Adding A Hive Body – Transitioning To Mediums

20160814_155558.jpgMy plan is to move to 8 frame mediums since I’ve found 10 frame deeps so very heavy.  However I don’t want to waste the resources on the deep frames I have so I’m hoping that building a tall stack will encourage the bees to move out of the deeps at the bottom.  I then want to use the deeps as swarm traps.  So I cut a sheet of 3/8″ external grade plywood and used a brad nailer to fasten it to the bottom and drilled a hole and put an entrance disk over it.  There are two brads nailed into the hold to keep mice out.

I had a fairly hard time getting the hive picked up and moved over and I’m sure I crushed some bees in the effort.  But the bees were getting excited once I pried the hive off of the existing bottom board and there were a lot of them flying around in the air and I got stung twice, the first time since I started beekeeping.  I finally got the hive re-stacked and am once again convinced the need to have lighter hive bodies.

 

 

Chicken Watering Via Chicken Nipples

We got some watering nipples that just snap onto 3/4″ PVC pipe.  We have a ball valve in the end that can be used to fill up other containers and this is feed from a IBC tote at the highest part of the property.  We just have 1″ irrigation pipe laying on the ground to feed this and a short piece of regular hose to be more flexible and as a way to feed the PVC pipe.  Doesn’t work in the winter, but for 9 months out of the year I know they always have at least access to a water source.

Chicken Problems

How is it that BIRDS that ROOST manage to kill/hurt themselves trying to roost???  I was out checking on the birds and collecting eggs late in the afternoon and I heard flapping in a bush.  I started thinking it is a bit early for a bird to be trying to roost.  I go over to where I hear the noise and find a bird hanging by a toe from a fork in a branch.  I’m not sure how long she had been hanging there, but I’m guessing at least 12 hours if not a day or more.  I got her loose and held her so she could drink.  It didn’t appear she could move this leg, I’m hoping since now she is no longer hanging from it maybe she will be able to use it again.  Obviously she has a broken toe, so we will she if she is able to recover.  About two years ago I had another bird get her neck caught in a fork in a bush and it killed her.

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After letting her drink her fill I put her under a log so she would be somewhat protected.  I should build a quarantine/recovery area for when birds have problems, but that’s just one more project.

Growing Mushrooms From a 3 Lb Log Kit

I’ve always been fascinated by growing mushrooms and have tried many times with very limited success.  I’m trying again with an Oyster Kit and got my first flush.  However I am again battling a surface mold.  This is the problem I’ve repeatedly had in past efforts.  My family loves mushrooms and we would eat several pounds a week if we could so one of my goals is to build something in my basement to produce them.  But I still haven’t figured out the contamination issue.  From what I’ve been heard and read something the size of a closet could produce enough for a family, but I haven’t been able to find a source of concrete information of someone doing it.

Some Resources:
The Urban Farming Guys

Peter McCoy on The Survival Podcast

Small Scale Mushroom Cultivation

 

Re-Thinking My Bee Hive Bodies

I heard from a couple different sources that backyard beekeepers need to keep in mind that since they are not commercial beekeepers they don’t need to keep bees like commercial beekeepers.  I’ve been thinking about this and am going to build my next hive bodies out of 1-1/2 thick lumber so they are thicker and therefore have a bit more insulation.  Since I don’t need to move my hives around like a commercial beekeeper the extra weight isn’t a problem.

When you think about bees living in a tree the walls are usually several inches thick.  So I’m thinking I can use what is commonly called a 2×8 to build medium hive bodies.  Many beekeepers report that hives do better when they are more insulated.  It keeps them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer so they are able to start building earlier in the spring.  Plus construction lumber is cheaper than finished 3/4″ boards, and the bees certainly don’t care.  Further the thicker boards are easier to join with simple butt joints, so that makes the woodworking easier.  As long as I use standard inside dimensions I can use regular Langstroth type frames.

Decided On Shed Size

I’ve decided to go with a 8′ x 12′ shed.  I think that will make the best use of materials since the metal comes in 3′ sections.  I’m going with a single pitch, or shed style roof.  I can get 12′ sections and if I over hang them 6″ on the front and about 6-1/2′ on the back.  This will give me a covered area behind the shed to park an old ridding mower that I use to pull trailers around my property.  I still have to figure out the construction details and buy materials, but I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it as I go.

Bee Update

Our bees appear to be doing well.  However it has been very hot lately in S.E. MI so they are “bearding”, which is how they cool off.  I need to get another hive body on the stack and add a bottom entrance as well to improve ventilation.  However the current stack weighs in excess of 100 lbs, maybe close to 150 lbs so lifting it up and sliding a different bottom board under it.  I would like to drill a hole in it and put an entrance disk over it, but I suspect the vibrations that come with drilling will irritate the bees.