This picture my husband sent me while I was out of state. Bees so close to the inner cover (I have also heard people call this a swarm cover) indicate the colony needs more space. I am learning from other beekeepers how to be more aware of what is being said through bee-havior.
I learned several things after leaving the homestead for over a week:
I need to check my bees more often.
I need to keep my blog up to date.
Beekeeping requires more of a science-base knowledge. (So although I like them for social purposes, I need to get more technical when it comes to their care).
I need my partner’s assistance with the bees. The hives are heavy with honey. It’s a good problem to have, and luckily my solution lives close by.
In the future I need to split hives in order to control swarming.
Hive one already had a honey super on it. Hive two had two deep supers on it. When I returned the hive that was thriving, hive one, needed to have the honey super removed because it lost half of the bees in the colony due to a swarm; a swarm that my neighbor made witness to and knocked on my door for me to come see what was happening. The bees from hive one swarmed into the tree directly above the flagpole. It was too high for me to remove and although I had left an empty swarm hive away from the bees prior to my travels they decided the tree was a better home.
My friend will bee-sitting for us about a week. In preparation I gave the last bit of sugar syrup before the colony should be able to provide for themselves. As you can see one hive is doing better than the other. When I return I will have them named for better reference. My methodology of feeding is a baggie-feeder. A lot of beekeepers use top-bar feeders with Langstroth hives. However I needed to go a more frugal/thrifty route. Although the price range doesn’t seem too steep, only getting up to $28 plus shipping, the bees arrived much sooner than I had anticipated. See the Ziploc bag below? That’s it!
Two parts sugar to one part water for the spring feeding is inside a freezer baggie to put on top of each hive. This is typically the ratio for fall feeding, however since it has been so cold I chose the thicker syrup. The bees didn’t mind. Due to size I needed to add a super so that none of the bees were squished when I placed the baggie on top of the frames. The inner cover did not have enough room for the syrup filled baggie. It has worked well the last month or so.
With the recent severe weather in upstate New York, thunderstorms and even a tornado watch, placement of the hives has been extremely important. Southern exposure to get the bees moving in the morning and having the longest sun-time is important, but what I found saved our hives from extreme winds last night was the garage acting as a barricade. I peaked out the window to check for the bees well-being and couldn’t see much with the torrential down pour. I had to wait for the storm to mellow out before venturing to the garden where we have our bees. The hives were unscathed. Thankfully.
What stuck out to me when researching placement for my hives was that urban beekeepers seem to place their supers by fencing- probably for lack of space, but none the less, putting our hives near the garage really helped with the wind and rain. My hives, and therefore bees, remained intact and unharmed because they were shielded from the elements. This is exactly what a house should do. The bees have adjusted well to their home.
As I was readily preparing for the bees to come in another few weeks/month I get an email notification, essentially saying, “Surprise! Nucs are here two weeks ahead of schedule!”. Nuc! I thought I was getting a package. What’s the difference? Well- a lot. I stopped reading about hiving a package of bees in Beekeeping for Dummies and started a YouTube search for hiving a nuc, aka nucleus, which looks as such: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTVLRXqDJ9E/?taken-by=mark.blakeslee
The Nucs I purchased were 5 frames with the colony’s original queen, as opposed to a package that needed to have a queen bee adapt and be accepted by the bees provided. The Nuc option seems like a much more natural process.
Faster isn’t better. What really matters is that you do everything at the right pace. To enjoy the hours and the minutes, instead of counting them. Do everything as well as you possibly can, instead of as fast as possible. Quality over quantity, from work to eating to parenting.
Carl Honore’, Scottish-Canadian writer, speaker, and ambassador of The Slow Movement
Hiya! My name is Emily. I grew up in a tiny town and moved to a small city for school. I ended up staying in the suburbs after school. So here I am, going back-and-forth about wanting to move to the country. I recognize the allure of country living and land ownership as well as the comfort and convenience of living in the suburbs. I finished school a few years ago now, and my husband and I have a nice little Cape Cod with a few city lots, a Labrador-mix doggo, and two kitties. No chickens, no goats and obviously no cow. Some days I think about all the animals I would have, if I had property where zoning laws didn’t prohibit me from owning much more than a dog and a couple of cats.
I was thinking of getting chickens: just a few for eggs. Our neighboring cities can have four chickens, so I thought I would double check with the town clerk. Unfortunately, our zoning laws said no to most animal ownership, declaring you need three acres to have chickens – HOWEVER it said nothing about bees!
And so this is the start of my suburban beekeeping journey. I plan to blog my experiences and what I am learning as a novice, hobby beekeeper. Hope you will follow along and give me advice or just see what I am learning.