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My Layens hive story…

 
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Well…

This is a continuation of a post I started here with a different title…

https://permies.com/t/174912/settled-hive-design-Long-Lang

Obviously, I decided to go with the Layens system instead. The single swarm trap I setup caught a swarm pretty fast this first year. Awesome!

Now, my bee yard has been completed…

Last night we moved the trap to the new location! The kids were SO CUTE in their little bee suits.

It got down to 43F last night; so the bees are taking their time waking up this morning.

There are two ground anchors for the future hives here… even put in two rows of Elderberries. The cultivars “Ranch” and “Wyldewood”.

I am now building my first hive!

The property (about 7 acres worth) got heavily planted in a few types of clover last Fall and this Spring. Saw some sour wood trees even. Just in front of the hives.

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Marty Mitchell
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1st swarm captured… weight.

Not sure what the actual weight was of the swarm.

However, here are the pics of the weight from the box being fully prepped… to the one with the swarm actually inside.

The swarm landed on a Friday evening last week… and was weighed on a Wed night this week.

Total weight gain = 6.2lbs

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Marty Mitchell
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Main hive box has been completed. I adjusted the 14 frame design larger to make it a 20 frame. Looks good… but I was certainly using the router to make joints for the first time. Some of them are very sloppy!

No worries!!! Caulking up and staining the outside this weekend. The inside has no gaps and will be good.

The first hive wound up costing me several hundred dollars due to having to buy initial supplies and tools. However for the next several hives… all I will need to buy is the wood. Minus the plywood since one sheet is enough for several hives.

Free plans… and supplies for Layens hives.

https://horizontalhive.com/

Also, are these Sourwood Saplings I found blooming at the woods edge in front of the bee yard???

They are directly below the big tree I think is a sourwood… but it is just starting to leaf out and does not have flowers yet.




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It does look like sourwood. In TN sourwood blooms later in the season than peaches. I suggest harvesting honey twice so the flavors don't mix. Not that it would be bad but I think each of those trees make very unique tasting honey. Some beekeepers there move hives into the mountains where the sourwood grows after their spring harvest. A lot of extra work for them but it's that good.

A reminder that the first year's honey is almost entirely for the bees.

 
Marty Mitchell
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Mike Barkley wrote:It does look like sourwood. In TN sourwood blooms later in the season than peaches. I suggest harvesting honey twice so the flavors don't mix. Not that it would be bad but I think each of those trees make very unique tasting honey. Some beekeepers who move hives into the mountains where the sourwood grows after their spring harvest. A lot of extra work for them but it's that good.

A reminder that the first year's honey is almost entirely for the bees.



Awesome! I really hope it is sourwood.

I don’t have any hope of harvesting honey until the Fall after next. Any extra honey at the end of this season will be a blessing for emergency during the Winter.

Late next Spring, if I have an entire frame of honey I may take it.

That is one of the things that really drew me in about the Layens hive frames. It will have four to six inches of honey at the top of each brood frame too. Ensuring the bees get lots of honey.

The excess honey gets thrown off to the end of the hive out of the way. Past the brood chambers.

Here is a pic of a brood frame. There is a circle of brood in the middle. Then pollen stores off to the sides and bottom… and honey at the top. This circle of brood gets smaller as you travel toward the ends of the brood area. Like a football shape. Making even more stores for honey and pollen the further you go… eventually turning into 100% honey.

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Marty Mitchell
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Hive build complete!

This was a sloppy/first time build to say the least. However, it is still very tank-like and should last a long time and work very well.

I did a LOT of learning what not to do on this one.

Also, I made several modification from the directions. Biggest one being… I used a 12” board for the bottom layer… to add a large gap along the bottom to increase airflow when the bees need it/start fanning their wings.

May the next be twice as nice and much faster…

Today was a very warm day for this time of year. Those bees really came to life out in the trap. I am going to pop the hood after sunset and peek in from the side to see if they have filled it completely with wax already. If so… I will be moving them over ASAP instead of letting the daughter do some artwork on the front of the hive.

