We humans may be isolating in our homes, but not the bees. They are out and about in Virginia, enjoying the weather, the nectar, the pollen, and generally just trying to expand the population. Yesterday (Friday) one of my hives swarmed not once, but twice.
I hadn’t planned to be assembling deep frames at midnight. There I was, though, 12:05 in the morning pounding nails into my newly glued frame. When the phone rang earlier that evening, I had no idea that 24 hours later I would have three hives and my first bee sting of the year.
I had the privileged of spending some time with beekeeper Chris Hewitt yesterday. Chris is in his 9th year of beekeeping, and one of 13 beekeepers in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Russian Breeders program. I have ordered two nucs from him for my Langstroth hives, and he invited me to visit his home apiary. We spoke and toured his house and yard for over two hours, and with his permission I thought I would share some of the highlights. Continue reading
The cold seems heavy on the country right now, dipping deep into the southern United States. My area of Virginia was well below freezing today, and this weekend is expected to bring more cold weather. The idea of a warm spring with buzzing bees seems far away. Continue reading
Spring is a couple months away and the weather might be cold and dreary, but I have the birds and the bees on my mind. My bird feeders in the back yard have been visited by the local chickadees, juncos, cardinals, blue jays and other birds; and we started bee school in January with two classes under our belt so far.
Today I built a nuc! There is not much for an aspiring beekeeper to do around here in November, so I thought this might be a good distraction. I’m not the best woodworker, and I’m not sure I really need this for my first year, but you never know. The day went fairly well and I’m happy with the result.
There seem to be quite a lot of bees, over 20,000 species worldwide. Bees are part of the insect genus Apis, which (surprise!) is Latin for bee. This post discusses the bees generally available in North America, which is one of the seven different species of honey bees generally recognized. Continue reading