To Bee Or Not To Bee (a Bee-odyssey)

Discussion in 'Environment' started by jjl, Feb 18, 2016.

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  1. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    When I can talk about this I will.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
  2. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    My mentors have instructed me to leave the hive open for the bees to return. Stranger things have happened.
     
  3. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    I wrote to the state entomologist to update him about. (On the outside chance someone in my neighborhood complaints about the swarm).
    The truth is, I take care of a couple of other hives that do not belong to me and it is time to bring my Mason Bees in for their bath and winter storage.
    If I am going to keep Bees, I am going to have to suck it up. Virtually every beekeeper loses hives in his or her career. I am no different.
    Four out of five new hives fail the first year Beek. I had a full summer of Bees and must satisfy myself with that effort for now. They advise all new Beeks to start with two hives and that is exactly what I will do next year.
    What happened to me was a combination of bad luck and ignorance.
    I lost that one-day-ahead advantage, too many days in a row.
    The inspector wrote back to me asking if the Bees were gone or dead.
    This was my response:
    Gone.
    I am devastated.
    All I can do is clean up and wait for bee school this winter. I will try again next year, hopefully, better equipped for this endeavor.
    I am honestly sick about it.
    I did 3 stupid things:
    The hive seemed to be finding nectar somewhere so I waited until I knew it was over and moved them (But I had to). When I released them, all they found was a new dearth.
    I left the top honey super on. I think this promoted robbing.
    I did not understand it was robbing for the first few hours, and I took measured steps over a few days, (closing it up) ect, culminating in a wet sheet over it for a day.
    The truth was, I had no business keeping Bees with my level of knowledge this year, but they came to me and I swear I tried very hard to keep up.
    I sent in the paperwork for my hive and location. It is still my plan keep a hive in the same location so I hope I don't have to send in another registration.
    Thank you for your response. You will hear from me next year. jj





     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  4. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    This summer I worked a Bee tent at a fair with the Secretary of on of my Beek clubs. He told me he just returned to beekeeping after his Bees had absconded 4 years before.
    Later, at another Bee exhibition, the club treasurer confided that he had lost 11 out of 12 hives last winter.
    He replaced them all and was hoping for the best.
    Truth is, it was a rough year for Bees this year and why Princess jj should be immune from this, I cannot imagine.
    Tomorrow I have a Deep hive inspection on one of the hives I tend to.
    I am grateful to have this little tiny, fuzzy flying horse I can get back up on.
    In the meantime, my Masons need me:
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  5. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    I have been spending a great deal of time this week, trying to bury this thread.
    The pain and embarrassment of the ordeal are so hard to face, that I could not bear to see my thread at the top of the site.
    Hubris aside, perhaps I am not alone in my failure and others can be helped to avoid my pitfalls.
    In an earlier post, I said that this thread was likely to be a blueprint of what not to do, and I am afraid I fulfilled that prophecy.
    Knowing what I know now, I expect more success, the next time I move a colony into one of my hives. (wink)

    I froze all of the frames from the abandoned hive for two days. This will eliminate any parasites in the wax or Honey stores.
    The Bees I tended this year left about 100 pounds of honey behind.
    I am leaving the honey frames, one at a time, on an empty lot next door to us, far away from foot traffic.
    Those Bees worked very hard for those stores and perhaps some other Bees can survive a winter by foraging the frames.
    Maybe their hard work will save some other colony this winter.

     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
  6. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    [​IMG]
    The weather turned colder and the Bees stopped showing up for the honey frames.
    I Kept them in the fridge for a week while I worked thru my shell shock.
    In the end, I had about sixty pounds of Honey left to extract. I did this by hand and rendered the wax as well. I have a full deep Hive that was nothing but comb and pollen. I will start a new hive on that. It will save the girls a lot of trouble. Instead of wasting precious hours and stores building comb, they will be able to start storing instead.
    I used to have a a business and I had bout ten dozen left over hexagon shaped glass jars. The shape itself delights me as a chamber to store honey.
    To extract, I placed honey and comb in a bowl inside a pan of warm water. Eventually the wax will separate and float to the surface. Extracting this way was tedious and very time consuming.
    But still it was satisfying and the quiet reward at the end of a terrible trauma.
    I left a few bits of wax cappings in each jar. I want the recipient to enjoy the full effect of treatment free unfiltered honey.
    These are the labels I use for the Honey I will always supply my Doctor with:
    [​IMG]
    Jim insisted on harvesting some uncapped Honey. It runs the risk of fermenting if it is too high of a water content. It also had a few pine needles in it for some unknown reason. So I felt it necessary to have a different label on it to watch for early Mead in the making:
    [​IMG]
    It is so far, the richest frame of the bunch.

    This is one of the other labels I have for my honey:
    [​IMG]
    and this:
    [​IMG]
    some of the early harvest:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  7. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    I am planning for four hives next year. The quality of the honey that the Bees left behind has convinced my doctor that he should have a hive in his fields, one that I can look after.
    Full circle.
    I also have a farmer that knows bees but cannot afford to get started. He will have my Bees this year, and I will give him a split by the following year. (A colony from the original hive).
    I will also put one on the property of a gentleman with PTSD. Nothing can teach you to calm your mind like a busy colony of Bees. He lives near the farmer so he will have an emergency contact should something happen when I am out of reach.
    I am planning a UK Honey-Bee tour next spring, Starting in Manchester, heading out Devon way.
    This winter will be spent at Bee School and getting four hives equipped plus a few new swarm traps. I suppose I should have extra hives ready in case I catch a swarm.

    Lastly, I belong to several Beekeeping forums and recently read the following posed question: Why does everyone tell a new Beekeeper to start with two hives?
    Answer: Because it's easy to lose a colony the first year. If you only have one colony and lose it, you aren't a beekeeper any more.

    Sometimes the punchline makes me laugh, other times it makes me cry.
    For now, I am a Bee EQUIPMENT keeper.
    Unless of course, you count my Masons.
    And I do. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  8. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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  9. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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  10. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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