Category / Bees

Beekeeping Bees

A Dying Beehive

Burning frames filled with wax moth eggs and larvae.

I watched one of my beehives die this past Thursday. Wax moths moved into the hive.

Someone must have sprayed their blooming plants. The plants were full of blossoms and my unsuspecting bees went. They drank the nectar and shared the bounty and location with the rest of the hive. There I sat in front of it, watching dying bees literally fall out. I sat there until dusk. Hundreds were dead. Some barely still alive in the pile outside the hive. There was nothing I could do but sit there and pray for them to be out of their misery quickly. I am hoping that none of the other hives went to that location. In nursing, I’ve seen many terrible things that have left a mark on my memory and heart that I can never forget even if I wanted to. Thursday, was another one of those days.

Beekeeping Bees

Honeybees vs. Bumblebees: Spotting the Difference

As a beekeeper, I am fascinated by so many bees and wasps that visit our gardens and help to pollinate our plants. Yet, sometimes, I find that folks often confuse honeybees with bumblebees. Both are simply adorable in my opinion but very different. At first, to many outsiders, a bee is just a bee. That would be like me saying a dog is just a dog. But in fact, there are many different breeds.

Beekeeping Bees

The Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets had taken up residence in one of our bird’s nests. Of course, they are not my type of “bees”. Although they are pollinators just the same, having them in our backyard was not a feasible option. Sadly, they built their nest too close to our living space and they had to go.

Beekeeping Bees Hive Maintainance

Winter Loss: A Beehive Dies

Activity in front of Willow but none in front of Briar.

I had a bad feeling going into winter with the Briar hive. The hive should have been re-queened as they had many issues last season. But sadly, there were no queens available due to the unexpected large death of so many bee hives across the United States. Last year, the US lost about 30 percent of all the existing hives. So I crossed my fingers that they would survive until spring, when I could requeen.

Beekeeping Bees DIY

6 Ways Everyone Can Help the Honeybees

Honeybees are in trouble. Each year they continue to die off at an alarming rate. One in three bites of food you consume is due to a honeybee. Only recently have scientist started studying bees, when they soon realized that they are headed toward possible extinction. There are many potential reasons why the bees are dying. Some believe that it is a class of pesticides called neonictinoids, other believe that exposure to environmental chemicals weakens their immune systems and causes neurological damage. Some blame the varroa mites and small hive beetles. The hypotheses are numerous.

Beekeeping Bees Hive Maintainance

Queen cups

I took a moment this week to head over to my third hive. I had not visited it in a couple of weeks. When I arrived I could not believe my eyes. I opened the hive and discovered that the population had boomed!!! The hive was crowded.  At 1 pm in the afternoon, most of the bees were still foraging away from the hive. This was when those bees were not home. I could only imagine the lack of space when they returned for the evening. I needed to intervene. I did a thorough inspection. and was surprised to find multiple queen cups

Beekeeping Bees Hive Maintainance

Summer Dearth and Starving Bees

The smoker waits near the hive to be lit.

It had been approximately three weeks since I had last inspected the hives on my property entirely.  It was time to go in yesterday and take a peek at the bees’ status.  The first hive I opened was Briar. Everything looked great! There were eggs, lots of brood and the two lower deeps were filled with honey.  The bees started filling the first frame of the honey super and their mood was pleasant.  The girls were content to line up on the frames in the hive and stare up at me with curious little bee eyes.  They left me alone and did not care that I was inspecting their home sweet home.