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I have been pretty sick for a while. Coughing my guts up, for the most part. Have been delayed in returning to the farm due to the crud that I have contracted. Chan was able to talk with our regular pharmacist, though, who is a godsend for us. Honestly, she should have been a doctor. She recommended the appropriate medication once again, to help me get rid of yet, another illness. I hope to be over this enough to travel to the farm this morning (past midnight here, currently).
Anyway, a little while back, I went ahead and moved forward regarding building our own wood ware, even though the table saw deal had fallen through. (For those who may not have read about it, I was issued a full refund from eBay.) I figured something would happen. And, it apparently has. I met a Khmer fellow who grew up in the US, having returned here about the time I came to Cambodia - back in 2012. He also happens to live not very far from the farm. He also happens to have a wood workshop, where we should be able to build the parts necessary for us to build our own hives and such. (I will try to get him involved in beekeeping, too.)
So, this too, is a godsend - and for two reasons.
Firstly, it has allowed me to meet a guy who is on the same page as me, but also lives near the farm. (Most of the foreigners I know, live within Battambang City limits.) Someone I can relate to on a westerner's level, and who understands what I am thinking about things. In short, someone I can damned talk with, to prevent me from going crazy at the farm. (I seem to recall a certain member, without mentioning any names, who said I wouldn't last six months at the farm. The odds just went more into my favor.)
Secondly, he and I can combine our resources and build things that may benefit us both, in our respective interests. It will be great to be able to work hands on, building my girls their own "bee housing".
Anyway, I had purchased a 3 horsepower compressor with a 50 Liters tank and two hose connections. I just have not taken the time to use it yet, because I am still lacking in some other tools. It seems as though, my new friend may have what I need, including the table saw. Anyway, here is the compressor and its respective accessories:
Brad nailer with 15mm, 20mm, & 30mm brads
Staple gun with 8mm staples.
Not sure how long the air guns will last. They were only $15 / $16 USD, each.
Not seen: 2 each - 9 meters length air hoses with quick disconnect couplings.
This is a video I shot on Monday morning, September 4th, just before 08:00 local time.
By moving the mother hive I split this nuc from, and putting the nuc in its place, this caused all the foraging bees to return to the nuc rather than to the mother hive. (I rang James (jimmyboy) to confirm what I needed to do at the time. I was fairly sure, but not 100%, as to what I needed to do with both hives after the split.)
Anyway, this video is from the following morning, after we had completed the split. They were bringing in resources as fast as they could, to that little nuc. Hopefully, I will be able to make another split very soon, from that same mother hive.
So, this past weekend, we did a few things in the apiary area of the farm. I'm callin' it that now, since we have a new addition - another hive. Well, a nuc anyway. I had two of the 5 frame poly nucs, shipped up from Phnom Penh. I just had a new hive stand built at the farm, as well. I need to go ahead and have a few more built, just in case...
Anyway, we started out by doing a deep hive inspection of both the hives at the farm. This was to take the hives completely apart and look into both brood chambers of each hive, upper and lower. We found TONs of honey and open and capped brood. The hives are doing well, it seems. I'm impressed. Of course, feeding them by the tank load seems to have caused them to work their little bee butts off making comb, and filling it with honey. All the while, the queens continued to fill other frames with eggs.
First, a close up of some bee larvae, both capped and uncapped:
Capped brood, with some drone brood around the lower corners of the frame:
Capped brood with drone brood around the lower corners and upper right side of the frame.
NOTE: You can tell the worker bee brood from the drone brood, by the size of the cap on the cells. The vast majority are worker bee cells. Drones are larger than worker bees. So, the caps on drone brood cells extend out from the frames, while the caps on the worker bees are almost flat, by comparison.
Lots of honey stores for the bees. None of this, will I touch. This honey is only to provide the bees with stores, as they need it. It can stay in the hives as long as necessary, until they decide to consume it. This is where Khmers would look at me as though I had lost my mind. They would take this honey from the bees, without a second thought. Me? I just want as strong of hives as I can get. I don't want to take a chance at weakening them in any way. Well, aside from doing my own splits. That will put a bit of a strain on any hive you do that too, I'm sure.
A frame of brood and honey:
And, me making a stupid mistake by dropping 3 frames on the ground:
The bees flew EVERYWHERE, but not one of them stung any of us there. This included Tha, Chan, and me. Chan and I were only wearing veils. Tha wasn't wearing anything, because he had just come over to assist for a bit, from working on some other hive bodies I had just purchased. I was impressed by the calmness of the bees. I tell ya, had they been other species, they would have come after us with a vengeance. They barely even need to be smoked, to be honest. The calmest bees I believe I have ever seen. I definitely want more of this breed.
While doing the deep hive inspection, we found one swarm cell in the lower brood box of the second main hive. (Sorry, no photo of it. I got too wrapped up into doing a hive split that I neglected taking a photo of it.) This hive seemed to be the stronger of the two, offering tons of capped brood. There is about to be one serious population explosion in that hive, for sure. Hense the reason for them making a swarm cell. Hopefully, though, I have delayed that just a bit, by splitting them and moving the "mother" hive to a new location and putting the nuc where it was. I will inspect it again in a few days, to see if I need to make another split. I am going to go the natural route, and let the bees make any new queens they see fit that they need. I figure they know more about doing so, than I ever will.
Temporarily, we added another full deep box on top of each hive, to give them some new frames to draw out in comb. After the comb has been drawn out, I will remove those frames and use them for my honey supers.
Both Chan and Tha are quite comfortable working around the bees, and have been for a while. Knock on wood, to date, Chan has yet to be stung by a single bee. (I can't say the same for myself or Tha.) I'm very proud of her being able to do this. She surprises me quite often.