As a small time hobby beekeeper, I have resisted the urge to let me apiary grow to more than five or six hives. Well, it seems the fates have decided otherwise this year. I went into the winter with six hives and lost two. A thirty percent loss is not what I would call success but I know why one hive died and that situation will not arise again.The other, I am at a loss as to why they died.
Nonetheless, things are looking up at the farm. I ordered what I thought was two nucs back in November 2014. That would have made a perfect replacement pair for the colonies I lost. Apparently I said three, not two. So, no sweat now I have seven colonies. That is only one more that I expected.
Well, I got a call from a friend who I left a hive with and she informed me that she is probably moving and will not be able to take care of the bees. Fortunately, my wife went down to work on the old house days after I received this news.
This story was supposed to be about the perils and missteps my wife took to bring the bees home while I am off in training for work. The odd thing is everything went well. Suspiciously well. So there is really nothing to write about on that front. She headed out to the hive Saturday evening, closed it off with paper towels and duct tape and between her and my 17 year old shoved it in the truck. Today they got home about four in the afternoon and placed it on an empty spot on one of the stands. They opened it up and let the bees do what they want. No spilling of the bees, no dropping the hive, no boxes shifting during the drive. I guess that is good but admittedly does not make for good story telling.
Of course this means that I am currently sitting at eight colonies. I am not sure I have that kind of equipment laying around and the Mann-Lake March Madness sale is over. Guess I will have to get by however I can. On top of this, I still plan to put out swarm traps and do some splits of the three strong hives I have.
I guess next time I will write about setting up swarm traps. I have had a good deal of success with them in the past. Honestly, if you have the wood laying around and are halfway decent at carpentry there is no need to purchase woodenware. So catching swarms is a relatively easy and cost efficient way to get your first colony of bees. Of course you have no idea where they came from or what kind they are. But I think that is for the best. I am more about keeping the bees than getting honey from them so the type of queen does not really concern me as much (as long as they are not African stock).
So, with that in mind, until next time.