Friday, August 28, 2009

How are the bees doing?

The honeybees that moved into an empty hive earlier this year seem to be doing quite well. I was in the hive earlier in the week, and they have both deep supers full of brood and honey.

A deep super is a box that holds frames - the frames are where the bees build honeycomb to fill with honey or brood. Brood is baby bees. So what this means is that they have filled 'their' part with honey and babies - a very good sign.

I have left a shallow super (that would hold honey for me, if they were to fill it) on top just to make sure they don't start feeling crowded. Crowded bees tend to swarm, and no one wants that so late in the year. Right around Labor Day I'll take the shallow super off and start helping them prepare for winter.

I am 99.9 percent sure that we (the people) won't get any honey from them this year, but that is absolutely fine. It's not expected that a new hive would produce the first year in our area, much less a swarm that just moved in on their own. So my goal is to get them through winter and into spring in excellent shape. I'll be feeding them sugar syrup if winter comes late, just to ensure they go into the cold weather with plenty to eat.

Once it starts getting colder, I'll put a doohickey on the front called an entrance reducer. Right now, there is a half inch gap all along the bottom front of the hive - this is for them to go in and out. In cold weather you seal it up except for one small section. It helps them keep the hive warmer and cuts down on drafts.

For now, we're just enjoying them. I see lots of bees in the garden, and flying here and there. Every time I see one, it makes me smile.

Once there is more work to do, I'll let y'all know - and I'll take some photos too!


Anonymous said...

That's pretty amazing, Cat. I can't imagine keeping bees--I'd be too scared! Have a fun winter with that! :)

tenthingsfarm said...

This might sound dumb, but I started keeping bees because I was so afraid of all the flying, stinging critters - wasps, hornets, bees, etc. Being around honeybees has helped me overcome some (not all) of the irrational fear. I'm actually good with honeybees now, but I still get extremely anxious with yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, etc. Still, it's better than it used to be, for sure!


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