Thursday, April 27, 2017

Free Bees

Did I tell you that all five of our colonies died this winter?  That seems to be our pattern- one year several overwinter and make it to spring and the next year, they're all wiped out.  This year, we think we know what happened.  Last spring, we were busy caring for a little baby so we didn't manage the hives as we should've.  They grew too crowded so they raised more queens and swarm after swarm left our bee yard.  We were able to catch a couple of those swarms but mostly this meant that their numbers were depleted so they didn't go into the fall and winter as strong as they should have.  That's our guess anyway.

It wasn't for lack of honey.  Out of those five hives we harvested over 8 gallons of honey in February (we sold most of it).


We were discouraged at the loss of bees and vowed to skip beekeeping for a year.  But then Jamey got the itch and put our name on a waiting list for a new package this spring (they run $130 a piece in our area).

But lo and behold, he got a call from a friend who had a swarm in one of his trees.  Jamey happened to be off work so he ran over and knocked the ball of bees into a small hive box (a nuc) and brought them home.  He then transferred them to one of our hives and we crossed our fingers hoping they'd like their new home and stay.

 unloading bees from the car (only a few escaped on the way home)

The bees had already started clinging to the bars of empty comb in the box so it was a matter of transferring them into the full size hive.

Instead of using smoke, he used a sugar syrup sprayed on the bees- this occupies them as they clean it off themselves and discourages flying off (as does plugging up the entrance with grass).

 Dumping in the remaining bees- if the queen is in the hive, they want to stay with her.

Not only did they stay but a couple days later when Jamey was checking on them, he noticed that another swarm (from who knows where) discovered one of our other empty hives and moved in!

Suffice to say, we didn't buy that package.  And now we're headed into the summer with two healthy colonies already filling their hives with nectar and brood.  What a gift.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. Such a lovely thing to happen!

  2. This was interesting to me. I know nothing of beekeeping. But I do love bees. Thanks for sharing that information.
    Isn't God just the best?! Sending what you need...provision...just when you need it. Wonderful!

  3. That's the perfect blog post title!

  4. I've missed you here on your blog. This sounds like an example of the windows of heaven pouring out blessings (or in your case bees)! God is good and He truly blesses us as we serve his children.

  5. What a wonderful blessing!
    Beautiful looking honey too.

  6. Hi Jane, this is kinda unrelated to the bees, but I have been quietly following your blog for a long time now and wanted to thank you for your examples of gratitude, thrift, mothering, kindness, faith, and hard work. You have been such an encouragement to me as I try to make small changes in my home and personal life. So, thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Julie. Your kind words are humbling. Blessings to you!


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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