Archive for the ‘Log hives’ Category

I was beginning to think the swarms were not going to materialize.  I thought maybe I wasn't trying hard enough to entice a swarm to look over the log hive.  I decided to step up my game plan.  Kids like honeycomb and I know bees like honeycomb.  I cut off a small piece for each kid.

I was beginning to think the swarms were not going to materialize. I thought maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough to entice a swarm to look over the log hive. I decided to step up my game plan. Kids like honeycomb and I know bees like honeycomb. I cut off a small piece for each kid (after sampling it myself first, of course).

My wife was busy working in the greenhouse.  She could hear the swarm coming from over the trees.  She ran into the print shop to alert me.  I grabbed my camera while they were descending in the area by the log hive.  I groaned…”not another little swarm” as that’s exactly what it looked like.  But that was only the advance party.  As they started landing on the log, more and more of them floated down, landing on the log hive, but waiting to enter.  My wife wondered if the honeycomb was in the way.  Ha ha, I agreed and popped it into my mouth. 🙂

5-13-15...Big news today:  A ginormous swarm is moving INTO my Grand Kids Log hive today!  I don't know if it was because of the honeycomb or spacious accommodations, but I think this is the swarm I was looking for.

5-13-15…I don’t know if it was because of the honeycomb or the spacious accommodations, but this  swarm came to stay.

It was unclear exactly when this second swarm came along, but it wasn't much later, probably less than half an hour.  It was another big one.  At first I wondered if the first one had decided to back out, but I checked the probe thermometer which showed 76F.

It was unclear exactly when this second swarm came along, but it wasn’t much later, probably less than half an hour. It was another big one. At first I wondered if the first one had decided to back out, but I checked the probe thermometer which showed 76F.

Internal temp at 76F at 5:20 pm.  That means the original hive is in there.

Internal temp at 76F at 5:20 pm. That means the original swarm is still in there.

The next day, the second swarm is still 'hanging out.'  They hung around until about 3:15 pm when I was collecting a big swarm from Bee-atrice log hive.  (When you're hot, you're hot!)

The next day, the second swarm is still ‘hanging out.’ They hung around until about 3:15 pm when I was collecting ANOTHER big swarm, this time from Bee-atrice log hive. (When you’re hot, you’re hot!)

Temperature at 80F (26C).  After they, I spotted wax flakes.  (The bees were all ready to build comb in this hive, I felt bad for them)

Temperature at 80F (26C). After the swarm left at about 3:15 pm, you can see wax flakes.  (The bees were all ready to build comb in this hive, I felt bad for them)

Brian Vorwaller, you did an beautiful job sculpting my grand kids faces on the log.

This video shows the play-by-play of the Grand Entrance of the swarm into the Grand Kids Log Hive

The set up…before bees

Bee Beard Log Hive is BACK!

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Many thanks to Jeff Ollerton and HB for giving me the identity of this tree.

It just so happened that at the same time I was trying to identify the tree, we walked by Barbara's house.  She grows many bonsai trees.  We asked her if she knew what the tree was.  "Clearly it's a River Birch," she says, "compare it to my little River Birch on the left."

It just so happened that at the same time I was trying to identify the tree, we walked by Barbara’s house. She grows many bonsai trees. “Clearly it’s a River Birch,” she says, “compare it to my little River Birch on the left.”

This leaf shows a wedge-shaped base typical of the River Birch.

This leaf shows a wedge-shaped base typical of the River Birch.

The weird thing about the leaf is that there are two different shapes.  This one shows a more squarish base.  That really threw me when trying to identify the type of tree.  Both leaves are from the same tree.  Does the age of the leaf determine the shape?

The weird thing about the leaf is that there are two different shapes. This one shows a more squarish base. That really threw me when trying to identify the type of tree. Both leaves are from the same tree. Does the age of the leaf determine the shape?

May 13, 2015...Looking at a bunch of leaves together, we can see various wedge shaped bases...some more acute than others.

May 13, 2015…Looking at a bunch of leaves together, we can see various wedge shaped bases…some more acute than others.

May 13, 2015...Looking upward into the umbrella, you can see the white bark limbs...

May 13, 2015…Looking upward into the umbrella, you can see the white bark limbs…

Cinnamon bark

…but looking at the trunk, you’ll see cinnamon colored bark.

According to Wikipedia, “Betula nigra (black birch, river birch, water birch) is a species of birch native to the Eastern United States from New Hampshire west to southern Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and west to Texas.”

It grows in the East, not the West.  I guess the jury is still out on the type of birch it is.

5-13-15...Big news today:  A ginormous swarm is moving INTO my Grand Kids Log hive today!

5-13-15…Big news today: A ginormous swarm is moving INTO my Grand Kids Log hive today!  Detailed post to follow.

 

 

 

 

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April 17, 2015...I wonder if I should hang a sign declaring,

April 19, 2015…I wonder if I should hang a sign declaring, “Top Bar Log Hive Ready for Immediate Occupancy.”

