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.....