Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Mr. Bee got the last hive out of the snow today, to clean up the frames so we can start arranging our supplies for this year's season, and I was able to get some photos to share.  It was sad to see they didn't make it, but as we have from the beginning, we learned a lot from this inspection.




In the photo below, you can see how the bees stay in a cluster during the winter. It's about the size of a football, and they don't stray far from the group, even within the hive.

Here, you can see some brood comb from the bottom-most box. See the beautiful, dark burgundy brown color?

This is how we can tell the girls starved: bee behinds... "bee-hinds"... sticking out of the comb.

Honey that was still in the frames.  Since the bees don't stray from the cluster in extreme cold, they can starve even with honey in the comb.  This is called "cold starvation".  We will save this for our new bees, for food.

We're going to continue to clean things up and prepare for spring. I'm really looking forward to sharing more soon!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hope for Spring

We finally have some warmth around here.  Puddles have never looked so nice after so much freezing weather.
I'm sorry to share that we lost both of our hives.  The North Hive, which we knew was weaker, was no longer alive shortly after the first polar vortex.  We had hope for the South Hive after they made it through at the beginning, but I'm sorry to say that it didn't last.

Though we were disappointed that we couldn't get the girls through the tough winter, we have been encouraged to know that we're not alone: a lot of beekeepers we know in the area have lost their bees, too.  In fact, most people I know have had a hard time even staying positive this winter.  It's just been so cold.

Looking toward the new year (of beekeeping)...

We have ordered three packages of bees for three hives! They should arrive at the end of April, so we have some work to do to get the hives ready.  I'm really looking forward to sharing the little changes we're making for this year.  We're pretty excited to get our new bee girls!

I'll be writing more frequently as the season gets going, so please check in again soon!