1/21/11

Yvonne's tiny hive makes progress


LA Backwards Beekeeper Yvonne sends this update:

I started attending Backwards Beekeepers meetings in June. I have always been interested in bees but I was a bit—as Kirk says—"concerned" about having the wild creatures in my own yard. I was worried about my kiddo, the cat, the dogs, the hens, the neighbors, liability, etc. Kirk recommended asking my neighbors before I got bees. To my surprise, my neighbors weren't worried at all. I also had trouble envisioning what 65,000 bees would look like. I was much comforted by seeing other people's hives, including the ones at FarmLab and Ceebs' house (who also has dogs and chickens!). I was also comforted by the knowledge that if I "bit off more than I could chew," there was a list of able volunteers willing to whisk the bees off my hands.

Even so, I wanted to be sure that I had a good idea of what I was getting into. On the groups' advice, I read the Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping from cover to cover and attended BB meetings for several months. I also went on a cut-out adventure and captured a swarm. Finally, I decided I was ready to plunge in after returning from a trip in the Fall and I got my box of bees in mid-October.

Since I got my box of bees at the onset of winter, I have been feeding them (thanks, Maurice for bringing the honey yesterday! I think it's the last bit of food I will have to give them.) But I have been nervous to handle the bees since I got them three months ago. I knew I still had activity at the hive but I had no idea what was happening inside. And with Spring coming, I knew if I didn't transfer them from the 5-frame nuc to their permanent home, they would swarm soon.

Thankfully, Roberta offered to come help me after the meeting yesterday. Roberta cut open the tape of the nuc box and started pulling the frames out for me. After pulling out three of the frames, she encouraged me to pull the last two with the most activity. After separating the last two frames, Roberta inspected them and was able to immediately identify my queen. My queen and her workers are gorgeous and are building beautiful (if not a little crazy) comb with brood and honey! I can't believe I was nervous because the bees were so gentle. We didn't lose a single bee yesterday! Thanks, everyone, for the fantastic support!

—Yvonne




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