Bee Update

I can’t remember if I told you or not, but last fall I had bees from one of my hives leave.  Before we had left on vacation, both hives were doing well.  I had inspected them a few days before we were to leave and both hives had a good amount of honey stored up.  When we returned though, one hive was empty.  No dead bees just no bees at all.  Had I killed the Queen inadvertently when I did the inspection?  Was it really a weaker hive to begin with and I hadn’t recognized the signs?  Was this Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?  I don’t know for sure, but several beekeepers told me it sounded more like CCD.  Bees will leave the hive (or swarm)in the spring due to overcrowding, but bees that leave their winter supply of food for no apparent reason is a mystery to many beekeepers and scientists alike.

The one hive I had left was strong.  It survived the winter and obviously has a good queen because in March when I inspected, both hive bodies were overflowing with bees.

Spring Bees Busy spring bees

Fearing a swarm later on, I thought about splitting the hive.  I had never done that before and was hoping to find someone to actually come out to the farm and help.  Unfortunately, all the  beekeepers I talked to were busy with their own hives and unable to make a physical trip to my place.

So, I made an executive decision and decided to add another super on top to ease the overcrowding situation.  I put 3 frames of bees from the middle box in the top box and replaced those with empty frames.  I’m not sure that’s acceptable protocol or not but what’s done is done.  (I have a tendency to overthink and research things to death so this spur of the moment decision is kinda monumental for me.)  This addition was done about 3 weeks ago.

expanding the bee hives in spring

Bee condo

The beehive and box in the background is a new group of bees I received last weekend.  The white box contains a nucleus (or nuc) of about 3000-5000 bees.

nuc bee box

nuc box

nuc bee box

nuc box

These boxes contain 5 frames of bees with their queen.  These frames are transferred into the deep hive body (gray box)

bee nuc box with awaiting hive body

with 5 empty frames so they have ample room to grow.  Sugar water is given as a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ gift and they are left alone for about a week.  I’m hoping to get a peek inside this weekend if the rain lets up.

When I installed the nuc into the new hive body last weekend, I also checked the progress of the bee condo. I was shocked to see all frames filled in the middle box and all but 2 in the top.  Look at this

bees and honey bees and honey, sweet honey.

It was dripping off my hive tool.

bee and honey on my hive tool

I am so excited!  I then realized I will need to get more honey supers ready to add to the top of the bee condo.  I had ordered some extra hive bodies a few weeks ago, but wanted each grandchild to paint one with their favorite color.  We got both of them together recently, gave them a brush and let them loose.

painting our bee box

yellow for her

painting our bee box

and lots of blue for him! (We won’t be needing a second coat)

So much fun!

Our 5-year old granddaughter asked if she could help with the bees, so I’m hoping to find her a bee suit.  I think all she really wants to do is operate the smoker, but I love that she’s so interested in learning about them.

There is still a chance the bees in the bee condo will swarm.  Sometimes, I’m told, no matter what precautions you take to prevent this, once they get it in there little bee heads to leave, they leave.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed just in case.

If all goes well, I hope to do my first honey harvest soon.  Some good friends of my dad have given us a honey extractor.  This extractor is  stainless steel tub with a hand crank to spin out the honey.  That’s all I know about it at this time.

I better go overthink and research it.




About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
This entry was posted in Arkansas, Bees, Farm life, Garden and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Bee Update

  1. Pingback: Bee Update | The Blonde Gardener | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  2. Dawn says:

    Just amazing, Brenda! What a wonderful thing to share with your grandchildren, too. Hope all goes well with the upcoming honey harvest. Keep sharing with us! ♡


  3. Kevin says:

    First, I love teachable moments. How wonderful to share the experience with your grandchildren. Second — I think you may be the queen bee of your very own bee city. Congratulations and continued success with your endeavors. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep, D’Queen! for sure! 🙂 I refer folks to you all the time. Don’t know if they come here or not, but it’s fun just knowing who to send them too.
    NOT because you are a pro and all, but because you research and overthink and are new to it and can relate. 🙂


  5. Bill says:

    Congrats on all the awesome honey! It seems so hard to keep bees these days. Seems like it used to be the easiest thing to do on the farm.


  6. This is so cool! I’m so afraid of bees and getting stung by something, but they are so intriguing!


  7. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Very cool that your bees seem to be thriving and that your granddaughter is interested in participating! What wonderful memories you’re creating for your grandchildren! Hope your bees stay this time!


  8. I admire what you’re doing! Good luck with the honey harvest!


  9. Pingback: All Abuzz… | Petals. Paper. Simple Thymes

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