Thursday, October 6, 2011


Friday, July 31, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The busy bees....repairing comb from where the box above was removed....and just busy in the hive..... :)

Almost fully grown....

As you remove frames and boxes, sometimes the propolis and comb has attached to the frames and boxes below and it breaks apart. Sadly this can mean that any larvae and eggs in that comb can be lost. The bees work fast to try and move them or they will just remove them from the hive as quickly as possible - in this case the baby was lost :( you can see it was almost a complete bee- fully formed inside it's coating!!! Amazing! When you see them actually be born out of the comb and they pop out all furry and fluffy as a new bee it's incredible :) we've seen a few being 'born' now :)

Pollen pattern...

A frame of bees showing how much pollen they have been bringing home already....I would guess this is mainly from dandelions and catkins etc from trees as there really hasn't been much of anything else around....too much cold and snow around until this last weekend.

The drones are back in town....

We have split the big hive and created a smaller hive from it - given the new hive a new Queen, and several frames of bees and honey and larvae (making sure the old Queen was NOT there).

At the same time we did an inspection of the main hive and saw that there are now drones again. Drones die off in the Fall when they are no longer needed. Drones are male bees and are only needed to fertilize Queens, so they are only kept around during the Summer months. After that they die off as otherwise they would eat up vital colony stores of honey through the winter needlessly. You can spot a couple of Drones in the pictures above - they are much bigger than the female worker bees and have much bigger eyes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Great video...

Worth watching until the end :)

A man on my beekeepers forum posted this link - it's a video his wife made of when he was putting his package bees into the hive. His wife isn't too keen on bees ;)

Bringing home the pollen....

While we were down by the pond this afternoon, there were dark skies rolling in.....I'm not sure if the bees knew it was going to rain or not, but all of a sudden they ALL came flying home......many of them had their little legs COVERED in pollen!! I didn't have my macro lens with me, but I snapped a few pictures anyway. They aren't great, but if you click on them you can see them bigger and make out the pollen. I'm still sooooo surprised that the bees are finding pollen so soon - last year the package bees weren't bring ANY pollen back until June or so....yet these bees are bringing all of this wonderful pollen back already!! They are happy bees :) I tried feeding them with syrup and yet they aren't interested in the syrup at all.....

I am hoping for another swarm catch this year! THAT would wonderful - especially if it was somewhere easy like in that bush - like last year :) Probably too much to hope for ;)

Monday, May 4, 2009

On the move....

We moved the hove down to their permanent Summer home down near the pond last night. We waited until after dark and the bees were all 'back home', and then we attached it to the tractor and moved it down the hill to where it sat last year. I know they do well down there, they are sheltered from the high winds and storms we get in the Summer months, they have access to the water they need, they are further away from neighbours and from the children's play area. (For some reason, while they have been by the vegetable garden they have been flying directly over the workshop towards the sand box and swings etc - maybe because that is the direction the sun is in????).

Anyway, I love to go and sit down by the pond and listen to the frogs, and sit and watch the bees come and go in the Summer, I love that they are sheltered from the high winds and get the sun for much of the day. It's a good place for them to be. I really feel that now they are 'home'.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Full hive inspection

Today we took the entire hive apart and did a complete hive inspection. we wanted to look to see if there was an active Queen. Look to check the entire hive was healthy and to see how much of the hive had store etc.

Basically the bees have cleared out all of the dead bees. There were a few that were trapped in one corner, so I cleaned those out for them. The bees had taken most of the honey although some of the frames still had plenty of honey stores in them. We took one frame of honey for ourselves (yum - see pictures in other post).

All the bees appear to be busy and very healthy and active. There is pollen, bee bread, and honey in most supers. The bottom super is where they are storing the new pollen that they are bringing in at the moment. we were very surprised to see the bees actively bring in a LOT of fresh pollen in already. The snow has only just thawed and there doesn't appear to be any pollen around yet but they are coming back laden with pollen from somewhere!!! Wonderful!!

In the second super, we were thrilled to check two frames and find eggs and larvae in all stages!!! This is a sure sign of an active Queen!!! We are thrilled! It also means we can do splits and split our hive into two!! this will also stop the bees from swarming!!

I am so glad our Queen is doing well!

We over wintered our bees successfully for our first winter, and our Queen survived too :) This means our entire first year as beekeepers has been a success :)

Honey from the hive....

Before we closed the hive today we 'stole' a frame of honey....and swapped it with an empty frame...the children sat and ate the small area of honey that was in the frame!! YUM!! It was soooooooo GOOD!!!!! Delicious honey straight from the hive :) Thanks bees!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Bees :)

It was so great to see them again after so many months of Winter!!

Happy to be out.....

The bees were so happy to be out again.....they flew around like crazy until they settled down!!! :) So great to see :)

Helping with the housekeeping.....

Today (day 2) I will take the hive apart, super by super, and clean it all up and check it all frame by frame....but yesterday I just wanted to leave the bees in peace as quickly as possible and let them fly free and cleanse themselves of a winters worth of poop and yuck and being locked up.......

