Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mating Nucs for Queens

I attended a Queen Grafting Class. It was a hands-on-workshop with instructor Linda Monahan. And looks like it was a success, I had 4 queen cells that I grafted myself.

My plan is to have few small nuc as a reserve on the side. I gave away one queen to a local beekeeper who needs a queen. Then I had to find enough frames of capped brood with nurse bees to introduce the rest of the queen cells.

Luckily, I managed to find a local beekeeper, Jack Ip, who could provide me those frames. Jack is an experienced beekeeper following natural beekeeping philosophy. His blog is full of information and interesting stories: Los Altos Honey Bees.

I bought 6 frames from Jack, 2 per nuc. Here are my nucs the day before, transferring the queen cells.

On Memorial Day, we introduced the queen cells to their sisters.

At the same time, my host at Palo Alto gave me a lead, her neighbor who is also willing to have some hives in their backyard to support honey bees. What a luck? Now, I have 4 different place to keep my hives. I decided to keep these nucs at this new location. Couple of days later, I moved these nucs to their final home. Check them out:

Please, notice that the entrance of each nuc is facing different direction. So that field bees will know easily where to return, and of course the queens returning from mating flights.

According to the schedule, queens should have emerged today. How exciting it is?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Queen Grafting Class

This Saturday, I attended an advanced beekeeping class: Queen Grafting Class. It was a hands-on-workshop with instructor Linda Monahan from Yosemite Gateway Farms:
Linda has been keeping bees for 4-years and uses no treatments on her bees. She is involved with the Organic Beekeepers, attending their Arizona Symposium. Linda has had a 75-80% success rate with grafting and she will share her knowledge with us.
We had the opportunity to try grafting Queens under Linda’s supervision.

If the grafted Queens take, they will be ours. We are yet to hear from Janet to know if any of those cells are accepted by the bees to raise a queen.

By the way, I would like to thanks Janet and Rick for their hospitality.

Friday, May 10, 2013

BalYolu: Honey tasting walking journey

This is an interesting project from my home country, Turkey by Catherine Jaffee, a Colorado native, a Turkish Fulbright Scholar, a National Geographic Young Explorer, and a global entrepreneur.
"We are organizing the first honey tasting walking journey of its kind. This journey is a seven-day trip in Northeastern Turkey that is led and inspired by local women who are training to become world class beekeepers and rural entrepreneurs."

Few pointers:

Friday, May 3, 2013

My colonies

I managed to acquire some survivors, I hope:

  • 2 hives at Alum Rock. Both are swarms. One caught at Cupertino, and I installed it. Other one liked my empty hive and claimed it as their home :) They are definitely survivors, but no idea whether they are treated or not.

I bought 4 packages.

  • 2 from Bee Kind, Sebastopol. 3lb non-treated local bees.
  • 2 from Honey Bee Genetics, Vacaville. 4lb Italians (only these are treated.)

I placed them one each location:

  • 2 hives at Palo Alto.
  • 2 hives at Portola Valley.

I am little overwhelmed with 6 hives as a beginner beekeeper these days. But, this is such an amazing experience, so far :)