Final Submission by Peter Day
It's hard to believe that an entire year has nearly passed since I first received my hive materials. It's been a really fun and interesting experience. Since then, I've learned about the life cycle of bees, how to raise queens, the different roles of worker bees and drones. I've learned a lot from my mentor and from attending bee club meetings. Many people have willingly shared their knowledge and experience with me. Still, nothing tops the hands on experience of working in your own hive.
The bees filled 3 medium supers by the end of last summer and they have remained healthy all winter long. I opened the hive up 3 weeks ago to check on them and they look to be in great shape.
This last week was exciting as the materials arrived for two more hives. My plan is to split my existing hive and/or buy another nuc or possibly capture a swarm. Last year my new bees swarmed but my mentor David Walton came over and helped us recapture them.
I'm looking forward to my first honey harvest this summer. I'd like to continue to expand my hives as I get more experienced.
Submitted by Peter in Q1
We had our first snowfall and 20 degree temperatures yesterday. The wind howled all night-we woke up to big snowdrifts next to our house, school closed for the day and a very cold house. Looking out my window, down the hill is my bee hive, it is surrounded by a forest of trees. The activity of bees that had surrounded the hive all summer and into the fall was absent. Were my bees cold? Were they huddled together? Had they survived the first real cold snap? Had I prepared my bees for the winter? These questions will be answered when I open my hive to the upcoming spring.
Mr. Walton came over one nice fall day. I prepared my smoker and smoked the bees till the bees had calmed down. With my hive tool I opened the hive. Bees were everywhere. One by one Mr. Walton examined the frames. The bees did a wonderful job producing honey. Almost every frame was full. They will enjoy the fruits of their labor because that will be their food for the winter. We will not have to supplement the hive. The frames were carefully put back into the hive and the hive was closed. We were amazed at all the honey the bees had produced. Frames that a few months earlier had been bare were now loaded with honey.
The goal I have for this spring is to purchase another hive, divide the hive because it is so big. I would love to produce more honey to sell and give away to family and friends.
Submitted by Peter in Q4
Summer is closing. Fall is just around the corner. I have enjoyed having the bees for the last four months. I have enjoyed walking out into my yard and see them flying around. In our front yard we have a path of petunias and marigolds that we purchased as distressed plants. With patience, a little extra water and a few more bees than usual they have all come through this hot summer looking beautiful. I have seen the difference in our yard from last year. All of our flowers, roses, fruit trees and garden have seen a lot more flowers and pollination due to the little bees in our back yard. I can see them flying back and forth during the day. It is a wonderful sight.
I have learned a lot from my bees. I know that they do not like extreme hot or cold weather. A working hive must maintain a certain temperature constantly. That when we have such hot weather as this summer, some of the bees are pushed out of the hive and others wet their wings and use their wings as a fan so that the wax won’t melt and the Queen and the larva stay healthy. My hive experienced a “Bee’s Beard” a few days after the extreme heat occurred. I didn’t have any idea what was going on until I found the answer on the internet and read what went on in the hive when temperatures in the hive get too hot. I made sure that there was plenty of water next to the hive so that the bees could have water during the real hot days. As the days are getting cooler I have seen the hive become active again. I am looking forward to having one more look inside the hive before it is winterized and I leave them alone till spring.
Submitted by Peter in Q3
The bees arrived on a Thursday afternoon. Mike and Debbie Seib from Mooresville, Indiana delivered them to our home. Mr. Walton and Chris Howell, a reporter from the Herald, were also there.
The bees arrived in a small white box. The bees were put next to our hive so they could get acquainted with their new surroundings and their new hive.
Friday after school Mr. Walton and the reporter came back to our house to move the bees into their new hive. The bees were smoked, this makes them not so aggressive. The frames were carefully checked during the transfer. The Queen Bee could not be found. On the frames there were three Queen Bee Cells. All we could do was wait and see what would happen, If we would get a Queen or not. The Queen Bee should emerge around the 14th day, she would then go and find the other two Queens and when they emerged she would kill them.
One of the problems we had were ants. The ants were climbing everywhere around the hive. The internet gave us many suggestions on how to get rid of the ants. We went with cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon powder. This helped with the problem, we still had ants but not as many.
The next Friday my dad was mowing and suddenly bees were all around him. He turned his head and saw a swarm of bees attached to a tree limb. The Queen Bee had emerged, taken flight, and had caused the bees to swarm.
Mr. Walton came and made a makeshift hive that was made out of a big flowerpot and screen wire. Our beehive was smoked because some of the bees hadn’t swarmed. The limb was cut and the swarmed bees were put into the makeshift hive and transplanted back into our hive. The hive was closed and there is still a lot of activity going on at the hive. To our knowledge they haven’t swarmed again.
We checked the hive yesterday, I smoked the hive and opened it. The frames were checked, the bees had built on to the original frames instead of using the new ones. We were able to see the larva in the cells growing. We were unable to find the Queen but with the new larva we know the hive is working.