I did need to clear out the entrance for them though, so I used a stick and unblocked the bottom entrance of dead bees - and there were a LOT of dead bees - this is normal of course as bees don't live very long! But wow it's a lot huh???? YUCK!!!! Once they were all out I scooped them up and got rid of them all so they wouldn't atract skunks or other creatures to the hive more than normal. I'm already worried that Charlie (our pot bellied pig) will be over to steal the syrup I'm feeding the bees!!

Once this entrance was cleared and I put on the lid, it didn't take long for the bees to learn to use the bottom entrance to come and go instead of the top!!! Now the syrup feeder is on and they can build up the hive again before the flowers are out and they can make real honey!

After 5 months of being cooped up.......

..the bees were obviously desperate for a BIG poo!!! Hahahaha this one did a MASSIVE poo on Lloyds leg as SOON as it was out of the hive hahahahahaha!!!

Winter is over.....

Yesterday we got the bee hive out of winter storage in the workshop and put it out by the vegetable garden. It will stay there until mid May when we will put it down in it's usual place by the pond. We can't put it down there quite yet in case it snows again, as the pond is quite high this year and if it snows again there is a chance it could flood down there. The temperatures could still drop again of course but we'll monitor them and we can always wrap the hive or take it back in for a few days but we really wanted to let the bees out for a flight and check their stores - and the forecast for the next week is good enough for the bees to get out every day and night time temperatures are good too.

We were thrilled to find the bees had plenty of honey stores left and there were a LOT of bees in there :) I am so glad we chose to put the bees in the workshop! We will do the same next year! It worked well! They survived a very cold winter and have done well - they thrived!!! They are going into this Spring with a head start and I can split the hive and get a couple of nucs going (two smaller hives started).

I am more than happy!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The President's beekeeper.....

A swarm caught at the White house.....and hives in Michelle's garden :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March update

The bees are doing well in their winter home. They still have plenty of stores but we plan to order a pollen patty to see them through until May and give them a boost for Spring. As they are still doing so well now in March, I am hopeful that they will make it through and survive. I can't wait to get them out and open them out...and see them take their first flights of Springtime.....

Friday, November 28, 2008

So far so good...

So far the bees are doing good in the cool darkness of the blacked out garage...ventilation is good and the window has been blacked out in there. We rarely go in there apart from to let the dogs out in the morning and in at night, so they are relatively undisturbed. All signs are good :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Almost settled.....

Here is the hive in place - just needing to be straightened up and to have the straps removed and the lids put in place etc etc.....the winter lid has plenty of ventilation because it's condensation and moisture that kills bees in winter....we checked on them after their journey and they were buzzing about but were fine - just wondering what was going on :)

This morning they are doing fine - quiet in the hive - you can hear them deep inside but thats about it :)

Heading to its winter home!

Occasionally the hive would swing out and I watched in horror imagining it falling and having bees flying everywhere!! But Lloyd would just stop the tractor and wait for it to stop swinging. Really he was going so very slowly that it was barely moving - it was just me stressing for nothing!

Strapping up the hive!!

Lloyd strapped up the hive nice and tight using boards to keep it all together and then attached it to the teeth of his tractor. He then lifted it up in the air where it hung and carried it that way up the hill towards the house and garage.

Away for Winter.....

Well its been a long time since I updates but really there hasn't been anything to update about. Fall is really a time of just feeding syrup to the hive and leaving them be. I did notice that the bees are much more aggressive in the Fall - they seem very protective of the hive in the Fall - protecting the honey stores in preparation for Winter. I also noticed all the dead drones when they kicked them out of the hive.

We had a skunk visiting the hive for a while - not often but we noticed the scratch mars and that the syrup feeders had been tossed aside.

We had a nice long Fall this year with good temperatures right up until the start of November and no snow yet which is wonderful, and so we did not move the bees inside until last night. We couldn't decide what to do with them still, but we did finally decide that with just one hive it was best to put them inside. So last night, after dark, we moved them into the garage. There is good ventilation in there, they will be out of the wind, we can keep it dark, maintain a low, steady temperature and keep an eye on them too.

It may not may be the wrong thing to do - but its what we've chosen to do. The next few posts will show pictures of our adventure in moving the hive last night - my amazing husband Lloyd did a fabulous job!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Where I buy my bee supplies

Corinne from Virginia was asking where my plastic feeders were from, and so I thought I'd post a link to where I get most of my supplies from so far.

The large plastic feeders are from Beemaid, in Spruce Grove, Alberta. They are not on the web page, but I am sure they would be able to help you if you phoned or emailed them. They are VERY light so would not cost much to mail I would think despite their size, however I am sure you could find them at many of the US bee suppliers online.

I have no idea how Beemaid compares price-wise with other bee suppliers across Canada or the US - we use them because they are close to us - less than an hours drive away, so extremely convenient when we need something TODAY!!! ;)

Thanks for dropping by my blog Corinne - I hope that was of help!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why eat unpasteurized honey?

