Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 9 at the Flow Hive

Frame #2 (foundationless frame)

Here's how this frame looked on Day 3.

Day 9

This is almost completely filled with comb now!
The bees have been BUSY!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Beekeeping ~ Day 3 at the Flow Hive (June 19, 2016)

Removing the Shipping Package from the Flow Hive.Rather than shaking the bees, I removed 4 frames and placed the package inside with the opening UP.

(Click the arrow to play the video.)

Inspecting inside the Flow Hive.  I should have said "Foundationless Frame" not Frameless Frame.  Frameless Frame just has a bar at the top.  You can hear our peacocks calling in the background.

My iphone ran out of memory while shooting video, so we didn't get to show finding the queen or her laying eggs.  There are photos below though.

(Click the arrow to play the video.)

Using the smoker to calm the bees while I remove the shipping package box and check to see if the queen has been released from the queen cage.

Here's the empty queen cage with a worker bee on top.  They've released the queen into the colony.

The queen cage is now empty.  The bees have built a bit of burr comb on the back of it.

With the bee package in place, only 4 frames were in the hive.  Since I removed it today, I placed another 4 frames into the hive for a total of 8.  I used a mix of frames with and without wax foundation.  Shown above is frame #3.  The bees have already built comb onto this frame without foundation.

Frame #2
There's lots of activity going on here.

Another shot of the honeycomb built on Frame #3.
Isn't it gorgeous in the sunlight?

Looking for the queen on frame #1.  We finally spotted her busy at work laying eggs in the cells.  The bees have completed a good bit of work for such a short period of time.  I have a feeder in the hive super but have seen them collecting pollen from the clover and various flowers in our yard.  They've been collecting out front by our koi pond and I'm sure are ranging even further.

Here's the marked queen by the white arrow.  She has a white dot painted on her and came that way from the breeder.  It does make identifying her easier.  Obviously, she is bigger than the other bees but she was moving rapidly over the comb laying eggs.  At times, she was almost covered by worker bees as they complete their various tasks.  It made photographing her rather challenging.

Note the bee larvae there by the red arrow.  

Everything went well today except that the smoker didn't stay lit long enough.  When my daughter Kaitlin bent over to relight it; there was a bee behind her knee and it stung through her jeans.   Lesson learned to next time use the bee brush before bending.  I sent her up to the house to take care of her leg and she applied a dab on Benadryl that I keep in my purse.  There was very little swelling and no stinger to remove.  I'm guessing that the stinger didn't go in completely.

I didn't get stung at all, but of course was fully suited up.  I'm not so impressed with the smoker pellets.  We added newspaper the second time along with the pellet and that seemed to work much better.  There were a LOT of bees on those frames and they were not at all aggressive but interested in doing their tasks.  Some people could learn a lot from bees.  I.E.  When one is busy concentrating on the work at hand; there's no time worry about what others are doing.

The bee feeder was about half way empty, so I'll be refilling that in a few days.  I'll do a quick peek in the brood box but imagine that it will be a couple of weeks before they'll need another box with frames.  Maybe, I'll be surprised?

"The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgment of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold:  sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer." 

 Psalm 19 select


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Thoughts on Owner Handling in AKC Conformation

I wrote this in response to a stated "rant" on Facebook. The author of the thread didn't seem to feel that my response was relevant and that I derailed her post. If a person is losing; I feel that we need to sit down and look at it in a logical way and realize that nobody wins every time and explore the possible reasons why.

 Perhaps the most important skill for a breeder is being able to look objectively at their stock and pulling/selling pet quality as pet quality. Being a "breeder" doesn't automatically qualify one as being able to assess quality.  I feel that way too many people get hung up on titles and never understand structure and movement.  Breeding two titled dogs doesn't guarantee that everything produced is show quality.  Other breeds seem to have a much better grip on this point.

 Speaking as a mother of an owner handler for the past 7 years in this breed (Afghan Hounds); I think that the first thing we have to look at as to why we're not winning is to look at ourselves. Do I know what I'm looking at? Is my dog of sufficient quality to win? How closely does it conform to the standard? Can I maintain coat? (This is a coated breed which some seem to forget.) What kind of performance am I getting out of my dog? If the answer to anything is "no" or leaves you coming up short; then that needs to be remedied-- whether it involves buying a better quality animal, going to training (handling classes), or realizing that one just has no concept of what they are doing and hiring a professional.

