Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bees Again!

After two futile attempts at beekeeping we are trying again.  The first two times we bought our bees in a 3 lb. package from an apiary in Georgia through our local bee club.  I’m not saying that there was anything wrong with the bees; it was more likely my inexperience that caused our problems. This time we bought a nuc of bees from a local apiarist, Aaron Burns (http://www.theburnsandthebees.com/). 

This should give us 2 advantages:
1.) The bees are local and adapted to our area.
2.) A nuc is a box that contains 5 frames with the queen and other bees already established. It’s basically a mini hive, which is a head start compared to a 3 lb. package.


Today I checked in on them for the first time since I put them in the hive.  When I opened the hive, I discovered some things I expected and some that I didn’t.



What I expected was lots of bees, brood (bee larvae), honey and pollen – which were all there.


What I didn’t expect was that the bees had drawn comb at the bottom of the frames that came with the nuc.  The frames in the nuc were shorter than our hive body, so they did not reach the whole way to the bottom. 


I was hoping to find the queen but I didn’t.  With all the bees buzzing around, that’s not unusual.  I did find healthy larvae so I’m confident the queen is alive and healthy. 


A queen bee can lay 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day in the summer. The eggs hatch in 3 weeks. It may sound like we are going to be overrun with bees, but worker bees (the majority of the hive and the ones responsible for collecting pollen) live 4-6 weeks in the summer and up to several months in the winter. So at that rate of laying, the queen is replacing the dying bees and growing the hive.

In 7 to 10 days I will open the hive again to look for the queen, check for the presence of new larvae, inspect for any parasites that may be present like Tracheal Mites or Varroa Mites. If needed, I will either add a super to collect honey or swap with a new one. The time involved is minimal, maybe 30 to 45 min, otherwise I let the bees do what they do.

I bee out!


-Brett 

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