Category: Beekeeping

Look what my bees did!

July honey

Much to my surprise, I managed to take 31lbs of honey from the early summer nectar flow. That’s more than I got all last year, and we still have a month of honey making to go. Awesome.

(also, please note the ice cream book in the back that I had to buy myself. What good is having a blog if you can’t get people to buy you stuff?!)

July Special Reserve

I got a nice treat this morning as the front page of the ProJo featured a story and a large picture of Rhode Island beekeepers. Mark Robar is putting together a queen rearing operation to raise queens suited for the Ocean State’s climate (almost all our queens now come from Georgia, South Carolina and other southern states).

A lot of people use Italian bees, Apis mellifera ligustica, because they’re gentle and get started quickly in the spring. I can’t think of a more appropriate breed to get acclimated to RI. Is Apis mellifera federal hillicus in our future?

Queen rearing is a whole ‘nother bag of cats from beekeeping. It involves a little biology, a little alchemy and a little luck. I’d like to try my hand at it eventually, maybe after expanding my modest apiary to more than the three hives I work now. But until then, I can’t wait to get a queen from Mark and company. I’m sure they’ll be successful because, the ProJo tells me, my friend Whitney is helping them out (so maybe I’ll try to finagle some free “experimental” queens out of the operation…)

Rhody Bees?

It occurs to me that I might not have mentioned on the blog that I keep bees. Or, rather, I used to keep bees. I quick peek into the hive this weekend rapidly turned into a mass funeral for the few hundred bees that remained in my backyard apiary. I’m not sure yet, but I think they froze to death, and maybe the mysterious honey bee disease that we’ve been hearing about this year had something to do with my small scale extinction event.

they don't look so bad, but they're gone

If you look closely at the picture, you can spot a few of the girls (they’re all females) upside down, or with their feet sticking up. And of course the big black blob in the top right is a pile of dead bees. So now I have some investigating to do, and another package of bees to order.

Stupid cold winter…

The Queen is dead