This year will be our 4th year to trying to keep bees. We had great success with our first hive, but after we pulled some honey the second year, those bees swarmed and moved to another location somewhere. We were never able to find them.
The next purchase of bees arrived the day before a surprise snow storm resulting in the bees dying from the cold. When new bees are received there are not enough of them to keep the hive warm. Heat comes from a high number of bees huddling together. The timing of the storm could not have been worse.
The most recent purchase of bees seemed to go well. They seemed happy and healthy with a quickly increased population and a lot of good honey comb. We supplemented their honey with sugar water over the winter along with bee keeper pollen patties that you can buy retail.
Just as spring was breaking we found the bees had died. We have no idea what happened. For all we know it was cold weather again, or it’s possible a neighbor in the vicinity could have sprayed a chemical? We are heart broken!
I can’t preach enough about the use of chemicals in yards. Insecticides and fertilizers can kill bees. Even ones touted as organic. Some of the mild organic mite and lice control powders that are used on chickens are deadly to honey bees. If you can do without, please do not use anything to control pests. Mother Nature usually fixes itself in the long run.
I’ll step off my soap box now.
We are getting new bees in June and are preparing. This time they will be at home INSIDE the garden in the corner. Since we have lost our fear of handling bees, we are not afraid to have them there. If anything it will be better for pollination. We will also be putting wind block around the corner the hives will be sitting in to hopefully make the space more hospitable.
Today we will be spreading seed recommended for pollinators, hopefully resulting in a nice bed of native and wild flowers. It will also be good for butterflies and hummingbird.
Wish us luck!