a new package of honeybees

 
 
  A week and a half ago, Monday, I installed a package of bees in my backyard. I didn’t have honeybees last year, but I missed them buzzing around my vegetable garden. Every year I install the bees wrong, no different this year. The queen comes in a little cage with a candy plug that take the other bees a day or two to chew through and release her. By that time, they are used to each other. My version this year was to accidentally crush the little cage while…
 

my honey bee order is in

 
 
I just ordered a package of bees for April 17. I didn’t keep any honey bees last year and I missed having all those pollinators in the vegetable garden. It’s nice to think ahead to spring before winter even starts.
 

 
 
My new bees are happy in their new home! Today was a beautiful day for them. I put most of my seedlings out on the patio to get some sun and fresh air. I up-potted 60 tomato seedlings last night and they were outside too. I opened up my winter tunnels to the nice spring air and am thinking I may not need to cover them up much more this season. They are looking really nice. (I’ll add pictures here this weekend.)
 

honey bees

 
 
I picked up a package of bees today. Both of my hives died early last winter – it was a very hard fall/winter for bees here. I have heard that the overwintering rate in our area for experienced bee keepers was about 20%. One out of 5 hives survived. I almost decided it wasn’t worth keeping bees and if I have to buy new ones every year, but I went ahead and got one hive anyway. They are not off to a good start. Tonight will be very cold and…
 

preparing for winter

 
 
I’m in the process of preparing my honeybee hives for winter. I have two hives on the far side of my vegetable garden nearest the pond. They’re on the northeast side of the yard with a southwest exposure. Both were packages I installed in early April, since both my hives died early last winter. One hive is much stronger than the other. The strong one has about 70 lbs of honey, while the weak one about 30-40 lbs. I’m guessing here from lifting the boxes. This is what I’ve done…
 

me and my new bees

 
 
Actually, it’s not so easy to get a selfie with a new bee package. iPhone’s don’t work so well wearing leather bee gloves. But the bees did pose well I thought. They are very sweet bees. Once they take up residence and start protecting their hive, I won’t do selfies with them.
 

getting ready for bees

 
 
I’ll pick up two packages of bees tomorrow. They’ll replace the two hives I lost this past winter. The boxes are now set up and waiting now. I filled both boxes with nine draw-out frames each with a good amount of honey in them. I’ll also feed the bees sugar water in a frame feeder since I don’t know what’s blooming near me now. I think the maples and willows may be, but not sure.
 

I lost both my hives 🙁

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🙁 The boxes of both my hives are now empty and stacked crosswise. I was sad to see so many bees die. I’m guessing they died from dripping condensation as I saw water droplets in the hive when I opened it. I noticed bees begin to die in November, just after it got cold. They fell from the hive in huge numbers. Mostly they couldn’t get cleaned out through the mouse guard, so they accumulated on the floor of the hive and I brushed them out. Both hives. I knew…
 

the economics of hobby beekeeping

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Remember the book “The $64 tomato”? Well, I did some calculating to figure out how much a jar of honey was costing me to produce. The bottom line – it’s an expensive bottle of honey. I figure a pound of honey costs me $27.63 to produce. A little better than that expensive tomato, but still a pretty costly jar of honey. Now, I’m a second year bee keeper, so I had a lot of set up costs and they won’t be recurring. My set up cost $918. Recurring costs are…
 

winterizing my beehives

 
 
I’d like to do the best I can to keep my bees alive this winter so I’ve been reading and asking at my local bee club. As they say, ask two beekeepers the same question and you’ll get three answers. On top of that, bees have a mind of their own and you can treat two hives the same way and they’ll still be totally different. So, here’s what I’ve done for my hives. – I modified my mouse guard so the bees can get in and out better. I…
 
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