August 14, 2009, 9:05 pm
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I have gone through so much these past two years but the bees stayed with me. They did not make life a bliss for me but they did not abandon me like I have done to them. They taught me a new side of gentleness and sweetness. They have taught me a new wonder in nature herself. I couldn’t care for them properly but they keep trooping on as their sisters would in the wild.

My girls are now queen-less and to follow along the adventure for this:


I know this wordpress blog is pretty much brand new. I just need a fresh face, a brand-new start. The bees deserve it after all.

June 10, 2009, 6:24 pm
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June 5th, 2009

My family was over to celebrate my birthday. I was just sitting there on the deck when I suddenly felt something small on my arm. I looked down…. bee poop? I looked towards the beehive, sure enough there were bees flying everywhere as if they were about to swarm. In sheer excitement that I would experience my first swarm and pure terror that I would lose my beloved honeybees, I pointed out the cloud of bees to my father.“Everybody go inside!” he shouted (his first swarm experience involved a swarm flying towards him). Instead I ran towards the hive.

Bees were blasting out of the hive and unsure of what to do I sneaked up to the hive an closed up the entrance fully (I really did not want to lose my bees a second time). Then my father pointed out something, “What if the queen is out on her mating flight?” Remembering the queen cell I discovered in my last inspection, I opened the hive again and nervously watched the bees continue to shoot out.
Does 1/2 the hive really follow the queen on her mating flight?
I got a little smarter and decided to see where the cloud of bees were going. They were surrounding a pine tree that was only 20 feet away from the hive. Looking closer, I discovered a ball of bees being formed. What-it-could-have-been SwarmMy first swarm! I thought, Man this is the best birthday present ever…

I decided to let them calm down and in an hour or so I would try to catch my swarm. But the bees had other ideas.
They went back to their home hive.
Huh? So was this really a queen on her mating flight? Why so many followers?

Never less the confusion and excitement they caused me, I now know I have an extremely strong hive and hopefully a new, young queen.

June 10, 2009, 6:17 pm
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Horizontal HivePicture taken on 5/21/09

June 10, 2009, 3:30 pm
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My ‘TBH’ abandoned their hive due to large black ants were overtaking them. I inspected the Langstroth fully on 5/16/09 and I can conclude that they have a strong population. I found the queen and a few queen cups.

There’s no way I can shake-down all these bees into a TBH without disrupting them too much. So I’m going to take on the concept of Horizontal Hives.

The Plan:

I already have a medium horizontal hive built from last year and the bees are in a deep currently. I inserted 3 medium frames into the hive yesterday. Once the mediums are filled out, the hive is going to be placed on top of the horizontal hive, with the medium frames in the bottom (in the horizontal hive) to encourage them to move down. I will insert some more medium frames in and move them down when filled out and remove what deep frames I can. Hopefully the whole hive will move down eventually.

Pretend this was posted on May 17, 2009 🙂

The Next Step
March 17, 2009, 3:53 pm
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Well I’m in my second season and both of my hives have made it! What’s next? I want to give my colonies a fresh new start… by doing a shake down. Here’s a helpful paragraph from Gary’s website to summarize what it is that I want to do.

To perform a total shake down into a new TBH you will want to smoke the bees, we want them to take as much nectar as they can with them to the new hive. Set up an empty colony next to the one your shaking down. Harvest all remaining capped honey into a clean bucket with a lid. When you get to the brood nest find the queen and cage or isolate her to prevent hurting her. Cut out the remaining sections of capped brood (keep a section of drone brood. Place the brood comb (6) upside down in the (6) rear of the hive you may push sticks in it to form braces to hold it upright. Start shaking the remaining bees into the new hive one comb at a time. Preserve the order of the combs you place back in the old hive body for future study!!!! When you are done you may hang the queen cage like a new installation or just release her. The object is to get all the old comb out and start new so the bees build a natural nest it may take several seasons.

