The chem is mitier than the swarm

Bee Plate

A recent gift from my crafty neighbor in the bee yard. It shows a bee flying in front of a flower. Too cute! ©Erik Brown

My two original Langstroth hives, Mars and Jupiter, have had their ups and downs this year. Mars did well, but then had queen issues. Jupiter survived a split, a swarm that I caught, and likely another swarm that I missed. Both hives are going into winter and I have been checking mite drops on the bottom board of both hives lately.

This is their story.

Continue reading

Bees of a feather swarm together

160425 Swarm 1

First swarm of the year. Really, first swarm of my life. To think I started this endeavor just over a year ago, hiving my three hives on April 19, 2015. Now the little buggers (literally!) are going off on their own. I remember when they were just a little nuc box, eager to grow into a full-sized hive. Continue reading

It’s not spring until you can step on twelve bees

160309 TBH CombAs you can see from the frame covered in capped brood, the bees have been busy. The flowers are slowly appearing in a steady procession of color. Last year I carefully wrote down the bloom dates of many plants around our yard, so this seems a good time to start this up again. I created a new page for this, and have an update on my spring goals as well. Continue reading

Bees With A Smile

keeping-bees-with-a-smile1

I recently finished Fedor Lazutin’s book Keeping Bees With A Smile. It is a rather fascinating read about keeping bees naturally in the depths of Russia, where the winters really are six months long. I have to thank the Happy Hour at the Top Bar blog for recommending the book. I really enjoyed the different perspective on beekeeping and discussion of a hive style I was not at all familiar with. Continue reading

To Bee or Not To Bee

I finished reading Thomas D. Seeley’s excellent book Honeybee Democracy this past week, and it has me thinking about bee colonies as superorganisms. The idea is that a specialized colony of animals such as termites, coral, or bees behaves as a single organism, and can be treated as such. This had me wondering how a bee colony compares to our own special type of organism, the human body, which in turn led to this post.

Honeybee swarm

Honey bee swarm image from the site honeybeeswarmremoval.com

Continue reading

The Secret Life of Bees

So just what are these social insects called honey bees?

Honey bee egg and larva in the comb

Honey bees, like all holometabolous insects, grow in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and finally the bee.  The egg, larva, and pupa stages occur in the honeycomb, after which they become a buzzing bee. This you probably know.

You may also know there are three types of adult honey bees. Continue reading