From Beeyonce to Goldie:
Beekeeping Adventures Unveiled in the Bee Blog Vol. 1
I realize some of you follow me due to my love of beekeeping. So during the height of the beekeeping season, I will keep you updated on the Bees and the Apiary in our Science and Coolness sections. Welcome to the buzzing world of beekeeping! I am delighted to share my fascinating journey as I embarked on my beekeeping adventure. From the humble beginnings of a package and a first-year queen named Beeyonce to the triumphs and challenges of managing multiple hives, this blog will take you on an immersive journey through beekeeping.
Year One: The Red Hive and Beeyonce:
In 2021, I was armed with a passion for bees and a determination to learn the art of beekeeping. I purchased a Flow Hive since it seemed like an easy way to extract the honey without disturbing the bees. Like most nerds, I figured I could take a class or two and be a Master Bee Keeper. So, I took two online and in-person courses at our local apiary, where I would purchase my first colony. I began the apiary with a package of bees. I affectionally named the queen bee that led this package Beeyonce; under her rule, the hive flourished. The Red Hive, so named due to the color of its roof on the Flow Hive, embarked on a remarkable journey.
During the first year, I inspected the hive every 7-10 days, looking for any issues or pests. I chose not to extract any honey, instead allowing the bees to keep it for themselves during the winter. This decision helped ensure the hive’s survival through the cold months, setting the stage for a promising future.
Year Two: The Swarming Signs and the Walk Away Split:
As the winter receded and spring of 2022 arrived, signs of swarming began to manifest in the Red Hive. Swarming is a natural process where the queen and a portion of the worker bees leave the original hive to establish a new colony. Understanding the importance of maintaining the hive’s balance, I decided to intervene.
Unfortunately, locating the queen proved challenging, leading to an alternative technique called a walk-away split. This method involves creating a new hive without actively finding and separating the queen from the original colony. The Red Hive, still with Beeyonce as their queen, continued to thrive, while the split colony faced difficulties in raising their own queen.
Enter Goldie: Queen of the Flow Hive with a Golden Roof:
To ensure the survival of the split colony, I procured another queen and fittingly named her Goldie. This queen, distinguished by a yellow dot indicating her birth year, would lead the newly established Flow Hive adorned with a golden or yellow roof. Goldie’s arrival began an exciting chapter for our expanding apiary.
Expanding the Apiary: Green Hive and Blue Hive:
Eager to further explore the world of beekeeping, I added two new colonies to the apiary during the spring of 2022. Under Queen Lil Kim’s leadership, the Green Hive and the Blue Hive, ruled by Queen Elizabeth, joined the thriving community of bees.
The summer of 2022 was marked by prosperity and the sweet rewards of honey extraction. Three of the four hives yielded honey, and I savored the fruits of my labor. Unfortunately, however, the two new additions, the Green Hive, and the Blue Hive, would not survive the winter, reminding us of the unpredictable nature of beekeeping.
Year Three: A Fresh Start with New Queens
As we enter the third season of this beekeeping journey, new developments have occurred in the apiary. In early April of 2023, upon inspecting the Red Hive, a significant change occurred. Beeyonce, the queen who had led the Red Hive since its inception, had been superseded by her daughter, marking a generational shift within the hive.
Intriguingly, a subsequent inspection in late April of 2023 revealed an exciting development in the Gold Hive. Several queen cells were discovered in the swarm position, indicating the bees’ intention to swarm and form a new colony. Seizing the opportunity to expand the apiary, I split the Gold Hive, giving birth (or rebirth) to the Green Hive.
With careful precision, I located Goldie, the beloved queen of the Gold Hive, amidst the swarm of Italian Honeybees. I transferred Goldie to the Green Hive along with four frames of bees and ample resources from the Gold Hive. This split hive would now be led by Goldie, taking charge of ensuring the Green Hive flourishes and increases population and resources.
With these developments, I find myself overseeing three hives in total. The Red Colony, now under the guidance of Beeyonce’s descendant, continues to thrive, embracing a new era of leadership. The Green Colony, headed by the experienced and resilient Goldie, needs to establish and grow the newest colony within the apiary. As for the Gold Colony, their fate rests on the success of their queen-raising endeavors, a mystery that will only unfold during the next inspection.
Excitement fills the air as I eagerly await while science and Mother Nature do their thing. New revelations and challenges await each inspection, providing invaluable lessons and inspiration for fellow beekeepers and enthusiasts. Together, we shall learn, and explore the triumphs, setbacks, and unending wonder of the world of beekeeping! “Bee” sure to check us out, like, and follow us on Instagram.