March 30, 2015...Brian Vorwaller, the wood carver is on the right...you know who on the left.  We're both happy it's delivered and set up.

March 30, 2015…Brian Vorwaller, the wood carver is on the right.  We’re both happy the log hive is on site in time for swarm season.

The very beginning of the Log Hive  or when I was still calling it The Three Kid Log Hive.

January Progress Report  Not being an expert on the chainsaw, I had been worrying about how I would be able to make the vertical cut.  I wanted it to be straight.  I didn’t want the cut to widen out in places while being narrow in others.  I used the weather for an excuse, but eventually I had to face up to the challenge so I could get the log back by April.  It worked out well.

February Progress Report

Brian Vorwaller talks about sculpting the grand kids faces

March 17 visit to see the log hive

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March 17th...Since it was my birthday, I skipped work to see how Brian was progressing on the faces. The 'quilt box' has been added on top and Brian is figuring out what kind of carving he will add to the very top to shed rainwater and add another uniqueness to my already very unique hive.

March 17th…Since it was my birthday, I skipped work to see how Brian was progressing on the faces.
The ‘quilt box’ has been added on top and Brian is figuring out what kind of carving he will add to the very top for the purpose of shedding rainwater and to add another uniqueness to my already different looking hive.

Here he describes what he has done and what is remaining to be done.  He plans to be done in a week and that means I better get prepared for it…SOON!

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March 10, 2015...Here's the roughing out of the faces for the Grand Kid Log hive.

March 10, 2015…Here’s the roughing out of the faces for the Grand Kid Log hive.

Images of grand kids for Brian Vorwaller to compare when carving the faces.

Images of grand kids for Brian Vorwaller, the wood carver.

March 16...The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside.  The pencil lines line up with the top bars on the top of the log hive.

March 16…The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside. The pencil lines line up with the top bars on the top of the log hive.

March 16...The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside.  This shows the first few cuts in the quilt box.  I'm using an electric chain saw plugged into my solar system with canola oil to lubricate the chain.  (I don't want any hydrocarbons in my hive)

This shows the first few cuts in the quilt box. I’m using an electric chain saw plugged into my solar system with canola oil to lubricate the chain. (I don’t want any hydrocarbons in my hive)

This was so easy I made a bunch of cuts...

This was so easy I made a bunch of cuts…

...and then pushed them out.

…and then pushed them out.

Then I enlarged it outwards towards the pencil line.

Then I enlarged it outwards towards the pencil line.

I cleaned up the sides with the "Sa-burr" wheel on the handheld grinder.

I cleaned up the insides with the “Sa-burr” wheel on a handheld grinder.

The #8 screen will hold the quilt and the sawdust at the top of the hive.  This will enable the bees to regulate the temperature and ventilation of the hive by plugging up or eating through sections of the cloth.

The #8 screen will hold the quilt and the sawdust at the top of the hive. This will enable the bees to regulate the temperature and ventilation of the hive by plugging up or eating through sections of the cloth.

I took a photo of this old 'quilt' taken from a Warré hive.  You can see where the bees have chewed spaces (I assume) for ventilation into the box above that's full of sawdust.  The upper box has another 'quilt' to keep the sawdust from falling into the interior of the hive.   When you let the bees build their own comb (I don't use any wax foundation or heaven forbid any plastic foundation) they are free to decide where to put holes in the comb for whatever purpose they want, be it ventilation or for just passing through  the comb.

I took a photo of this old ‘quilt’ taken from a Warré hive. You can see where the bees have chewed spaces (I assume) for ventilation into the box above that’s full of sawdust to hold the hive scent. The upper box has another ‘quilt’ to keep the sawdust from falling into the interior of the hive.

I’ll take the quilt box to the wood carver so he can shape up the structure on top of it.  I think he’s going to carve a type of birdhouse top that will shed water.

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Chuck Barrett is pictured here with his signature orange cake.  Made from scratch, his secret ingredient is Triple sec.  Whenever he is invited to a gathering, he brings his cake and garners rave  reviews.  The ladies in the group are are always impressed with his baking skills.

Chuck Barrett is pictured here with his signature orange cake. Made from scratch, his secret ingredient is Triple sec. Whenever he is invited to a gathering, he brings his cake and garners rave reviews. The ladies in the group are are always impressed with his baking skills.

Inspired by my bee stories, my ninety-one year old father-in-law took pen in hand and wrote “A Busy Bee Song.”  Setting the words to a simple tune he composed, he hoped to inspire children to learn about and respect the honeybees.

Judy Rhodes

Judy Rhodes

He asked Judy Rhodes, a local singer in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona, to sing his song.  Judy performs with a small group, “Up the Road and Around the Bend,” who sing for folks in retirement homes around the Phoenix area.  He copyrighted his words and music to make it officially his own.