~ Marty

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Mike Barkley
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Those are some nifty entrance reducers. Consider adding some sort of landing pad directly below them. Later in the summer when it gets hotter they like to "beard" there.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Mike Barkley wrote:Those are some nifty entrance reducers. Consider adding some sort of landing pad directly below them. Later in the summer when it gets hotter they like to "beard" there.



Oh I like that idea! I can burn them black and preserve with linseed oil. Slop then at a 15% angle too. Which will warm it for Winter to help them do those cleansing flights.

Due to orientation… the landing board will be in the shade after noon or so during the Summer.

Thanks!

Here is a pic of my first up close encounter with the bees/any honey bees ever!

Looks like they have my trap packed already after only a week. I saw comb on the last fram up to the edge already.

Could not see past the bees though.

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Marty Mitchell
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The bees seem to be rocking again in their new hive. Put them in there on Monday night.

They had already built all 6 of the extra large Layens frames out 3/4 of the way. A big circle of brood surrounded by pollen and capped honey/and soon to be honey on all frames.


The trap was back up the night before last. The scout bees keep throwing out the Q-tip soaked in lemon grass oil.


All is well! Hopping for colony #2!!!

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What timber are you using please?
What is the design of the 'trap ' hive please?
Great topic.
 
Marty Mitchell
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John C Daley wrote:What timber are you using please?
What is the design of the 'trap ' hive please?
Great topic.



Thank you.

All build instructions are free and can be found at this link…

https://horizontalhive.com/

However, I made some modifications/alterations to the directions for his 14 Frame plans.

1) I expanded it to a 20 frame hive. He provides the math for it in his free plans. Said that it can be expanded out to 30 frames if desired.

2) All of the lumber he calls for is untreated pine and formaldehyde free plywood (interior construction grade).

With the 2”x10” boards for the walls… I wound up actually doing a ring of 2”x12” boards around the bottom half. Why? So that there is an extra two inches at the base of every frame… for better airflow on my hot Summer days.

For the next one I build… I plan to use 1” cedar boards instead of pine like I did on this one. They are for the bottom of the hive. I suspect cedar will hold up much better down there.

Also, I do not have a table saw. In his directions he has you rip long skinny slices of plywood to make the frame around the top of the hive and around the top of the box. I cheated and bought some 1”x2” cedar strips. He even has you put a drip edge on them for longevity.

I learned a lot from the build… even made my first joint work (which was very sloppy in places).

For the trap… he has free plans for them as well!

However, I just bought one of his HD traps he has for sale. I figured it would last much longer and could pull double duty as a NUC. I will say… that it was preserved heavily both inside and out… plus the metal edging/roof is heavy gauge. It has already paid for itself by catching a single swarm. Everything else from here on out is just icing on the cake.

~ Marty
 
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Swarm #2 Captured!

As of Wednesday (May 18th 2022) I now have my second swarm captured... in the same... one and only... Layens swarm trap!

How awesome is that?!?!?

Today I aim to inventory what I have/need to build the next hive. Then purchase the supplies at Home Depot. Should just be two boards and some hinges/latches if I remember correctly.

This one is almost... but not quite as busy as the last one. The last one had all 6 frames 3/4 of the way filled out after 10 days. It is warmer now though... so they will likely be working harder.

So I will try to have it done by next Weekend at the latest. Preferably sooner.

I WISH I HAD A SECOND SWARM TRAP!!!

Every time I pull this one down and set it to the side for a week... that is a week that I could have a new one hanging up. Pretty sure I missed a mega swarm after I caught the first one. I could hear one flying through the woods nearby. It was HUGE.

So glad I decided to give catching bees a try!!! That expensive trap has already paid for itself twice in just one season.

(Bonus) I walked a portion of the edge of the property yesterday and verified... there are indeed many Sourwood trees on the edges of the property... and thus... likely many thousands of them within the 6 mile radius around the property. Awesome!

