Category Archives: Bees

Swarm Season

First, the good news: our 2 brand new hives are doing what they should be doing at this stage, drawing out comb, collecting nectar, bringing in pollen, and the Queens are starting to lay eggs. Now the bad news: Hive 1 (Queen Charlotte), our established hive that came through winter like a champ…well, a week ago this hive swarmed 🙁 Our web cam captured the moment of mass exodus, which is actually pretty amazing. It’s like rats from a sinking ship…

New Kids on the Block: More Bees!!!!

Exciting news, on the weekend we added 2 new hives to our apiary, for a total of 3! (I know what you’re thinking, you thought we already had 2 hives…sadly, we lost one to mites last fall and I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it yet). We picked up 2 “packages” of 3 lbs bees each: The first time we installed our bees, we did it just the 2 of us.  Now, 2 years later we felt brave

Spring Fever

This weekend we had a brief respite from winter, and the ladies took advantage of it!  I spent some time observing the comings and goings at the hive entrance.  Looked pretty busy, and a lot of pollen was being brought in. Some bright orange/yellow, as well as some pale almost cream colored pollen. I’m thinking some might be the beginning of the red maple pollen (see our previous post about the importance of the maples as an early spring pollen

Happy 2016!

Happy 2016! Welcome new and old blog subscribers. Here’s to a year filled with bouncing baby bees, heavenly honey, and plentiful pollen!   One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep the blog more up-to-date…I also want to make it more interactive, so if you have any burning bee biology questions, write them in the comments! 2016 will bring exciting times to the apiary, as we are planning on increasing to 3 hives this year.  This April, it will be 2 years

Bottling time!

Just a quick update on the bottling. Last night I did up some small (8 oz) jars to share with family on our trip home: This is less than 1/3rd of our total honey harvest! More will be bottled up when we return.

Swarm update 2: they’re gone! No wait…

The morning after our swarm retrieval attempt, there they were, still up on that #%!#* branch, mocking us. However, when Rob got home from work yesterday they were gone 😢 That makes it almost 48 hrs (at least) that they hung out on that branch before up and leaving. Seems like quite a long time to be in limbo, no? At any rate, we wished them well and got on with our lives until…this afternoon I got a text from

Swarm update: Make up your mind ladies!

In case you missed it, 2 days ago we discovered a swarm clustered about 40 feet up a tree in our backyard. The next afternoon it was still there, and only a few scout bees were checking out our bait hive.  The branch they were on was too high to safely reach with even our longest ladder. I had seen just enough crazy YouTube videos to think there might still be a way! Let’s just say there are some creative folks out there:


Today (May 4th), just as I was thinking about leaving work and heading to the gym I get this frantic text from Rob (and my panicked reply): Apparently, he had just happened to look out the back window and noticed a dark mass hanging off a branch about 30-40 feet up in a tree in the back yard. So I raced home, sure that it was one of our hives that had swarmed! When we had done our inspection on

Cool video of the day: time-lapse from egg to hatching honeybee!

Saw this amazing video linked to from Facebook today and had to share!  The developmental metamorphosis from a single egg, to a larva, then pupa, and finally emerging adult is stunning!  Stuff like this makes both my inner bee geek and science nerd happy 😉 PS: Did anyone else notice those disgusting varroa mites scuttling around on the pupal stage though??? Gross.

Red maple bloom: Gather ye pollen while ye may!

Remember way back in this early post where I described a bit about what types of plants bees are attracted to in different seasons? Well, during “bee school” last year (an excellent course put on by the Orange County Beekeepers Association), one of the instructors talked about the red maple as being one of the earliest blooming trees in the area, and at the time I was pleased to note that there is a huge red maple in our front yard, and a lot more throughout the neighborhood.  Here it is this year in

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