I thought this article might interest some of my readers ;)

As you can see by reading this and many other articles online, it is actually far more beneficial to eat UNpasteurized honey!! Pasteurized honey has had all the goodness cooked out of it and is literally JUST sugar!

Raw honey is already cooked for you - by the bees - to the perfect temperature - they fan it themselves until it's just right and only when it IS just right do they cap it and seal it!!!!

This is why unpasteurized honey is more expensive and sold in health stores and direct from beekeepers mostly.

I guess it's like most foods - the more natural, the better - and the more you heat them and the more you 'process' them, the more you remove the goodness, nutrients and health benefits from them.

Enjoy honey - naturally!!



Thursday, August 28, 2008

soap dispenser

My new soap dispenser for the kitchen :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Comb honey!

This is the comb honey that broke off and fell and the children joined in with the bees and ate it up! Yum!!!! :) I had some too and it was delicious :)

Opening up the hives

Trying to get the smoker to light:

Vals Dad looking extremely bemused by things - he was probably thinking he was at a mad house ;) bees flying around, my three year old eating honey from a plate covered in bees and a mother not really paying any attention ;) Just a normal day at my house (lol) Thank goodness Val is used to us!!! Actually Cliff was probably mumbling 'Crazy British Bee Lady' hahahaha!:

Checking out the pattern of capped brood on a frame - and the capped honey in the top corner. This is from the lower box of Flora/ Fauna:

A frame of honey from Freya on a foundationless wooden frame - makes beautiful comb honey - some of which we got to eat today - but not from this beautiful frame!!!:

Sam using the hive tool to try and get a frame out of the Super (which he didn't manage to do but it was fun watching him try - Val and Cliff enjoyed watching him try anyway and I think they liked seeing that he is confident around the bees and not scared of them at all. At one point he got a bee down his shirt but wasn't too bothered - he just got it out and then carried on doing what he was doing! He sometimes wears the hat and veil but finds he gets more scared as the bees then get trapped inside the veil which scares him more. So far we have found it better to just let him get on with it and just never let him be there alone:

Visitors to the hives!!!!

This morning we had some special visitors to our hives! Vals Dad is in town from Vancouver Island, and he treated Val and I to breakfast (thank you so much) and so in return I treated him to a taste of honey from each of the hives!

The combined hive of Flora and Fauna continues to not do well, and so I plan to combine it with my Swarm hive Freya for the Winter to enable the bees to make it through winter with Freya's honey stores. They will kill off one of the Queens (hopefully the Flora/ Fauna Queen which is obviously not the stronger Queen at this time but that is something that will be left to the bees to fight out). They really are struggling badly and quite aggressive now and protective over the hive so I think I won't wait and may well combine them tonight while I know the frames are separated easily from the inspection.

Then in the Spring I will split the hive and then hopefully next year they will do well and be quick to get going as they won't have to draw up all that cmb again as the comb will already have been drawn up! (they will have eaten all the honey and emptied the comb over winter and will again start to fill the comb that spent all that time making THIS year). we opened up the smaller hive first and tried some honey there and looked at capped brood and saw how dark that is compared to capped honey which is all golden and light here right now (although it can be quite dark depending on the nectar flow). We saw how empty the first hive was and how crazy the bees were. I had problems trying to get the smoker going (normally Lloyds job - if I'm alone I don't often bother but as you get closer to Fall the bess tend to get more protective of their honey so you tend to have to use your smoker a little more - especially on a hive with very little honey!!!!)

Then we opened up Freya and Val and Cliff were able to see the difference ina good health hive compared to a poorly producing hive. Freya is working beautifully! This colony is just doing what it should! They are now filling all the foundationless wooden frames and they just look gorgeous! The honey filled frames are sooo heavy! The honey is such a beautiful colour! The bees aren't aggressive at all now.

We lifted off the top box and one of the wooden frams was attached at the bottom and the bottom of a frame came apart falling to the ground and a lot of comb honey came away! Val ran up to the house to get a plate and the children all stood around with a plate of comb honey covered in bees and ate it - literally sharing this honey with the bees - bees so drunk on honey they couldn't move! Several bees died in the honey where they were stuck in it :( After everyone had had enough we put the plate by the front of the hive and the bees will clean it up for us. I hear they do a good job of cleaning up frames so I will take a picture later and add it so Val and Cliff can see how good they clean it up themselves!

Val did very good by the hives - The hats and veils were there for her to wear but she didn't!!!! She came pretty close a few times and she DID put her finger in the frame to try the honey - and the bees were on the frame at the same time! And at times the bees were flying around all over the place so I was impressed :) Although much of the time Vals hands were tight around her neck ;) But she didn't call me names like my friend Holly that came over last week - Holly called me 'The crazy British Bee Lady'.....

Ok so the next few posts will be pictures from this morning :)

Thanks so much to Val and her Dad Clifford for coming over this morning - I had a great time!