Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness

Cosmo is Thriving!

2 Comments

I am excited that Cosmo, the colony that was started from a nuc in June 2014, made it though the winter and is thriving this spring!

I haven’t looked at this colony for about three weeks. I’ve decided that I don’t want to disturb my colonies every week. Most things I’ve read recommend taking a look inside roughly every three weeks. I believe this is the recommendation for established colonies; new colonies typically require more frequent checks.

I try to observe my colonies from the outside at least one day each week, just to make sure nothing seems “off,” and that they are coming and going as expected, bringing in nectar and pollen, like they should be this time of year.

Before leaving for Maui, I wanted to check that they weren’t close to outgrowing their home and add a new box, if they needed mores space. If a colony gets to crowded it can sometimes encourage roughly half of the colony to leave or “swarm.”

Swarming is a reproductive process in which one colony splits to become two. The bees that leave take the old queen with them and the remaining bees are left with a soon to emerge virgin queen. When a colony is thriving, it can swarm more that one time in a season.

Swarming is different from absconding, when a colony absconds, the entire colony leaves with the queen. This is what happened to my Verbena colony in January 2015, after about 70% of that colony died. Absconding is not a reproductive process because all the bees leave, and the entire colony moves somewhere else. View the pictures →

This gallery contains 11 photos


2 Comments

What’s up with “Bee-yonce?”

Yes, I’m still beekeeping! There has been activity outside both colonies everyday since I returned from Germany, and that is a good sign! I haven’t checked inside the colonies since I got home. I plan on taking one last peek this Sunday. After that it will be too cold to check on them again until spring.

Here are some pictures of what’s been happening with the Cosmo hive and their queen, Bee-yonce over the summer. This colony was started late in the season because the beekeeper providing these bees had an issue with the queens. We finally got a picture of Beeyonce during the August hive check 🙂

Continue reading

New Bees, More Fun!

3 Comments

Busy, busy busy, summer and it’s outdoor and social busyness has arrived! The fruit is ripening and preserving will soon be in full swing. I’d like to get some late summer veggies planted for my garden. Cute baby chicks are still on the to do list, but they likely won’t arrive until fall. My awesome husband has the coop built, so they have a home when I’m ready. I have more recipes to share, and I hope get them written soon. Oh, and I have those beautiful bees to keep an eye on 🙂

For now, you’re just going to have to “bee” happy with this post about my bees! I’ve decided to name my hives to help keep track of everything. The name for the first hive from the bee package will be Verbena, and the queen, “Lorde” lives there. The name for the second hive from the nuc will be Cosmos, and the queen “Beeyonce” lives there.

Here’s pictures of what happened the last couple weeks.

View the pictures →

This gallery contains 16 photos


1 Comment

Don’t Bee Tardy for The Party!

That’s exactly what my next set of bees are, tardy!

I’ve been patiently waiting for my nuc to arrive. The nuc (a small version of a hive), was supposed to be ready last weekend. I called Mountain Feed  and was informed it won’t be ready for a couple weeks. We had some unseasonably cool weather a few weeks ago, and this caused many of the new queens to die. The supplier, Jeremy Rose of The California Bee Company is now working on re-queenig the nucs. Since I’ll likely be on vacation when they arrive, one of the beekeepers at Mountain Feed will keep it until I return. I’m excited to get these bees because Jeremy Rose is a beekeeper known for breeding gentle queens, with mite resistant behaviors. He wrote Beekeeping in Coastal California, which I’ve added to my “to read” list.

Continue reading