Thursday, April 16, 2015

My bees

This was our second winter for our little bee hive
 that we inherited when we bought this property.

Remember our awesome honey harvest from last fall?

We were hopeful that our bees would survive another winter.
After all they survived the horrid cold of 2013.

I felt pretty confident when we came home from Michigan and there were dead bees outside of the hive.

That means they were keeping up housecleaning or hive cleaning,
kicking the dead bees out of the hive.

But as the temperatures began to warm and I saw no activity around the hive or heard no sounds in the hive I began 
to worry.

Sadly my fears were confirmed when I took the hive apart.

What was left of the hive had died.

I can tell condensation had occurred inside the hive do to the mold.

The empty cells suggest starvation.

Even though a few boards over were filled with honey.

It made me sad!

Thankfully we had ordered another queen and swarm late last fall.
Our intentions were to start another hive.

But now we would be replacing our old hive.

The new swarm arrived last Friday by UPS.

I always wonder what the drivers think when they deliver a package like this!

And it just so happened I was attending my first meeting of the
local bee keepers association that night.

I had so many question about how to add the bees to an old hive.
Can I use the same frames?
Do they need to be cleaned or will the new bees take care of it?
Where does the queen get released at?

I had watched a dozen or so u-tube videos on the process,
but there is nothing better then some experienced bee keepers
to pass along their knowledge.

On Saturday the pipeliner and put on our bee suits

to begin the introduction of the swarm to our hive.

The pipeliner dumped the bees into the hive while I took pictures.

The queen is in her own little cage that is inserted first in between the frames.
There is a piece of "candy" that separates her from the rest 
of the bees.
The queen slowly releases a pheromone that makes the rest of the bees want to eat the candy to get to her.

When the candy is gone the queen is released down into the hive
to begin her work.

This takes about 3 or 4 days.

Today I am going to open the hive to make sure the queen has 
been released.

I should have done this a couple of days ago,
but we have had some really windy days.

Not a good idea to mess with bees when its windy!

I still have SO much to learn about this whole bee keeping thing!

I am really glad I found the local bee keeping association in my area.

I would recommend anybody wanting to get started in raising bees
to find their local chapter and start attending meetings.

There is nothing better then advice from others!

Remember the bees are starting to become active and are on the
hunt for pollen.



  1. Bees are our next step, then a couple of chickens.

    1. My neighbor gave me her 4 chickens a month ago. It is so fun to find fresh eggs in the coop every morning.

  2. Wow, your honey harvest last year was impressive! I'd be sad if I had bees that died but hopefully your new bees are a hardy bunch. It is really quite interesting to have a hive. I'd like to do it when the kids are a bit older.

    1. They are so interesting! But lots to learn!

  3. Sorry you lost your older bees. I let my kale go to flower for the wild bees this spring, they really appreciated it. :)

    1. I will have to remember that. I have kale on my list to plant. The people that lived here before have a big clover field planted for them,

  4. Very interesting . . ,.
    Sad for the loss of last years bees . . .
    Hopeful and happy for your new hive . . .

    1. I was sad after all of the great honey they produced last year! Hoping the new hive is a great producer.

  5. Oh LIZ!!! You are so right!! There is so much to learn and your new hive will do fantastic! I can feel it!!! Best wishes in your journey with your bees! Loving dandelions here! Nicole xoxo

  6. This post is so interesting! Our daughter and her husband raise bees and I enjoy hearing about every aspect of it, and I agree with you on the importance of getting professional advice from those meetings. I like your pictures.

  7. So sorry you lost your bees! We've been having issues with ours this year as well. Have several queens coming in the mail next week actually. I agree about finding a local beekeeping group. That's what we did several years ago when we started and it's so nice having a resource when you have questions. And there are so many questions at the beginning! Best of luck to you :)