Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness

Zinnia is Growing!

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Zinnia is one month old and I was excited to take a look at what’s been happening since I released the queen a few weeks ago. I wasn’t concerned with finding the queen but I did want to be sure she was laying eggs.

I left them with plenty of sugar syrup to eat while I am away. Here’ pictures of Zinna’s first hive check, I’m sure you’ll notice a big different from the pictures from Cosmo colony that I shared Friday. View the pictures →

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Cosmo is Thriving!

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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 →

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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 🙂

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New Bees, More Fun!

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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 →

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Hive Check with Pictures of Lorde!

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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!

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