Thursday, May 30, 2013

The first two weeks of my Warre hive

So a few years ago, we visited some friends in England - Martin and Angela - Martin told my husband Mark all about Warre bee hives and Mark decided he wanted to build one. Mark's dad had bees at one point so he was all gung ho to start it.

Alas, it never happened, so guess what? I decided to do it.

I went online and did my research and bought a hive from BeeThinking and then ordered a 4# package of bees from Parson's Gold Apiary in Ohio. Well, those bees arrived on May 9th (2013) but my veil had NOT arrived. Fortunately, my colleague at work told me her dad had beekeeping equipment so he let me borrow his stuff!

I got the bees in the hive and all was going well. I followed all the tips and released the queen on Sunday, 3 days later.

On Tuesday, May 14, it hit 98 degrees at our house!!! WHAT?!?!? The bees were very active.

The next day I went to check the bees and they...were...gone!!!! Only 5 bees remained meandering along the 3 combs they had built. I felt like someone had died. I was so sad.

But the beekeeping community is amazing - there was an email from the SE Minnesota Beekeepers Association about some extra bees that had shown up so I called to see if I could get a package. Yay for Jim at Nature's Nectar in Stillwater. He had 3 left of the 75 he had received.

So Friday afternoon, I boogie'ed from work and drove up to his place.
That evening, I put the 3# package of bees from California in my hive.

So let me tell you what had happened. Turns out, Mark had put the stand on the floor of my hive upside down and the opening was too big - that's why my bees absconded with my queen the first time.

I found out early May 16 so ran out at 5:15am and fixed the hive. Well now the second package of bees (and may I say they are much healthier than the ones from Parsons!!) is thriving.

They are building comb in the top box. I did put a 2 jar feeder in for about a week but took it out despite the cold rainy turn of the weather. The reason being - why in the world does a human have to "feed" bees - wild insects? It just doesn't make sense to me. What have honey bees done without humans for centuries?

If anything, human intervention is likely killing I am practicing survival of the fittest. If my neighboring farmers don't poison my honeybees, then I am selecting for strong healthy bees. It has been 2 weeks (tomorrow) and I may add a third box this weekend - there are bees starting to work on three top bars in the bottom box.

I will keep you posted - they seem very gentle - I go down there without a veil, gloves or anything and they just go about their business. They are beautiful caramel colored girls!!