Beekeeping

Hiving bees in the Pacific Northwest

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of author hiving bees

Saturday, April 22, 2017, I hived two packages of Italian bees from Stedman's Bee Supplies in Silverdale, Washington. This will be my second season as a beekeeper.

As I will be tracking my progress on FriendswithGardens.com throughout the season, I wanted to record information about each hive - information that I can look back on when evaluating hive performance or analyzing anything that might go wrong.

It's almost beekeeping season again!

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of two beehives

I lost a hive last year and it was a crushing loss. I was doing everything right - so far as I know, but then there was a slow die-off. Something happened to my queen and the bees couldn't replace her in time.

This year, I will maintain two hives. I set them up today, to give them time to air out and acclimate. There is drawn comb in both hives, so I think the new bees will take right to them.

We all could use a little honey...

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Closeup photo of honeybees

Here's a photo I got when inspecting the beehive a few days ago ... my little worker gals are busy as ... well, bees - and they are doing what they do best - producing and storing honey.

It's not been a super year for my bees in the Pacific Northwest as it's been a cooler, wetter summer, but that hasn't stopped the hive. Its seen explosive growth the the honey super is filling up, even though there have been many days when I've seen little activity due to the cool, damp weather.

Here's hoping they can get these frames filled and capped in time ... :)

It's beginning to look like Christmas (in the beehive)

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of powdered sugar on bees to prevent varroa mites

I had to relocate a bee hive today. That meant completely tearing it down, examining every frame and reassembling it only three feet away. It was a lot work! While in there, I dusted the bees with powered sugar. This is a preventive measure against varroa mites - the bees will groom themselves (and each other) and remove the mites. I don't suspect that I have a mite problem, so this is just a proactive action. But they sure look funny.

My wife came home and said: "Candy-coated bees!" :)

Busy as bees!

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photograph of bees in beehive

Here's a photo I got while inspecting the bee hive today ... this is the top of the second deep super, with the honey super and queen excluder removed. There are a MILLION bees in there ... well, maybe not quite, but almost. They are busy gluing everything together now with propolis ... it's 90 degrees in Seattle today, and my little bees are already starting to batten the hatches for winter ...

Hive stand

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of bee hive stand

I built a hive stand for my bees today. At present, I only have one hive but plan to go up to two. I built a stand to hold three, figuring that it gives me room to work or to put in an empty deep super that I can use to hold frames while I'm inspecting... I also painted some new hive boxes today ....

Added my first honey super ... and got my first sting!

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Added queen excluder
Bees on the frame ... one of these stung me!
Hive with first honey super in place

Wow, the bees are healthy and thriving! They are also getting a little more protective of their domain. But I do have to admit that I got careless and did a few things in a hurry that were not well thought out ...

Today I opened the hive and took all the frames out of the top deep super. Most of the frames are drawn and there are no swarm cells visible anywhere! But the frames are packed with bees. I think the screened bottom board I am using is paying huge dividends.

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