Last Sunday I finally got the chance check my hive! This was my first time opening it since I removed the top feeder, and I really didn’t check much that time. I’ve been reading more about beekeeping, and one book recommended not disturbing the hive for more than ten minutes. Umm, that’s not much time for this newbee!
My goal for this hive check was to look for Lorde, make sure there weren’t any ants in the hive, check the brood, look for eggs, see how much comb they’d built, and feed them. Over all, things went well. My skills working with the hive are improving…I only killed two bees this time! Injuring, and killing bees is part of being a new beekeeper, at least that what the book said! I have to move much slower than I realized when removing, and replacing the hive boxes. Those boxes are already heavy, and they aren’t even full of honey!
There was lots going on in the hive, and thankfully there were no ants, or mites! I was surprised that very few bees had moved up to the top box, it was almost empty. I saw some eggs, and some capped brood. Capped brood have larvae in them, and soon new bees will hatch. There was also a little bit of honey, and possibly the start of a queen cell. I’m not really sure if that’s what it was. Next time I check the hive I’ll see if it’s still there.
Here’s pictures of the process, enjoy!
I was very excited I got to see the queen, and all the other activity going on inside. My excitement was replaced with a bit of disappointment when I realized I’d smashed two bees. When a bee is killed, it can sometimes release an alarm pheromone. I definitely think this happened after I smashed them because the activity, and sound level of the bees increased. There were also a few bees checking on the smashed bees. I felt so bad! Based on the mood of the hive, I decided it wasn’t the best time to feed them, and I’d been out there at least fifteen minutes, so it was time to go! The next day I was able to install the entry way feeder without any issues.
My nuc should arrive anyway now, and then I’ll have two hives! So far beekeeping has been easier that I expected, and I encourage anyone interested in the beekeeping to try it!
June 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm
Gabrielle Choo Says :
This post was VERY interesting ….. Bees R so important to the balance of nature ❤
June 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm
Thanks so much!
June 8, 2014 at 10:02 am
June 6, 2014 at 8:01 pm
Hey Jen! I’m so glad you’re doing this for others to follow. My husband and I are very interested in beekeeping but I am wondering if you would be willing to share some ballpark figures for initial cost?
June 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm
Glad your are enjoying my blog. Yes I will share my cost so far, it’s a bit long for comment section. That’s a great idea for a post, I’ll try to type it up this weekend 🙂
June 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm
I’m loving this Jen! Super informative and very interesting!!
June 10, 2014 at 8:36 am
June 13, 2014 at 11:47 am
And what happens if the queen bee dies? and Do you have to feed the bees yourself?
June 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm
They will make a new queen if the existing queen dies. As she ages, the bees can sense this and they will make a new queen. Here’s info from Earthsky, that explains it in more detail. http://earthsky.org/earth/can-a-bee-colony-replace-its-queen
Yes, I feed the bees myself 🙂 they eat roughly a quart of sugar syrup a day. It’s fairly easy, there are several feeder options. So far, my preferred method is a large mason jar placed on top of the inner cover opening. I put a hive box around it, add the top cover, and it’s protected. That keeps their food from getting hot and spoiling. I also think this method is the least disruptive to the hive.
Would you consider keeping bees?
June 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm
Very interesting. Do the bees only feed on what you give them, or do they venture out? I guess if they don’t, nature is missing out on the natural pollinators. Definitely want to come visit you and Trevor and check out your setup,and not just the bees, but other things part of your homestead =).
June 13, 2014 at 1:48 pm
They feed with I give them, and forage. They are very busy foraging during the day. Since it’s been a dry year, the nectar flow was short, and our area usually has a short nectar flow compared to the inland Bay Area. If I don’t feed them while it’s warm, they won’t make enough honey to survive the winter, and the hive will die. This hive was started from a package of bees, that had virtually no immune system. They need to be feed a lot to help build up the health of the hive, and feeding helps them make comb so the queen can lay eggs. We’d love to have you visit!