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Our personal Blog on our own hives and sometimes on the IEBA hives as I work them. This is what we are seeing and thinking as the season progresses.

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Posted 3/27/2016

It is Easter Day and pouring rain so a day to catch up on computer work. My Granddaughter Amanda is leaving next Sat to join her husband at Fort Cambell, KY. I'm really going to miss her. Not sure I like all these Husbands and Military taking my girls away.

We have been checking bees for weeks now and have started through many of them for the second or third time. Especially if they are very strong. This time of year i don't move brood and bees to another hive I only move frames of bees. The bees really help the weak hive and don't over burden them with brood there not ready to care for. After you add the bees you will quickly see the queen pickup or start laying and they will recover at there own pace. Some weak hives i have added a frame of bees per week and one is about ready for a second box. You need to check bees for stores and to remove dead and wet bees from the hive so it doesn't have to clean them out and the hive can dry out.  We are not warm enough to feed syrup but feeding dry sugar and sugar patties is working great. Lots of pollen coming in here in the valley.

I have found mites already in some hives so we are planning on doing some treatments just haven't decided what yet. The hives seem to be strong greater than an box of bees or only a couple of frames and struggling. If the are struggling we have been adding frames of bees to them to help them out. Will let you know what we find this week.

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Posted 2/7/2016

A week ago I inspected hive at the house and we lost 2 late fall nucs in deep boxes. There just weren't enough winter bees in the cluster to keep them warm during the Jan. cold spell. We also lost a 4 frame nuc in a deep box. The queen had laid brood and she was on open frames on the left side of the hive body and the 3 full honey frames were on the right side of the hive body. The hive died and the workers were nosed into the cells where the brood had been. She must of had brood from around December. That is our greatest problem this time of year. On two other fairly large nuc clusters in a nuc box they only had one frame of honey left. Added honey from our honey back to keep them happy.


We also checked 22 hives in our Valley yard on Friday and there we had 20 of 22 ok. We lost 2 which were very week fall nucs in a hive body. Lots of honey in them but not enough bees to keep them warm. The 20 were split about half and half from very strong to medium.  Our plan is to check them all this week and make sure they have honey around the cluster. I expect to find brood in the strong ones and am worried the queen laid on open frames away from her honey.  Strong hives we will move the queen to bottom box and surround her with honey sides and top. Strong hives might get a pollen patty. We will decide when we get there. This next week should be a nice week to check your bees to see if they are alive.


If you have lost a hive you better order your replacement hive asap as they are selling fast.

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Getting ready for honey flow

Posted 5/24/2015

We just moved our last bees out of Greenbluff and are setting up our summer yards. Lasts night we move 9 colonies into our Hippler yard near Elk. 4 were packages with a 3# bulk bee added the others were wintered over hives. They were all very heavy. They did well in the orchards. These all came out of Walters Fruit Ranch. These will need to be checked this week, I'm sure we will need to pull honey from second brood box to give the queen more room to lay. We will add new foundation. What we do is add a third deep to a couple of hive and pull the honey from the brood box and put it there. Then we can save for our honey bank or extract. My guess we will pull about 4 frames from each hive. Money in the Bank...We also added second boxes to 11 packages we received April 25, all Italians. One became a drone layer, another lost its queen after about two frames of brood laided. Requeened them both. Out of 11 hives one just went crazy and added a second box two weeks ago. The others were about 6-7 frames of bees and brood yesterday and ready for a second box. Black locust is going to bloom this next week and the IEBA hives and these packages should make a killing off of the locust. Then I will move the 11 to Mead and use them to make comb honey. Comb honey sells for about $1.00 an ounce....not bad.

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Very Early Spring Checking-55 degree day with sun

Posted 2/12/2015

We check about 30 hives today 24 out at Campbell Road in the Valley. Of the 24 we didn't lose any to winter yet but two were weakened enough that we reduce them to 1 brood box. The other 24 were at least a full box of bees with good honey stores.  These were treated in early September with Apivar. They each raised about 1 super of honey. We didn't need to feed in the fall. Hives were very dry. All of these hives had Brood of about 4-6 inches on at least two frames or more.

Second yard we check was close to the house. Many of the were problem hives that we fixed during the summer. None of these were as good as the 24. Each of these had brood and Honey. We moved honey around as they the brood was not close to honey. We had about 16 in the yard and lost 4, reduced 4 to a single brood box. Two will need bees to make to April. Every hive here has a good pollen flow coming in.  All the brood had fresh pollen around the brood. Mostly we had to frames of brood about 4-6 inches.

We did spring cleaning on all of these and move queen and brood to the bottom and rearranged the honey to circle the brood. Put a honey frame above each brood. Five frames of less was reduce to single brood box.

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Checking bees on a warm winter day

Posted 1/25/2015

1/25/15 Jerren and I checked hives on the river. Day was mid 50's and very sunny. We actually did some spring cleanup as the bees were flying real good and the cluster were loose. I check each frame for brood, found brood in one hive about 4-5 inches on each side of a frame and center was hatching out. About a five frame cluster. We moved honey around in every hive and reduced some down to a single box. Only one hive had a moisture issue. Bees were cleaning out dead bees. We moved honey to either side of the cluster. One hive was still in the bottom box but was low on honey in that box. 

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Posted 12/15/2014

We were extracting Saturday and Sunday , today is a big cleanup day. The girls worked the West Valley Band Craft show and everything went great. Long day for them. Extracting was great without any issues. Now I need to move the honey for our holding tank to buckets and barrels. Bees have been out flying around all last week and they even cleaned up some honey I set out for them.

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Tate's Honey Farm Blog

Posted 11/27/2014

Today Thanksgiving day we unloaded honey barrels. I did check some nucs and hives. The bees were moving around on the frames and removing dead bees from the hive. I noted some bees visiting buckets with wax and honey in them. The sun was shining and the temp was about 54 degrees.  Today and tomorrow will allow many bees to take a short flight.