~ Marty Mitchell
 
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2 swarms and still more time left to catch more, you hit the honey bee lottery!
I built several of these hives but instead the double walled with wool insulation which took a lot of time to do. Will look into building similar to yours next time around. Thank for sharing!
 
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2 swarms and still more time left to catch more, you hit the honey bee lottery!

I built several of these hives but instead the double walled with wool insulation which took a lot of time to do. Will look into building similar to yours next time around. Thank for sharing!



You are welcome!

It is as much for my own memory as it is for helping others.

Time for me to start building hive #2 now. I got the wood today. I actually found some 1" x 3" boards today... so I can actually use the proper dimension on the roof trim.

That being said... my other hive has been doing wonderfully. Not a lick of bearding... even on the last two 97F (and humid) days.

I will open her up for the first time again in a few days. Once the temps drop back down to something I can handle without having heat exhaustion. I suspect that the bees will have been building a crazy amount of comb and storing up honey. Which will be awesome for if I need to share with the other colony during the upcoming dearth.

This morning I got up under the hive to see if they had sealed up the two large vent holes on the bottom yet. Not a lick of propolis being applied to either screen. They must want the ventilation. However, I will say, that they sounded like a bunch of quiet little NASCAR race engines in there. Their population is starting to take off about now I bet.


 
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Sounds great Marty. You might be a natural born beekeeper. Seem to have the knack at least.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Mike Barkley wrote:Sounds great Marty. You might be a natural born beekeeper. Seem to have the knack at least.



Thanks! I hope so!

Only time will tell...

I hope to get into the position to be able to keep bees treatment-free... and let the survivor stock swarm out into the world over and over again to their own desire.

Yes, I will indeed often have a swarm trap to the side as an offering. However, they can go where they please and do as they please.

~ Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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Update:

1) New second swarm trap on the way in the mail soon. I am about to leave the most recent swarm in their trap for at least a month. They are a small swarm for sure now.

2) I made an entrance reducer for them. I witnessed a few of them tugging at intruders this weekend while I was standing there watching.

Those intruders were either robbing… or still smelling the old lemon oil left behind and just scout bees.

They needed a smaller entrance to defend.

Pic below…

3) I saw them bringing in loads of pollen. A good sign. Maybe in a month their population will take off!
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Marty Mitchell
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Trap #2 is up… in a new spot. Probably not as good as the other spot though. But nearby…

This trap was the same one… but it is different than my first one. Instead of linseed oil… it looks to be dipped in wax. That is better right???

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 I’m looking at building the equipment and hives this winter, including the swarm traps, from the free layens plans.
When the time comes will you document the harvest of the honey from the frames? I’m curious to see it as it is happening.
 
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Don Fini wrote:  I’m looking at building the equipment and hives this winter, including the swarm traps, from the free layens plans.
When the time comes will you document the harvest of the honey from the frames? I’m curious to see it as it is happening.



I sure can! It may be next year before that happens though. It usually is for most colonies. I aim to remove the excess honey stores this Fall and save my it for possible use during the Winter… and share it with the small colony that got robbed several times.

We shall see how much they harvest and build up during the Fall flow this year. I checked a few weeks ago and they were 3/4 of the way through the box and still had a ton of room left to go. Lots of bands of honey going on in there… but my area has been in dearth for a while now.

I was originally planning on getting a cheap honeycomb crusher from Amazon or something. Now, after giving it a Summer of thought, I am leaning towards ordering a spinner. Mainly because of two reasons…

1) I have no plans for the wax at the moment (other than comfrey slave which can be made from the removed caps)
2) They use 7lbs of honey (plus a large amount of time) to build each lb of comb.

So, honey production climbs rapidly if you out empty comb back into the hive for them to immediately clean and refill. PLUS, they can immediately use it to build the colony bigger if needed. Which is compounding production even further.
 
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I’ve been wondering which way is better for a Layens
I have been looking for plans to build a spinner, part of my plan is to make as much as I can from the hive down to the smoker.
It forces me to better understand each piece and it’s proper roll.

(And focus my mind on…SQUIRREL!)
 
