Tom also built a frame storage “thing”. One is for deep frames and one is for mediums. We still need more storage space for the frames. As we will be getting more bees come spring.
than the bees if you let them. We decided to begin treating the bees to try and keep the mites in check.
"What do you use to treat the bees?" We hear you ask. there are formic acid strips that can cause the mites great trouble both on the bees and in the brood comb. Since the hives are small and the mite counts are low we only needed a small treatment on each hive. Some people ask what is a "mite" We tell them they are basically a bee tick except if bees were human sized the mites would be the size of a large rat, and about as hygienic.
So that was the gloomy part of the weekend on to brighter bits. Tested the new pollen collector.... it needs improvements there was one piece of pollen in after 2 days on the hive..... We have a few ideas as to why. We will fix the issues and try again. We also began our winter prep for all 3 of the hives no it’s not to early.
We truly are enjoying our bee keeping and enjoying writing about our experiences. We hope you are enjoying reading about our current adventure.
Bee program helps veterans find peace
Larry O'Connor, The Detroit News Published 11:31 p.m. ET Oct. 28, 2018 | Updated 1:36 p.m. ET Oct. 29, 2018
(Photo: Dale G. Young, The Detroit News)
We appeared in a news article featuring Heroes to Hives and the Ford Motor company that is stepping up help the program
Today we went out for the girls weekly check and the first thing that happened was Marie got stung on the ankle. First sting of the year and it wasn't Tom... we didn't even have a hive open yet! (wow). So first hive, "Cindy" opened it up looked around her girls are building comb on the frames, moving up into the next box and all is going well. Next box "Daisy", since we had taken brood out of this one for the third hive it was a little further behind in their building of brood. But they are building comb...just wish they would build the comb on the frame. Now the third hive "Oppsie" our weakest hive, our little accident. We saw her and looking through the frames we did see eggs so she is laying eggs. While she is weak it looks like she is doing well. We are very excited about how things are going here hope you are all doing the same.
8 July 2018
This week was a little more exciting, we did mite checks, the second one for Cindy and the first in Daisy. In Cindy's hive they have moved into the second box but the mite check on them revealed 4 mites for 300 bees.... 🙁 not what we wanted (zero would be best) but we were expecting this to happen. 99% of hives in the US have detectable mite populations. Then we checked on Daisy's first thing we noticed was they were building on the frames instead of between the frames like they had been better and better. There were more bees than last week as well. So we did a mite check on the bees here and luckily there were no mites 🙂 YEAH. Finally we got to Oppsie's we opened her hive up and.... it was still very small. Decided not to do a mite check on her because you need around 300 bees and we doubted the ability to gather that many easily. So we have some mites not a lot, but they can breed faster
is a correct way of putting them on. Because this takes apposable thumbs we know it is a 2 legged critter doing it. We did have a problem with one of our queens absconding, do not know if this is because of them or something else. As of this past inspection all the hives are queen right and doing better now that we have had rain.
The picture to the right is a new addition to our hive system. We call it a candy board. Though it will be on the hive all year. It has a dual purpose. 1) It acts as an upper door for the girls and will aid in ventilation. 2) In the winter we do the mountain camp style feeding. This is an emergency feed in the winter time. We leave what most consider more than enough honey for winter. But if we have an early fall/late spring or extra hard winter they may run out of honey. This sugar is just in case. Also as it goes on dry (straight from the bag) it will aid in moisture control. Soaking up any and all moisture, helping the girls stay dry and warmer.
12 August 2018
Oh the joys of keeping bees.
We have been very busy taking care of various bee related enterprises. Last week we were working at the Michigan honey festival. This week the Michigan Beekeeping Association end of summer picnic. Meet bee keepers who have been at this for 50 + years (lots of Knowledge) always nice to know where the well is.
1 July 2018
We went out to the hives this morning because of the extreme heat predicted. (it did not disappoint) feel like a broken record, Cindy and her hive are growing...slower than we want but we are not disappointed, Daisy and her hive is still building comb like drunk carpenters (everywhere except where we want them to build) and Oopsie is growing slowly but considering how she started, we are not worrying (yet). All that is "newish" but not really.
So! What is new? Let’s start with what WAS old. In the picture to the left is a "proof of concept" handmade pollen collector. (big orange ugly box) it was clunky the wrong size for what we had and did not fit all that great on the hive (last year), but we did collect around an eighth of teaspoon of pollen from it from an hour or so of collecting. Today we made a new and improved model (picture to the right) it is sleek and well made, with a few other improvements. We will put it on a hive and this weekend again try and collect the pollen that the bees are bringing back to the hive.
