Submitted by Noah Brisco
The winter has really been uneventful as far as my bees are concerned. There was a warm day in late February where we were able to check my hive. It felt like the hive was light and when we opened it up, the bees were clustered near the top of the hive. I had read that if the bees are clustered near the top of the hive that it means that their food supply might be low. My dad and I made some candy for the bees and placed it on the top of the frames in the upper box. It was a few weeks after that when the temperatures were warm enough that we could open the hive again. It was neat to see that the bees had eaten most of the candy. We whipped up another batch and put it in the hive as well. This was about a week ago. One neat thing that I noticed last week was that the bees had cleaned out a bunch of dead bodies. There were a couple of hundred of them in front of the hive that weren't there a day or two before. I had read that the bees will do this when a day is warm enough and they take their cleansing flights.
The only thing that I know to do for the spring is place some grease patties in the hive. My dad and I have a recipe and will put the patties in the hive in early April. We have also purchased a second hive as well as a nuc. We'll start the second hive in late April and use it to compare against the other hive. I don't think we'll be able to have more than 2 hives as we live in a neighborhood.
Submitted by Noah in Q1
A lot has happened in the past several months with my hive. We introduced a new queen in July. We saw that our queen was missing and our hive had begun to make queen cells. My mentor decided that it would take too much time to wait on the queen cells. So we bought a new queen and put her in the hive. It was neat to see how the bees got through the sugar cube to let her out. Our new queen began to lay brood very quickly and the hive got stronger during the summer.
In September, we noticed that the weight of the hive began to get lighter. Tom said that his stronger hives might be stealing honey from my hive. We moved the hive to my house a few weeks later and it had gotten really light by then. My dad and I put sugar water in the hive so that our bees could create honey and store it for the winter. I was surprised at how much sugar water the bees ate. The hive probably got 30 to 40 pounds heavier over the next month. The bees stopped taking as much sugar water as I guess they had enough honey. We haven't touched the hive for about a month as the weather has gotten cold. Now, we're waiting for spring to see if our bees have made it.
Submitted by Noah in Q4
I began my adventure as a beekeeper the first few days of May 2012. Since then I have learned so many new things that I never knew about bees and beekeeping itself. One thing I learned during my first few weeks of beekeeping was how to build a super and frames. I never knew so much work had to be done just to make an artificial beehive. My dad and I, along with my sister, figured out how to glue the box in a certain way to reduce the amount of glue used. I also noticed that the frames seemed a little weak, so I made a few improvements to the design which made it more stable.
Another thing I learned about beekeeping was what each type of bee does. There are three main types of bees: worker, drone, and queen. The worker bee is the group that goes out and brings pollen back from flowers. Their pollen is then used to make honey and feed the colony. Pollen is identified by its distinctive red color. Drone bees are the male bees of the colony. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen. If the drone is successful in doing this, he instantly dies. Young drone bees are fed by worker bees while older drones feed themselves from the honey stored in the hive. There can be up to a couple thousand drone bees in a hive at one time. Queen bees are the most important. A queen’s job is to lay larvae in the comb. There is only one queen in a hive at a time and is fed a special food called royal jelly. However, when the current queen becomes weak and is about to die, the hive will begin preparing two or three more queen cells to take the old queens place.
Interesting Fact- a queen will only mate once but with several drone bees during the one time.