Snowy Days in the Apiary

Well. These pictures were taken last week, and we thought that would be the last of winter.  Wrong! Ironically, 2 days ago the bees were actively flying (doing their “cleansing flights” aka “pooping)… today, they are hive-bound due to snow yet again. How fast things can change! (and how adaptable these amazing insects are!) While we had one beautiful day (in the 50’s) 2 days ago (on Sunday), this morning we woke up to big fat, juicy snowflakes falling across

Early Activity 2015

This past weekend we saw some very warm temperatures (into the mid-60’s, ~18 celsius) and both hives were very active!  Rob managed to capture some videos of some very interesting behavior at the hive entrance.  If you look closely in both videos, you’ll notice a bee exiting one of the holes of the mouse guard (the white strip of metal), dragging a dead bee out.  She’s on “undertaker” duty, performing the necessary task of removing the bodies of any bees

They live!!!

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts!  A lot has happened in our little bee yard, and I promise to retroactively write all about it…but first, just wanted to tell how happy we are that we confirmed this weekend that the girls are alive and hopefully hanging in there even with all this cold weather.  For the last week, average temps have been well below freezing with one night dipping down to 9 F or -13C! (insert mocking

A guest helper in the bee yard

This past weekend I was lucky enough to have some new help in the bee yard! My sister-in-law who is visiting was brave enough to suit up and take notes for me during our hive inspections. She did an outstanding job! As usual, Queen Beeyonce made an appearance, and when I asked my sister-in-law if she wanted to see the queen up close: “Pay your respect to Her Majesty!” Beeyonce (and I) do NOT take no for an answer! 😉 ~E

Queen cups vs. Swarm cells vs. Supercedure cells!

Well, we’ve made a new and interesting/mildly worrying observation in our hives recently. That is, the presence of so-called “queen cups” in both hives. These are enlarged, rounded cells that the workers have constructed on the face of a frame: Thankfully, they are empty (i.e. no egg or larva in them). Based on 1. the position of the cup on the frame (it’s in the middle, and not hanging off the bottom), 2. the fact that there are only a

Feelin’ hot hot hot!

Fourth of July here has come and gone, and you know what that means around here?  Temperatures are soaring! In the upper 90’s (that’s over 35 C for my family and friends back home), and we haven’t had much, if any rain for almost 2 weeks.  The garden is wilting, the dog doesn’t want to spend much time out in the yard, and even the bees are feeling the heat. While they can “air condition” their hive by using evaporative

Celebrating Canada Day!

I hope all my Canadian friends and family had a great Canada Day yesterday!  Imagine my surprise when I got home last night and saw the girls were proudly flying the maple leaf! And I was told these were Italian bees 😉  Guess they take after their beekeepers! Will have to see if they fly the Stars and Stripes on the Fourth!

Queen Elsa makes her appearance!

Finally after almost 2 months, we caught a glimpse of our shy queen, Queen Elsa last night! Queen Elsa is noticeably skinnier than Beeyonce, and her abdomen appears more dark brown than golden brown.  As Elsa is in the weaker hive, we think she may not be mated as well…which would explain the non-distended belly. What do you think?                     Long live the Queens! E  


As the hives grow and things start happening,  I’m really glad we started off on the right foot and have been taking good notes.  Well…let me rephrase that, Rob is the note-taker while I dictate what I’m observing as I inspect each frame. This joint team effort is really paying off as you can see: Here, he’s recorded a frame-by-frame (“F1, F2” etc) description of brood pattern (whether it’s eggs, larvae, capped, or not), and how much pollen and nectar

Ask 10 beekeepers a question…

There’s a saying in the beekeeping world: Ask 10 beekeepers a question and you will get at least 11 different answers…let me add to that and say: Post a simple question in an online beekeeping forum and you will get as many different answers as responses, AND start an argument over global warming, overuse of plastics in our throw-away-society, and rainforest deforestation!  It’s amazing how a thread can be hijacked so quickly lol. In the end, I did get some

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