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Y'all might have better luck finding what you want if you search for an extractor.  
 
Marty Mitchell
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Making your own extractor should be pretty possible so long as you can find good components. Much cheaper too.

I am probably going to just buy mine from Dr. Leo’s website though. I am currently overwhelmed for the next several years at the minimum.

If making my own I would likely use a food grade container (I can buy 55gal Gatorade barrels locally for $10 each). Then cut it to the minimal depth to fit Layens frames into (plus the bracket and such)…. Then buld leg stands to lift it high enough so a lower honey spout will be able to pour into 5gal buckets… but also set it up to connect tubing to easily fill jars directly.

Heck… since the barrels are so cheap you could even try heating it up with a heat gun and warp a bulge/gravity collection point into the base!!!

Then find a small gearbox I could power with my battery drill.

I have a hand rivet tool (and rivets) already that would work great for mounting the components to the drum sides. The rivets are literally stainless with a long shank on them. I have them from when I needed to mount stuff to my fishing kayak. The Uber long grabbing fingers on them distributes the weight further out on the poly material and distributes stress out so it does not tear. You will either need that… or very large washers on bolts.

Here is the ones for sale on his website…

https://horizontalhive.com/buy-hive-bees/swarm-trap-top-bar-sale.shtml
 
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Double post!

Another option would be to see if any of the different spinner mfrs out there sell parts for their spinners. If they do…

Then there is your gearbox and other parts you need.
 
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Update:

Small Hive:

I opened the swarm trap that has the small/struggling hive that got robbed at least once.

They were alive and so was the queen (no markings and possibly wild).

Not a lick of honey or pollen stores but a decent amount of comb has been made. Only maybe 50 capped brood and no new eggs since she must have sensed there was no food.

So….

Large Hive:

I went deep into this hive for the first time. Got a really good look at them. Found the queen and she too is unmarked and possibly wild. A much darker queen compared to other… which is neat since her bees are lighter in color/the opposite of the small who had the light-colored queen with darker bees.

Anyways, any time I squished a bee… they immediately grabbed them and took them away. They were heavily grooming each other was well. The hive was incredibly clean. A good thing! Good signs…

Lots of capped brood. Capped honey everywhere. Lots of drying nectar and two frames that had good pollen stores.

No signs of varroa, or SHB but I did see one wax moth grub. Did see a single bee with deformed wings though too.

They may have the VSH gene as per the weird brood pattern. The queen has been doing a really good job finding and filling in the empty holes.

End Result:

I stole one frame that was full of young and capped brood, nectar, honey, and pollen… and placed it into the starving hive. This is the only bump they will ever get from me this year.

I then reduced the entrance to the width of one bee.

God Speed… lol

Once I see traffic step up in the small hive... I will widen the entrance more and more.


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Marty Mitchell
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Another Update 2 days later....

By that evening of going deep into both of the hives... I began to observe them at their entrances again. I have come to learn a few new things over the last few days and want to share.

1st:

The small hive that seemed to have lost all interest in guarding their entrance... had now re-gained full interest by just a few hours (as soon as I walked back over there) after putting all of those new resources in there for them.

They went from starvation mode to full-on feast. Then were smart enough to know that they now had something that needed protecting. Signs of intelligence!!!

I have now learned that when a hive stops guarding its entrance... they may be starving (especially during that derth period we just finished going though). Noted for the future...

I was expecting to see no queen in there... and assumed she must have been killed in one of the raids. Luckily, she was fine.

Also, I should have reduced that entrance months ago. They can defend it with ease now.

2nd:

I went out after dark last night to see what they do with their entrances at night. The large hive completely fills that 2" hole AND surrounds the entrance with their bodies. No wax moths getting through that!

The little hive was also filling the hole... but two bodies is about all it takes now. lol

~ Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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It was 55F outside this morning. Went out to learn something new with the bees.

Saw that my micro colony was actually active and launching bees… while the other one was not.

