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An Announcement!

I think a lot of people have been expecting this for the last few weeks, but….

We’re moving.

The house was listed for sale today, and while I would normally post a link for you to follow and see the listing, I’d rather not have my address and all the associated personal information posted so easily in such a public place. Instead, if you’d like to find the listing, I would suggest you go to a site that lists MLS numbers for Utah and search for an MLS number such as 1244782. :-)

Also, the listing went live around 1:45, and we our realtor received his first call at 1:47! The showing was supposed to be at 3:00, but it may be bumped back a bit because of timing. How awesome would it be to see the house sold in a few days!?!?

Shiloh and I went out to the bees yesterday. We also had Joey, a county inspector doing a study on varroa and brood diseases. It was a fun visit.

Top Bar

I wasn’t going to go in to the top bar since I was just there a few days ago, but I figured why not. Joey volunteered to take the bodies on the bottom of the hive and test them for nosema. He also took a sample for a research study being done at BYU on phages and how they can be used to attack some of these diseases. He’ll let me know how that goes.

The hive itself actually looks a lot better. There’s more brood than I was thinking, and if we can get them building out a nest, I think they’ll have a chance. It all depends on the nectar flow this summer and especially into the fall.

Nuc

Still dead. In fact, we dumped this hive to give us frames to complete a deep box for supering. Thus ends the nuc.

Hive 1

Strong. Ridiculously strong. And really calm as well. We didn’t see the queen, but we found lots of eggs and good brood patterns. We put on a queen excluder to try and drive her down. I think that bottom deep still isn’t that full. We would have gone into it, but I was already starting to feel sick from dehydration (I haven’t done a great job drinking water during that housing project), so we wrapped up before we went far.

Hive 2

Comparable to Hive 1 at this point, maybe a bit stronger. We added a medium super to the top of this one because the hive is full top to bottom. Looking great.

Hive 3

This is my weird hive… We found the queen almost immediately, but there are still heavy signs of that egg-laying worker. I have to assume she’s close to the end of her life, but maybe not? Does an egg-laying worker live multiple years like a queen? No clue.

We also supered this hive, but we did it a bit different. I split the hive vertically with a deep on bottom, the new empty deep in the middle, and the medium on top. There’s a strong brood nest in both halves. I’m intrigued to see what they will do and if it will help or hurt with the egg-laying worker. My guess is it’ll have no impact.

As for the testing, Joey found a grand total of…

ZERO mites! Not one. Across all of the hives.

I haven’t ever really had anything more than anecdotal evidence about whether my lack of medicating and sugar feeding has had any positive effect on the hives, but now I’ve got that to go with. He said that he’s never seen a series of hives as healthy or strong as these are when it comes to mites, and he had tons of questions about what we are doing, how, and why. It was a great conversation.

While I still think that no meds/no sugar is the way to go, I think it’s important that people do what feels right to them. I told him about some resources where I had read a lot of what I’ve learned (Google Michael Bush), and left it at that. If he reads it, likes it, and switches over, good for him. If not, good for him.

Next time we go in, I’ve got to do a deep dive in all three hives. I haven’t been in the bottom boxes once this year. This has been by far the most hands-off beekeeping year for me, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s made it easy and fast.

The Results

After four solid days of home repair after home repair, here are the results:

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The front of the house.

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Our lovely living room complete with beeswax candles on the wood stove!

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The master bedroom.

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The two youngest’s bedroom.

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The kitchen.

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Basement living room.

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Kid’s bedroom.

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My new front porch.

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And what promises to be one of my new favorite areas for reading a book.

This was a long, nightmarish project, and Courtney and I are both incredibly exhausted. Here’s hoping it was worth it all!

I took this week off work as I traditionally do, and Courtney and I turned it into a home-repair marathon. We got back from visiting our friends in Idaho on Tuesday, and since then, we’ve done nothing but clean, repair, and organize. So far, here’s the short list of what we’ve done:

  • Stripped, primed, and repainted the exterior of our mudroom. We hired a neighbor to paint it years ago, and he did a terrible job. It’s been needing repainting since, and I finally worked up the courage to do it.
  • Finished the interior of the mudroom. We started this project about two years ago, got to a comfortable spot, and just stopped. Time to finish!
  • Repainted all the chipped, old paint around the house. Don’t get me started on what we’ve done here…. It’s a list a mile long.
  • Painted our front porch. It was once painted years and years ago. We repainted it a lovely copper clay color.
  • Edged the lawn. It has never been edged…. We’ve been here over eight years…. cough, cough….
  • Packed up a dozen large boxes of old clothes, books, movies, toys, housing goods, and other things that we just don’t use and moved them into storage. The house feels a few tons lighter!
  • Reorganized our kitchen to maximize the space.
  • Stripped, primed, and painted our paint-peeled bathroom. It’s needed a good repainting for about five years now.
  • Trimmed up the lawn, backyard, and weeds outside.
  • Cleaned all the windows.
  • Organized our storage room downstairs.
  • Organized and cleaned out all of our closets.

Short list….

We’re almost done. Hopefully tomorrow. It’ll be nice to have the house fresh, clean, and open again. If we find the time, I’d really like to take a solid stab at cleaning the carpets.

On the braces front, I got a braces-off date!!! I have a checkup in four weeks to see what things are looking like and to make any last second corrections, but assuming all goes well, the braces come off early September. There’s even a chance it might be August! I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear that! It’s been 18 months. It’ll be nice to have my mouth back.

My new queens in the nuc are supposed to hatch either this Saturday or Sunday, so I ran out to the hives today to try and capture one of the queen cells to throw in the top bar. And nothing went as planned. Of course.

I only looked at two hives: the Top Bar and the Nuc. Here’s the report:

Top Bar

There is, in fact a queen! And she sucks. :-) She’s obviously an emergency queen with a short abdomen. The hive still has not progressed beyond the original four bars, and while there is brood and it’s a good laying pattern, this hive is just plain weak. The bottom is littered with bodies, including wasps, and I can only assume that they are getting raided and attacked. Then again, they are very calm, so maybe not….

Either way, I’m just going to let this hive go for the rest of the year. They still have time to pull this out, but the chances are low for survival.

The Nuc

Speaking of survival… Sigh…. My second frame of eggs came to naught. The dumb things didn’t even really look after the eggs at all, and most of them were dead. And no queen cells to talk about at all.

I figured I’d look at all five frames just to see if it was worth trying to save, and on the last frame I found a small infestation of hive moths. Double sigh…. I pulled the infestation (two nasty squirmy larvae!), but this hive has maybe 500 bees left in it, and if they can’t even defend against hive moths, I have no hope for them. Plus, they’ve been robbed dry of honey, and they had quite a bit at one point. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the bees in there were even part of the original hive, or were they just robbers? Either way, I’m closing this little experiment for this year.

I’ll give it a whirl again next year.

All in all a fairly disappointing trip. I’m glad there’s a surprise queen in the  top bar, but unless she gets her butt in gear, that hive is dead. I had hoped for more out of the nuc as well.

This Saturday, a county inspector is coming to do a mite count at my hives. It’s part of a volunteer study to see how mites are affecting hives in the county. I’m interested to see how my hives stack up to the competition especially because I don’t medicate. I guess we’ll see what happens.

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