Some of the advantages of doing a shake-down are:

  1. The Disturbance of the Mite’s Reproductive Cycle – because the queen has to wait for new comb to be build, the mites have no where to multiply so a break appears in the mite cycle.
  2. The Elimination of Chemical Residue – with new and fresh wax being built you have a healthy colony on your hands.

I’m just trying to figure out when. The pussy willows and crocuses are in bloom (finally)… but it still gets chilly.

Keep at those mites– Do regular sugar dusting, mite counts and drone comb removal.

Don’t start slacking off!– Do regular inspections, feed/split when necessary, just keep an eye on them.

Credit to Gary and the Biobees Forum.

(Pictures soon!)

March 2, 2009, 6:10 pm
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Does winter ever end?


How-To Make Fondant
February 18, 2009, 5:39 pm
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I know I haven’t been blogging for awhile – and I’m not going to make any excuses. (: But I didn’t forget about my honeybees… currently both hives are still alive and buzzing! I recently feed them fondant, one hive went crazy over it and the other… not so much. I made a slideshow on how to make it… if you enjoyed it please do leave a comment so I’ll make more. Credit: City Bees: Sweets for the Sweet

January 2, 2009, 9:44 am
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I have a Flickr account (ahoneybeeinthesky), and I just created a Top Bar Hive Group. If anyone has a Flickr account, please do join and add some of your pictures!
Here is one that has already been submitted, it’s absolutely fascinating!

up close
Credit: Flickr: ~Katie

Barrel Top Bar Hive
January 2, 2009, 12:46 am
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Also known as the Catenary Hive. I am interested in these hives, and I would like to build one myself. Here are some links that inspired me:
Catenary Hive
I started a topic about building one in the BioBees Forum And I found another topic.
Here are some more I found:
Round Hive-BeeSource
Catenary Bee Hive

So what I have concluded this all down to is this:

  • Using Cardboard Fiber Barrels is my best bet. (Plastic is not perfered by the bees, they will abscond.)
  • I will need to water-proof the barrel with straight, melted wax; inside and out.
  • I will need to use wooden bars along the cut edge to support that top bars.
  • I am probably the first person trying this out in New York!  I hope it works out well!

Here is a little diagram I drew: (I couldn’t get it right side up for some reason)

Barrel TBHIf anyone has any suggestions, idea or experience with the barrel TBH, please do tell me! Thanks.

Beehive Under A Barbecue
December 30, 2008, 10:39 pm
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I got this email, and wanted to share it with you. It’s heartbreaking with all the dead bees, but the comb is absolutely fascinating!
Check it out:Bees Under A Barbecue

Pollen ID
December 29, 2008, 4:13 pm
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Pollen ID

Find out what Kind of Flowers your bees have been gathering Pollen From!

Yellow Snow
December 28, 2008, 10:40 pm
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Today was up in the 60s, so I got the observation hive outside and opened up the Langstroth hive entrance a bit bigger. The bees in the observation hive literally poured out of the entrance when I first opened it up. They all orientated themselves and took care of some business. :]

Yellow SnowI put a plate of sugar syrup out, they weren’t interested. Here are some more shots that I got with my new 10.2 mega pixel camera. :]

The bees pouring outComing out for some fresh airA peak at the Combs... and dead bees.Coming out for some fresh air

The observation hive is going through the night outside, because It’s supposed to be in the high 50s. Tomorrow I hope to get a hose connected to the bees and out through a window.

a Brief Introduction…
December 27, 2008, 4:18 pm
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I am a young & inexperienced beekeeper, located  in New York. I currently have 2 beehives. One is a TBH and the other is in a Langstroth hive. I admit that I could have done better this fall, as a beekeeper.

The TBH is currently in my basement, in a smaller observation hive so they could stay warmer a bit better. The Langstroth is only one deep with at least 3 frames packed with honey. I have a medium box on top, and I plan to do this: Mountain Camp Sugar Feeding Method.

As for the TBH, I’m currently trying to feed it sugar syrup, because they didn’t have much honey when I transferred them from the TBH to the observation hive. But they aren’t eating it. But I’m leaving it there for them., in case they get hungry. Here are some pictures… click on them to get a bigger view.