Also, I finally got a good pic of the bees at the entrance of the small hive. I thought some of them looked much darker. Now I know that some of them are almost totally black! If you click on the pics attached... you can zoom in and see them. They look like German bees actually I think (the black ones anyways).

Also, while listening to a YouTube bee keeping vodcast last night, I learned that if you have SHB in your area ( I do for sure) that having a landing board will help give them something to land on and crawl into your hive. Also, making a bit of a raised lip around the entrance (like with my entrance disks) provides a little obstacle to slow them down and helps the bees stop them from entering potentially. That being said, my entrance is currently 2" across on the large hive, and the beetles probably flight right in. No problems from them yet though.
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Marty Mitchell
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I just did a bit of research on the life cycle of bees after they hatch as an almost fully formed bee.

Sometime soon... there will be a population explosion in that small hive. They will begin something on the order of the following lifecycle of a worker bee. I think I am going to move them to the bee yard this weekend... probably tonight!

Just the extra bees alone are going to drastically help these guys out. I am so glad I found several really good frames in the other hive so I could take one that had brood, nectar, pollen/bee bread, and honey stores on it.

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Mike Barkley
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Bees will fly at 55 F. They'll even do short cleansing flights considerably colder than that. That's the lowest temp I consider opening a hive though. The brood has to be maintained at a precise temp. Not much room for error. I was taught that below 55 they might have trouble maintaining that precise temp, especially in a small colony.

Naturally the population will increase when the frame of brood emerges. I wouldn't expect a huge population increase. This is the time of year the queen intentionally starts laying fewer eggs. They also banish the males. The bees that overwinter live longer than those born during the warmer months. If I remember correctly you mentioned having some sourwood trees nearby. This about when they start blooming. That will help keep them active a while longer & give them resources to make more honey for winter.

The hive beetle traps filled with vegetable oil work good.
 
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I did see the larger colony doing some cleansing flights this AM. I wonder if they were staying in there longer in order to compensate for the increased venting of that hive.


It is amazing how different regions of the country differ in so many ways. You are correct! I do indeed have sourwood along the edge of my Forrest along the perimeter of my pastures. However, my sourwoods finished blooming several months ago. According to my local bee keepers guild they are the last tree to bloom just before our 2 months of derth set in.

It sounds like keeping bees is a lot like fishing… in that the fish are the same around the country but the environment and food changes… so I always have to learn the patterns all over again.

We are literally just starting our Fall nectar/pollen flow here in Chesapeake, VA.

For their population, they said they will build up a bit more in the Fall for the flow… and that a good winter type colony will taper off like you said at some point. (So glad they have some stores now!)

They said that Italian bees are the ones that are really bad about keeping the population high… then eating all of the winter stores… and starving to death. Luckily it looks like I don’t have those (or at least not full blooded ones).

What area of the country are you from? Thank you for stepping in to help!
 
Mike Barkley
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Born, raised, & spent most of my life in TX. Didn't start with bees until moving to TN. That's where I learned of sourwood. Some low land beekeepers there would move their hives into the mountains after the spring flow to take advantage of the sourwood bloom. Which now that you mention it does occur earlier than now. It's some other TN tree, some sort of maple perhaps, that blooms now. Goldenrod also blooms there this time of year. You probably have that too.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I wonder what that tree is now. I am going to be a botanist before this is over! lol

In fact, I just learned a new flower from the local bee FB group just yesterday. Someone took a pic of a single wildflower cluster that had 5 bees on it. It is rare for me to learn of new things that I have never heard of before these days. It is called "Boneset".

I do indeed have goldenrod starting to bloom in this area now.

I am considering turning my 1AC of open patch in the front yard into a wildflower meadow for bees (with mowed walking paths). Kind of like the local botanical gardens does it. Just with a major focus on butterflies and bees. It is perfect because it is surrounded by forest and is a low-wind forest glade pretty much. So, it is really good for butterflies. I have seen hundreds out there already.

It's just that I am not the only one living on the property and just letting the pasture be a pasture drove everyone (city folk wife and in-laws) nuts.

