2017-05-13

Recognize, Adapt, Carry On...

Well, the late April bee keeping trip turned into a saga.  We had invested in some growth of the apiary this spring, ordering three new colonies of bees as well as equipment to house and maintain them.  Additionally, we got a bit of extra equipment due to the fact that one of the existing hives grew outside its capacity to stay in one hive.

The new bees arrived on time, and I went to pick them up on April 30th around 19:30.  It was a cold and rainy day, and pickup was rather miserable for bees and people.  After loading and securing the bees to the truck bed, I headed for the Farm.  A  long drive, and I was already under the weather with what seemed to be bronchitis.  Got to the Farm about 03:00 and was too tired to get to bed, so just slept in the truck for a few hours.

Monday was wet and rainy as was Tuesday, and I was starting to feel really ill.  By Wednesday it was sunny and cool.  I did the best I could getting the bees established, but was simply too weak to do the job properly.  I headed for urgent care...and ended up in the hospital for the next seven days with atypical pnumonia.  By the time I was realeased, the queens for the three new hives had died of exposure.  About half of the rest of the beees survived and I got them into hives properly.  They seem active and reasonably healthy, are bringing in both pollen and nectar.  I ordered new queens for all three hive yesterday and will introduce them on Tuesday when they arrive here at the farm.  I think the new hives wll be fine once the queens are established.  Time will tell....

Yesterday was warm and sunny and I had a bit of energy, so decided  to do the anticipated 'walk-away-split'.  What that means is that a very strong hive is litterally split into two hives.  The walk away part means that one does not introduce a new queen into the new hive.  Only nurse bees and brood are transferred to the new hive.  The queen stays behind.

Theoretically, the bees in the new hive will understand that they no longer have a queen and will make a new one out of the brood that is transferred with them.  I am really looking forward to seeing just how this works.  Last year I managed to save a weak hive doing something similar, adding brood to a hive that had lost its queen and letting them create a new queen on their own.  It worked.

This split though is to prevent the bees from  becoming frustrated with too little space and leaving.  The hive that was split yesterday is very strong!  I hope the child hive does as well.

Overall, the apiary looks rather nice.  The new deeps and supers are well assembled and strong as well as looking rather nice I think.  There is a lot of activity around the hives in spite of the beating the bees took due to my not getting them taken care of properly.  I am hopeful.....

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Side note:  I met with a local bee-keeper who is getting out of the business due to health reasons.  What a trove of information!  It is like sitting down with a book one does not have to read.  The stories  this guy has to tell about bee keeping and just life in general are interesting and entertaining.  I learned some, and had some things I already knew re-enforced. Just really cool to sit with this old guy and listen...  very cool!