The Hive and Hive Nots of Beekeeping thumbnail image

The Hive and Hive Nots of Beekeeping

“Who’s a busy little bee? You are!” –Krista, Blogger and Bee Motivator

Already, another busy summer is in its final tailspin and once again I am left apologizing for neglecting to post. I never thought I’d be too busy to be short of words, but here I am, near extracting and realizing I’ve neglected the blog. From the bottom of my heart, I do apologize dear reader.

I may have neglected the blog, but I did not forget about my bees. My three hives are certainly thriving, and I am proud to say I will have a honey harvest this year (happy waggle dance)! So let’s break the summer down and get to the details.

Queen Arya the Mighty

My Italian hive, ruled by Queen Arya, is booming. This hive started out strong this spring and hasn’t slowed down since. Arya rules a mighty kingdom that is currently working on a second super with good stores throughout her brood boxes, too. Queen Arya has never let me down and I am looking at the majority, if not all of my honey harvest, coming from her hardworking hive.

Queen Arya’s crew working on a frame.

Sweet, sweet honey!

Continuing an inspection.

Queen Arwen the Swift (and Swarming)

Next to Queen Arya’s busy hive are the Carniolans led by Queen Arwen. This was my first adventure with Carniolans, and they did not disappoint in their eagernss to build up and get stuff done! At one point this summer it seemed that Queen Arwen’s hive would even eclipse the mighty Italian hive next door, but due to my own mistakes, a mid-July swarm crushed any hope of that. Queen Arwen bailed with half of the hive, leaving two well-tended brood boxes, an untouched super and one very devastated beekeeper.

Queen Leia the Late Bloomer

I will admit that I was not too impressed by Queen Leia and her Saskatraz hive at first. It seemed that their progress was always overshadowed by her Carniolan and Italian beeyard neighbors because the hive was slow to build up. What I did not know then was that this was just the calm before the storm. Now, this hive is a whirl of activity. I should have never doubted Leia and the Saskatraz, her hive is not only healthy but is filling frames at a faster pace than Queen Arya’s and Queen Arwen’s. She now has a super and is working toward stashing some extra honey. I’m predicting this hive will be a great one to over-winter. I’m looking forward to see how far these Saskatraz bees can go!

Queen Leia’s hive is getting bigger!

In conclusion, a new observation…

So this summer brought no real trouble from pests that wandered in and around the beeyard. The local bear population seems to be keeping a wide berth of my yard as well as any raccoons or skunks. After a couple mite counts, it even seems that the varroa are pretty chill for me, as well. Everything was good… until I made a really random observation this past week. Has anyone ever had any problems with dragonflies snacking on their bees? Until seeing a cloud of dragonflies whirling in and out of my beeyard and chasing bees, I had no idea these guys posed any threat. Now, after I’ve observed this occurrence three evenings in a row, I’m starting to get a little concerned. Are the dragonflies devouring enough of my bees that I’ll start noticing hive population decline? What can I do to avoid this situation? I don’t really want to hurt the dragonflies as they are awesome bewinged knights keeping the mosquito threat at bay. On the other hand it’s really hard to see my girls becoming snacks. Fellow beeks, HELP!

Feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you! Keep an eye out for an educational extraction post that’s in the works, too! In the meantime, enjoy some extra footage of Queen Arya’s hive. I like to call it ‘Five Minutes of Bee Zen.’