In fact, I am still getting into horrible arguments. They want me to mow 8AC (because someone somewhere online said tall grass is bad for animals) then turn around and buy hay for all of said animals (which is grass that was grown tall! lol). It is like arguing with crazy people.  

My kids get it though and see what I am talking about. They are actually out there playing all the time and get lost at times watching things and observing.

If I were to turn the front yard into endless flowers that only gets mowed every Fall... the family would lose their minds.

So, I did something sneaky and just put down a lot of clover seed at least. So, even with mowing, I will still get lots of good flowers for large parts of the year at some point. Heck, the wife keeps getting on the mower and scalping walking paths through the pasture... which kills all the grasses. However, they are now turning into white clover paths! lol

I am slowly winning the battle though. Just have to bring them to reality slowly. They are well trained to be destructive and senseless.

I grew up with animals and they keep telling me that I am acting like a know-it-all and that I should do as they say without having an opinion.  

I even sit down and listen to 5hour lectures from professionals that do it for a living all the time. Gaining ideas and learning. Meanwhile, they want a golf course... that does not require work somehow... and has no bugs or critters.

Venting complete. lol

 
Mike Barkley
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haha I can relate. Been having the same issues for many years. Some get it. Some don't. The church of the well mowed lawn is everywhere.

Maybe just ease into it by planting wildflowers along the border or one small part of the pasture. Buckwheat might be a good option. It grows very fast & reseeds easily. Not extremely tall. Can be mowed every 6 weeks or so. Pollinators love it. Makes good pancakes & bread too. Honey from it has a pecan-ish flavor.

Many cattle ranchers are selling their herds because their hay crops didn't grow & prices to buy it are outrageous. Maybe that will help your situation.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I like your buckwheat idea! I remember hearing that honeybees LOVE it. Lots of folks use it as a green manure crop/crop to feed their bees with their garden. My garden is not set up for that at the moment. I wonder if buckwheat is cattle and horse safe??? I have about 100 yards of deep/sunny ditch I could plant it into as well. lol

Whatever path I wind up taking... it is going to have to look good from the day I sow seed until Fall... OR just be out of sight on the far corners of the pastures. Which is likely where I will start. I even found a place online to where I can buy Sourwood trees for about $10ea... that I could plant randomly throughout the Silvo pasture and along the edges of the front yard.

I do have about 1.5 acres of trees left to thin out further (out on the borders of the pastures) so I can grow grass under them for a Silvo pasture type of thing. I may sneak in some native wildflower seed when I plant it.

SO glad I have that ancient tractor I got on the cheap now. That thing is a real force for good in the right hands. WAY more fuel efficient than the mower was as well (and I set the brush hog to mow @ 8" tall but could do 12" if I wished). Just the HD boom pole alone is going to enable me to drag entire trees off and build massive brush piles in the forest.
 
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Today I moved my spare swarm trap that has not had a lick of interest all summer.  Went ahead and modified how I attach it to the tree. Instead of using ratchet straps… I will use wire and hooks.

It took a little longer to setup. However, it will be about a 5 second job to get it down… And probably 15 to get it back up.

No more ratchet straps slowly gurtleing  the tree either.

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Marty Mitchell
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Update:

Last week I noticed that there was now a lot more guard bee at the entrance to the small hive. That, combined with the reduced entrance, made me think that they could handle the move to the new bee yard now. I wanted to get them over there before all those newly hatched bees were relieved of guard duty and started taking flight.

The other hive REALLY started trying to find a way inside that small hive. It is a full-on battle there all day. The large hive is able to get in there in low numbers early in the morning… but are pretty well blocked the rest of the day.

There is certainly forage available right now. However, due to the crazy invasion, I decided to give them an easier target… and put the feeders back out.

Now they are all over the feeders AND still trying to get into the small hive. Lol

I know there is a good flow going on right now. I even see pollen baskets filled with a white and neon yellow pollen and going into the hives.

Soon the Asters in my pasture will be in bloom too.

