We just got back from a trip out west, and I was so lucky to find these three cactus bees, all snuggled and bee butt up for the night. #amazinglifeofbees #cactusbee #pollinators
The more I look at the Rhododendrons in pink, red and purple…that more I’m amazed at the design of these beautiful blooms. The anthers are perfectly placed for this traveler to carry some precious pollen to the next flower. Nature is amazing!
It’s interesting to me that I can order two packages from the same apiary and end up receiving two different types of colonies. One hive is so busy that they are flying into me when I’m at the hive, and the other is so small that it hardly notices when I am around. It seems like there are 2/3 fewer bees in the second hive then the first. I was worried that perhaps the package tried to abscond and the queen would be gone, but I have eggs and larva so even though I didn’t see the queen, I know she’s there. I’m confident there’s plenty of time to build the hive.
I wonder if some of the bees from Hive #2 moved to Hive #1 in the bustle of hiving. There were bees everywhere, and since they traveled so closely together, maybe they mixed up the pheromones. The difference in size of the two hives is amazing.
Next inspection I will add Rhubarb leaves, and at least for Hive #1 I will do a sugar shake and see what the might load looks like. Not sure I want to add extra stress to Hive #2 so, for now, I will treat both based on the one.
On a side note, my mother and brother have gained a hive of bees. They had an empty Langstroth hive sitting out with foundation, and now there is a large colony living there! How cool is that!
This is such an exciting time of year!
As my love for bees continues to grow, I wanted to share my enthusiasm for my small backyard hobby.
I know…bees stings right!
What I’ve learned in my first year of beekeeping is by far outweighs the occasional sting. Honest! Now in my second year, I am excited to share the joy these bees have given me. Please understand I am in no way an expert in bees, but my love for these little fuzzy ladies is true. I would love to share with you what I did in my first year, as well as keep you informed as year two continues to develop.
I’m going to start this blog with a photo I took this weekend. What you are seeing are queen cells, (the cup looking things that are open at the top) and what this is telling me is that my hive want’s to swarm! That is when the old queen takes a bunch of the resident bees and leaves the hive in search for a new home…leaving behind the pupa of the new queen to take over what remains.
Why would she do this? Because it’s one of two ways that bees insure there survival. What beekeepers try and do is prevent the swarm by splitting the hive…kind of like an artificial swarm, and putting it in a new hive to let them prosper. I tried to do that, but I didn’t do it correctly and forgot to move the queen with my split 😦 Now I have a hive without a queen, and a hive ready to swarm.
All is good though, no harm done to the bees. The queen-less hive will produce a queen, and the hive that swarmed ( or will swarm), will have more room to grow. If the old queen already left, we didn’t see that swarm and we have lost those bees for our apiary. If she is preparing to leave, we have set up a trap to try and catch her, and her worker bees to place them into a new hive to grow that colony. Only time will tell…but I’m sure keeping my fingers crossed that I haven’t misses her.
A few years back…actually 10 now, my next door neighbor stopped by my yard with a wooden box covered on all side with a screen and asked my grandson and I if we wanted to see something neat. It was a package of bees, and he sat on my grass and answered every question we had about why the bees were in the box, and what he was going to do with them…and most important to my grandson, why he wasn’t afraid of being stung by all those bees!
Skipping ahead, 10 years later my mother was able to get some land that both my brother and I have placed hives on. I decided at the time to start with a top bar hive, and my brother started with Langs. Our little apiary (Little Falls Apiary) started its first season with 3 hives in total.
My top bar hive almost didn’t happen though, because actually I only ordered 2 nucs, and but the time I realized I wanted a third hive, there were no bees to be bought! Taking it as a gift from God, I was called about a swarm. Not actually ever touching a bee yet, (but taking a beginners beekeeping class) I mustered up the courage and caught my first swarm.
It went as smooth as butter, and before I knew it…I was officially a beekeeper! With the adrenalin still pumping, I called a mentor/member of my local club, and she helped me to get my new colony into the top bar hive.