Part II: Troubles with the Monarchy

Last week I wrote about the ongoing drama in the bee yard.  If you missed the post, you can check it out here.  When I wrote the last post, we had eight colonies of varying sizes and only four of those colonies had queens.  These numbers are not great.  Just when things were really starting to look bleak, we had a few positive developments. Continue reading

Troubles with the Monarchy

The last six weeks were not good for the bees.  Our queens kept vacating their thrones, and we were left struggling to keep our colonies healthy while they tried to make new queens.  We have all the elements of a hit HBO series within our bee yard: restless queens, villains (in the form of small hive beetles), sexual intrigue (Will the virgin queens get mated?) and oppressive natural forces in the form of never ending rain.    Continue reading

How Do You Celebrate World Bee Day?

May 20 is World Bee Day.  I don’t know the proper custom for celebrating this holiday.  A magical bee fairy doesn’t come and visit children at night and leave presents.  Although, you may want to stand by your kids beds while they sleep and make a buzzing sound.   When they wake up you can yell “Surprise!  It’s World Bee Day.”  The purpose of World Bee Day is to draw attention to the plight of all bees not just the honey bees, who I believe have much better publicists than the other bees.  World bee day seemed like a good day to write a post about the status of our honey bees. Continue reading

Lessons from Our First Year of Beekeeping

My husband and I have been keeping bees for a full year now, and I have to admit that we both have become obsessed with this hobby.  We started with two nucs last spring.  Beekeeping was an adventure from the very first day.  On our way home from the bee supplier, bees kept flying out of the nuc box and filling our truck cab.  Driving with bees flying around your head can be a challenge!  We split our strongest colony last summer, and we came out of winter this year with three healthy bee colonies.  Since we just reached our one year anniversary, I thought now was an appropriate time to reflect on some of the key lessons from year one. Continue reading

Making a Bee Hotel

Most people don’t realize that over 4,000 species of bees live in North America.  Many of the same factors that threaten honey bees threaten wild bees.  Honey bees just have better publicists so you hear more about the struggles of honey bees.  People can help wild bees by making bee hotels.  Bee hotels provide habitat to some of the common wild bees such as mason bees and leaf cutter bees that make their homes in small cavities they find in wood. Continue reading