Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mixed Emotions - aka One Hive Already Died but the Other is Doing Well

So, only two days in and the Carniolan hive was already dead. That really bums me out. I don't get it. They didn't even release the queen. There were more dead bees in the package than in the Italian package, and they weren't as energetic when we installed them. Maybe they were sick to begin with? Anyway, the supplier doesn't have any sort of warranty, so we're down to one beehive for now.

Here's the video of our first inspection. We decided to give the Italian hive a pollen substitute patty in addition to the sugar syrup as it's been so rainy and cold.

Here we are adding extra boxes to the hive as the bees have almost finished filling up the first box. I also give a VERY brief description of traditional Japanese beekeeping. More on that later.

Finally, here's a video where we just watch. Watching is fun. I wish the bees were at my house because I could sit and watch them for hours at a time. On second thought maybe it's good they're not at my house. Also we note that one of the boxes is warped and the bees have made the crack into a new backdoor.

Excitement Again - aka Our New Bees Have Arrived!

So, it's finally time. Our new bees arrived and we get to install them into their new homes. This year, in an attempt to be more successful than we were last year, we got two three pound packages of bees (whereas last year we only had one two pound package). We got one package of Carniolans and one of Italians to see if we noticed any difference between the two.

Here's the video of everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) installing the Carniolans.

And here's the video of us installing the Italians. Unfortunately, James (one of our junior beekeepers) sustained our first bee sting. It wasn't his fault either. It was his brother and aunt that were freaking out.

I'll write more at some point about traditional Japanese style beekeeping, cause that's sort of what we're going for this year.

Sadness Abounds - aka The Bees Died

It has been far too long my friends. Far too long!

You've no doubt guessed our bees did not survive the winter. The long and the short of it is that neither hive, the original hive nor the new hive from the swarm, built up past one box. Darned bees just wouldn't expand!! In light of this, I left them to their own devices for the winter. I could have tried to feed them, insulate the hives, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but I felt that if I did that, and if (by chance) they did survive the winter on only one box, I'd just be perpetuating bad genes next year. On the other hand, if they were somehow hardy enough to survive on one box without my help, then I'd be happy to try working with them again next year.

Anyway... they died...

I miss them now. They were so gentle. Perfect for my family for our first time beekeeping. I wish they would've cooperated more.

Here's a youtube video I put up of the cleanup last month.

And no. I didn't end up using the wax for anything interesting. There were too many dead bees mixed in and too much mold. I ended up throwing it all out.

New posts will be coming soon. I'll, obviously, put up some new posts about installing our new packages of bees and what we're doing now. If I get time I'd also like to put up some posts regarding lessons I learned in my first year beekeeping, reasons why I feel I didn't fail at beekeeping, what I'm going to do differently this year, how much it costs me to build a Warre hive, and, maybe (just maybe) a chapter by chapter video synopsis of Warre's book Beekeeping for All (just maybe).

Until next time.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Honey Bees in the City

As you may or may know from reading previous posts, I live in St. Paul, MN. And while beekeeping in the city is becoming more popular, the regulations make it pretty hard to do. I mean, seriously, who can put a beehive at the very center of their property surrounded by a 5ft high fence that's 20ft in diameter (because we can't have kids get closer than 10ft to the hive)?

Those factors, along with wanting to do this project with my dad so my kids get to see their grandpa more and work with him on a fun project, prompted me to keep my bees at my dad's house outside the city where the regulations are fewer and farther between.

Despite the regulations in the city, however, there are still bees! Saw this beautiful girl (the one and only I've seen this summer) in my yard last week while I was mowing the lawn. Maybe someday the beekeeping restrictions will lesson, and I can raise bees in the city.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Switching some boxes around and moving our swarm to a permanent home


I'm not gonna say a whole lot right now. I'm too tired. I just wanted to get these videos up. I'll let them speak for themselves

I'm hoping now that both hives will stay strong and use the next month or two to build up and fill out at least a second box. We'll just have to wait and see!