Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm not sure if this is sisterly affection, or sanitation crew. When I went to check on my bees Tuesday, this drama was playing out in front of one of the hives. The bee on her back is not really moving much, but still alive. Her sister was hanging around, and to me it looked like she was trying to help the bee get back up on her feet. However, I know bees are tidy creatures, so perhaps the intention of the healthy one was not so noble.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i think they've settled in

I forgot to put bricks on top of the hives this afternoon when I was there, and I also wanted to check and make sure nothing weird was going on, so I drove out to the beeyard for the 3rd time today to check the hives (no opening, just watching the entrance) and put the bricks on top. I saw bees coming and going, some with pollen, most without. Seems like they've accepted the homes we made for them, so I will be able to sleep tonight.

they're here!

Here I am with one of my nucs. Tibor Szabo's beeyard is behind me - this is where my bees came from. A big thank you to Tibor for all of the helpful advice that came with the bees!

Now I feel like a beekeeper - I actually have bees to call my own. I hope they like their new homes.

ready..... i think

I took the girls out on a 'breakfast picnic' this morning at Fertile Ground CSA, which is where my beeyard is located. Today is the first day of the CSA pickup season for Angie and Mark, so they were very busy setting up their washing station and harvesting their organic veggies. I was busy too, setting up the hives in preparation for the bees. My girls had their breakfast on a picnic blanket, and were slightly annoyed with the early morning mosquitoes.

Only 2 more hours until I pick up my bees!
Monday, June 22, 2009

last minute jobs

I had a little helper today as I added some finishing touches to my brood chambers. He helped me hammer the frame rests into place. Hopefully that will be the last job, other than heading out to Fertile Ground CSA to set up the boxes tomorrow morning before I pick up my nucs! Yes, tomorrow is the day - I will become the proud owner of 2 nucs of bees. Wish me luck!
Saturday, June 20, 2009

pretty pics

These bees are not mine - they belong to Ken. In this picture they are working on capping some honey. The white part at the top is freshly capped, while the bottom combs are full of honey and not yet capped. Isn't it beautiful? I can hardly wait to get my own.
Saturday, June 6, 2009

many hands

I now have painted hives, thanks to my two helpers!
Friday, June 5, 2009

many thanks

I have to say a big thank you to Ken and Steven for letting me tag along as they inspect their bees, and for all the sage advice I've received so far.

Here are Ken and I, looking for a queen in this colony today. It took awhile, but Ken found her. She hadn't mated yet, so she looked more like a big worker than a queen. I never would have spotted her!

One thing I'm learning as I watch Ken and Steven is that it's important to keep good records. They use a voice recorder to take notes on the temperature and weather conditions, what they see in each hive, and plans for the next trip out. I may not be so technologically advanced - pen and paper will probably be my recording tool of choice - but I can see the value in keeping track of how the hives are progressing through the season, and anything I might learn along the way.

Here's one for the files:

Question: How do you get rid of ants that are crawling all over the inner cover of your beehive?

Answer: You get out your propane torch and blast them into the afterlife.
Thursday, June 4, 2009

power tools

I spent some time tonight putting together my two brood chambers - it's getting there! The gaps are for the frames that will come with the nucs. There will be a queen, 3 frames of brood, and lots of worker bees in each nuc package.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

some assembly required

It's time to start putting the hives together - the bees could come anytime after this weekend!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

watch and learn

I was able to hitch a ride with an experienced beekeeper today, as he went to check on his bees. Here's what I learned, in order of importance:

1. If a bee stings you, scrape off the stinger and put a penny on the spot with duct tape. I swear it works. Normally I would have swelling but there's absolutely none from the sting I got today. Before the penny was put on, I could feel it starting to swell into my thumb and wrist (sting was top of my hand/base of thumb). After the penny went on, the swelling went down and you can't even see it now.

2. Use old carpet to keep down the grass around your beehives - put the carpet down first then the hives.

3. Put each hive on a large patio stone, it's easier to shim than 4x4s.

4. Double brood chambers are probably better for the bees. Better winter survival, more space to prevent swarming, more room for bees to store honey for themselves (related to winter survival). So I'll probably rethink my single brood box plan.

5. Spring is actually the trickiest time for bees - they could be alive in March but dead in April.

So much to think about, but I'm enjoying the learning curve.