Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness


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Busy Bees!

We are leaving for two weeks and I’ve been debating if I should add another hive box to Verbena. I asked the guild members, and most recommended checking the box. If it was 60-70% full several members recommended adding a box.

I decided it would be a good idea to check on them. The last thing I want is a swarm while I’m gone!  Yesterday was my first time I working with them alone. I took several deep breaths before approaching the hive, envisioned things going smoothly, and said a quick prayer of protection for me and the bees. Thankfully, everything went smooth, and I didn’t get stung! The most difficult part was removing the top feeder, that thing is HEAVY!

I’m trying to use very little smoke when working with them because they can become desensitized and its becomes less effective. I always have it ready to go, just in case. I have a soft bristle brush that I use to gently move them.

After I removed the top, feeder, and inner cover I was able to peek at the frames. They were at least 70% full, those bees have been busy! It’s amazing in three weeks, how much comb they’ve built. I didn’t remove any frames, or look for the queen because I didn’t want to disturb them more than necessary.

I added a new eight frames deep box to the top of the first one, and then replaced the parts I had removed.. Overall, I accomplished my goal, however, I did kill a few bees 😦 The top feeder was so heavy that I wasn’t able  to move as slow as I wanted before I had to set it down, and few bees were underneath. Once that feeder is empty, I’m going to use a different one that’s easier for me to handle.

I’m excited to check them out when I return. I’ll have more time, and my “assistant/photographer” will be able to help me look for Lorde. We’ll hopefully be able to see how many eggs she’s laid. There may even be new baby bees being born!


 

Releasing the Queen

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This weekend was another exciting one! I needed to check on “Lorde”, and make sure the bees in the colony were ready to have her released into the hive. If they were calm, and not biting her cage, that would be a sign it was safe to release her.

This would be the first time I opened the hive by myself. I was nervous! According to the beekeeping mentors, during the release the queen sometimes flies away, or is dropped, stepped on by accident, and killed. Thankfully, nothing like that happened! When we got her out of the cage, she went right into the hive….Success!

Of course, my super assistant/husband was there to photograph. He’s also agreed to be nearby while I handle the bees, until I’m 100% comfortable doing it myself. I’m extremely grateful for his support!

Now for the pictures! View the pictures →

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Quick Update on Verbena Colony

Things are “buzzing” around here 🙂 Here’s a quick update on what’s been happening since I shook the bees into their new home.

The next morning, the 100 or so bees that I couldn’t shake in were huddled together, trying to keep warm. It was about 46 degrees out, so I’m surprised they made it. I was also surprised that I stood right next to them, and not one moved. By that afternoon, those bees made their way out of the package, and into the hive. Continue reading