Saturday, April 25, 2015

Installing a new bee package for 2015

Two weeks ago, I went over to my friend Amy's house to check on her beehive. She installed a new bee package on her rooftop hive and it was looking good. Her kids help her beekeep too! I love that. Teaching a whole new generation of beekeepers!
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Then I went over to my hives to install a new package since one of our hives did not survive. My friend Amy picked up the bee packages from Beehive Barn in Cranbury, NJ. This year, I decided to do the gentle install of the bee package instead of pouring the bees out of the box.
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To do this, you remove the Queen box and put it in between two beehive frames. Then you leave the open bee package box next to the frames in the deep. The bees will come out of the box to find the Queen. This is a more gentle way of getting the bees out instead of pouring them out of the box. Here is the Queen at the top of the Queen box.
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Here is the hive all installed! In 3 days time, I come back to check that the Queen bee is released from the Queen box by her attendants. They will eat the sugar plug to let her out. We named this Queen George Lee. Long live the Queen!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First day of beekeeping season 2015

On April 4th, it was finally warm enough to open up our hives for the first time this season. I was so nervous to see if any of our 3 hives survived. At the first hive, I didn't see any bees flying in and out of the hive. This is always a bad sign.

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I unwrapped the hives only to find frame after frame of dead bees. The whole hive of frames had mold. And on this frame you can see all the bees clustered together trying to stay warm. Moisture and mold killed these bees. I feel so sad. All these frames along with the honey went into the garbage. I don't want to reuse frames that have mold on them. It might be diseased as well and I don't want our new bees getting sick from it.

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We decided that we were going to purchase a new package of bees to install into this hive. Then I went to our other beehive location. I saw bees flying around and already knew that this was a good sign. One of the two hives in this location had survived the winter! What a relief!!

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I was smiling, grinning actually from ear to ear. This makes me sooooo happy! We had a really harsh winter with lots of cold days and snow. So to know that this hive survived is pretty amazing! Here is another video of a closeup of the hive.

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I moved the hive back to it's original location and removed all the tar paper wrapping. So happy to see the bees flying around!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Frozen to Death

I received an email from my beehost yesterday and it was extremely bad news. This past Sunday, it went up to 47F degrees. And some of the bees ventured out of one of our beehives. But unfortunately, they were unaware that it's actually winter and snow on the ground.

 
 The bees became disoriented and could not find there way back to the beehive. These warm spells are the worst because they get tricked into thinking it's spring and so they will come out of the hive to forage and look for food. But with the snow all over the ground, they become confused.

Seeing all these honeybees frozen, trying to get back to the hive makes me so sad and want to cry. I feel heartbroken. I really hope there are enough bees inside the hive to keep the Queen alive. I almost can't wait until the end of next month to open the hive and see what's going on inside.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

More winter to come

So the groundhog saw it's shadow and so we are to expect 6 more weeks of winter. The park down the block from us still has lots of snow from the last 2 snowstorms, so the thought of more snow is a little depressing. I long for sun and warmer days and spring flowers. Actually, I long for days of above 32F temperatures so some of this snow can melt. Hopefully soon. One can hope.
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