This is a journal I will be keeping to document my experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, in beekeeping. This will be my first year, 2011, keeping bees. We'll see how it goes. I will be keeping bees naturally, letting them build on foundationless frames, and without medication. This is also my first blog I have ever done and I am by no means a journalist or English major. So, if you see grammatical errors of any and all kinds don't be surprised. The looks of things on the blog will probably change several times before I come up with something that I like.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And then there were Two

My family had ordered a package for me and Aiden earlier this year. It was scheduled to ship out on the 3rd of May. They shipped out actually a day earlier than intended and I received them on May 4th.  I, of course, had to work over on that day and was able to get Carl to pick them up for me.  Melissa, Aiden, and I drove to Carl's to pick them up.  He told me that it would probably be best to get them hived as soon as possible.  So, once we got home Aiden and I got on our gear and went to work.  It was just starting to get dusky dark about the time we dumped them in.   I really wished I could've done it a little bit earlier than that but whats done is done. 

I let them go undisturbed for about 3 days before I check on the queen and to make sure everything was going good.  While doing the inspection on day three I saw that they had already let her out and she was already laying eggs.  They had started to build some extra comb in the open space where the queen cage once was so I removed it.  On the second frame I looked at stood the queen herself.  She wasn't quite as big as the queen in my bee tree hive.  She moved around the comb very fast.

All seems to be going very well with both hives.  I have capped honey in the bee tree hive.  Here is some  pictures of a complete frame of brood they have. 
 The brood pattern looks a little sporadic but if you click on each pic you can see that every open cell has nectar stored in it.  So I'm not sure if they just ran out of room to store it and started storing in the brood area or if she isn't laying that well.  I am guessing the first because they are still building comb as fast ast they can and using it as soon as it's built.  I have one foundationless frame that has a small band of honey across the top and nothing but pollen all throughout the rest of the comb. 

I done an inspection earlier today.  It was rainy this morning and had cleared to a nice blue sky.  Toward the end of the inspection I started hearing thunder off in the distance, I looked up and saw that the sky wasn't so blue any more.   I finished up and closed the hive and went in to eat lunch.  I came out a little bit later and saw what appears to be several bees doing orientation flights.  (Approximately 30-50)  After about 15 min or so they kinda calmed down and my other hive right beside them is starting to pick up the activity at the entrance just like its neighbor did previously.   I am not for sure as to what they were doing but it appeared to be orientation flights, but why all of a sudden that many at once?  And one hive, then the other.

This video is of the second hive doing the activity stated above.

The hive closest to you is the package hive.  Furthest away is the bee tree hive.  Bear in mind the amount of activity in this video is way more than normal for the package hive.  And for them to do it one right after the other is very confusing to me.  They weren't doing anything other than flying back and forth in front of the hive.  They have since calmed down and are now back to "normal" activity levels.

Here is another picture drawn by Aiden.  It's of the package he is holding at the beginning of this post.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Your son holding 3#s of bees and smiling made me smile too. His artwork cinched it - I just love your blog!

    - the Luddite

  2. doooh (loud smack to forehead)!!!! have been following your blog avidly, but somehow did not have you as a link on my blog.

    egregious oversight fixed.

  3. Thanks so much Bethany, I tell Aiden of your compliments as soon as I read them. It pleases him so much that you like his artwork.

  4. Hi James,
    Congratulations on the 2nd colony. 2 hives are easier to manage than one. Good luck.

    Though i'm not sure what I'm looking at in the frame picts. What's that white bar in the top part of the frames?

  5. Hemlock,
    Thanks for the comment. I like having 2 as opposed to 1 for a bunch of reasons. 1 being I stagger the inspections so it feels like I'm getting in the bees more often. I love to "get into them".

    The white piece you see is actually a starter strip made from coroplast. (Election signs) I now know this was way too big for a starter strip. Rookie mistake, its also too much trouble, I think, and now I just flip the wedge.

  6. So glad I ran across your blog. This was also my first year with bees but I didn't have much luck. Wax moths ruined my hives. I'll try again next spring...and I'll be watching to see how you do.