To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Barn hives prepped for winter

Here we are in late August.  Change is in the air.  It’s still hot and sunny, but the bees know something’s coming.  They’ve shifted into winter prep.  The queen is focused on building up a population of bees to help her through the winter ahead, while the workers are feverishly gathering anything they can to fill every available space.  While winter doesn’t seem that close just yet consider it from the bee’s perspective.  12 bees spend their short lifetime collecting nectar, all to produce just 1 teaspoon of honey.  To survive a winter in Indiana, the bees need a lot more than that, in the range of 100 pounds or so!  The bees have built up well this year, but haven’t packed away quite as much as they’ll need to get by, so I’ll be watching this closely in the coming weeks.  All the hives are into their winter setup of 3 boxes.  They’ll be organizing things for the cold days ahead. Continue reading “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

And we’re off…!


It’s been a while since my last post.  Thanks to good weather I’ve had little time to spare so I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like.  At my last post news was not good.  We lost a lot of hives this year.  While we were still in winter mode awaiting spring, it suddenly jumped right to summer with May delivering day after day of high 90’s and little rain.  Blooms were good, but the dry weather did little in the way of nectar for the bees.  The pollen was great though, and the hives built up quickly.  I did my queen rearing a month late due to weather, but still got 8 new queens to add to my surviving 4.  I split several hives to receive them.  I also spent time with all the failed hives cleaning up frames and boxes, painting them and doing repairs as needed.  We also added some new equipment this year. Continue reading “And we’re off…!”

A rough start to 2018

Winter 2017 Survival

We’ve had a few warm days lately which gave a chance to check on the bees at home and the farm.  When things warm up, the bees come out for a stretch and a much needed bathroom break.  This also allows them to move around in the hive to find food if needed.  At a glance, I knew I had trouble with a few hives, so I decided to open each one up to see what was going on.  When I started opening the hives, I found  Continue reading “A rough start to 2018”

Winter wraps

Winter Wrap

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about the bees.  In the fall, they slow down as they hunker down for the long winter.  I’ve checked them less often, making sure they’re in good shape but not enough to interfere with their process.  In the fall, they work to seal up any honey, use propolis to fill gaps and cracks, and generally go into winter mode.  We’re now seeing Continue reading “Winter wraps”

Finally into thirds

7-8-2017 All into thirds.

All the hives at the farm are finally up into their third box.  They still need to build the wax combs, then fill all the boxes with Continue reading “Finally into thirds”

Moving the farm into thirds

6-11-17 Hanging out outside

The hives at the farm are doing great.  I’m starting to add Continue reading “Moving the farm into thirds”

Going up!

5-29-17 Going up, moving to second medium box.

The farm hives are building up nicely.  I’ve added a second box to several already.  We need Continue reading “Going up!”

Home hives are building up

5-8-17 Home hives

The hives at home are building up nicely.  The hives with a 4th box are already producing excess honey.  We’ve had good weather this spring and are hoping to get a good harvest from a few of these.  Others will be used to supplement the building hives at the farm.

Feeders on the farm

5-6-17 Feeders on the farm hives

I’ve put feeders on at the farm.  This will help them with brood population and comb building in their first year buildup.

Bees on the farm

4-19-17 Bees moved into the farm.

Today was the day.  At the house I had a hive that was VERY full with bees, and a full 30 frames.  about 20 frames were brood, and about 10 honey.  They were meaner than I’d like.  I’ve been stung by them at times even just walking nearby for a look, something none of the other hives ever care about.  Rather than scrap them all, they’ll be the founders for the new farm hives.  Once the new queens begin laying, her gentler bees will replace these.  I took the 30 frames with bees to the farm and split them across 8 hives (2 will be populated from a pair of double nucs I wintered).  I was able to put 3 or 4 frames in each hive, doing my best to balance frame composition (brood, honey, pollen, free space) and bees.  When I found the queen, I kept her and that frame aside.  I’ll return it to her original location to build back up again.  In this depleted state they should be far less aggressive, and allow me time to generate her replacement.  I’ll give them a few days to notice their queen is gone so they’ll accept the replacements I’m installing soon.