Posted by: Pam B. Newberry | January 25, 2014

I’m back….burrrrr it’s cold…


Hello Everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and for that all I can say is that I’m glad I’m writing again about our lovely ladies.

Hobbit King and I had a rough year in 2013. We started the year out with six hives. By May, we had lost all but one of our hives. We spent most of last year learning how to build our hives back up. We first struggled with loosing a hive to a poor queen. Then, we realized we had more than one poor queen.

We managed to acquire four packages of bees and we bought five queens. Why five? Well, I accidentally let one fly away. I was devastated. I cried so badly.

This may seem foolish, but when a queen can cost at least $30 a piece, let’s just say, it was painful. Not to mention we weren’t sure we’d be able to get another one as the availability of queens was very low by June.

After learning how to re-queen a hive and not let her fly away, we managed to re-queen the hives. The bee packages were delivered in mid-June due to the rainy weather, which complicated the rebuilding of the hives. It’s best to rebuild hives in early spring, when possible. But, if you have to wait until early summer, typically, that is not a bad thing. The spring and early summer seasons are the most productive for bee hives. It was not the case last year.

This past year turned into a troubled time for beekeepers all over the country. The rainy weather played hard when it came time for the bees to gather food. Because of the rain, pollen and nectar was washed off most of the blossoms and so it made it hard for the bees to find food. This made it harder still on the hive. Our neighbor has a glorious flower garden designed for bees and it definitely helped to provide our girls with a chance to gather food without having to travel too great of a distance on the days that they could fly. You see, bees do not like rain. It is deadly to them, so they don’t fly, if they can help it.

We watched over them without disturbing them too much and we had to supplement their feeding several times. Then fall came. Sadly, we lost a hive. It was weak going into the “bee” winter. We knew it would be touch and go. Hobbit King said the hive felt weak when he lifted it to check its weight. Sure enough, when we rechecked on them in early November, most of the bees had died.

Yes, we are learning what to expect and what to look for. What would that be?

When a beekeeper visits his or her apiary, he or she should look for the following:

1. Are there enough bees in the hive?

2. Have the bees stored enough food?

3. Is there enough brood to help sustain the hive?

4. Is the queen healthy and working?

5. When the weather breaks after a cold spell, do you see bees around the hive and if so, how many?

There are other signs to look for, but these are the biggies; at least so far for us these are the questions we ask.

Since December, we’ve had horrible weather in our neck of the woods. Today was a prime example of extreme wind coupled with very cold temps wrapped in snow.

We believe we have another hive on the edge of death. There were not a lot of bees around the hive opening three weeks ago when we had 60 degree weather and the bees in the other hives were out. That is not a good sign. The saddest part, is this time of the year there is not much we can do. Life in the hive or no life is what it is.

That in many ways makes me sad, yet I understand that this is the world and how nature works. I still find myself hoping the girls are able to make it until spring breaks through this cold bitter time.

On a happier note, I am now a published author! Yes, I have written and published my first book. It is The Letter: A Page of My Life. Available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook formats. Visit my author page or follow my writing journey on my website jkbrookspublishing.com.

Until next time, here’s hoping you are able to stay warm and dry and enjoy those you love!

Always with Cheers,
Hobbit Queen


Responses

  1. […] making up five new hives (see my previous post I’m Back….Burrrr it’s cold for more details on what we faced ),  we then struggled through the rainy spring and summer. When […]

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  2. Sorry to hear that you had such a bad year. The weather becomes so important when you’re a beekeeper.

    Another point for your list of things to look for: are there any signs of disease affecting the brood or the adult bees?

    At the moment I’m checking the hives weekly to make sure the bees still have fondant left and also to make sure the entrances aren’t blocked by dead bees. Other than that all we can do is wait for warmer days.

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    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, weather can make or break a hive and disease is definitely a huge factor. I should have included that in my list. Good point!

      Sending good vibes to you and your bees that they’re able to make it to March!

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      • Thanks, you too x

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  3. Welcome back! Sorry to hear about your tribulations but glad you are persisting.

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    • Thanks so much. It feels good to be back in the blogosphere. 🙂
      I’ve got a lot of reading to catch upon, too. Write on!

      Cheers,
      Hobbit Queen

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  4. Very interesting. The honey bee has got to be the hardest of all working insects.

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    • Thanks so much for your comment, Robert. The honey bee is indeed a hard worker. They never sleep. Only the winter bees live for three to four months. All other bees have a life span of just 28 to 30 days. A lot of living in a short time! Visit again real soon!

      Like


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