The Healthy Honeybee

Learning about Beekeeping

all is well


The populations of the hives seem to be expanding – I think I’ve got bees now that were eggs when I bought the frames. The time it takes for the worker bees to develop, from egg to worker, is about 21 days, so that makes sense.

The visit today went well. The mistake I corrected last time seems to have been taken in stride by all the lovely ladies in the hives. I noticed that the honeycomb I uncapped and scraped off a bit has now been re-capped, and everything fits better.

In the hives I saw eggs, larvae, capped brood, and one queen. The other queen was hiding from me, I guess. I saw eggs, though, so I’m not too worried about it. If she is gone, the workers will raise a new queen with the eggs they have available.
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oops


Some people have to learn the hard way. I didn’t think I was one of those people, but apparently this time I am. In the beekeeping course I took, the concept of ‘bee space’ was drilled into us. It’s important to keep a certain small distance between the frames in the hive in order to keep them easy to work with. If you leave too much space, the bees will build crazy bulging comb and make the frames harder to work with.

Guess what.

Somehow I managed to completely forget that lesson. Oops. So, when I went to check on my hives, I had crazy bulging comb and frames that were hard to work with.

So…

I had to scrape off the crazy bulging comb. At least it wasn’t brood comb I was destroying. I think if it had been brood comb I might have tried to think of another way, but honeycomb? Yummy! They’ll fix it.
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how sweet it is


A sunny afternoon finally came on a day when I could go to the beeyard. It’s been about two weeks since I installed the bees, and I’ve been itching to go inspect them for about a week.

Nothing tastes better than honey and comb, warm and drippy, straight from the hive. My girls thought so too.
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sisters


I’m not sure if this is sisterly affection, or sanitation crew. When I went to check on my bees Tuesday, this drama was playing out in front of one of the hives. The bee on her back is not really moving much, but still alive. Her sister was hanging around, and to me it looked like she was trying to help the bee get back up on her feet. However, I know bees are tidy creatures, so perhaps the intention of the healthy one was not so noble.
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i think they’ve settled in


I forgot to put bricks on top of the hives this afternoon when I was there, and I also wanted to check and make sure nothing weird was going on, so I drove out to the beeyard for the 3rd time today to check the hives (no opening, just watching the entrance) and put the bricks on top. I saw bees coming and going, some with pollen, most without. Seems like they’ve accepted the homes we made for them, so I will be able to sleep tonight.
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they’re here!


Here I am with one of my nucs. Tibor Szabo’s beeyard is behind me – this is where my bees came from. A big thank you to Tibor for all of the helpful advice that came with the bees!

Now I feel like a beekeeper – I actually have bees to call my own. I hope they like their new homes.
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ready….. i think


I took the girls out on a ‘breakfast picnic’ this morning at Fertile Ground CSA, which is where my beeyard is located. Today is the first day of the CSA pickup season for Angie and Mark, so they were very busy setting up their washing station and harvesting their organic veggies. I was busy too, setting up the hives in preparation for the bees. My girls had their breakfast on a picnic blanket, and were slightly annoyed with the early morning mosquitoes.

Only 2 more hours until I pick up my bees!
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last minute jobs


I had a little helper today as I added some finishing touches to my brood chambers. He helped me hammer the frame rests into place. Hopefully that will be the last job, other than heading out to Fertile Ground CSA to set up the boxes tomorrow morning before I pick up my nucs! Yes, tomorrow is the day – I will become the proud owner of 2 nucs of bees. Wish me luck!
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pretty pics


These bees are not mine – they belong to Ken. In this picture they are working on capping some honey. The white part at the top is freshly capped, while the bottom combs are full of honey and not yet capped. Isn’t it beautiful? I can hardly wait to get my own.
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many hands


I now have painted hives, thanks to my two helpers!
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