I’m now headed into my 5th year of beekeeping. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite beekeeping tips. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a lot and have had plenty of successes and failures. Some of those were expected and some of those were unexpected. That seems to be the course for keeping bees nowadays. These days it’s not an easy venture, as so many things can affect what happens inside the hive. Today, I thought it would be good to share my top beekeeping tips that I think every newbie should tuck in their back pocket. These tips range from keeping the hives healthy, saving money and learning how to help amazing insects.
Earlier this fall I learned that one of my weaker beehives had succumb to wax moths.
It was awful and disgusting. So I removed some of the salvageable frames that I could and cleaned them up as best I could. I placed them into the deeps and put them off to the side- outside near the garden shed. I wanted them to air out, freeze any remaining larvae, and give them time before I placed them in the shed.
As beekeepers, there come times when we need to feed our bees or offer them up reserves to help them get through dearths and winter. New colonies should be fed so that they can quickly build out new comb for the queen to lay and for them to store their foraged pollen and nectar. Existing colonies also require feeding, especially a back up method to help ensure their winter survival. Today I thought that I would place these all recipes in one place for you to easily find them.
The Nor’easter lasted over 24 hours. It began Monday afternoon and finally let up on Wednesday morning. After 60 mph wind gusts with white out conditions, we were able to finally get outside to assess the damage. We all had cabin fever at that point and wanted to make sure that everyone weathered the storm. First up was the chicken coop. I started up the snowblower and began to clear a path. We shoveled out the smaller path to the coop.
|The honeybees cluster in a ball for warmth in the winter. The queen is in the very center, kept toasty at 95 degrees. The cluster expands and moves during warmer days and contracts tightly and stays put in freezing temps.|
Last week it was a balmy day in December, 50 degrees. Weird for us, but the bees were happy and flying outside the hive. They were taking cleansing flights and exploring a bit around the yard. I found a few perched on the birdbath taking in a bit of water. It was the perfect day to go in and check on their sugar supplies that I had added to the hive only a couple of months ago. I was curious what the winter honeybee cluster would look like.
About a couple of week’s ago, one of my hives had practically succumb to a complete death. A day or so after I witnessed that, I began the rebuilding by adding a few frames of brood from another hive and two frame of honey. This past week, we combined an early summer nuc that we made with this weak hive with the hopes of a strong hive that will survive the winter. There a variety of reasons why folks combine beehives.
|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.