My Honeybees

Backyard Beekeeping


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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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The Honey Bees Swarmed

While out shopping on June 26, I received a phone call that Beekeepers dread and anticipate receiving. My honey bees had swarmed and were found clustered in a tulip tree. I left my purchases behind and headed to the location of swarm. My husband gathered the spare bee boxes and my bee suit. He met me at the site. The bees were clustered up on the top branches of the tree. In order to get the bees I used an empty box, ladder and a broom.

The swarmed bees are doing fine now in a hive next to their old home.

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The Queens Have Been Busy!

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6/16/13 -  frame of nectar

6/16/13 – frame of nectar

Both hives now have two brood boxes and two supers. The queens have been extremely busy and there was brood in the supers of both hives.

The first hive had some empty frames in the second brood box and it appeared that many bees had emerged this past week. I saw dozens of bees emerging as I was checking the hive. The Queen was found in the second brood box laying eggs. Both supers had brood in them. Not exactly what I was hoping for but at least the queen is laying lots of eggs.

The second hive only had two brood boxes and one super. In this hive I found lots of queen cells being built. I cleaned off the queen cells and added a second super. The  hive was full of honey and brood.

Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -1 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -2 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -3 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -4 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -5 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -6 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -7 Flowers in Bloom 6/16/13 -7

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5/4/13 – Checked on the beehives

Checked on both of the beehives yesterday and they are doing great. Both hives have several frames of capped and uncapped brood. I gave them another deep with 4 frames of honey and drawn out frames. Since I have so much honey left over from last year, I’m feeding them honey instead of sugar water.

The bees should not be starving right now with all of the flowering trees and flowers. There are lots of open flowers and flowering trees blooming. Right by the hive is a maple tree with blooms, tulips, daffodils and irises.

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The weather forecast looks great for this week. The temperatures will be in the 70’s and 80’s. The bees should be happy this week.

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Spring Beehive Feeding – Gone Wrong

Beekeeping safety poster

Beekeeping Safety Poster

Yesterday, I went out to feed the bees.  In past years, I’ve just cracked the corner of the hive where the inline feeder is and topped up the feeder without much notice from the bees.  Normally, I would wear my bee suit to do this but as I was just going to top up the feeder I though it would be fine to not wear one. Well these new bees sure noticed me cracking the corner of the hive. Before I could even start pouring the syrup I had multiple stings.  At first I was fine but as more of them came out and started to sting me I started to panic and ran.  As I ran into the garage, I tripped over the threshold and stumbled down some stairs and into a shelf and concrete wall.  As a result of my panic, I now have a black eye and bruised leg.

This experience inspired me to make these posters for beekeeping.  The poster above will be placed by my beehives.

 

Spring Beekeeping Safety Poster Spoof

Spring Beekeeping Safety Poster – Spoof


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Videos of Bee Package Installations on 4/14/13

Here are the videos of the bee package installations from Sunday.

This video is the installation of the bees in my backyard. The bees are being fed with an inline feeder with 1:1 sugar water and frames of honey as needed.

 

This video is of the installation of the bees in my in-laws backyard.  The bees in this hive are being fed with an exterior bottle feeder containing 1:1 sugar water and frames of honey.

 

 


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Hive checks 3/31/13

Over the weekend I checked both of my beehives and found that both of the colonies had died over the winter.  I can’t tell why the one  died but the cluster was very small and most of the bees were gone. It was very clean except for the small cluster of dead.

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As you can see the bees died with lots of food available but they just didn’t survive. It looks like the varrola mite took its toll on this hive and the cluster size just got to small to keep it alive.

My second beehive was attacked by what appears to be a small rodent. There were signs that the small creature had crawled in and eaten the comb and honey in the bottom brood box. This forced the cluster up into the second brood box but by the time they moved up, I believe that too many of the bees had died from the attack even though there was lots of honey and food stores in the top brood box and super.

As you can see from the photos below that cluster was very small and had started to mold. You can also see the frames that had eaten out by the rodent and the path that attack.

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This is a photo of the bottom board and it shows the wax chips and dead bees from the second hive.20130331-204525.jpg.

My new packages of bees will be here on April 13 and they will have lots of honey to get started with in these hives.