I’m happy to see that my backyard bees don’t care about COVID-19. Here are some clips of tiny tongues slurping up sugar syrup and rainwater.
It’s warming up a bit and I needed to swap out hive boxes so I did a little beekeeping today and made a video –
I caught three swarms earlier this year and I’m pretty sure at least two of them were from my own colony. They were doing much better in the spring than I realized and had seriously outgrown the hive. I kept one for myself, gave one to a neighbor, and combined the third back into the original colony because it ended up queen-less.
My two hives produced 24 medium frames of honey, which I harvested last week into about 6 gallons or 72 lbs.
Here’s a quick summary of the process:
And here’s the video of the first swarm earlier this year –
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 –