A Lesson in Beekeeping

Bees In The Hood

bee in the hood

The relationship between the honey bee and man is an interesting one. Each have duties to perform for the benefit of the colony. The beekeeper dons protective suit and veil to examine the hive and assure all is well in the artificial environment we create for the bee.

The bees have several jobs. Some gather nectar and pollen, some transfer this to the honey comb, some build the honey comb, and some protect the colony and queen from invaders in search of the sweet results of the colony’s labor. Usually they go about their duties with little care to the outside world.

While examining the hive the beekeeper becomes accustomed to guard bees bent on driving the intruder away from the colony. They will sometimes :: Follow Gromit for more

Wild Flower Honey Harvest

Our first harvest of wild flower honey

wild flower honey

Bees forage in a wide area, up to five miles from the hive. So when it comes time to bottle and label your honey it’s difficult to tell what to call it. We know the bees went crazy this spring on the apple and cherry trees then started in on the abundance wild flowers and weeds in the area. So when we bottled our first harvest of honey we decided to call it wild flower honey.

Beekeepers run a gauntlet of issues to get a successful harvest. There are some nasty pests that can raise havoc with bee hives. Varroa mites attach themselves to the back of the bee and feed like ticks and introduce diseases. Then there is the small hive beetle, which also can cause problems with the bees. Add a dose of wax moths, American Foul Brood, and other maladies and you’ll find that beekeeping can be interesting in the least.

Most beekeepers use a variety of chemicals to keep these problems at bay. We practice what is known as Treatment Free beekeeping. It was a decision we made after :: Follow Gromit for more

Beekeeping, The Ups and Downs

Despite our best efforts one of the hives died this winter

[captionpix imgsrc=”http://blog.cleanslatefarm.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/dead-out-2-e1426364946755.jpg” captiontext=”One of the beehives died this February” imgtitle=”Dead Out”]


Back in the fall we added mountain camp feeders to the beehives so the bees had supplemental food if they ran out of honey, which they did. We usually get a thaw in January and were counting on that so we could check the hives to see if they still had enough honey or sugar. The thaw never came and we just couldn’t get into the hives to check them. One never opens a hive in wither with temps below 40˚F (4˚C.) The end result is hive two, Ruby, starved on 16 February.

There are many reasons a colony of bees could die. They may get wet from moisture in the hive, they may be overloaded with varroa mites and be weakened, or there could just be too few bees to maintain a cluster for warmth. The mountain camp feeders took care of the moisture and we didn’t have any significant mite problem.  :: Follow Gromit for more

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