My hive didn’t do so well over the winter. The queen is still there but I only found a few hundred bees around her (normal hive is in the tens of thousands – healthy hive is 70,000). I moved them to a nuc (small 5-frame box) to see if they can turn things around — if they do, I’ll have two hives.
I ordered a new package of bees, which I installed Saturday. Today I released the queen who stays in her own cage for several days until the new bees (who aren’t her kin) decide she smells ok and can be their matriarch. She has already mated with some drones in California, so she has all she needs to lay up to 2,000 eggs a day (less in the winter) for 5 years or so. The other bees’ job is to keep the queen alive and prepare cells so she can lay eggs that will hatch into their replacements. Tough life. After a month or so the whole hive will be the new queen’s progeny.
Here’s a little video, at half speed, of today’s hive entrance activity –
And some photos –
Exciting times! After about 14 months of beekeeping, we harvested our first frame of honey. It produced about a quart. I’m not sure what to expect for the full season, but it should be somewhere around 10 quarts.
I decided to document the whole process because it’s the sort of thing I would have appreciated knowing going into it. Here’s the 10-minute video:
Amazon links to some of the supplies we used:
- Cute little bear bottles
- Honey strainer
- Honey extractor
- Uncapping fork
- Honey filter, if you prefer to crush and strain rather than use an extractor
And a few photos –
Some slow-motion footage of the bees in the backyard. Note the chicken tripping in the background right at the start.