Submitted by Savannah Robinson
My bees are still staying in the hive for winter due to our cold weather. But I am happy to say they have been buzzing around on warm days getting ready for spring. I feel so blessed that they made it through winter. This has been a great experience for me. I am glad to bee apart of something that will help are Eco system for decades to come.
I can't wait till the summer of bee bliss. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I hope the hive will sustain for years to come and teach others along the way.
Submitted by Savannah in Q1
Within the last several months I have been preparing my hive for winter. The hive had insulation added to it, which came in handy in the snow. Also I learned how to make candy boards at our last meeting. It was fun mixing the sugar, water and honeybee healthy together. I made my own candy board and put on an entrance reducer. Now just to pray that they make through the winter.
Also, I am sad to say that the hive we split off is gone. I am not sure exactly what happened. It looks like sand hill hornets have robbed it. A friend has offered to split their hive next spring for me.
Submitted by Savannah in Q4
On June 10, my mentor and I decided to split the hive. This was kind of scary to me because I have never done that before, but exiting at the same time. I brought over the box that my bees had come in. We went through each frame that we were going to take. This was to make sure we did not have the queen. After our split hive was set up we had to make a new queen. This was very interesting to me. First, I waited for queen cells to pop up. They look like little peanuts.
Then after six days I killed all other queen cells but the best three. After a while a brand new queen emerged from her capsule.
Finally my mentor decided I was ready to take home my little bees. The Bridwell hive was transferred to my home on June 15. They are now safely secure in my back yard where I can watch my hive all day long.
After both hives had been at my house for a while, I began to remove the sugar water. This is so they can start to forage for themselves. They are now doing very well. The hive just keeps growing. We even had to add a box on to one. The benefits of the bees to our environment are amazing. For example, my garden has grown ten times bigger than it normally does. What a blessing they are to this world.
This summer I had the privilege to attend the Indiana State Fair. It was so fun to work the observation hive. Lots of people asked me different questions, but the most asked one would probably be where was the queen? Although after the article just released in Time magazine on the loss of bees in the USA, lots of people where curious on a beekeeper’s point of view. I was also very surprised to find how many people where afraid of the bees. But by being able to get so up [close] (and learn that they where mostly harmless) they left feeling less afraid. Like they have faced their fear. My next step is to get my bees ready for the winter by adding sugar water back to the hive as well as keeping them as happy as a bee. I am actually going to give a demonstration with one of the frames on September 14 to my 4-H club too and explain to them how they can become young beekeepers and apply for the [Brent] Bridwell scholarship.
Submitted by Savannah in Q3
I picked up the basic tools to build my hive, my gloves and my veil from Mike Seib in Mooresville, Indiana on April 6, 2013.
After I picked it up, we began building the boxes and frames. I choose to paint it a bright shimmer green and deep purple. I love things that sparkle and wanted my bees to sparkle too! In order to make my bees feel at home, I welcome them to their new setting by bedazzling "welcome" at the entrance. And, as a tribute and something for me to remember my mentor and his wife by for years to come I put "Bee Happy" on top in gems because that is how they sign all of their e-mails and it is their trade mark saying. (I just wanted to have a little bit of them left in the hive for years to come too.)
On May 23, 2013 Mike Seib drove a nuc of bees down to Spring Valley Farms in Laneville, Indiana to my hive where he met my mentor, Kenny Schneider and me. They arrived!!! (healthy & happy) They came (as I stated) in a nuc box which I can keep to catch swarms of bees in now. I learned never to stand in front of the entrance and to always work from the side. This is so you do not get in their flight pattern. If you disrupt [their] flight pattern too much, they will fly around and then congregate to hive entrance (looking like they are in a holding pattern at LAX)
Another second important tool I learned is work calmly and slow while in the hive. Be gentle and use gentle movements. Sometimes even just a gentle blow can get a bee to move.
The second time we looked at the hive we moved two honey frames either side to the outside. Then we put the brood to the middle separating them with the undrawn frames. The undrawn frames always go flush to the other frames. You always want equal space on the outside. Plus this is the first time I have worked without gloves. I love the bee kisses. Great feeling. I also learned how to properly stack the boxes when you are working in the hive. I also spotted the queen.
I am checking on the hive every two to three days depending on the weather.
On May 30, 2013 we located the queen on the burr comb. On this date we added the shallow. The hive had filled out the frames in the other shallows. We have two frames of honey/pollen and the rest are capped brood. We found where some have hatched. Also, they are drinking the sugar water quite quick. Kenny taught me to trick to put a little bit of honey in with the mix for the bees. One problem we are having is the comb building up. We are cutting it off where we can. One good thing is that the queen has moved off from one of the deep frames to a shallow. Soon we will try them original frames out.
On June 4, 2013 we removed [all] of the original deep frames and replaced them with shallows. We worked existing frames and noticed that there was brood on original deep frames. They will have to stay at least for 10 days until hatched. The hive seems to be doing very well and is very healthy.
In conclusion, I want to thank you so much for this opportunity. I appreciate everything the scholarship has provided. But, I have found the most valuable and priceless tool it has given me is the knowledge and friendship with Mr. Schneider. He is such a kind and gentle beekeeper. the lessons I am learning from him I will treasure for the rest of my life. I appreciate his time and patience. I could never learn such thins from a book or You Tube! He is an Indiana Treasure and I feel so blessed to have him as my mentor. God truly gave me a gift through the [Brent] Bridwell Project when Kenny agreed to be my mentor. I only hope I learn everything I can now and can continue to pass it down through many generations to keep bees alive and healthy in Indiana. He is amazing.