2018 The Future Looks Bright

“Never pet a burning dog,” – movie quote from, A Good Year. I do my best to keep this blog purely focused on my beekeeping but something strange happened last week that I don’t want to forget – so indulge me and then I’ll tell about my extraordinary beekeeping year thus far. Or just skip…

Queen Cells: If at first you don’t succeed.

“In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” Victor Frankl Yesterday’s hive inspections couldn’t have been worse (well anything can get worse but it was bad).  The sky was sunny but the temperature was a cool 56F degrees with winds around 20mph. The weekend will been even colder and with lots of rain, so…

Checking the Walk-Away Splits

“Success in not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill Let’s skip the suspense: 13 Healthy Hives but 3 did not make queen cells. All the splits are full of bees. Three made Queen Cells and Three did not. Now last year, I labeled the hives A,B,C,…

First Split of 2018 & Big Bryan’s Beetle Box

“Necessity if the mother of invention.” – PlatoI am an inventor at heart and given my beetle problems last year, I have been trying to build a better mousetrap (beetle trap). Beetle Busters are great but they can get expensive. Fat Bee Man’s political sign traps seem reasonable but I still have beetles when I…

2018 First Inspection of Spring

“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” – Henry Rollins Is there anything more daunting than the first hive inspections of spring? This was the harshest winter since I started keeping bees. Yet, I am happy to report that I only lost one hive. It was the VSH Hive that was full…

How To Build A Excellent Beehive Using Pallets

“Art is making something out of nothing and selling it,” Frank Zappa I have been making beehives out of old pallets. I’ve built about 14 now. I had planned on building 100 but the process is just too time consuming. However, if you are broke and want to get into beekeeping, then this is a…

Linda Passed Away

“A year from now you may wish you had started today,” Karen Lamb I have been overwhelmed as of late. I can’t put my finger on the exact cause of this feeling but it is there just the same and it has been crushing my productivity. Nonetheless, Monday (12/4/17) I finally managed to winterize my…

Drones at the edge of winter

Link to YouTube Here “Never trust a woman, even though she has given you ten sons,” Chinese Proverb That’s a fitting quote given that my hive is full of sons (drones). This is a heartbreaking event so late in the year. While doing a little winter preparation, I opened up the first hive (Hive-VSH) and…

Failure: My First Hive Removal

He looked so happy… He had no idea ofthe carnage to come. My fortune cookie Saturday night read, “Failure is the chance to do better next time.”  Saturday, Noah and I performed our first hive removal. While this could prove to be a good little side business, we didn’t charge. One reason that we didn’t…

The Magnificent Seven

Hive-B.1.1.VSH “Adopt the pace of nature: her secrete is patients.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m down to (8) hives; one at the old farm and seven at Dr. D’s. However, three of those hives are from recent splits. Given my recent loses, I’ve been obsessing over these remaining hives. The thought wakes me up at…

Swarm Prevention – I should have added a super

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worse fears to come true.” – Bohdi, Point Break (1991) My five frame nuc (VE) needed room to grow but I hesitated because I was afraid if I put another super on too soon, that it would cause the beetles to take over the hive. However, by…

Facing Reality – The Hive Count

“Most people give up just when they are about to achieve success.” – Ross Perot My heart kept whispering that quote in my ear yesterday to keep my brain from acknowledging my eyes. So what had my eyes seen? Hive-A.1.VSH was empty. The strong, healthy hive that I had harvested from this year and was…

Part 1 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein It is never my intention to spin my mistakes into a positive light for the sake of my ego. Nonetheless, Saturday’s splits have taught me a valuable lesson. When performing a walkaway split, with a strong hive, in the same…

Part 2 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“What is best in life?”  “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” – Conan the Barbarian, 1982 Clockwise: Amelia Egghart, Bernice, Melba, Marsala,and Spot is off camera.  Part-2: The Chickens and the Beetles: I like my chickens and my wife loves them but I have questioned my decision…

Walkaway Splits – Right & Wrong

“If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly first.” – Joel Salatin All of my hives at Dr.D’s are spaced 18″ apart in all directions Work and weather have stifled my beekeeping but it hasn’t stopped me completely. Saturday, my wife and I went out to Dr. D’s place and split Hive-B.1 &…

The Queen Is Dead – Long Live The Queen

“Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I’ll be back.” – Vigo the Scourge of Carpathia, Ghost Busters III got up early Saturday morning to find all the caged queens had died – though there is still the sole survivor in Hive-VE that I didn’t cage. Given each queen cost about $30 (if sold), I lost $240 worth…

Queen Cages: (4) living (3) Dead (1) Stillborn

Just a note: The Queen Cells I caged Monday have hatched. As stated in the title, (3) are dead – the cause of death is unknown but I suspect starvation. This has been a hard year filled with ups and downs. However, I take these setbacks, not as failures but as lessons. This lesson is…

Miller Method – (8) Cells and (1) Virgin Queen

“You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need.” – the Stones I miscalculated the birth of the queens. On my queen rearing spreadsheet, queens hatch at (16) days – however, that is from the day the egg is laid. The queen actually hatches just…

Chickens Day 1

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore RooseveltSaturday I bought five Barred Rock chickens – that’s not…

Third Graft Attempt

“Many of the projects that we do that appear quite successful, it’s actually often the second or third time we’ve given it a try.” Dr. Edward Boyden, MIT Yesterday, I made my third attempt to graft. We pulled a frame from Hive-B.1 and transported it to the house. I left it covered in bees and placed…