Chuck Barrett is truly an inspiration.  He leads an exercise group three days a week at his local YW.  His enthusiasm is contagious and people join in, some in wheelchairs, some with walkers with bingo in the next room as his fierce competition.

I set videos and photos of my bees to Chuck’s song, and we hope you will enjoy our efforts to bring awareness to the honeybees story.

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Jan. 3...Progress so far on log

Jan. 3…Progress so far on log

Jan. 3...See the big rotten spot in the middle?  All that is rotten.  I believe it might have been started by nails driven into the tree many years ago.  See the next photo.

Jan. 3…See the big rotten spot in the middle? All that brown wood is rotten.  I removed a huge section of rot already and there’s still some left.  I believe it might have been started by nails driven into the tree many years ago. See the next photo.

Three brown streaks from three old nails.  The next time you're tempted to drive a nail into a tree, think about this photo.  I believe these nails started the rot in the tree which resulted in a big rotten spot in the trunk...not visible on the outside of the tree.

Three brown streaks are from three old nails. The next time you’re tempted to drive a nail into a tree, think about this photo. I believe these nails started the rot in the tree which resulted in a big rotten spot in the trunk…not visible on the outside of the tree.

The start of the 'bowl.'  I want to have a little cavity on the bottom of the hive.  I'll place a pile of sawdust and maybe some leaves to create habitat for sow bugs, earwigs, pseudoscorpions, and whatever else should be living in a tree.  When mites fall down, they can get devoured.

Jan. 13…The start of the ‘bowl.’ I want to have a little cavity on the bottom of the hive. I’ll place a pile of sawdust and maybe some leaves to create habitat for sow bugs, earwigs, pseudoscorpions, and whatever else should be living in a tree. When mites fall down, they can get devoured.

Drilling more holes for the 'bowl.'

Drilling more holes for the ‘bowl.’

Let's grind them down

Let’s grind it down

Not deep enough yet.

Not deep enough yet.

Hope this is deep enough

Hope this is deep enough

We're going to call it good.  I've got to get the observation window built.

We’re going to call it good. I’ve got to get the observation window built.

Hal said to drill the corners, then saw up to them.  I'm starting my first corners, but I changed my mind after I saw where they broke through.

Hal said to drill the corners, then saw up to them. I’m starting my first corners, but I changed my mind after I saw where they broke through didn’t leave much ‘observing’ space.

Jan. 15...After changing my mind several times, I finally jelled on where the observation window should go.  This is it!!!

Jan. 15…After waffling several times over the window, I finally jelled on where it should go. This is it!!!

I've been thinking about getting one of these saws for years, finally I have an excuse.  Using it, I cut out a place for the glass.

I’ve been thinking about getting one of these saws for years, finally I have an excuse. Using it, I cut out a place for the glass.

I cut the plexiglass, pushed it down into a curve, and broke it.  Hmmm, I guess I pushed too hard.

I cut the plexiglass, pushed it down into a curve, and promptly broke it.

I cut a new piece, carved some wooden 'wedges' to make the glass lay flat, and drilled it in place.

I cut a new piece, carved some wooden ‘wedges’ to make the glass lay flat, and fastened it in place.

February 4...The log is almost ready for Brian Vorwaller, but I've still got to get the top bars fitted.

February 4…The log is almost ready for Brian Vorwaller, but I’ve still got to get the top bars fitted.

Using my new orbital saw, I cut a rabbet for the bars to sit on.

Using my new multi-tool saw, I cut a rabbet for the bars to sit on.

My neighbor wanted to get some scrap cedar out of the way, which he donated to me.  I cut my top bars.

My neighbor donated some cedar he didn’t need.  I cut my top bars.

Check out this custom top bar. :)

Check out this custom-cut top bar. 🙂

Custom fitted top bars in place.  Zada just called to say Brian is coming to pick up the log tomorrow.  I'm glad I'm ready.

Custom fitted top bars in place. Zada just called to say they are coming tomorrow to pick up the log.   I’m glad I’m ready.

Well, almost ready.  I've still got to hollow out the top slab to use as a quilt box.  I'm thinking about adding this old birdhouse on the very top.  My wife is not 100% on board with that idea, so it's still up in the air.

Well, almost ready. I’ve still got to hollow out this top slab to use as a quilt box. I’m thinking about adding this old birdhouse on the very top. My wife is not 100% on board with that idea, so it’s iffy.  As it turns out, Brian Vorwaller didn’t like idea either.  He didn’t say it, but I knew it when he says, “Give me another chunk of wood to work with.”

February 14...Brian works the winch while his valentine makes sure he's observing safety measures.

February 14…Brian works the hoist while his Valentine makes sure he’s observing proper safety protocols.

Making sure it's good and secure before driving to the wood shop.

Brian will need about a month or so to carve the three grand kids’ faces onto the log.  Zada will videotape the progress.  So while I bid adiós to my log for awhile, I know it’s in good hands.

Grand Kids Log Hive:  The beginning

Hollowing out the log

Getting the faces carved in

Grand Opening

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