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A year with my bees — The Grow Network Community
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A year with my bees

JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Beekeeping

Over here it is nearly time that the bee season is starting.

The temperature is to warm for the time of the year and the bees already have some nice brood they care for.

There is still winter feed in the frames but we have some four frames with brood in the hive.

Currently I am waiting for the willows to start there bloom for the first nectar flow of the year.



  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K that is great. over here wild hives normally do not survive more than one winter.

  • DebiBDebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    @Jens it has been a warm winter. I hope you don’t get a hard freeze before spring really starts, it’s so sad to loose the brood to a hard frost.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K that is normal. My hives go from 50000 bees in the middle of summer down to 5000 to 10000 bees.

    They will build up number now it gets warmer and soon it will look like they explode

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @DebiB yes the winter was much to warm. However the number of bees in the hives and the amount of feed Look encouraging that they even might survive a short hard freeze. Any longer freezing period will put a stop on new brood for sure.

    But luckily no hard freeze forcasted so far 😁

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @Lisa K suggesting me as a speaker. ☺️☺️

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    I had a walk with my dog earlier today and realized the seasons are a bit mixed up currently.

    Normally we would have hazel nut

    And snow bells, crocus as well as daffodils and cornus

    Blooming as pollen and nectar source for the bees.

    But I found blooming mahonia

    As well as willow starting to produce bloom

    That is at least three weeks earlier which will cause problems later in the year with constant pollen and nectar flow.

    Did you experience the same?

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    The most welcome sight in spring and a sure sign that spring is actually coming

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Today was the first day of collecting sample for the American foulbrood testing. Forgot to take pictures but next opportunity is on Thursday when the second apiary is going to be tested.

    I have all my hives tested every year to be on the save site.

    How about you? Do you do routine testing of your hives?

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Today was the time for american fool brood testing in my second apiary.

    All hives alive but 3 to 4 are quite weak so I added sugar dough with added pollen on top to stimulate the queen to lay more eggs.

  • KelleyKelley Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    It has long been a goal of ours to have bees. This discussion just makes me want to do it sooner but I have to stick to my plan and get my veggies and fruits routine down first. Maybe next year.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K yeah me neither 😉 that's why I started this thread. If I remember to take pictures it will be a walk through the work in one year.

    @timtandme I know what you mean. I had to wait 1uite some time too.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K trying my best to keep on this

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2020

    Bee keeping is very very interesting!! My son in law bee keeps and he is so obsessed with it thats all he talks about with my daughter... lol... she says "bees" is a "trigger word" for her now lololol... They will be talking and she can tell hes distracted and when shes done saying whatever he starts off with "so the bees... blah blah blah..." My daughter is like, was he even listening!!! I very much love the honey! We share the wealth when I make and sell elderberry syrup they get the honey cut. Horehound is all over their property so the honey is mostly like horehound honey which is great for coughs and making cough drops so its a perfect setting.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @lmrebert I know what you mean with obsessed 😇 I might have been guilty of it too.

    The honey is a great thing to have. I still have 12kg from last year. And it tastes different from each hive and from apiary to apiary.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    when I first started beekeeping 20 years ago, my mentor opened 2 hives that were right next to each other. I was amazed hat one hive had honey that was very dark, almost molasses colored and the other one had almost clear honey. That was a very practical lesson in crop specificity for a hive.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Today was a lovely sunny day and I visited one of my bee yards.

    They were all flying around like crazy and bringing in bright yellow pollen.

    It is possibly willow which is currently in full bloom and the first nectar flow of the year.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Just prepping some honey supers with foundation to go onto the hives tomorrow.

    It is a bit early in the season but with the current situation better be safe than sorry. And as one of my mentors says "there is no to early, only a to late" 😁😉

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Added the honey supers prepared yesterday to the hive above queen excluders. One hive only with one brood chamber the other ones with two.

    4hives were too weak and only got a second brood chamber.

    Forgot to take pictures of the action.

    I used same sized for brood and honey. It is called Zander which is a bit smaller than the Langstroth deeps. With 10 frames.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K looks beautiful and like a healthy hive.

    I have not been lucky to find any wild swarms yet.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K Please tell us more about your garden stool bees. How long ave they been here? Do you plan to relocate them into a conventional hive of some sort? Here is a picture of one of my 2 topbar hives. he girls are busy and I see pollen being brought into both hives

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    I guess I don't know how to post a picture yet. I will try again

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Lisa K My suggestion is see if you can contact a local bee keeper and have them bring a swarm trap to your garden. In a small space like that, they are likely to swarm and it is always great to catch a swarm in a easy to relocate swarm trap It is too bad @Jens isn't close to you as he is hoping for swarms this year. (Actually so am I)

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K I am a lot closer to San Diego than @Jens, who is in Gemany, but no where near close enough (Aurora Colorado) to take advantage of your kind offer

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @tomandcara yes it would be a bit of a long way for me to come catch a swarm 😂 but at @Lisa K I would also propose a swarm trap.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K one of our friends had a colony of bees living in the brick column by their front door. That location housed active colonies of bees for many years. There were times when a colony of bees would die but the location became a swarm lure itself and the location would again house an active. Through the years I have lost contact with these people by lives drifting apart, but your garden stool beehive made me think of them and their bees. They were my first time I made a swarm trap and it was a success.

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    Have been out and about today and visited the bees.

    Had put the honey frame on but not yet added the frame for drone brood

    It is put into position 2 or 9 in my 10 frame box and used as high end biotech varroa killing device. As drones are capped longer varroa mites prefer drone brood over worker brood. Once the frame is capped I cut out the complete frame and melt it. This way I keep the mite count down without any treatment until fall.

    The production hives all have 6 to 8 such frames and where there is no capped brood there are eggs or larvae. So more workforce to come very soon. The hives will literally explode within the next 2 to 3 weeks.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @Jens Looking good. Your girls are very dark, maybe even black. Are they a wild stock or a particular breed?

  • JensJens Posts: 538 ✭✭✭✭

    @tomandcara they are the local breed of apis mellifera carnica.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @Jens Most of the commercial breeds I have seen here are much lighter in color. I have always been happy to see very darlk bees in my hives, but they have never been the predominant color.

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