We are very excited about this. Stay tuned for further updates on Kusar farm pollen collector 2.0
21 July 2018 Having fun at our hive party. Wish you were here
We are kind of optimistic and going with option #4 and we set up a new hive. We now have Cindy (far right) and Daisy (middle) and Daisy’s daughter, Ooppssyy Daisy (far left)
Once again the unexpected beekeepers have done something unexpectedly. Thank you for your support keep up the well wishes.
Good News: this week end we will be installing new packages of bees into their new homes. So the New Year begins. YEAH!!!! Pictures to come
Great News: We applied for a Fellowship offered by the Farm Veterans Coalitions and we won one of 125 grants awarded this year. We asked for help in beekeeping supplies and they said yes. Because of the timing we are unable to get bees with it. But are getting hives and other equipment.
Lots of Thank yous and gratefulness to folks at FVC, Chris from Dadant & Sons who helped us write up the invoice for the equipment. We will be picking that equipment up soon. Adam Ingrao, a great friend and mentor, wrote up the Letter of Recommendation for us as well.
So friends and family expect an invitation a hive decorating party latter this year. Will also try doing a newsletter again this year.
11 May 2018
We going to pick up bee packages tomorrow morning. Rainy weather seems to be the theme for this event. We will also be installing them. Not sure if the icky weather is a good thing or a bad thing.
Picture One: yep had to ride around with bees in the car again 😧
Picture Two: Daisy and Cindy safely installed in their new homes 😃
Picture Three: Inside Cindy’s hive. The can is the sugar water that came with them, large box is the 3 pounds of bees, and small box is Cindy. We also added ½ pollen patty but not seen here.
The Unexpected Beekeepers
15 July 2018
I did it. So excited about the possibilities.
I am officially a Pollinator Champion
So excited about this.
10 June 2018
Today we were checking on the bees, in the first hive "ok" the bees have decided that the comb should go on the area we want them to build and all is good. the second hive, pull out one frame and Marie says there is the queen we put it off to the side and we pull out a second frame and I say "THERE IS ANOTHER QUEEN" first thought "oh no" second thought "what should we do" third thought "another queen" our options for the queen were 1) Kill one of them. 2) Let them kill one of them. 3) Let them swarm and loose half the hive or 4) Try and start them in a new hive.
The grant we got from the Farmer Veteran Coalition we purchased a lot of bee keeping equipment including lots of hive bodies. (50 or so) we decided to have a party and have lots of folks come by and paint them. But before the party we decided to check on the girls and found all was well in the hives. So last week’s panic was for nothing. The weather for our party was gray but the waves of rain held off for the day, cool but humid. Thanks to everyone who came out we got all our boxes painted.
So all the boxes are painted and all the girls seem to be doing good many things to be thankful for.
26 May 2018
This is a very exciting day. Picking up our grant supplies. Exhausted, but worth it.
Had to hand load it onto the truck and then unload once we got home. So, so tired. Now the assembly will start. Thank you Farm Veterans Coalition and everyone else.
Tom with our stuff we got with our fellowship grant (on the left). Assembly begins (on the right).
28 July 2018
All hives are "Queen Right"
Cindy is in this picture.
You can see Daisy’s girls flying in and out on this warm winter day to the left. And the candy board with sugar and pollen patty to the right, getting ready for the spring.
We have done a couple of wellness check on the girls. So far all seems good.
Today was a sad day in the yard. After much consideration and attempts to make it not so, we decided to say goodbye to Ooppssyy Daisy. We worked hard to get her up to winter size but were unsuccessful. 🙁. So instead of working our fingers to the bones all winter to keep three hives going we combined Oopsie with the other two hives. Now we will be taking two very strong hives into winter which should be less stressful and more successful to all parties involved. We are sad to see her go but if we get both hives through the winter we can once again split the hives and get Oopsie and Brunhilda back.
So back to our hives we did our mite checks on all three hives two came up with none but one had 10 mites... 😤 so we got to treat that hive. Problem is that if the air temp is over 85 you could toast the queen and kill her (not good) so come Wednesday the temp will be better. Hope it works
28 August 2018
Since putting out the trail camera we have had no shenanigans.
This makes make us happy..
Starting to get ready for next spring. The picture on the left is the new frame jig Tom made. We received a couple of Lowes Gift cards, combined with our veteran discount and sales we got a nail gun, staple gun and air compressor combo package and a cordless drill. These will make building boxes, frames etc., so much faster and easier.
