with range of the apiary. This thing is pretty cool - it's a motion sensor that flashes lights and lets out a shrill noise when it detects something within range. We bought two, but one isn't functioning property so I'm sending it back. We mounted the one that is working and I tested it be walking up right into it's 90 degree range about 30 feet away. It detected me before I made it to the fence. I also crouched down like a bear and it nailed me pretty quickly. I stopped short of trying to imitate a skunk.
I believe, through trial and error, that I have finally figured out the most efficient way to render wax. I'm still working on documenting it with pictures, but I'll soon have a page, complete with pictures and instructions, on the Bee Buzz Website. Today Bernie built me a really great screen to syphon out the trash as I render the wax. I'll also include directions on making that. It took less than $5 and 45 minutes - and that time included dragging out and putting away all the tools. Bernie rocks. He really does.
Bernie also has plans to build me a Solar Beeswax Melter. THAT will be nice! I'll put directions up for that too. You'll definitely want to know how to do this. Did I mention that Bernie rocks?
I guess that's about it for the bee news. We have other news, and it's kind of related to the bees because it means they'll be seeing a lot more of us in the future. You can read about it on the Back to Basic Living Blog.