Plank Story: Raising Honeybees or the Yellow Rain Incident of 2017

Each year I learn something new about how not to raise honeybees.  This year we have two, new, incredibly healthy hives.  They are going strong.  It was time to add what’s called a honey super (basically a box to collect honey that gets added to the top of the hive).  It’s like the bees getting an addition to their home to fill with honey that we will eventually steal.  But the day I had time to do it was over 90-degrees.

I didn’t want to put my bee suit on in 90-degrees.  Plus, the little buzzers are always more agitated on hot, sunny days.  So I thought I had this brilliant idea to wait until after dark to do the job.  It’s should be an easy and quick job.  This should be a lesson that I now know for certain.  Any time I think a job with the bees will be quick and easy, I should check myself.  It never is.

So I waited till dark, got my things together, stepped into my suit and zipped up (or so I thought).  The first hive was fine, but the second hive was irked.  It […]

Plank Story: Raising Honeybees or the Yellow Rain Incident of 20172018-02-14T16:34:27-04:00

The Bee Sting

Matt thought we were just going to feed the bees so he’d only collected a little material for smoking.  My plan was to pull out multiple frames, look for the queen, check to see that the frames were full with brood or honey and decide whether to add the first honey super.  Our bees are jam packed into the hive like I’ve never seen before.  They are clearly doing well.  But, since I hadn’t communicated my plan to Matt, we ran out of smoke after feeding and checking one heavy-with-honey filled frame, and we opted to close the hive.
I’d taken off my gloves and netted face mask when I realized we needed to change the entrance reducer.  When you first get the bees you block off most of the entrance to the hive, so that unwanted critters don’t get in and so that the new bees, busy trying to grow don’t have to protect such a large opening.
The Bee Sting2017-09-12T19:31:30-04:00

Another Perspective on Bees

Our friends Mike and Steph and their daughter Evelyn spent Memorial Day weekend with us. During that time we had to feed the bees, but then unexpectedly they were doing so well we needed to add to their hive so they could continue to build out. Steph wrote about it and has some great pictures on her blog.

As you can see I still use the bee hat when I go around the bees. Matt started going without a while ago. The first time we went out to the bees we created a net hat for Evelyn, but when we went back out she was much braver than I was. She wanted to go without a hat like Uncle Matt (aka Uncle Safety).
Another Perspective on Bees2017-09-12T19:31:30-04:00

Honey Bees Are Doing Well

                                                                           We checked in on our honeybees after one week.  The queen is roaming, laying eggs, and they seem to have taken nicely to her.  The hive looks healthier than they started last year.  There doesn’t seem to be a massive amount of diarrhea on the hive and when Matt and I strolled our yard the other day we saw our very one little honey bees pollinating our black berry bushes.  It makes me happy.
Honey Bees Are Doing Well2017-09-12T19:31:31-04:00

Queen of the Sun–Honey Bee Colony Collapse

Years ago I used to get a group of friend together for a debate night.  It didn’t work.  Either we all agreed on a topic and the debate portion of the night ended early or people didn’t want to come because they thought they would feel too heated about the topic.  But a couple of weeks ago I went to a college friend’s house to watch The Queen of the Sun, an excellent movie on the colony collapse problem with bees, followed by discussion groups.  It is a brilliant idea to pick an important or relevant topic and have everyone get together to learn more about and then discuss the issue.  It was sort of like a book club but we got to read the book together that night.
The format of the night was fantastic and so was the movie.  As a novice bee keeper who lost all her bees last year, here are some of the highlights that stunned me.
Queen of the Sun–Honey Bee Colony Collapse2017-09-12T19:31:32-04:00