2018 Honeybee Update #2


Is anyone else in shock that it is already nearing the end of June? A little over a month ago I posted our first update of 2018 regarding our honeybees.  Last week we installed the second super to provide the bees the room to continue building up their honey stores. The first super is home to the brood, whereas this second box will hold the 60 pounds of honey the bees need to survive the winter.  In hindsight we probably should have put on the second super on a week before but Luke was preoccupied helping my dad plant corn and soybeans.  It was a very rainy spring in our little corner of the world where we’d received rain every other day, delaying farmers from plant their crops until Memorial Day.  Luke was originally suppose to be a member of the cross country road trip that Samuel and I have been posting about, however needed to backed out in lieu of helping my Dad. With the crops thankfully in, Luke and I ventured back to the woods to check on our bees, where we were alarmed to notice that a dead tree had fallen in between our two sets of hives. We have three hive set up to the left and two established on the right, as such we were very thankful for the convenient placement of not only the dead tree but also the live tree that acted to soften the blow.

Upon parking the pickup truck near the hives, we immediately noticed that we’d attracted the attention of a massive swarm of mosquitoes. Determined to avoid contracting the most annoying itchy bite, I decided to put on my bee suit while still sequestered within the truck. I was feeling quite satisfied with myself as I had managed to efficiently put my legs and one arm in the suit, when at that moment a hairy jumping spider decided to emerge from its hiding spot in the remaining sleeve. As I’m sure you can imagine, much yelling and flailing ensued.  That is the last time I’ll let Luke store my suit in the garage.  Eventually, I managed to better the spider and finish donning my veil, whereupon I vacated the truck to see if my white suit would be mosquito as well as bee proof.  Thankfully, we managed to finish checking on our honeybees without further distraction.  We were delighted to find that four of our five hives were thriving, but alas upon opening the final hive we were saddened to find that our poor bees were floundering to the point of return. We knew last month that this hive seemed to be weaker than its peers, however this time we realized the queen must have somehow died.  At this point we are grateful that the other four hives are so healthy.  We will check back in a couple of weeks to hopefully add the next layer of supers that will eventually  yield our first honey harvest of the year!


This is one of my favorite times of the year to visit home because there is a strawberry farm only three miles away! As a result of noticing a post on Facebook last week from the Creek Valley Farms announcing their first strawberries were available, all week long I’d been anticipating the fresh, delicious fruit.  So with my Mom preparing my Great-Great Grandma’s recipe for strawberry shortcake, I ran over an grabbed a few quarts.  This weekend Luke and I will be heading back down state to my parent’s for a family party and I’m already plotting another strawberry run!


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16 comments

  1. I love this post. My in laws have 400 hives, they are now selling them. It’s too much work for them alone. They are keeping some for themselves. They have 2but we are building up to 20.
    They lost 250 hives last year from the apple farmer spraying… we spent all summer splitting to rebuild.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Four hundred hives is so impressive! How devastating losing that many hives! I can’t imagine the effort spent to rebuild!

      Another one of our queens went missing in the past two weeks. We are so sad that we are down to three from the original five hives for the summer.

      Like

  2. Bees make honey for themselves to eat. They work EXTREMELY hard to make it (and it is their bodily secretion product, which is disgusting).

    There is NO justification for keeping them as slaves and taking any of their honey. It’s completely unnecessary and wrong.

    You can just eat maple syrup instead.

    Like

    • Amanda,

      Thanks for stopping by the Critiquing Chemist. You’re entitled to your own opinion as a human being. However, I’m fully in my rights to disagree. I’m fully aware that any potential arguments I might propose are unlikely to sway your beliefs; regardless if it was scientific literature highlighting how wild bee populations are currently struggling on their own to survive due to a still unknown influence. Additionally, if this important pollinator’s population continues on its current declining trend, there would be a corresponding level of devastation that would be wrecked on crops/food supplies. That being said, have you pondered your aforementioned comment, from the perspective of the maple trees?

      “Maple trees make syrup for themselves to eat. They work EXTREMELY hard to make it (and it is their bodily secretion product, which is disgusting).

      There is NO justification for keeping them as slaves and taking any of their syrup. It’s completely unnecessary and wrong.

      You can just eat honey instead.”

      Again, please remember everyone is allowed their own opinions throughout life and that is OK.

      Sarah Lockwood, PhD

      Like

      • So you think a maple tree – a plant – is as conscious and able to experience suffering as a bee – an animal ?

        Like I said there is no justification for having an opinion that creates unnecessary victims.
        Please take these comments into consideration and don’t perceive them as a personal attack – I’m sure you’re a nice person without bad intentions, I just sincerely hope you can see the compassionate and ethical side of farming animals of any kind.

        Like

      • Amanda,

        Bees are currently struggling to survive in the wild on their own due to a yet to be diagnosed factor. We need honeybees as pollinators for our crops and the food you and I eat. Please read up on this concerning trend as it can have far reaching consequences.

        We give our bees a safe haven to survive. Honeybees need approximately 60-80 pounds of honey to survive the winter with everything else they make is excess and harvested. There is no suffering or unethical activity involved and our bees are not victims. Let us agree to disagree.

        Sarah

        Like

      • Yet to be diagnosed ? I think it’s pretty clear that lack of sustainable environment and resources is causing bee endangerment.

        However, regardless, if your goal is to save the species, then you should be campaigning to save their WILD environment and WILD well-being ; NOT keeping and using them to steal their honey.

        All farmed animals of any species are victims, period.

        Like

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