12 August 2018
New bee. Less than an hour old
4 August 2018
Today is a fun day the Michigan Honey Fest in Frankenmuth is today. We love volunteering at the Heroes to Hives booth. We have a hive inside an enclosure (Tom and Adam with the hive to the left) we demonstrate sugar shake mite checks to the crowd, about once an hour.
Answer any and all question about bees and the Heroes to Hives program. Without this program and Adam we would be lost. We were on the verge of giving up. We have too many nay-sayers in our life that do not believe in us. Through Adam and his Heroes to Hives program we
Checking Brunhilda and her girls. Yes we can hear them buzzing a way in there
Mark your calendars for May 20, now officially World Bee Day
19 August 2018
Added a couple of supers today. Looking good girls.
7 July 2018
Isn't she cute? New bee
This is a frame of a video of her braking free
20 June 2018
WOW, not sure when we did it but we have over 100 followers. THANK YOU ALL,
3 June 2018
When we check on our two bee hives we discovered that their streaks of independence is alive and well. In one hive they were building comb in slightly different angles from what we wanted, no biggie scrape the unwanted pieces off and leave the wax that we wanted and they build off that. In the other hive we discovered that the queen had laid eggs in two different areas of the hive the week before, slightly worrying but again not a huge issue just take the frames with the brood and put them together, no trouble right? Right 😕?
believe in ourselves again. Adam breathed new life (hope) into our dream. Something he continues to do for us and other veterans as well.
We still have many goals to meet, but there is hope of seeing them through. Thank you so very much Adam. Thank you Lacey for standing with him and helping him on this adventure.
Before it gets to cold Tom is cleaning the inside of the hive boxes we used over the summer but not over the winter. Using the torch heats the wood so any pest or disease is “gone”. Heating the wood but not catching on fire seems to be enough for most things. This also warms the propolis and wax making it easier to scrap them off too.
You can see Cindy’s girls flying in and out on this warm winter day to the left. And the candy board with sugar before we added pollen patty, getting ready for the spring.
such critters out of the hive. Yes it is held on with jumbo bull clips. This idea came from a friend of a friend…… It also help with ease of removal and replacement in the winter.
17 June 2018
We went to check on the girls (bees) today first thing in the morning because it is supposed to be very, very hot. Our check on the good girl Cindy showed that all is well, she is laying eggs her daughters are building new comb and bringing in new nectar and pollen. The next hive (Daisy) is a little behind on building up her comb but we did have to transfer part of her workforce to the third hive. We did see Daisy. Finally the third hive Daisy's daughter. There were new bees in the hive but these were from the brood we moved from Daisy's hive last week. We saw Ooppssyy Daisy and she did look fatter than last week so we think she did her mating flight and she should start laying her own brood soon. We are very happy that all the hives seem to be growing and getting stronger.
21 July 2018
The girls are all bundled up for the winter. The picture to the left is their winter door. This helps keep the mice and other
This month we continued the mite check (done once every three weeks), wellness checks etc. All is going as expected. We are worried about Oopsie. She is not building up as fast as we had hoped.
10 May 2018
Well we have some Great news some, Good news and Bad news.
We noticed that someone had messed around our apiary over the winter. We think they were more curious then malicious. We have installed cameras around our apiary, just in case.
Bad News: Brunhilda did not make it through the winter. We check on her in February and all was good, come end of February she was gone. We did a field necropsy and not sure what did her in. We are thinking that last real cold snap we had. So we are out of honey until this fall at the earliest. Sorry to everyone wanting some of that sweet, sweet liquid.
It has been a busy couple of weeks both in and out of our hives. Last week we had a Hero to Hives class and Tom’s brother and nephew visited. Jacob Kusar seemed pretty interested in it. And when we visited our hives one seemed a little lite on bees which made us both rather nervous and since in our class our instructor was talking of "queenless" hives, we had that on our mind... (What fun) Picture from our trial cam.
5 August 2018
We did our weekly inspection today. Saw Cindy and Oppsie and saw eggs in Daisy s. So we are queen right all around
We have had several instances where we can tell someone is in our Apiary. It is on private priority and they don't have permission to be there by the owners.
We have installed cameras. If we get pictures of them we will turned them over to the police for trespassing and interfering with live stock. We will press all the charges we can. Hopefully they won’t return knowing they are getting their picture taken. We have had several people asking questions about this. We have a couple of theories who, we need proof. Hence the cameras. They remove lid weights and not put them back on. They are removing lids and putting them back on wrong, yes for us there
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