Monday, January 5, 2015

Honey Bee Update

Happy New Year to you all!

It feels like forever since I posted about our bees.  The last time was back in August and before that it was May.  Having a little person in the house again meant that while Jamey was making regular summer visits and adjustments to the hives, I wasn't able to be out there to photograph and document what he was doing.

If you remember back to our first year with bees, we had three top bar hives heading into winter and two of them survived to spring. Despite losing what seemed like many, many bees to swarming (our fault) in the spring, the colonies rallied.  We were able to divide them and even harvest some honey. We headed into this past fall with five colonies.  Three in top bar hives, one in a homemade Langstroth and one in a nuc (mini-hive). We fed them some sugar syrup, tied down the roofs to keep them from blowing off and provided a wind barrier.  We felt like we were much more hands off this year as compared to our first year- partly out of necessity and partly because the bees know better then we do in regards to what needs to be done.

We had a couple very warm days just after Christmas and I was thrilled to hear an occasional buzz outside from a honey bee flying about.  A walk out to the bee yard showed activity at all five colonies.  This doesn't mean they'll all make it.  It's very possible that one or more colonies have died out and the other bees found the stores they couldn't get to.  But let's hope that all is well and that they enjoy a little early spring flying and cleaning (cleansing flights- to poop- and clearing out the dead) before needing to hunker down again.

I hope that this spring I'll be able to join Jamey in the bee yard more often.  I miss the smell and the awe-inspiring creation of these little creatures and their homes.  I'm also thrilled to be teaching a Honey Bee class to our older homeschool co-op class starting this week.  I hope to post about how it goes and the resources I've found to use once I try them out.

In the meantime, if you're considering beekeeping, now's the time to read, read, read and research, research, research.  A couple of our favorite books are... Top-Bar Beekeeping by Les Crowder (he even answers my emails when I have questions), Beekeeping for Dummies and Beekeeper's Handbook. It may be too late in some areas, but you should also place orders for colonies- checking local resources first because local colonies have a better chance of doing well where you live. Makes sense, right?

And if you're not ready to jump on the beekeeping wagon (a precarious thought) you can just follow along here with us:-).

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  1. I would keep bees in a heartbeat...but my husband isn't totally on board. Quite "off board" actually. lol Do you know of any resources for suburban beekeeping? Maybe I could keep a mini hive in my backyard?

    1. Hi, Michelle:-). I haven't looked into urban/suburban beekeeping but I know it's becoming popular- do a google search if you haven't already and I'm sure you'll come up with some good stuff. Please blog about it if you decide to take the plunge- I'd love to see!

  2. My Dad kept bees on our farm when we were growing up. I really enjoyed the fresh honey. No chance of us starting one with my hubby being allergic to bees. I'll just follow along with your adventure. Good luck in the Spring with your hives. God Bless.

  3. That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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