Thursday, March 22, 2018

Now is the time for bees

If you've considered keeping bees, now is the time to make that happen.  The package bee season is in about two weeks, and the cost this year for 3lbs of bees plus a queen is $140 , +-$10. 
i get the plastic pallets for free, and they work well for hive base

nice to see the bees flying on a warm day!

You'll find bee packages advertised in your local craigslist, in the farm and garden section.  You'll need a hive to put them in, and you can find "beginner beekeeper" packages on the web. 

My hives did pretty well this year, compared to previous years.  I had 6 hives going into the winter, with 3 surviving now, for a 50% dieoff.  The hives that died show different patterns.  One hive, full of honey and pollen, is pretty much empty of bees.  Another hive shows what I call a starvation pattern; there is still some honey in the hive, but the bees clustered in the center away from it, and died in a group. 

The third hive that died has some bees, more than the empty hive, but not as many dead bees as the starve off hive. 

Because the hives that died off may have something that is contagious to bees I'll discard the combs and bake the woodware in my oven to sterilize it - the bottom board and the supers themselves.  The hives survived will get new combs to grow into; I'll leave the existing combs there.   

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