Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh, Honeybees…

What have you done now?


Spring hit about a month early here in the Midwest.

The bees received the memo on that.

We did not.

Saturday afternoon I went over to feed the bees. I spied something unusual in a tree overhead the hive. Yup, it was that SOMEthing you see in the picture above.


It appears our good bees in the original hive had decided to make a split. And, without the assistance of their beekeepers. The nerve…! (go ahead and say it… ‘you snooze.. you lose’!)

A split is formed from the hive when things get a little overcrowded. A portion of the colony splits off, and begins to swarm. Certain other conditions figure in also. Normally, swarming doesn’t begin quite so early in the year. And there are things a beekeeper can do to prevent such things (including observation within the hive, and attempting to do the split themselves), but…

That’s okay. Mr. W and I needed a plan for a fun Saturday evening date. Why not capture some honeybees?!?!  I’m just thankful I happened over to the bee yard before they departed the scene. Forever!

Here’s a video of our adventures to save the bees. If you reallllly love bees and are interested in this, you may want to watch the entire 10 minutes. Otherwise, maybe just snippets. Also I have to note that it’s a bit of a challenge to video while donning a bee veil. Therefore, I am sorry for some video hiccups and ground footage!

Hopefully, the Queen was saved, and this new hive will thrive!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we went as scheduled to pick up our package bees from Walk-about Acres the following day.

I loved their directive signs :)bee sign

One of these buzzing packages was ours!pallet o bees

It was chilly, in the 50’s.. but as soon as we returned home, we proceeded to install the Minnesota Hygienic bees and the Queen (in cage) in a new box. I’ll keep you posted on how they do.



In a day or so, the Queen should eat her way out of her cage. The candy cork was removed and a mini-marshmallow was stuffed in. This was a trick we learned at the Beekeeping Workshop earlier this year. This delay will prevent the other bees from killing her (if she releases too soon).

Did I mention Mr. W built several brood boxes and supers late in the Winter? Thank Goodness.. looks like we’ll be using them all up at this rate! He did a GREAT job, by the way. They even have the recessed hand holds. I have to brag on him!

Now we officially have three hives. Exciting!

The bees have some nice pastoral scenery surrounding them. This is the pond that serves as a backdrop to the Bee Yard. pond

Did I also mention this is our 200th blog post? Wow, as slow as I’ve become at blogging, I thought I’d never make it to this point. Never say never! In honor of the 200th post we’re preparing for maybe a little somethin’ special in the near future.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!!

Linking up @ Homestead Revival’s 59th Barn Hop!


Unknown said...

Very cool! I happened upon a 'wild' swarm in our orchard over the weekend. The beekeeper who currently has a hive on our property came and collected it! Very neat to wacth!

TexWisGirl said...

congrats on recapturing the 'strays'. hope all of your hives do well!

Patty Sumner said...

Super interesting. My hubby and me have always wanted to do bees. Maybe someday....thanks for sharing. Blessings!

Unknown said...

Good job! I'm not sure how I pictured capturing a swarm but a hive box...go figure! : ) Doh!

My queen arrives in three weeks to do a split, and I'm hoping this doesn't happen before then!

libbyquilter said...

oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh~! oooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh~!!!~
what a fantastic 200th post~!~
congratulations on both the post milestone and the health of your hives. i think if i were a bee living by that beautiful pond i would flourish as well~!!~

i did take a beekeeping class this last february and was all stoked up to finally start my own hives this spring but my wonderful daughter was unable to take her dog with her and so lovely granddog suki now lives with us. she's a handful and especially in combo with river (my dog). between the two, i've decided to give them a smidge more growing up/maturing time before i take on the bee challenge.
darn it anyway.

i'll return later to watch (and probably rewatch) the video. i've got a prior commitment that i'm running a wee bit late for at the moment.

what a fabulous blog share~!!~


Unknown said...

Wow, Tammy, that was an exciting evening I'm sure! What a blessing that you went out when you did and saw them splitting! I hope the Queen is saved, but if not, will they typically stay around long enough for you to requeen?

Karen said...

Wow! I've never seen anything like this. I'm amazed at how it all came together, like herding cats!

Congratulations on your 200th post, Tammy!

daisy g said...

Congrats on your 200th post!

One of the things I want to do when we move is host bees, so I appreciate all the information you provided here!
Continued blessings!

Blondee said...


You did a fantastic job. We had a wild swarm in our woods a few years back and the sound was so loud, louder than I would have imagined.

Anonymous said...

Lots of excitement! I hope all your hard work pays off and the hives do well.

Gone Country said...

How exciting! I enjoyed the video. I would've like to have heard the buzz of the bees for a bit.

Looks like you built the extra boxes just in time.

One day I'd like to have bees. I bought 'The Backyard Beekeeper' book and when we're ready I'm going to be studying it!

Anonymous said...

Tammy how exciting! I wouldn't be playing with bees myself but you are doing a fine job. Good luck with the queen! I love your turtle header~too cute!

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

You guys have guts! I'd be scared to death. Guess that's why I have honey in a little plastic bear container!

McVal said...

Awesome bees! And congrats on your 200th post!

Lynda said...

I love cooking with honey but bees freak me out - - - to the point of trying not to have a panic attack while watching the video! I have been stung by them and wasps throughout childhood. My last wasp sting as an adult almost sent me to the hospital due to an allergic reaction.
All that said, your video was VERY INTERESTING! I may put your post of this on my next post.
Questions -- - how do the bees know to go into the box and why do they want to? Is it because they don't have to build the home?
When the bees were being swept with the broom, why didn't they get mad and attack? They just seemed to "go with the flow".
Thanks again for a very informative and educational post - - and now I am seriously praying I don't dream about bees tonight!

Jenny said...

You are a brave, brave woman. Seriously.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I sure wouldn't be brave enough to have bees, but I love the honey from them! My hubby was just telling me yesterday that while mowing my walking path through our Back 6 that he saw a huge (to him, anyway) swarm of bees around a hole in a Black Oak in the pasture. He was thinking there might be honey, but I sure don't know how we'd get to it!!

Prairie Cat said...

Good thing that you spotted it and was able to keep them from flying off to greener pastures!

Joy Tilton said...

Watched the whole video and now I have a better understanding of what my Dad was talking about when he would say the bees swarmed! You guys are professionals at this!

Farming On Faith said...

I loved this post~ I have sent the link to my husband. We have been thinking about getting bees.
Thanks for sharing!
Happy Monday

Barbara said...

Wow so interesting, I want bees, lol

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Hey sweet Tammy, I've always been interested in the beekeepin' and honey process but I'm deathly allergic...probably not a great idea!

I so love the whole process of catchin' the bees. It was fascinatin' to me all tucked in the safety of my family room! Heeeheheh!

God bless ya sweetie and have a great Mother's Day weekend!!! :o)

Unknown said...

So interesting! I would love to keep bees, but my son is allergic. Thankfully my husband's aunt has bees and can keep us in that good honey.

This is my first time at your blog I found you through Life @ Cobble Hill Farm and I see you know Nezzy, too!

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Our neighbor just got bees. What interesting creatures they are. I hope someday to trade eggs for honey!

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