We are having a cold snap this week. After some nice bee flying weather we expect temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s this week. The bee’s prefer above 50 F to fly, although I’ve seen some bees flying in temperatures as low as 45 F (7 C). The danger for this time of year is that the bees are ramping up for spring with lots of brood and new bees emerging every day. The hive can be overwhelmed with young adult bees, and if there isn’t enough nectar coming in, the hive can parish during a cold or rainy period.
As a result, every beekeeper gets a little nervous this time of year. If the queen has laid too many eggs and there isn’t enough nectar stored, they can be in real trouble. This is why many beekeepers feed sugar patties in the spring. It is too cold for sugar syrup, but a block of sugar or fondant on top of the hive can provide that extra food the hive needs on colder days.
There are couple ways to check your hives. Some use internal sensors or thermal cameras to find the cluster. You can also listening for their buzzing with your ear against the side. A simple method I use on some hives is a screened bottom board.
My dear father with his booth at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market in Ithaca, New York
As I mentioned in my last post, one of my near-term goals is to build a new top bar hive. The plan is to travel to my parent’s house this weekend, where my dear father has agreed to help me build the new hive. He has become quite the woodworker in his retirement, building and selling custom furniture throughout the year.
Based on my first year of use, my existing top bar hive Venus has a few drawbacks. In this post I’ll lay out my views on the current hive and how I hope to address these in a new hive. Unless something goes wrong, my next post will present the finished product. Continue reading →
Everything needed to assemble my first 8-frame brood box.
Well, hopefully it is fit for bees. I put a bee box together this weekend. Since you only assemble your first brood box once, I figured I should document the event. I am not the most handy person, as my lovely wife will attest, but my nails go straight most of the time so I ordered unassembled parts. Continue reading →
I have been thinking about hives. While I am still keen to have a top bar hive, existing beekeepers keep telling me that I should start with Langstroth hives before trying top bars. So after some angst, I decided to seek some solace and advice in books and online. Continue reading →
I thought I should record some notes on different types of beehives. My grandfather was an avid beekeeper and used Langstroth hives, the box hives you typically see. These were designed in 1852 by Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth after he realized that bees required a certain bee space between each frame. Bee space is the distance bees require to work between their combs, and is a critical measurement when designing a hive. Continue reading →
Welcome to the Bees with eeb blog. I keep thinking about bees, and this being October the chances of having a beehive in the immediate future is rather low. So I figured an outlet for this obsession might be good, so I thought perhaps I should write about the experience. Then I realized my parents had granted me the initials e-e-b, and I had a Julie & Julia moment, and here we are. Continue reading →