March 24, 2007

2 - Happiness

Happiness is sugar syrup and pollen patties

A hive top feeder filled with sugar syrup

Today’s temperature was in the 50’s and the bees were flying. I started feeding the bees with Pollen patties and 1to1 sugar syrup. All of the hives had sugar candy left, but the candy was away from the cluster.

This is a critical time of the year for a hive. This year there seams to be plenty of stores left in the comb (honey), but there has not been much activity outside the hives. I am hoping that this is because there has been plenty of sugar candy on the top frames to feed on. In addition for the first time I have been feeding a pollen patty substitute. Perhaps this will allow them to spend more energy raising brood!

You can see by the photos that all the hives have signs of dysentery. This took place in February and might be because I did not feed sugar syrup until late last fall. The bees were also being treated for varroa mites with formic acid pads. It appeared at the time that the bees were reluctant to take the syrup from the feeder while the formic acid pads were fresh. The bees tended to stay away from the acid. The colder weather also added to the situation. The result was that not much antibiotic was received by the bees.

A strong colony covering 6 frames . You can still see the sugar candy left over from the winter, and a brown pollen substitute patty being fed for a faster spring buildup of bees

I did observe some yellow and white pollen being brought into the hives, probably from some early crocus blooming somewhere in the neighborhood. But the Crocus in my yard still will need about a week before they bloom.

There was another interesting observation today. I pulled out the sticky boards from under the hives and observed some strange and unknown things, along with bee parts, on the boards of two of the hives. A warmer weather inspection in two weeks will tell me if there has been some critter living inside the hive along side the bees! Should this occur it will be quite the dilemma since there have been mouse guards on the hive since October!

A Bee with fresh yellow spring pollen

Spring is here, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate!

March 20, 2007

1 - First Post


First let me say that I have been keeping bees for some 30 years. I started in 1977 in my backyard somewhere in Connecticut. I had expressed interest in the “hobby” to my uncle who already had two colonies in his back yard. At the time I was 16 years old. I purchased assembled, and painted my wooden hive, 2 deep hive bodies with wooden frames, foundation, bottom board, inner and outer covers, and set it up in my back yard.

The Queen
A few days later my uncle arrived with a package of bees (Starlines). He gave the box of bees to me and said “shake them into the hive”, and left!

Thus started my fascination with the affairs of the colony.

It is amazing how beekeeping has changed. African Bees, Trachea Mites, Varroa Mites, Hive beetles, Bee Viruses ?, Now Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) ! Where will it all end?

A package of 4000 bees

Hopefully with Honey!

This blog will be the place where I document my attempts to raise / breed queens (and thus their resulting offspring). My hope is this will be an ongoing dialogue between people who love this thing called beekeeping. An exchange of Ideas, an exchange of techniques.

It is March here on Cape Cod. The crocus are just starting to pop out of the ground. The bees are just starting to emerge from there cold dark winter cluster. And the hope of honey, of things warm and sweet, of success and abundance, is in the air…

I am excited!


Peach Pollen

Spring Pollen

Spring Pollen

Queen Cell

Queen Cell
Well Fed Queen Cell

Marked Queen

Marked Queen
Queen produced from my second graft attempt