Comb away from home

A quick update on the bees. Our temperatures have been unseasonably cold. We’ve had a few sunny days in the 50’s (above 10 C) that have gotten the bees out and about, though many nights are below freezing. I went into the hives last weekend, and my five remaining hives seem to be doing well.

190324 Atlas shim

Comb built out in an Imirie shim on March 24, 2019.  ©Erik Brown

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Bees know more than books

Happy 2019 from snow-covered Virginia! It’s been a warm winter thus far; this weekend is the first we’ve seen of the white stuff. When the weather is cold, I prefer to have snow.

My 2018 was a busy beekeeping year, much of it not in my apiary. Since I haven’t been so diligent about recording my adventures here, I wanted to summarize the year with my first post of 2019.

190113 apiary snow

My hives Saturn, Mimas, and Atlas this morning on January 13, 2019 after a night of snow. ©Erik Brown

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All kinds of hives make an apiary

Spending the afternoon inside today: a good time for a new post. Beeswax is melting on the stove, my darling wife is crafting, and I am sitting in my favorite chair typing on a keyboard. Given that my blog missed much of the beekeeping year, this post summarizes where I ended up in terms of hives.

181013c Apiary

My hives on October 13, 2018. Lower right is Titan; on the left Saturn, Mimas, and Atlas; and in the back is Pandora, Venus, and Calypso. ©Erik Brown

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Life is for each queen a solitary cell

I spent some time in the apiary yesterday with some nice weather. Not too hot and very sunny. The bees were happy, as far as I could tell. Foragers are all over our cherry trees, and I saw them working the holly, dandelions, and viburnum this weekend as well. The nectar flow has definitely arrived, so an update on my hives seems appropriate.

The cherry trees just outside my apiary (the flowering bushes inside the fence are viburnum). The trees are in full bloom, with the smell the flowers and the buzzing of bees when you walk beneath. ©Erik Brown

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What doesn’t kill your bees makes them stronger

There is a saying in beekeeping circles to “be a bee keeper, not a bee haver.” It expresses the notion that we should intervene with our bees when necessary to keep them alive, as a farmer typically does with any other livestock. The measurement of success for “keeping” your bees is for them to live through the winter and into spring. It is easy to have bees and then watch them die over the winter due to lack of food or varroa infestation; it is much harder to keep them healthy until the spring nectar flow begins. Be a bee keeper, not a bee haver.

I seem to be skirting the line between having and keeping bees lately.

180131a Mars Bees

Dead bees between the frames of Mars. ©Erik Brown

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All the President’s Bees

PWRBA Logo A brief update on some recent happenings with our local bee club and my hives. We had weather in the high 60’s F, almost 20 C, on Friday. A great time for the bees to catch some relief from our sub-freezing temperatures. It was a brief respite, as Saturday’s temperature dropped into the 30’s F, near 0 C. Continue reading