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In a Nutshell
Arrrrg ! I was so discouraged when I visited my hives yesterday. Half my queens have swarmed; new virgin queens have lost their way or are not laying eggs yet. Which translate into more than half my hives are in bad shape. Swarming is a natural proccess. It just happenned a bit too soon for me, I wasn’t ready!!!
I was suppose to separate my hives last week but a professional beekeeper told me it was best to have queens under hand before separating because things don't always go well the natural way. And boy was he right! None of my naturally born virgin queens seem to have made it. All I hope is that my hatching queens, the ones I’ve made, will be ready in time (beginning of next week). Hopefully I'll be able to save a few colonies.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could train bees like dogs?
I just bought my first beehives this month, eight total. It is so exciting to have bees at home.
I love to open a hive. The minute you lift the roof, a smell of honey, pollen and propolis envelops you. The buzzing is also very impressive. If the colony is big you can feel it in your thorax, the way a base will do it at a concert. When you lift a frame, most of the bees continue their daily tasks. It is always fascinating to see the birth of a little honeybee, the bee dance to indicate where a good source of nectar can be found, or even sometimes watch the queen lay an egg.
Taking care of bees is quite an adventure these days. Bees tend to die easily with sickness or intoxication. Since an average working bee lives only three weeks, the beekeeper must react very fast or else a whole colony can die. Symptoms being quite similar for different problems, the task is not so obvious.
Next week I will separate all my colonies in two. This way, if all goes well, I should have 16 colonies by the end of the summer. It is very important to know how to multiply colonies because an average of one third will not survive the winter.
This year, because I'm multiplying my colonies, we will not get a lot of honey. I hope to get 20kg. If all goes well though, next year I should have much more. Hubby and I can't wait to taste our honey!