Monday, June 20, 2011

This is too much fun!

We added the 2nd deep hive box to the South hive - the one that the state bee inspector suspected was queenless when he made a suprise visit on Memorial Day. The North hive is working away - only 4 frames of 10 really filled out, but I attribute that to so many dead in shipment. If we can get 2 full deeps an over-winter that colony, I will consider it a success.

My biggest worry now is the mosquito truck. Those little suckers (pun intended) are terrible this year already due to the incredibly wet spring. How are our little girls to survive the poison?

Monthly bee meeting this week. Looking forward to it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

All Hail Queen BEEatrice of the North!

Her Royal Highness has been freed from her cage by her subjects and has started some brood. The comb was fantastic to see. These little ladies really know there stuff! I've seen a few bringing pollen into each of the hives.

QBSouth was still trapped in her cage, but we fixed that with some small ended tweezers. We will have to open her queendom again in a few days to ensure she is working properly. At that time, if we've had a few good sunny days and the daisies are blooming, we'll take the feeders away.

This is SO Exciting!

I really SHOULD have taken my camera out tonight. Sorry! :(

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Installing the bee package into the hive.

When we last left our story, we were driving home with upwards of 36,000 bees in our station wagon. We kept the a/c blowing at 65ºF to keep them nice and calm. Their cute little legs sticking through the screened boxes were enticing and begging to be touched, but we controlled ourselves.

After we arrived home and put them in the shed, we had to run to Kiddo's school to attend her art show. So they had time to get hot and mad again.

Here's a photo of the North Hive which I sometimes call "mine." It's in our back yard facing SE several yards from the pond and from the back door of the house. You'll see that it has a gray top feeder on top of the deep hive box. I have set it on top of a large piece of cardboard and covered that with pine bark mulch. It was a little off level so I used a wedge of recently cut ash tree to even it out.

By the time Kiddo and I were suited up, Sweetie already had begun to install "his" bees into the South Hive.

Aren't they cute? We decided to forgo the smoking ritual and spray the bees with 50/50 sugar water. Sweetie used organic sugar on his and will undoubtedly will be highly successful with it. Cheapo me, I used regular white sugar. He has a boardman feeder so he fills it up more often. If I had it to do over, I might do it that way too because you can have a visual indicator of how much the bees are eating. I think the top feeder will be more useful in wintering, however. The challenge of the entrance reducer with the boardman feeder should be easier to overcome w/o ruining the reducer. Hmmm. . .it's probably obvious to some of you seasoned keepers.

I missed Sweetie's original "dump" of the package into the hive and didn't get to see his queen cage either. Hopefully I will meet Queen Beatrice of the South later this week. But here's what happened when I overturned my package:

I obviously have a LOT of live bees in there so maybe I shouldn't be quite so disheartened by the big pile of dead bees on the bottom of the hive. In retrospect, I should've realized they were already dead when they poured out of the package like tiny little honey-flavored gumballs (with stingers), clicking as they hit the bottom of the hive box. As I look back on it now, I realize they had probably died in transit but it seems like SUCH a large percentage of them - maybe 30% or more. It's just impossible for a newBEE like me to have an accurate guess, but that's my best estimate. Anyway, they were still there when we opened up the hive a few days later.

We enjoyed watching the orientation flights of many bees that evening and the next morning. Since then it has been rather rainy. We opened up the hives Sunday and uncorked Queen Beatrice of the North, but the queen cage did drop a few inches at one point. Naturally, I'm convinced that I've marred her beyond all ability because I have that kind of confidence in myself. Because I couldn't keep the smoker going, I didn't spend much time in the hive after getting the cork out. Sweetie attempted to uncork Beatrice of the South later but he said the cork had been chewed and he couldn't get it out. I really think we should do these adventures 100% together so we can help each other more. This will be easier once our extra pairs of gloves come in. Don't let anybody talk you into buying only one pair of bee gloves. I also wish we had a nylon hood that could be worn separately from the suit because those things are sweaty hot.

Tonight is the monthly meeting of the local beekeepers association. Kiddo has a ton of homework to do so only one of us - if that - will be able to attend. I really hope it's me. I'm dying to check on Beatrice of the North before I go. Gotta practice with that smoker afterall. Damn rainy days aren't helping.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm a beekeeper.

Yep. Got the permit, even, to prove it.

Thursday while Kiddo was in school, I made the final preparations for our beekeeping project. I made sure our 2 hives were set up and ready to go. Then I did what I thought might be my last barefoot walk through the overgrown yard. I suspected it would be crawling with stingers in no time.

After school, Kiddo and I skipped (for the firs time ever) our monthly Kids For Peace meeting. We travelled about an hour to Parson's Gold Apiary.

Because we were all geeked up and couldn't wait, we arrived about a half hour before our appointment. There, we met Bob Parsons who was in the middle of his appointment with another lady who was just beginning beekeeping. We were welcomed into the garage and invited to listen in. Surrounding us were stacks of bee packages.

I lost all track of time as we talked and listened to Bob, one of the most personable and informative people I have had the pleasure to meet. Then, we put about 36,000 worker bees along with their 2 queens into our car and drove an hour home.

That's two 4-pound packages of bees.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A moment of panic: I'll BEE allright

For some reason, I began to panic last night that my bees wouldn't arrive this week as planned. I emailed Parson's this morning and asked for an update, and they ended up calling the house when I was away tonight, but Sweetie was there to answer. So with me in one ear and them on the other, we made an appointment. I was so freaking excited to be going to pick up my bees! But guess what? I need to try to reschedule because we have 3 or 4 after school things going on that evening and I'm really not able to get them unless I disappoint one of my other obligations. However, if I go during the school day I will have a very disappointed 9 year old. So, I've got to figure out what is the best thing to do. I guess I'll be "sleeping on it" for now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First meeting tonight.

It's been very rainy here lately which hopefully will lead to tons of flowers blooming for the bees by the time they get here.

Tonight is a meeting of the Maumee Valley Beekeepers Assoc which I will attend and join. I am hoping huband will come along. Severe social anxiety makes things like this rather difficult for me. I'm feeling it in the pit of my stomach already.

On the next non-rainy day I will paint the outside of the topfeeder and put "my" hive where I want it. Since we can't agree on things, hubs will put his in a different location in the yard - which may be helpful for the bees if nothing else they are less likely to get confused between hives - whether or not that makes a difference is yet to be seen.

Meeting people is hard, but hopefully will be helpful in our venture. I also found that a couple at our church has this great website:

I don't know the couple yet, but perhaps will meet them tonight. We'll see!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Delivery today!

Today we are expecting to receive our beekeeping equipment. Unfortunately, it's a super rainy cold day so far. I hope it clears up later so we can play with stuff and begin setting it up!

It will still be several weeks before we get our bees and there is a good chance that it's too late in the season to be hope for any honey for us this year. Still, if we get them to settle in and make enough honey for themselves to survive the winter - we will consider it a great success for our first year!

I'm pretty excited!