Neither of my bee hives made it though the winter.
To add another layer of insult, I’m pretty sure that I’m worse at overwintering hives now than I was when I started this whole apiary thing ten years ago. It could be the genetics of the bees, it could be mites, it could be funky winter weather, or it could just be that I’m easily distracted by fluffy white flakes and warm fires and I’m a terribly inattentive winter bee keeper.
Next year, I tell myself once again, I will do things differently.
But for this year, there is nothing to be done but clean the hives in preparation for new bees.
I set the girls up and then watched from the sidelines as all three girls jumped into the project together.
They poked through the hives figuring out what happened (one starved, one froze), evicting the mice (serious excitement), comparing moldy bee colors, searching for the dead queen, and (helpfully) sorting the good frames from the bad.
Next year I’ll do better.
But this year, despite my dead bees, I couldn’t help but enjoy the process.
you always see the bright side, even when the dark side shows itself first. The girls make a great team — great detectives too!
They can make a great team, when the mood and the activity are just right. It’s not common all three work together like that which made is so fun to see.
Not sure I could ever go near a hive. I don’t have a phobia and I remain calm around the odd bed/wasp, but the thought of opening a whole hive of them makes me queasy. Still, fascinating to see the process and your girls working so well together😊
But it’s so *fascinating* to see inside! And on a good day the bees continue on with their business and only a few seem concerned with the beekeeper….I bet you could do it! 🙂
Ah Bless! My Dad keeps bees, do you give then sugar syrup to help get through the winter?, Do you insulate the hives? I’m sure you’d have to where you live. I bet you get some great tasting honey though. Good Luck with this years bees.
Well I was going to give them syrup… and when I went out to see how active they were that day, they were gone. And I usually insulate them… but I might have forgot… Yeah, I’m a bad winter beekeeper… Next year. I’ll do better next year!
Sorry to hear about the demise of your bees, it’s becoming a serious problem I hear, and we do need them so much. It would drive me crazy not knowing what happened, though…
It is, and there are many theories on the overall problem. But one of my hives I think just didn’t have a big enough mass of bees to keep it’self warm during one of our really cold spells. The other ran out of food, which I should have been able to help them with, but I went to feed them just a few days too late. 😦 Like I said bad winter bee keeper. Next year… next year…
I have to ask, how do you get some more?
I usually order mine through a bee keeping supply place they come in two or three pound packages. You go pick them up on the day the truck delivers them. it’s kind of crazy with bees everywhere. I’ve also heard of people ordering them through the mail. And I have split a strong hive in the spring to make two hives (obviously not this year). Or you can buy what is essentially a tiny hive called a nuc which I’ve not done either.
Here is a post from last year with pictures of what the package they come in looks like: https://behindthewillows.com/2015/05/05/the-littlest-beekeeper/
wonderful post, thanks for showing me…
I am no expert on bee-keeping but I enjoyed the post. Glad you had fun…did you find the Queen bee though?
Not this time. There are thousands of dead bees in the hive when we open it up. It would be quite a long shot. But once the girls found her so now they always look. I think I have a picture posted from a few years ago… here it is: https://behindthewillows.com/2012/03/23/weekly-photo-challenge-unusual/
Another winter hive death but from when I had about a 50% overwinter success rate as opposed to the 0% I’ve had the last two years!
I Shall look through that post for sure 🙂 I’ve been observing/ reading about.the behavior of honey bees for sometime now and they are fascinating creatures! Someday I’d love to have a hive too 🙂
They are *really* interesting to watch. I might not be the best bee keeper around but I do really enjoy it!
You have very helpful little girls there 🙂 Can I possibly send you mine for training purposes?
They can be pretty good. And sure, you can send yours. She’s ok with mud and dogs right? 😉
All kids are ok with mud and dogs 😂 I’m going to parcel her off with the next mail!
She’s pretty cute, I’ll sign for her when she shows up at the door! 🙂