Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Friday, June 13, 2008

New bees arive

So I got the wild idea that I wanted to raise bees on the homestead. We saw the benefit of them in the garden in years past, and being a big fan of honey, thought it would be perfect addition.

For a year I did research and learned, knowing that in the spring of 08 I would get started. At the end of February I attended a meeting with the local apiary club and there I learned that I was late in ordering my 3 lbs of bees. They were only shipping for June. Many said that was way too late to get started, so we went another route. I could get splits from some local beekeepers.

A split is when you take 3 or so frames of brood from an established hive and remove them with the nurse bees (the ones that care for the brood) still on the frame and put them in a new hive. You then give them a frame or 2 of honey from the same hive. You order a queen for the new mini hive (called a nuc) and put the new queen in the split. With drawn comb and worker bees already present you jump-start the new hive, saving a month or more in bee-time. (It takes 30 days for a newly laid egg to hatch into a bee).

So for the past couple of days I've been talking with a fellow beekeeper that lives down the road that agreed to give me some splits. I ordered 3 queens (one for him) and was going to start with two nucs.

Queens arrived yesterday, 1 DOA. I wasn't happy and called the place that sent them. I expected them to say, "Oh sorry about that, it happens from time to time we will put a replacement in the mail." Instead, nothing... "Well they were insured. We will send you the slip so you can file the claim with the post office"! (Don't think ill be using them again.)

Tonight I went over to Dave's house and we trek'd into the woods. He has 70 acres, and his hives work a small 2 acre meadow back a ways. About a 3 min ride in the 4wheel drive truck with his 2 dogs happily giving chase or running along side/in front of us.

Harvesting of the brood went as expected, although one of the hives was very aggressive. Seems time to re-queen that one. We had planned on getting 2 frames from it but after only one frame of honey from the top super, and having both been stung a few times, we decided to move on to his third hive and get them there.

I brought home 2 nucs with about 4 frames each, 3ish brood frames and a honey frame.
Ill check them in a few days to make sure the queens have been released and are doing well.