Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hive Tracks Software

Tonight while Mark and Andrew watched a turkey hunting video, I created our account and first hive record on a free software program called Hive Tracks.  I found out about it through Linda's blog.  As one commenter noted, since it's a free service, you're at the mercy of their servers, business plans, and effort.  However, the answer to that is to maintain a traditional notebook, save the yard reports each time you make updates to your records, and print reports periodically to add to your notebook as a summary.

As experienced beekeepers, the creators of Hive Tracks have all kinds of details and features that help you keep track of your queen (age, color if marked, type/breed), your hive components, and your harvest.  I'm excited that I'll be able to rely on something besides notes I scrawl in the notebook while suited up and photographs.  Now it's just a matter of taking the time to sit down and enter in all of the data!

Here is what a screen looks like, with the basic info. on Hive 4.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

National Geographic's Pollinator Slide Show

Generally I think in very simple terms: pollinators = insects.  While that's true, this slide show from National Geographic beautifully illustrates the wide variety of creatures who help spread pollen from bloom to bloom. Honey bees get a couple of photos, including one showing bees with the evil Varroa mites attached.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bee King Cautions Patience

Tonight Mark talked to Harry Fulton, who recently retired from MSU-ES and is our local bee expert.  He said:
  • the bees won't start eating the honey in earnest until they start making brood in earnest, which likely won't happen for another week or two at least.
  • no need to add hives until April -- they'll make room for the brood by eating up the honey stores we currently think are extra (but apparently aren't really)
  • order some "green-friendly," soon-to-be-approved treatment for Varroa mites
  • that he's not going to gather swarms this year as he's working having certified Russians, so he'll steer any swarm calls to Mark. He also suggested notifying local Extension offices and police departments, so I may do a small poster or something for him to take around.
  • now is the time to treat for American Foul Brood and to work on integrated pest management.  We haven't had any problems so far, so I'm leery of doing a lot of chemical treatments.  We'll have to do some more research and discussing.
I'm sure there was more to the conversation, but I was making sloppy joes so I didn't hear everything.

So for now we wait and watch.  We have bee tea and one candy patty left so as long as we're paying attention, none of them should go without food.