Archive | April, 2011

Dancing Neil: Photo essay on installing a package of bees

20 Apr

Dancing Neil installs a package

If you’re looking for a little guidance on installing your first package of bees, this is a great annotation of the process:

Installing a Package of Russian Bees

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Hive splitting = Lazy girl’s swarm prevention

17 Apr

The Great Split of 2011

Last year, one of our hives swarmed 6 times. Each swarm involves dropping everything to capture and rehouse the wayward dames, none of which is easy to do with a full-time job.

So this year, we split our hives the minute the nectar started flowing and they began to look crowded. This year, we hope to be sipping wine after work instead of chasing swarms all over Albuquerque’s SE Heights.

Hives are ready to be split when:

  • The hive is strong.
  • Nectar is flowing.
  • You see drones in the hive (not capped, but actually walking around).
  • And definitely if you see swarm cells. But splitting before you see swarm cells is OK too if you’re a risky sort of beekeeper.

How to make a split:

About two weeks ago, we followed the Bush Bees process for a walk-away split which involves far more wine-sipping then it does bee-checking, so I’m a hopeful believer.  Only time will tell though, and we’re still a couple weeks away from knowing whether there’s a laying queen in both hives.
UPDATE 5/20/2011: So it looks like 2 of our 3 “walkaway splits” were a success this year! Score one for lazy beekeeping.