It’s my 7th season of beekeeping and it’s the first year I’ve been stung. Finally!!! I’m not going to lie, it hurt more than I remember, but I was clearly asking for it when I attempted to go about a usual bee check-up without a suit or gloves on.
It’s also going to be the first season I declare that these bees are mine hehe. Momsie can be my helper but I get to make all the big decisions. That could go sideways but this swarm is 2 supers (levels) big so we’re off to a great start.
I decided to keep documenting my bee journey because it reinforces what I learn and to post it publicly, it forces me to do a better job (even if only one person reads this post, it at least gives me the illusion that I have somewhat of an audience hahaha)
Thirdly, it is the first year I am attending beekeeper meetings held every 2nd Thursday of the month. Those are very popular and all sorts of people attend these. You hear some very interesting stories and the learning never ends. It’s such a cool topic to nerd out on.
There are more firsts but let’s look at the timeline of how this last swarm played out.
Sunday May 19 at 3:30pm:
I realize there’s a swarm in the air directly above our vacant hive. By 4 pm, most of the bees are inside. But I go back at 6pm that day to take a quick look, and notice that there’s a riot outside their front entrance. My heart sinks as I realize that these newcomers are being robbed by another bee colony! How do I know? There is an actual bee fight on the ground. Right away, guard bees shoot out of the hive at the robbing bees and engage in mortal combat.
I immediately reduce the size of the entrance. And then I take a quick peek inside just to get an idea of their strength. This view inside tells me that they’ll have no problem warden off the robbers.
Tuesday, May 21:
We feed them with sugar tea which has a ratio of 1:1 (thyme tea to sugar) and without looking long, we see the queen. She’s got a yellow dot which tells me she’s from 2017.
Saturday, May 25:
Today we must treat them for mites (more on this later) before they cap their brood which happens on the 9th day of the 21 days it takes to develop a worker bee. As we get ready for the procedure, we notice how much cleaning has occurred.
Saturday, June 1:
We make a split and find a friend willing to house a nuc for a few weeks. Stay tuned to find out if it works or fails.