Tag Archives: Bees

Honeybee Update


I can’t remember the last update I’ve provided so I’ll just kinda give a summer recap.

What started as one hive has now morphed into 4.  And those 4 are soon going to dwindle down to 2.

As I mentioned in one of my first posts on these bees, I started off with 4 hives – 2 at my place and 2 at a friend’s house about 3-4 miles down the road.  It’s been a fun ride  full of ups and downs, but fun.

The 2nd hive here at the house failed to take and the bees eventually left.  I went to check on the hive and the whole thing was empty.  The beekeeper I was with at the time suggested that I take 3-4 frames from my very successful and established hive and split it.  In essence, place those 4 frames in the new hive and let them go to work.  Very quickly they would recognize that they were away from their queen and begin work on making a new one.  Within about 16 days, she would emerge, take a few days to stabilize herself, go on her mating flights and then begin to grow the hive.

However, before all of that could take place, the hive was infested with hive beetles and the whole thing had to be destroyed.

We had to start over.

This time, rather than wait for the colony to take the time to re-queen, I purchased a mated queen and inserted her into the new hive – freshly seeded with three more frames from the strong hive.

The beetles again overpowered the hive and I lost it for the third time.  Right now I think that I’ll take the hint and pause until spring when I’ll try again.

The news isn’t much better at the other two hives either.  While they both grew at a good pace the first few weeks, that growth has stalled.  Inspection of the first hive found that the colony had lost its queen and was in the process of creating a new one.   However, they don’t look to be having a good run of it and may not make it through September.

Frustrating to be sure.

The good news?  I have managed to keep one hive very strong and very vibrant.  One small little package has grown into 20 frames of bees and comb.  And that doesn’t include the 6-7 frames that I robbed to start the failed hive.  I’ve come to the point where I have installed honey frames in the hopes that I am able to harvest honey, even if it’s just a little bit.

The season has been, as I mentioned, fun.  I’ve learned a lot, made several new friends and managed to keep pace with the demands of keeping these things.

I think that timing plays a role.  We had a very very late spring this year pushing all things bees behind several weeks.  The hives that I’ve lost failed to thrive because, in my opinion, they were established far too late into the season.  The flow of pollen and nectar had largely stopped impacting the ability of the hive to physically grow the comb and feed the young bees.

A normal spring combined with a year of knowledge should enable me to have a more successful 2014.


Wherein Pino Becomes A Bee Keeper

I set the camera at hive level.  I forgot I was taller than the hive.  Forgive the annoying “headless-horseman” footage:

I do not know what the “banging” is at 3:10.  Creepy though.

However, in addition to how cool bees are, I’m struck by the sounds of nature in the background.

I love my yard!

Honeybee – Colony Collapse Disorder

Bee Hive

I’m getting ready for the new honeybee season.  The hive above has a twin.  In honor of my first real IT job, the one that started this whole thing I do now, I have named them Calvin and Hobbes.  They were the names of the two servers in that little start up company in Seattle.

I digress.

As I mentioned, the hives are getting closer and closer to being ready.  I have one of them painted, the other is on tap.  I’ve selected the spot in the woods where I’m gonna locate them and now only have to clear branches and level the ground.  Well, and obtain concrete blocks and some wood to create a brace; but we’re close.  I stopped out at the bee yard where I’m getting some of my bees and we are on track.

In fact, sitting in the sauna at the Y the other night, I was talking to a long time fellow “Executive Workout’er” and he expressed great interest in establishing a hive at his place.  He loves the idea and wants the bees to assist in his garden.


Anyway, I was distressed to see this headline from the local news:

Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives

I have to admit, however, that my first thought was: “There HAS to be an Obama joke in their some where!  Workers abandoning hives?

But seriously, the problem exists here in NC too:

Jaynes, president of the North Carolina Beekeepers Association, thought he’d have more bees this spring.

He had 12 hives last fall. Now, only two are active after the bees abandoned the other 10.

