Submitted by Cole Dingman
Hello from Cole Dingman,
My bees are still alive!! They made it through an extremely cold winter. I have learned that these next few weeks are critical and are looking online to see about making my own sugar candy to get them through these last few weeks of cold weather. I have not opened my hive to inspect but today the weather was warmer and there were bees flying all around it. My stepdads hive did not look active so he opened it and there were no bees alive in it. I am looking forward to looking in mine soon to see if there are and signs of eggs, larvae, and a queen, etc...And am hoping for the best. I hope to have my mentor, Chuck Ford come and get into the hive soon.
I am so tired of winter and can’t wait for spring to come. I am honored to have been picked for the Brent Bridwell Project and I am very pleased that my bees have survived, and that I was given the opportunity to learn so much about beekeeping in just one year! I hope to continue to be a beekeeper for life and hope that I can get some honey this next fall.
Submitted by Cole in Q1
I have learned how to prepare my bees to survive the winter. My mentor, Chuck Ford, and I have not looked inside recently because he said we should only inspect if it is at least 55 degrees F. The last time we looked we had brood and eggs and drawn out comb. We have two regular hive body’s but did not have enough honey to harvest, so I have been feeding them sugar water 2:1 . They quit taking the sugar water in mid November, and I have only have seen a little activity on one day that was warm out. We put on entrance reducers to guard against mice, and put heavy block on top so top will not blow off. I am looking forward to spring and hoping my bees will be fine. I hope that I can make it to the bee school next year. I would also like to say thank you for giving me this opportunity from they Brent Bridwell family and the IBA. I would also like to thank my mentor, Chuck Ford for all of his help and expertise.
Submitted by Cole in Q4
Here is the buzz on my bees. They are doing very well and multiplying, and should have enough honey saved up to last the winter. My mentor, Chuck Ford was able to get some honey from his hives, but we put a super on mine about a month ago and when we last checked there were bees but no honey in it. The bottom two hive bodies are full and looking good. I really enjoy observing the bees activities and am learning a lot. Earlier in the summer when our persimmon trees were blooming, the bees were working in them quite a lot. I have gotten stung a few more times and now it really only hurts for a very short time and then is fine. We got into the hives several times throughout the summer and could see the progress as the bees started on one side of the hive and worked their way across and then when it was close to being full, we put a second hive body on. Later on when we looked in the hive, we could see that the bees had moved up to that body and found the queen was up there also.
Submitted by Cole in Q3
Thank you for selecting me for the Brent Bridwell project. This is an update of my beekeeping experience so far. My step dad and I went and picked up my hive box and frame kits and my mask. Then we painted and put the boxes together. Recently I got my bees. The next day my mentor, Chuck Ford came over and helped us transfer the bees to the new box. He decided because we live so close that it would be better to put the beehive at my house instead of trying to move them later because they might go back to his house if we moved them later. When we moved the bees from the nuc, there were a lot of bees and we could see that the queen was laying eggs. Some of the frames had honey. I have been watching the bees come and go with pollen. We have been feeding them sugar water. They go through a quart pretty fast, like less than a week. Chuck prefers a boardman feeder and is letting me use one of his for now. Also I put the plaque on the bottom box. We have had to refill the sugar a few times already. We plan on inspecting the hive soon.
I’m learning a lot and I hope to have some honey this fall. So far I really enjoy beekeeping. I have learned about the queen and how it lays eggs and have seen the larvae. I have seen the difference between the queen, worker bees, and drones and what their jobs are.
I have also learned about the equipment and how to light and use a smoker. Also I have been going to Chucks sometimes when he opens up his hives to inspect and have learned a lot there. He caught a swarm and it was interesting to see how he did that. I go stung one time on my ankle. I did not have a real bad reaction to it but my ankle swelled up pretty good and it hurt for awhile. For the most part my bees seem to be pretty well natured though and are very active.