Busy Holiday Weekend and More Bee Lessons

Son 1 returned to spend the holiday weekend with us. The plan had been for both sons to come replace the roof on Son 2’s RV that lives on our farm between trips. On their most recent vacation, the roof had some failure and a “patch” repair, but the roof, vents, and hopefully skylight are to be replaced. The replacement had to be postponed as not all the components arrived here in time, so Son 2 rescheduled. Our garage currently has the new roof material spread out on the floor to relax it. This gave us a weekend with Son 1 without a laundry list of jobs to do, or that was the plan.

He arrived Saturday night and I had purchased a second copper ground rod and clamps so we could run a series of 4 rods 4 feet long each on the apiary electric fence. The original one we could only get about 3 feet into the hard, rocky soil, and we currently have a large, maybe 350-400 pound black bear residing in our area. It was seen 7 times in 3 days last week, including in our lower hay field while the guys were baling the hay down there. Though the electric fence with the 12 volt charger on it was charging, we read that you should have 8 feet of ground rod buried or a series of shorter rods. The rods were cut in half to 4 feet and pounded in with just enough exposed to fasten the clamps and wires. That was the only task for the weekend, or so I thought. While working down there, I spotted this:

Lots of bees and comb being formed below the screen bottom of one hive. A panic text to my beekeeper friend and a reply of “Yikes.” She and her husband came over to see what was going on and help me remove the wax, relocate the bees inside. Thinking it might be honey, or just wax, we discovered eggs and larvae in the cells, so the virgin queen must have missed the opening to the hive on her return and ended up under the hive instead. The brood comb was wired into a frame and placed into the top super without the queen excluder with hopes that she will move down into the brood box below and continue producing brood in a hive that was struggling. She must have come from one of the queen cups we placed in the have about 5 weeks ago. We did a quick inspection of the last hive I hadn’t gotten to during the week, another that we had given a queen cup to and found eggs and larva there also, so it looks like all 4 hives are currently queenright for now. That is a relief to me. I will reinspect the hive we hope we moved her into this weekend to see if more brood has been made, so we know we successfully transferred her. So another new beekeeping skill introduced, how to wire in comb to an empty frame.

During the weekend, Son 2 said he caught a small swarm at one of his employee’s homes, so he now has free bees at his place to give him 3 hives, though the caught swarm is in a nuk as there are too few bees to place in a hive yet.

We did get our walks in both days that son was here with him, cooked out at daughter’s house on the 4th and watched the fireworks from her front yard, and returned home to get a couple hours of sleep before I returned son to the 5 a.m. bus back to the train to get him back to his job. Both sons will be here in 2 weeks to tackle the RV roof.

This is one of the does with twins that frequent our property. These fawns are very tiny, the others we see are much larger. There are too many deer this year, they look very thin and are eating things they normally avoid. This is a recipe for disease unless more hunting reduction is permitted for a couple years. The deer don’t have any natural predators in Virginia anymore as all the wolves and big cats have been eradicated. This is a lesson that has been hard taught to those that removed them because of occasional stock loss. Some red wolves have been reintroduced in an adjacent state, but aren’t seen here yet and the coyotes/coydogs/coywolves tend to go after smaller prey like groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional barn cat.

Though I love seeing the fawns, the destruction and the potential for disease to them and us from the infected deer ticks is a problem.

This week is very hot again, with frequent thunder storms. Before they began yesterday, I did get the couple of acres we call yard mowed on the riding mower. Grandson that will mow for me is away visiting his other grandparents. I do appreciate when he is here to do the job for me.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.

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