It’s a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, and it’s happening all over North America and Europe. Beekeepers and scientists say it has gotten worse in the past few years.

“The hive just abandons,” Jaynes said. “They’ll abandon everything – everything but the queen and a handful of bees.”

Federal officials say there are a number of factors that lead to colony collapse, and there is no direct link between that and insecticides. But a new Harvard study says there is, especially with one particular pesticide called imidacloprid. The pesticide is part of a class called neonicotinoids, which are commonly used on farms and home gardens.

In the study, 15 of 16 bee hives treated with the pesticide died after six months. Those exposed to the highest levels disappeared first.

I plan to keep decent documentation on my hives so we’ll see how mine do.  I just hope not to get stung and get my hives, bees and all, safely to the winter!

Bees And Chemicals


My son is 7 now.  So it was near 5 years ago that I remember talking to a friend about bees and colony collapse disorder.  This is where a normal fully functioning hive of bees suddenly fails for no apparent reason.  There are tons of explanations but so far none seem to have stuck.

Here’s another one:

… pesticides are typically applied to seeds — mainly of corn, but also other crops — as a sticky coating before planting. When a seed sprouts and grows, the chemicals spread through the whole plant. So insects, such as aphids, that try to eat the plant also get a dose of poison.

But could they be killing more than aphids? Krupke put up a picture of a beehive surrounded by a carpet of dead honeybees. In several places across the Midwest, there have been reports of bees dying in large numbers like this. And tests detected the presence of neonics on them.

It seemed like a mystery. How could bees come into contact with chemicals that are buried in soil with crop seeds?

Krupke put up another slide: a picture of a huge machine that’s used for planting corn. This equipment is apparently part of the answer.

These machines use air pressure to move seeds from storage bin to soil. A slippery powder — talc or graphite — keeps everything flowing smoothly. The air, along with some of the powder, then blows out through a vent.

Krupke explained how he tested that planter exhaust and found amazing levels of neonic pesticides: 700,000 times more than what it takes to kill a honeybee.

That toxic dust lands on nearby flowers, such as dandelions. If bees feed on pollen from those flowers, that dust easily can kill them. A tell-tale clue: These bee die-offs all happened during corn-planting season.

The cold spring has delayed the efforts of apiaries to split their hives so I may have to wait an extra week or 4 before I can get mine.  No worries.  In fact, the delay may do me well, I’ve found an acquaintance at  the YMCA that is anxious to have me host one or two hives on his property to help with his garden.

Mandatory fun!

Tar Heel Red Apiary

Bee Hive

I’ve decided to expand the Tar Heel Red home this spring.  I had originally wanted to build a chicken coop but mamma put the kibash on that deal.  So, instead, I’ve ordered two simple bee hives.  And they have arrived.

Right now they are “naked”.  I have to paint ’em and then, when the season warms, add the wax foundation to frames to insert into that box.  The box, by the way, is called a “deep” and will house the honey and the eggs of the new hive.  If all goes well, I’ll have to order a second “deep” to allow the hive to grow and feed itself.

Next spring, God willing, the hive will be strong enough and well established to allow me to add further “supers” that are used to harvest honey.  I’m told that some hives are strong enough to allow the bee keeper to harvest honey the first year, but I’m patient and will be happy to make it through the year.

I have two such hives, established keepers advised me that two hives are easier than one because a fella can see what happens easier with two.  This doesn’t ring true to me, but I’m the rookie so two it is.

Paint will hit wood in the coming week and bees will move in late April.

I can’t wait.

Free Market Or Call For Government Regulation

I’m a big believer in the market.  And by the market I mean that place or condition where people are allowed to trade their labor and property for another’s.

I’m a BIG believer in this.

Often times when discussing things politic with friends in person or friends on-line, I ask, or wonder, “Where might you be wrong?”  So, at times, I turn this around and ask myself the same question:

Where might I be wrong?

And I think that where I might be stretching ideology into fact is the level at which a government might reasonably impose regulations.

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