My Honeybees

Backyard Beekeeping


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Hive checks on May 3, 2015

Both of the hives were checked on May 3. I removed the feeders and put an empty frame in. When I removed the feeder from the one hive it had more burr  comb in it. I removed the comb and found that there was a larva in various states of development.

There are lots of flowers in bloom now and the bees have lots of nectar and pollen available to them now.

The honeybees have been enjoying the fountains and I have found them drinking at the waters edge.



Larva found in burr comb

Burr comb pulled from feeder

Hang baskets on patio

Honebees drinking water from fountain 

Dalia in flower pot



Salvia, petunas, zinnias  and other mixed flowers




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BeehIve Inspection 2/8/2015 – The Hive is Dead

The weather here has been extraordinary warm for this time of the year with temperatures in the mid 50’s. Over the past weeks I had been watching the hive and didn’t see any activity. Today, I opened the hive and discovered the hive was dead. I had left 2 deeps and 3 supers full of honey on this hive to help winter over the bees. Almost all of the honey is still in the hive and looks like it was not touched.

I cleaned out the remaining dead bees that were on the bottom board and went through the hive frame by frame. Some of the dead bees I came across on the frames looked like they hadn’t been dead long. They looked perfect but were dead. There are no signs of disease or problem in the hive. In fact, the frames were dry and clean.  There were only a few cells of old pollen that had white mold growing on them. The hive smelled like fresh honey. While I was cleaning out the very last box of any dead bees I started to notice that there were honeybees flying around me. These honeybees must have been from another hive in the neighborhood. They were very interested in the wax that I had been knocking off the inside of the hive and the remaining honey in the boxes. Quickly I had to finish up and put the hive back together making sure to close off all entrances to the hive.

Next weekend I will harvest the remaining honey and clean out all of the old wax foundation. The new package bees will be here in March or April, and they will have all new foundation to start with.


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Swarm trap

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Last weekend I made a swarm trap to try to get some more honeybees. I used an old bee box and added a bottom to it. I used mill ends of cedar for the bottom and a new top. Some of the instructions I found on the Internet suggested painting it a dark color and all I had was a dark purple.

I used lemongrass essential oil as swarm bait. I put a few drops on a paper towel in the bottom of the box. There are only 4 drawn frame of comb in the box. On the tops of the frames I put a swarm bait paste I made. It is made of olive oil, bees wax and lemongrass oil. I made the paste the same way I make lip balm.


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Only One Hive Survived

Spring feeding is essential for bees. I found this out the hard way. I was a little late in getting two of the hives setup with feeders and they both died from starvation.

The one hive is doing well. I have given the bees pollen patties and a sugar water (1:1).

I’ve seen them out pollinating the cherry trees and maple trees. The cherry tree in the front yard was covered in honeybees on the weekend. When I checked on the hive I saw that they’re bringing in lots of bright yellow pollen.

Right now there are lots of dandelions and daffodils in bloom. It looks like the tulips will be blooming this week.

I plan on building swarm boxes and trying to lure a swarm the year. It is too late to order package bees so that is my best chance at getting a second hive going.

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Winter Hive Checks and New Gelli Prints

The hives seem to be wintering okay. I noticed condensation on the bottom edge of the lid of the hive in my back yard. When I lifted the lid slightly I could hear the bees. There is not much to be done with the hives this time of the year. So, other than the occasional walk around I don’t bother the hives.

This time of the year is slow time for beekeeping which has given me some time for art. Here are some new gelli plate prints with bees, birds and flowers.