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Thursday, April 06, 2017

The start of a New Year!

2017 Season Update

What a wonderful day here in the bee yard!  Well, actually, it is pretty overcast and cloudy.  It also looks like it's fixing to rain.  But we are still pretty busy getting ready for the new season.

Last weekend I had some wonderful folks show up to help me get the bee yard up and running.  You have no idea how much I was worried about how this year was going to happen.  I have a lot weighing on the year ahead and have to make sure that I am successful and finally turn a profit.  With the set backs I have had in the last few months I was starting to wonder if that would happen.

Saturday was spent getting things ready and organized for Sunday which is when the bee boxes would get scraped and cleaned along with the frames.  We need about 200 more frames put together to get things going but we have a great start to the year.

Components of the Hive

The bees are coming, the bees are coming!

So let's start where it all begins.

The bee year has a whole lot of different seasons, or what I call seasons to it.  At the end of a harvest year, which is usually around September here, things have to be tidied up and put away.  We also have to make sure that the bees are set for the winter ahead.  They must have food supplies stored so that they can survive.  To cut down on cold air and hopefully stop critters from trying to sneak in the hive to stay warm (mostly mice) we place the entrance reducer in the bottom opening .  Now here I usually just have two Deep Boxes in the hive.  Every year whether a hive has survived or not I have always had honey left in the boxes so that tells me that they have what they need.

Before the bees arrive I have to make sure I have things set up and ready in the yard for them to get put into their new hives.

Bees arrive in 3 lb. packages which look like the picture below.
3 lb. box of bees

Inside the box is not only the 3 lbs. of bees but a queen which is in a small cage.
You can see her in his hand below.  One end has marshmallow in it so when she goes inside of the box the other bees will free her by eating the marshmallow.  The queen cage is inserted first between two frames. the bees are gently poured in on top of her.  Pretty amazing sight to watch them all wiggle down inside the hive and get settled in.  Now after this I won't bother them for a few days.  When things have calmed down a bit I will check the hive to make sure the queen in released. The bottom right photo is what I hope to find once they get crack-a-lacking.

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