My Beekeeping Journal: Our Hive Opening
My Beekeeping Journal: Our Hive Opening
This journal is simply the documentation of our beekeeping story. We are not expert beekeepers by any means. The intention of this journal is simply to capture a glimpse into our beekeeping experience.
This adventure began last year when our son, William, asked us if he could get a beehive for his 12th birthday. After taking a beekeeping class together, we joined the beekeeping community. I have to admit, I had no intention of becoming a beekeeper, therefore, this experience thus far has thrown me completely out of my comfort zone and into unknown territory. So far, it has been a little scary and invigorating at the same time.
Season 1: Last year was our first season as beekeepers. From painting our hive to preparing for our first hive opening, we were beginners learning a new language. It was all new and William and I mostly learned as we went. It was like the blind leading the blind; however, watching William’s natural calm around the bee’s continue to keep me inspired. As beginners, we made a few mistakes and ended up with a weak hive. We didn’t make it to the harvest as we lost our bees this first season. It was devastating. But we were consoled by the fact that only 1/2 of all first hives survive. The beekeeping community kept telling us not to lose faith, that this is common, and to keep going. We began again this year.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Day one of Season 2! After dusting off our hive, and all the hive tools, we picked up our bees at Crystal Bee. We asked a few more questions as Joe was handing bees out to the many beekeepers. Here we go again!
William picking up the Bees at Crystal Bee.
The Bees in our car.
The Bees waiting to go into their new home.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Our beekeeping adventure has turned into a family affair. Due to feeling a bit anxious this year, I summoned my husband to help out. This morning, father and son went to observe a beehive opening to get a little refresher on the details. They felt confident upon returning and I decided to observe the hive opening this year. We neglected to make the sugar water ahead of time; therefore, my husband quickly made some and put it outside to cool. The sugar water is their food. Beekeeping has quickly turned into a family affair.
This is the jar for the sugar water.
This is the squirter we used to put some sugar water on the panels.
Spraying the panels with sugar water.
Adding the Queen! After shaking the white container so bees go down to the opposite side of the opening, William opened the white container filled with thousands of bees and grabbed the Queen. She is in her own little cage. He closed the white container and proceeded to attach the Queen bee (in her cage) onto the center frame with a big rubber band. The worker bees then eat through the fondant. The fondant is like icing. Once the worker bees accept the Queen–she will start laying eggs.
Adding the bees is wild! My heart is racing at this point. William is as calm as can be. I call him the bee whisperer. Doug admitted he was a little anxious when all the bees started flying around. He noted afterward that he kept thinking…”Trust the suit, Trust the suit.”
Time to put the hive back together. There are a few pollen packs on top to keep the bees happy and eating until the flowers start to bloom.
There is is! The Hive is open. The bag is over the Sugar Water because it contains Fumagilin. Fumagilin is an antibiotic that prevents a disease called Nosema. This is mixed into the sugar water. It is light sensitive so it needs a bag over it. The bees will begin working on their hive and hopefully, they will release the Queen and she will be accepted.
In the early evening, William went back out again to check to see if all the bees made it out of the white container. Success! We check again next Sunday to see if the Queen was released and accepted.
Now I want to hear from you. Are you a beekeeper? Share a beekeeping story in the comments below.