The long awaited day is finally here, we got our bees!! If you haven’t read my older post, we lost our bees in spring of 2022. We winterized them and survived the brutal cold winter of 2021-22 but came spring and they had died of a disease that was out of our control. So for our 2023 beekeeping year, we had to start all over.
Starting over meant, we needed all new equipment and gear, everything we had been using was contaminated with the disease and was not safe to use any longer. Resulting in us having to burn everything we had. Like I had mentioned in my previous post, it was bittersweet. We needed new equipment, we were working with very old hand-me-down equipment anyways.
Jumping into 2023
We are coming into the 2023 summer with high hopes and lots of excitement. The bees arrived a little later this year than normal, due to them still needing to make their mating flights in CA, before moving to WI. At first this was sad news, but once we got the bees here in WI, everything was starting to bloom. This is good news for both us and the bees, the bees get RIGHT to work and they have resources to do so right off the bat.
In previous years, when we got our bees earlier, there was nothing for them to gather from. Flowers hadn’t bloomed, trees weren’t blossoming, so we were left feeding them sugar water and off to a late start. This year is different and it is giving us some hope that this could be good for us! However, only time will tell!
What Is This Years Plan?
This years plan is we are hoping to get a small harvest, mostly just for ourselves and the sake of sharing the experience with all of you! We don’t harvest to sell but I (Megan) am thinking about trying something new! I wont disclose any more information as of yet, but be sure to watch for upcoming news, probably July/August time!
There is hope that being off to a good start, we will be able to harvest some honey come July and still leave enough for the bees to survive off of throughout the winter. Again, only time will tell this but we will keep a watch and keep you all updated!
How Do You Get The Bees In The Hive?
I get this question a lot when I talk about us getting our bees. There are 2 different options when you purchase bees. You can buy a box of just bees including a Queen or you can buy a Nuc “Nucleus Colony”. A nuc is a small already established hive that you can purchase, typically later in the year so your bees don’t have to work as hard when they arrive.
For some reason, we have never opted for the Nuc option, not entirely sure why. Honestly, a lot of people don’t go that route, at least in our area. When we purchase ours, we get a couple pounds of bees and a Queen.
The Queen that comes in the box, is not the Queen from the hive. That’s a Queen that someone raised and you have to introduce her to the rest of the hive. They make these special little contraptions that she is put into and than placed inside the hive so the hive can get used to her. You stuff a marshmallow or some newspaper inside the hole of the contraption and the other bees will chew their way through, while getting comfortable with her smells.
Once the bees have chewed through the marshmallow/newspaper, the Queen will exit the contraption and is able to roam free in the hive. She then takes over as the hives Queen and puts them all to work. In our case, they got to work really quick this year! In just a few short days of her being in the hive, they created comb in places they weren’t supposed too. As you will see below, Mark is removing the comb they built and placing the final 2 frames into the box.
**add picture of mark adding frames**
Now What? What Do You Do?
This is also a common question I get often, what do you do with the bees? Nothing! You really just let the bees do their thing. We check on them from time to time, make sure the Queen is making bees and the bees are making honey. Time will only tell what will happen from here! Continue checking in, following my Facebook page facebook.com/thebeekeeperandhislady for more updates!
I hope you found some good information from this and I hope I have peaked your interest to ask questions! Please send me any questions you may have! I look forward to sharing more information as we move forward and any tricks I may have up my sleeve !
Much Love & Honey,
Megan & Mark