Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Bit of Sweetness

We may, we may, we may have honey on the way! 

We are down to one hive now.  The other one that had all of the queen issues didn't make it.  While we were checking our remaining hive last week, we could not find our queen and we did not see the different stages of egg production we are supposed to look for.  We also found at least a dozen queen cells.  So, we had to make a decision.  We've found, at least in our experience, beekeeping is about making hard decisions.

Our queen may have been in the hive somewhere, and we just missed her.  She pretty easy to spot because she has a huge bright blue spot on her.  I was leaning to not having a queen because of the lack of egg laying.  If she was in the hive, cutting out all of the queen cells was the solution to prevent a swarm.  Or, we could split the hive and start a second one.  If she wasn't in the hive, we needed at least one of the queen cells to get a new queen.  This was our mistake last year.  We killed a viable necessary queen cell without knowing we had lost our queen.  So, we decided to leave two queen cells.  The first queen that hatches will seek out any other queen cells and destroy them.  Problem solved.  If our original queen is still in the hive, and the queen cells hatches, we have a swarm on our hands.  The mother queen will leave with a mass of bees.  She's clipped, so she won't go very high or very far.  We have not seen a swarm, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.  I suspect something happened to our queen and once a new one hatches, it will be business as usual.

So, we've been letting this drama play out, but in the meantime, we decided to check the progress of the honey super.  Almost every frame is drawn out with comb, and I peaked in and saw capped honey.  I really did!  I could smell it too!  We placed a second super over the first one so they could start drawing out comb on those frames.

I've placed a call to our beekeeping friend to find out what to do with the super of honey.  If it were closer to winter, I know we would leave it, but with it being only June, we may have the opportunity to at least harvest a frame or two.  Once, I hear from her, I'll let you know.

If we do get honey, it will be the most expensive honey we will ever eat!  Nate said we should put it in the bathtub and roll around in it.  He's weird that way.  Regardless, we may, we may, we may have honey on the way!

Happy homesteading,



  1. Very interesting. I've got bees somewhere in my future, so I'm taking your experiences in. Another blog I enjoy reading, Mama Stories, is in her first year of beekeeping. It's been interesting following her ups and downs as well. I'm guessing that the first several years are the hardest, as with many things. It's very exciting though that you may be harvesting your very own honey soon!

  2. Wow, this bee-keeping business sounds complicated. The blogger at Homestead Revival also wrote about her struggles with bee-keeping. Good luck!

    This Good Life

  3. Leigh and TGL: It is alot tougher than we thought. There is so much to learn and no beekeeper will give you the same answer for a problem. It's been trial and error for us, mostly error, but we're learning. We have been seeking advice, but when we are checking the hive by ourselves, we have to rely on our best judgment, our knowledge base, and analysis of the situation at hand. There are always so many alternatives to each situation, and each decision has a consequence, whether good or bad.

  4. Looking forward to hearing more about how it is going! Good luck :)