Showing posts from 2021

Winter Lock-down

 Winter Lock-down Well it is cold and drizzly today and the bees aren't doing much. In the winter they spend a lot of time in lock-down mode just staying warm in the hive. When the sun comes out and the temp gets above 50 degrees you will see some of the ladies adventure out to see if there is any pollen or nectar to be found. This is the time you have to watch them closely as they can starve to death. I had a hive starve to death last year so I am very cautious. The best thing to feed them during this time is fondant. Fondant is not liquid so does not freeze and is pure carbohydrate. They don't need pollen during the winter as you do not want to promote building the brood at this time. In early spring you can give them some pollen. There are many makers of fondant or recipes to make your own. You must follow the directions for making it precisely as some forms can hurt the bees. A fondant patty ready to feed the bees. I just break it up and put it under the top cover and they

Harvest Time

 Harvest Time I have to be honest, keeping bees is a lot of work and trouble. If you don't believe me just read my previous posts. So why do I keep on doing it. Because I love honey. There is no better honey than that which is collected around your own home. We decided to harvest some honey a couple weeks back and we got some excellent honey. We only harvested 6 frames and got about 15 pounds of the liquid gold. We are not in it for profit but for personal consumption. I enjoy this being a hobby and if I add more hives it will become a JOB!  So the first this we do is go and collect  the honey super that we want to harvest from. A cordless blower comes in handy to get the ladies out of the super, it makes them a bit mad though.     Next we have to take the caps off, I use an uncapping fork. It is inexpensive and once you get used to it can become easy. It works well for me only doing 6 to 10 frames.   Next we have to spin out the honey. We bought a two frame extractor last year th

Sometimes You Get Stung

 My hives are really doing great this summer and producing lots of honey. They are also growing very strong. Especially one hive that has become very aggressive. So aggressive that I have thought that maybe they are Africanized. Most hives send out a few guards to warn you off when you are working with the hive but this one sends out 20 to 30. I have one deep and 3 supers on this hive and it continues to grow. This is a good problem to have but I got a little careless recently and got a bit stung. Getting stung is a common event when bee keeping. Sometimes I will swell a little sometimes not at all. Not sure the reason. On Sunday a week ago though I was working this hive and they were attacking me and one girl found a little hole I had in my netting around my face and stung my forehead. At first it didn't seem too bad and actually my hand looked worse because it received several stings. I took Benadryl and my hand was going down but suddenly I noticed what felt like swelling around

Two New for 2021

 After loosing my big hive over the winter, as described in a previous post, my wife and I decided to install two new hives this year. My wife has gotten very involved with bee keeping and we decided that one have would be her's and one would be mine. A little friendly competition is always good for a marriage I say.  So, we picked up our hives on a rainy Saturday evening. We had to come at assigned times because of covid precautions, and our assigned time was 4 to 5pm. Because it was raining a lot and we were advised, and had already decided, to instill them on Sunday afternoon. This is not a problem you just have to keep them in a cool dry space, a misting of water can also be helpful if it is hot. They always come from the breeder with a lunch of sugar water so they won't go hungry.  There are two basic methods to install a package of bees either the dump method or the slow release method. In either method you put the queen cage between two frames with the cork out of the ca

Must Feed Your Pets

 In my Bee class, that I took from a local bee supply company, the statement was made, "You wouldn't just buy a dog and never feed or take care of them would you", you shouldn't do that with your bees as well.  I had one hive left going into the winter and it was a very big and strong hive. I did steal some honey from them in the summer but I thought I will just feed them in the winter. I was doing well with this but then some very cold rainy weather came in and so my bees were hunkered down. I was afraid to open the hive to put some fondant directly in because it has been so cold. Last weekend I did the tape test, where you put your ear to the hive and tap on the side pretty hard, and I heard no sound. Today it got well above 50 degrees the temp that hey come out and you can go into the hive, but nobody was roaming around. So I popped the lid on the hive and below is what I found. They are all dead. I was not vigilant enough in keeping them fed. I hate this as this w