Spring Chores at the Bee Hive

Spring is upon us. When I stand outside on my deck in the morning, the birds are singing an amazing chorus. The buds on the trees are bursting open. And I have to get ready for two more bee colonies arriving in a couple of weeks!Two Sundays ago was one of the first warm days we’ve had, so I knew I had to take the opportunity to open up the hives. Remember bees like their home to stay at an even 91* all year long. During the colder months they will huddle together to keep it warm. And during the hot days of summer they will beat their wings to fan the hive down. Knowing this, it is important to open the hive when it is sunny and warm, without a lot of wind. To do so otherwise will result in a bunch of angry girls who will let you know of their disapproval with their little stingers.

Taking my time and moving slowly, I started with the yellow hive. I saw before even opening the lid that there were many bees moving in and out. That’s good. Also, I tried to see how heavy the hive was, which tells me if there is any honey and or many bees. It was too heavy for me to lift a corner, so that made me excited.

When I opened the lid, I looked to see if the pesky beetles were in check; if there was lots of activity; and if the frames looked full. All three of those things were looking great!

In the picture above, do you see the queen? She’s the one with the fancy yellow dot on her back. Without the dot, I would have a hard time finding her. She does look much different, but with so many bees walking around, it can be tough to spot her.

Check out this video I took of their activity.

I was pretty pleased with the yellow hive. I saw capped brood, larvae and the queen. And that’s good. Unfortunately, when I went to the second hive my heart sunk a bit. There wasn’t much activity at the entrance and the hive felt very light.

This picture was taken last year, but I wanted you to see that there are two supers or boxes on top of each other. When I lifted the cover off, I saw that the upper box was completely empty of honey. Not horrible, but that meant they were probably hungry. Then I lifted that box off and took a peak into the large green box. Ugh. I didn’t see much going on. I lifted frame after frame out looking for eggs, larvae and hopefully a queen. There were a few spots of brood, but I never saw the queen. Only two or three frames were showing any activity. Most of the frames were just plain empty. This made me sad.

I did what I thought was a common sense approach. I gave both hives a sugar cake and laid a mite-away strip on top of the brood frames. I wanted to give them a little boost of food and help get rid of any mites that might be hurting the hive.

The next day I went to the bee store for supplies for my new sets of bees coming in. I asked the lady there about my poor hive. She said I may have to kill the queen and replace her. Kill Her?!?! Yup. I was to pinch her head and drop her in the box so her pheromones would tell the hive that she was done. Then the next day I would install a new queen. (Yes, you can buy queen bees. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to raise my own, but for now I’m good with buying one.)

So yesterday I went to the farm prepared to have to kill the queen. But when I approached the hive I saw this! The entrance to hive was just buzzing with activity! I didn’t want to get too excited quite yet, I still needed to look inside.WHA-WHAT?!?! I was so giddy! This looks so good! Do you see the brown comb in the bottom left hand corner? Well ten days ago that’s what most of the frames looked like…empty. Now today…there is lots of capped brood, larvae and bees!๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ŸLook at all that pollen those girls are bringing in. The bee at the very top has orange pollen and the others have yellow. I wonder where they got their stash? So fun to watch! As you can see they are all bunched up at the small entrance, so I decided to flip the entrance thingy over to the bigger hole.Now that the weather should be warm, this bigger entrance will allow more bees to get in. Uh oh! Looks like some of the girls don’t realize I closed up the small door. They’re really smart, they’ll figure it out.

Ok new bees are coming I have to get the site ready. Luckily Superman was on hand to help carry the cement blocks from the barn. On these four blocks a hive will sit, so it needs to be level.I’m thinking that looks pretty darn good!

Back at home, I’ve started painting the supers for my new bees. It’s important to seal the outside, just the outside, from the elements. Otherwise the boxes can mold, thus not too good for honey. I could put one more coat of white Kilz on them but how boring!In full MerryMary style, these hives are going to be fun!

Don’t these colors scream happy? I like to think I have happy bees, who are going to make happy Honey one day.

Thanks for stopping by!

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