Final Submission by Nyla Rose Dugle
Last year I started my hive late. It was doing really well, but the concern was that it was too small to survive through winter. It managed to pull through, but died due to the late spring frost.
When I first got my hive my dad wanted one too. So it became a family hobby. Mom helps when we catch swarms and helps look for the queens when we check the hives. I help Dad with the bees and he does the main stuff since they are his.
When we heard that my hive had died, dad told me that we could buy a new hive to go in the box. My dad said that we could buy some new bees, but I didn't know what kind of bees I wanted. One evening before I had decided if I wanted a pollinating hive or a honey hive (those were the two I was deciding between because I wanted to start collecting pollen to eat), I was in the garden and noticed a lot of activity over at the edge of the vegetable patch. When I went to investigate I was very excited to see that it was a swarm! We caught the bees and put them in my box!
The swarm has thrived and gotten bigger and grown to a whole hive. They are the perfect hardy bees seeing as they had split from the hive as soon as they could in the spring! My bees have blossomed into the ideal Indiana bee hive!
Dad and I caught 9 swarms this spring. We had some new hives that just didn't grow as fast as others. This week we had to combine six of our small hive together. We looked at each hive to determined which queen to keep and which one to dispatch or place into a nuc. We quickly realized that we are very bad at finding queens and needed my moms help a coup,e of time! We placed newspaper between the hive boxes we combined. We sprayed the newspaper with sugar water. We were told that it helped the bees get through the paper. Dad decided to save a couple queens in case we lost a queen. We made nucs out of the saved queens. We went from eleven hives to eight. They all look great. We are ready for the fall honey flow. We have lots of fields of golden rod. My Dad loves golden rod honey. He said it reminds him of the smell of butter scotch.
The Brent Bridwell project is amazing. It has given me a whole new experience. Even though my bees died, I still got more because I love having them so much! I am very thankful for this experience! I am also grateful to my bee mentor Ginger and all the other beekeepers we have met. When I am asked about beekeeping, I always suggest that they get a hive as well! It's a great hobby to have.
Submitted by Nyla in Q3
This winter has been very cold and long. At the beginning of the winter we moved the bees into a single deep box. My hive was small because I started them in late summer. Due to this, we added dry sugar to the top of the hive, and we also added a pollen patty.
The weather has been a little rough on my bees. They have had plenty of warm days to fly out of the hive but they have been followed by very cold ones. Ginger said this is bad because they don’t have enough time to re-cluster in the hive to stay warm. Most hives started late like mine die because of this weather, but mine have pulled through so far.
This spring we will be trying to manage swarming tendencies so they can build themselves up. We will get them moved into my medium hive bodies. If they get built up enough this spring and summer, we might get honey. However, since they will be moved this year, their home needs to be stable before we take any honey from them.
My family and I have really enjoyed this project. My dad got a few hives of his own because I talked about how much I loved my bees! My mom has read a few books on bees also. Between the two of them I have had a lot of questions for Ginger. I can’t wait until I get my bees home we have a huge field of wild flowers and I want to see how well they thrive.
Submitted by Nyla in Q1
My bees are all snug in their hive waiting for spring. I have learned a lot during this fall in preparing my bees for winter. Yellow jackets were robbing the hive so we reduced the hive entrance to help the bees so they could protect the hive. We added mouse guards to keep unwanted critters out of the hive. Then we checked the honey stores and made sure they had plenty of extra sugar and pollen patties to get them through the winter months.
We used the Mountain Camp Method to supply the bees with extra food. This method is very easy to do. We simply placed an empty shallow super on top of the hive below the inner cover, then placed a newspaper over the top bars of the frames, and add the desired amount of sugar on the newspaper; then put the inner and outer cover back on. It is important to make sure that no part of the newspaper is exposed to the outside elements. If any part of the newspaper is exposed, it will bring moisture into the hive, and possibly kill the bees.
We then added a bee cozy around the hive to help my bees stay warm inside. They are made of black plastic (resembling a thick plastic garbage bag) with insulation inside. We placed a four inch piece of branch to hold it away from the bee entrance and bee escape area. We also added a paper board that fits in the top of the hive to pick up moisture from the bees. I learned that moisture is more harmful to my bees that the cold. I can’t wait to see my bees in the spring!
Submitted by Nyla in Q4
If you ever go to my mentor’s house you’ll see how devoted she is to her bees. That’s what makes her so good at it. She’s got three different areas where she keeps her bees and all the equipment imaginable, but when you look at her bee yard there’s one hive that stands out from the rest. It has a nuc on the bottom and two mediums on top. It also has a medium for the feeder. You’re thinking “that’s not that different”, but what’s so strange about my hive is that it is painted with a vibrant green and a mellow purple. If you pry open the lid and feeder and look around you might find my queen. She is a gorgeous Russian that has a matching green spot on her back. It’s the same color as my hive. The first day I meet Ginger was the day we put my hive together. She told me that my hive would come in a nuc with five deeps. There were two options for the predicament we were in. One, I could put my deeps checker boarded in between the mediums frames, but I would be using two medium boxes for the deeps that over hung. The second option would be to leave the bees in the nuc and use a nuc introduction board to set my mediums on. This way we could use the maximum space in the bee hive. This option seemed most logical to me because the bees will build on the lower part of the overhanging deeps to fill the gap and I would be breaking the comb every time I opened my hive. Also when my queen moved up I could put a queen excluder down and let them fill it with honey for winter. Ginger Davidson is the BOMBDIGGITY when it comes to mentoring me! Every time I go to her house she has me ask questions for her. After we check on my hive, she shows me a handful of hers so I can understand them and answer my own questions. One time I asked how to rise queens and she showed me her queen raising hive and the whole process of it. It was really cool. She also helps out with a lot of stuff, like the state fair and she did this thing at Cliffy Falls State Park that talked about bees. They had honey ice cream and crafty little bees that you could make. I thought I lucked out when I won the Brent Birdwell project but I really lucked out when I got Ginger to be my mentor. Thank you for this opportunity to meet Ginger and have my first hive. This will be one hobby I will always stick with.