Beekeeping Week 6

So because of the lovely weather in SC we were unable to go into the hives during week 5, it was just too chilly and wet that I thought that it would do more harm then good.  To say I was pleasantly surprised when we finally got in there this week was an understatement!

In Hive 1, the stronger of the two, was the one that I had added the super to last time.  They had filled around 4 frames full of wax and had a good amount of honey going into the center of them!  This is such great news as what they are currently building will be there food for the winter!  Once they fill up this super, any additional will be ours to harvest.  Although, I am thinking because of the mild winters we may give them two hives to survive on so that I don’t risk them running out of honey and having to feed them a simple syrup mixture.

Hive 1 also saw a great increase in bees as the brood matured to adults.  There was space in the centers of the frames where they had come out, leaving room for the queen to lay more eggs, increasing the numbers even more!

Hive 2 also had great growth since week 4!  I was worried about this one as they were so much further behind Hive 1, but when we went in they had filled a lot more of the frames, so much so that I think by next week they should be ready for another super!

Around the farm there is so much flowering.  We’ve got blackberries all over the place, and they are blooming at different rates so there is always a supply from them.  There is also so many wild flowers!  Austin and I were out deciding where to put different crops we’re planning on planting and there we’re just spots of white flowers everywhere, not to mention all the honey suckle!  I even managed to get some pics of my girls in action at the blackberries that are below!  The conditions are right and they seem to be responding to them to build themselves a strong hives!

I did learn a lesson this week, usually under my bee jacket I’ve been wear tank tops, or something sleeveless because it gets rather warm with all the layers.  Well last week one of my girls decided that she was not a fan of mine and managed to sting me through my jacket, not fun!  So from now on out, I’ll have a long sleeve shirt on, no matter how hot it gets!

I am so excited at how much progress they were able to get done in 2 weeks, I can’t wait until next week to see how much more they have done!


Beekeeping Week 4

I had always wanted to learn how to keep bees, mainly for their honey.  This year I decided to take the plunge and get some bees and see what would happen.  I had no clue that I would soon become obsessed!

It all started when I mentioned it to a great family friend, Pam (who is like a surrogate mother to me) how I was interested in learning about bees and how to care for them.  As a Christmas gift Pam signed us both up for a 6 week beekeeping class, complete with written exam to become a South Carolina certified beekeeper.  I learned a lot in the class, but it really lacked in practical skills.  So when I brought the 2 boxes of bees home on March 21 it was a huge learning curve.  Austin was there to help me, and after a few mistakes with foundation and spacing, we are back on track.

Today, we did our weekly hive inspections, mainly to check to see how they are coming along and to check the health of the bees.  Mostly I’m pleased with their progress, they are producing brood and building up stores of pollen and honey (!).  The down side, one of the hives is not as far along as the other one.  I’m thinking of taking a frame from the healthy hive and switching it with an empty frame from the weaker hive.  This will not only boost the number of bees in the weaker hive, but also give them some more brood.  I’ve got to talk to some beekeeper friends to see if this is a good idea, but hopefully if they give me the go-ahead I’ll be doing this next week.

I never thought that I would enjoy keeping bees as much as I am, but they are so interesting!  The way that thousands of individuals come together to make something work for the greater purpose of the hive is just awesome!  If only the world could take a lesson from these little creatures, instead of being solely out for themselves,  work together to make it a much better place.  Until next weeks update, bee happy!