Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's Bee Again

A bunch of you have asked how my beekeeping escapades are going.  Since I'm totally new to this and most of you are, too, let me show you a day in the life (or, more like 30 minutes in the life) of a beginner beekeeper.

I head to my side field to feed my bees every few days.  Since they are new hives, still building up their honey stash, I give them a mixture of sugar and water to help them along...

Here are the hives, relatively quiet before I bust in.  They are different heights because I am using two types of feeders.  The hive on the left has a feeder inside the bottom box and the hive on the right has a hive top feeder (that smaller box on top of the two larger ones):

Just a few bees around the entrances...

After filling the hive top feeder with the sugar mixture, I put the feeder aside and start to look into the brood boxes.  The top box was just empty frames when we started less than a month ago...

 My hive tool, dripping with honey (and a few errant bees)...

Here's a view of the inside of the other hive.  The black frame on the left is this hive's feeder.

Once I've filled it up with sugar water, I pull out a frame to see how things are progressing...

...and it's good news!  If you look carefully, you can see that there are baby bees (this sounds way cuter than "bee larvae").  This means this hive's queen bee is laying eggs and doing well!  Since my new-bee (hardy-har) eyes can't distinguish the queen among the thousands of other bees yet, this is a good sign that she is doing well.

It was when I opened up the second hive that the bees started getting really agitated.  They were flying all around me, but here's the only shot I got of that... one lonely bee.  It was about this time that a bee crawled herself under my veil and stung me on the collarbone.  Jesse, working in the yard, heard me shouting obscenities (so did my nearest neighbors, who I could see having dinner on their back porch). He came running to make sure everything was okay since I'd transitioned to yelling "there's one in my suit" and hopping around slapping my chest.  By the time he got there, though, I was over the sting and yelling to him "THEY ARE MAKING HONEY!".  Crazy wife.  Crazy new neighbor.

Here's the after shot, all closed up again.  The bees are all hot and bothered and gathered around the entrances (a bunch of them flew out when I was inspecting the frames and they're heading back in).

So there it is... 3 weeks into beekeeping and we have laying queens, dripping golden honey, and I only have 4 beestings!


  1. SO cool. I'm in love with this. I'd love to see some start-up costs on this if you ever want to do a post on that! I'm so impressed with your bees and that suit is hot LOL. Congrats.

    1. Oh you mean BESIDES the ten pound bags of sugar I'm buying every few days :) Good idea - I will work on it!

  2. That is SO very cool! Thanks for risking your life (haha) and posting pics of the progress!!

  3. Hahaha I LOVE the "one lonely bee" that you captured. Hilarious. You and your bees.

  4. I think that this is the greatest thing ever! I love reading about your bee adventures..mainly because they make me laugh, mostly because I would be doing the same thing...right down to the yelling at the bee in my suit! As much as I would love the hobby farm idea and would love to have an appiary, I am deathly allergic to bees and those four stings would most likely have killed me by now. Ahhhh...if only there was a better bee suit...lol.


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