Somehow I found myself with just one child in the house and we took it as an opportunity for this curious 7 year old to do some beekeeping apprenticeship on our sod roof apiary. I have determined the bees are not making any extra honey for us this year. Which is not atypical for a first year hive. I put a honey super on a couple of weeks ago with high hopes, but now I am just going to set my hopes to winter over this hive so they have a solid foundation for year two. Even though our bees do not put us in the honey business, we do learn from them. I was happy to share this experience today with one of my children. He seemed to enjoy himself as well!
Yesterday afternoon I took a peek into my beehive, to check on progress. I found evidence of eggs, larva and many healthy worker bees. There is nectar and some honey stores. I did put on a honey super, but so far they have not made any honey to share with me, which is pretty typical of a first year hive, especially in northern climates. I was pleasantly surprised with a picking of wild raspberries that were abundant on the sod-rooftop where we keep the hive.
I continue to enjoy learning about bees and local flowers and wildlife with the experience of beekeeping. I hope you enjoy following along!
After several days of cool weather and rain (Sunday we fired up our wood stove it was so cold), we finally had a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors. We filled it up with a morning outing to a nearby beach then more time outdoors at home, whereas this mama tended to the garden and bees then hiked up our back ridge with the kids in search of ripe berries. I usually find a few blues before the 4th of July, last year at this time we found a few more than we did today, but we did find some! It has been a great day to experience the sunshine.
Here are just a couple of snapshots from the workings inside my beehive. They are making progress with their colony size and there are some honey stores (not much, but some). I am keeping a close eye, monitoring and treating for Varroa in effort to build them up as strong as they can be.
These last weeks of school are a whirlwind. With my own responsiblities and happenings as well as those of our family (our four children are getting busier and moving in all of their own directions with there interests and activities) I have not found that much time for updating this space.
However, I am taking a few minutes today to share a snapshot of my garden that I just planted. You may notice I went all out with weed covering this year.
I also am sharing some pictures from my hive investigation this morning, I was happy to see things moving along with the bees. They are doing what they are suppose to do - and it is a privilege for me to watch, nurture and help them out in my own little way.
Signing off for now -
Happy Weekending Friends!
What is wrong with this picture? Snow! It is however spring in Northern Minnesota. We do not exactly welcome snow in late April, but we cannot rule it out.
As you can tell from the images above I am giving beekeeping a go this year, starting again with a nucleus colony of bees to get as much of a head start as I can given our limited season in my northern Minnesota north woods.
They are installed and already settling into their new home. I am already enjoying the familiar sights, sounds and smells of the beekeeping experience, happy to welcome bees back into our hobby farm - and the experience of learning about them - and from them back into my life.
I spent a little time with my friends the bees late this afternoon, investigating their progress for the month of August. I found lots of healthy bees!
This particular hive is pretty frisky. I try to emanate a sense of calm, but these bees tend to get aggravated easily and they show it by swarming around my head and face and hitting up against my veil...in large groups.
So today's investigation was pretty quick, I just pulled out some frames from the top super, took some snapshots, then retreated to my garage armed with my smoker and bee suit. My plan is to keep the honey in the hive for the bees going into the winter and we will see if they make it through. I will probably check on them again at the end of September before I bundle them up for the winter.
I will keep you posted on the progress!
Sharing some snapshots of honeybee goodness today. With my investigation I found evidence of a relatively strong hive with developing brood, nectar, capped honey and pollen.
I am happy with what I was able to see.
capped cells of brood (worker bee larva growing inside)
The more bubbly, extended brood is drone brood, the hive needs workers -not drones at this point.
lot's of nectar, but not a surplus amount of capped honey
Sharing a couple of snapshots of a recent investigation of my beehive.
They seem to be doing just fine - not especially great, but not anything to really worry about either.
There is evidence of brood, nectar, honey and plenty of bees. I am content and eager to follow the development of this colony of bees throughout the summer.
I hope you enjoy tagging along!
This morning I installed a nucleus colony of honeybees! I am happy to be embarking on a new season of beekeeping. I am learning a little more each year - and most of all enjoying the experience.
I had some frames with capped honey that I saved in my deep freezer to put in with this new hive. I also saved the honey lined plastic foundation from my honey harvest that the bees gravitated to right away.
With a yard full of dandelions and apple blossoms and a forest rich with blueberry blossoms, I know they have some nectar to seek out along with a variety of pollen sources.
Now we have chickens, pigs, a planted garden and honeybees. A perfect way to start my summer break!