I am not helping any more than I am right now. It is survival of the fittest time. In a month I may do some internal feeding for the small hive if I have to. I think they will at least make it though.
 
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Update After the hurricane Ian remnants came through:

When I went to bed @ 9:45PM Sunday night... the weather station in my yard had recorded 12.75" of rain for the day and it was still coming down hard.

The next day was partly cloudy... but mostly sunny with highs around 77F. That rain seems to have given all of the asters and golden rod in my pastures the bump they needed to open. They are short plants though since I kept knocking them back with the brush hog to 8" during the Summer.

That water was much appreciated though since I had just transplanted 15 very large purple coneflower plants out into the pasture on the weekend before. They really needed that water since I never watered them in and the hardpan clay out there was a brick.

Anyways, my small hive had either one of these two things going on yesterday.
1) A billion new bees were getting in their new orientation flights and learning to fly for the first time. It is about that time from the day I put in that new frame! (I really hope this is it)
or...
2) They had an army laying siege to their castle.

I am probably going to dawn the bee suit today and go slide that entrance open another 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch. Still under heavy debate.

I did stop filling the bee feeding station back at the house since there be a nectar and pollen flow going on again now.

~Marty

P.S.

I found this cool YouTube video on why horizontal hives like the Layens are better for bees than vertical hives like the Langstroth. I agree with this message... PLUS it is also easier on the beekeeper as well... AND the horizontal hives can be easier to build and heavily insulate.



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Marty Mitchell
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Update a few weeks later…

The small hive was indeed being heavily raided at their new home. They obsconded and left to find a new home. No sign of a dead queen though there were probably 20 dead bees in there.

All honey was gone and so was most of the pollen.

A few wax moth caterpillars were already consuming the wax in there.

Saw one SHB in there and no signs otherwise.

At least I now have several frames that are partially filled out that will be good for my traps. I plan to set two next season.

Frames have been I. The freezer for a few days. About to go into one of the traps that is being stored in the garage and is fully closed to large critters and insects. Ants could still get in I suppose.

Bummer.

Big hive is doing good. I reduced the entrance since we are having freakishly cold weather early. Even with the massive flow going on this year.

I plan to build a second hive this Winter and set it out as a possible third trap for Spring. Setting it directly where it will be kept and fully expanded in hopes of catching a mega swarm

 
Marty Mitchell
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Update: 01 Jan 2023

The remaining colony is still cruising along.

I have not broken the seal/cracked it open yet this Winter.

However, I have been observing on the warm days. We just went through a brutal-for-our-area cold spell that was also very windy. The coldest night was after a few days of hard rain followed by an 11F (-0F wind chill) very windy night. Then it proceeded to get 12F to 14F for the next several nights.

Anyways, all is well with the bees. I never did put that wool pillow on top like I was supposed to with a Layens hive. However, I don't live in Russia either! Which is where they were designed. Plus, I am lazy.

Today I just popped the lid and took a peek down the crevice beside the follower board. There is a small puddle of water along the South side wall. It looks to be that the wall is warming in the morning Sun... and cool humid air is condensating along the wall. I will check it out again after a bit. Not too concerned... but made a mental note.

Then I took a seat on the "bee bench" next to the entrance (unused stretch of beehive support boards on concrete blocks). I sat there several times throughout the day... just watching the bees. Even had little girl sitting next to me for a while as I described what I was watching for and seeing.

I saw Extended Abdomens and full pollen sacks on about 50% of the returning bees. Not a clue as to what in the world is blooming right now! I asked the local bee group on FB and they started chiming in and giving lists of plants that bloom this time of year. Even the big keepers in my area said that their hives are packed with nectar and pollen right now. Which... may actually be where some of my water puddle is coming from now that I am reflecting. lol

Anyways, apparently it is normal to have a nectar/pollen flow this time of year in my area. Awesome!!! They said to watch it during bee build-up season in Spring. That is when most folks loose their colonies in this area. Noted

pics...

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How are you controlling SHB in a layens hive?
 
Beware the other head of science - it bites! Nibble on this message:
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