There are some dogs that just never should be in the show ring. They should have been sold as pets. Some breeders seem to be more interested in a brag that all of their puppies went to show homes, than realizing that they need to be much more selective about what is out there representing them. Puppies don't always live up to the expectation--and those need to be pulled. If you'd never consider breeding it; then you shouldn't be showing it. We need to always bear in mind that the point to showing is evaluating breeding stock--not just to rack up titles, get the most Best in Shows, or make the next top producer.

An owner handler never competes on a even playing field against corporately sponsored dogs. While you may beat them on occasion; it will take a brave judge to put you up over them. And you can never beat the rankings of a dog that has millions being poured into it.

One also has to consider the area that they are showing in. Some are easier than others. Here, we generally go up against all professional competition--sometimes handing a dog in every class. Another factor is of course strategy and the judge. When you look through a show catalog and see a dog entered 1 day out of a 4 day show circuit; it's almost betting odds that dog will win that day. If you don't read the catalog; start watching it.

We keep a DNS (Do not show to) list. When a judge points to the same professional handler for every class (and we've experienced that), something is amiss. Sure, sometimes the professional has the better dog and can do a better job. But sometimes, they get the cast-offs that nobody else can win with.  If the professionally handled dog has a lousy track record but beats your owner handled dog with a great record--you know what's just happened.

Lastly, if you decide to hang it up and hire a professional--look at them very closely. Watch how they treat their help (and sometimes clients). When they scream, yell and make scenes with people in public (who can talk back); it always makes me wonder how they treat the dogs in private who can't talk back.

Remember, a little common courtesy goes a long way towards encouraging someone. If you can't be decent out of the goodness of your heart; you might do it at least for strategy's sake. Ringside digs and snarky remarks are totally uncalled for, and my patience is finished with that sort of thing.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Adventure -June 16, 2016-The Bees Arrive

Our buzzing package arrived from USPS at 5:04 PM

I was SO glad that they brought it to us after hours instead of letting the bees sit overnight.

Here I am installing our package of Caucasian Bees today.  They came from Tennessee.  The process went very easy and quickly.  The WORST part was wearing the bee suit in the high humidity.  I felt like I was gift wrapped in plastic.


Special thanks to Beaman's Fork for this great video on how to install a bee package.

Caucasian Bees from:

Queen Elizabeth 1 now in residence.

If you look closely, she is wearing an Elizabethan Ruff Collar (just kidding).
She is marked with a white dot to designate that she was born in 2016.

A member of Team Beatrice flying at the back of the Flow Hive.

Another Beatrice resting on the roof.  I talked and sang to them for about an hour until my daughter finished with her client. This was my attempt to do some bonding with them and get them used to my voice.  I wanted her to shoot photos of the process (Thanks Kaitlin).  Usually I'm the one shooting the photos, so we had a role reversal today.  :) We installed the bees around 7 PM.  They were calm and seemed happy to get out of the package.

I'll be opening the hive on Sunday, June 19 to see if Queen Elizabeth has been released from her cage. (The queen is caged to protect her and let the colony get used to her pheromones. There is a candy plug on one end of the cage.  The bees will eat through this and release the Queen and her attendants.)

I'll also be removing the shipping package and putting the remainder of the frames back in.  Rather than shake the bees out, we respected "bee manners" as one YouTuber calls it and just placed the package with the top cover removed inside the hive.

Around 8PM, we checked back around the hive area.  I had expected everyone to be tired from their journey and in bed, but there was lots of activity around the area.  They were exploring the various plantings that we had put in around the hive.  I imagine that they were also scouting for a water source.  In addition to the decorative bird bath that I placed in the one section of our old play center, there is also a natural creek and a recirculating fountain.  The fountain has proved to be VERY popular with the bird population!  It also makes a lovely sound.  :)

First Full Day ~ June 17, 2016

The front of the Flow Hive.

Close-up of the hive front.

View behind the Hive.

One of our bees going in the entrance reducer.
This will remain in place until the colony numbers are built up.
It helps out the guard bees so they only have to watch a small space.

Bees going in and out the Entrance Reducer.
Note the pollen on the back legs of the bee to the left.

The workers cleaned out dead bees from the colony.
The bee to the right was escorted out by two bee "bouncers".  
They then killed it.
Apparently, it was from another colony.

The ants carried away the dead bees.