To Bee, Continued

☆ May 2, 2017

top bar hive

This is my hive.

I have it in a beautiful sheltered nook at my neighbors’, inside an abandoned stock rack (that big metal thing, which is designed to go in the bed of a pickup so you can carry your horse around in your truck). The stock rack keeps the large four-legged beasts (cows, horses, sheep, donkey, etc) from rubbing on the hive, and it’s at my neighbors’ because look at this place! It’s an ideal location for bees, better than anywhere I had at home – secluded, protected from wind, next to meadows and flowering trees.

Not a bad place to bee.

The weather has been nuts here – chilly and rainy since March – but Sunday was gorgeous and warm so I checked on my bees. They have three large combs built already! Some of the cells hold the liquid beginnings of what will be honey, and some of the cells hold eggs!

I even saw my queen, which was incredibly thrilling and occurred five seconds after I asked myself “how does anyone ever see their queen amongst all these bees??!” The queen has a much longer body than the worker bees, and she is the only one who has a shiny black back – worker bees have fuzzy backs. My queen is very dark; her body looks like polished mahogany. I was so happy to see her!


Bee photography has a learning curve.



23 Responses to “To Bee, Continued”

  1. Judy
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 9:27 am

    I am imagining the lovely honey flavors you will get with all the wildflowers and trees surrounding the hive area!

  2. Angela Meier
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 9:28 am

    May they thrive! And continue to bring joy

  3. Marg
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 9:28 am

    Lovely. Will you buy some wildflower seeds and plant them close by? Don’t want to make those workers get too tired out flying great distances lol. Plus it would look so pretty there. I know for a fact that they LOVE Icelantic poppies and they are one of the first flowers up every year.

  4. Tanja
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 9:37 am

    This looks so awesome! Are you planning to sell honey in the future?

  5. wright1
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 10:24 am

    Yay, more beeing updates! May your hive flourish and beget many others.

    There’s a road up the central canyon on my family’s ranch that runs under many oaks. When the trees drop limbs, the hollows formed often get colonized by wild bees. Whenever I walk along that road and hear the unmistakable sound of a hive nearby, I try to spot it; not always easy if the entrance is in deep shade and some distance off (or above) the road.

  6. carol Knapton
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 12:35 pm

    Next thing we know you will be shipping your honey around!!!

  7. Barbara
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 1:31 pm

    Why don’t you leave them plenty of honey when you take some? I hate to think of them feeling as if they’ve just been robbed of all their wealth!

  8. Felyne
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 2:19 pm

    Yay for the bees! I am so concerned for the bees, New Zealand has a real problem with the verroa mite.

    Your hive looks like a coffin. :s Needs a bit of … je ne sais pas

    There is a build instruction on the internet for making a bee condo for an apartment. I considered it but we also have a lot of paper wasps and thought it would probably be an irresponsible thing to do seeing as I’m bee ignorant.

  9. Shreve
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

    B – the bees will keep most of their honey, it’s what they live on and how they survive the winter. I’m feeding them sugar water now because they’ve just been traumatized (I imagine) from being shipped halfway across the country in a tiny crate and are starting from scratch.

  10. Shreve
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

    F- I think the hive looks like a manger.

  11. Theresa Szpila
    May 2nd, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

    Love the set-up! Also love the photography! I can’t wait to see more close-ups of your bees at work.

  12. Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank
    May 3rd, 2017 @ 7:26 am

    Speaking of bee photography, you may want to check out a book called BEE, by artist Rose-Lynn Fisher. Gorgeous microphotography of bees. I think you’ll be wowed by the structure of the honeybee’s eyes.

  13. Sheri Nugent
    May 3rd, 2017 @ 8:32 am

    This is the coolest thing ever! Keep posting updates please!

  14. Alyxx
    May 3rd, 2017 @ 8:53 am

    WOW!! Bees are so important to life on this planet, Bless you for having added them to the farmbly. (I wish I could have bees. The laws in my town are such that I could have a hive in the smack middle of the back yard, and then only if the neighbors didn’t complain. Not ideal. Love the bees!!!!)
    I look forward to amazing bee photos!

  15. Marg
    May 3rd, 2017 @ 10:36 pm
  16. Keli
    May 4th, 2017 @ 12:09 pm

    This is so cool!! I would love to have some bees but I’m afraid I wouldn’t have the time to care for them properly.

    Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your own bee adventures :D

  17. shreve
    May 4th, 2017 @ 1:21 pm

    K ~ I was afraid of that, too, for years! I’m going to write more on that in the next bee post……because you might not have to settle for vicarious.

  18. hello haha narf
    May 4th, 2017 @ 2:43 pm

    what a magnificent setup! (i agree that it looks like a manger. way cool.) i can’t imagine a more perfect place.

  19. Karen
    May 5th, 2017 @ 1:10 am

    A manger… Yes!! Wonderful bees~~~

  20. GFY
    May 9th, 2017 @ 8:11 pm

    I lost my link to this (it was from about 20 years ago and no longer comes up anywhere on the new ‘optimized’ google) but I came across a fascinating concept described by an old-school pro bee keeper who said that bees have intimate knowledge of the terrain they harvest, serving as caretakers – they are not just oblivious feeders, and that constantly moving the hives as is the norm in US commercial farming is deeply disruptive to how they work, stressing them to the point that their immune systems are weakened and making them targets for the varroa mite and colony collapse disorder. On top of that, the standard industrial beekeepers diet of processed sugar water just weakens them further.

    However, short term use of sugar water, as in your case, is totally acceptable as a transitional aide. Wonder if something less processed like coconut sugar would be healthier for them? If so, and probably no one knows for sure, bulk palm sugar is very cheap online via asian/indian markets, though not as cheap as processed white sugar. I know that when I lived in Hawaii, coconut trees in bloom where audibly roaring with bee activity in the mornings! Very cool that you are bringing bees on and hope they thrive under your care!

  21. Terry Dell
    May 11th, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

    There is a book I read many years ago, A Book Of Bees, by Sue Hubbell. If you have not read this, I think you will find it delightful. I truly do enjoy your work. Thank you.

  22. Maggie
    June 19th, 2017 @ 11:25 pm

    I LOVE THESE PHOTOS! Just catching up on your blog for the first time in weeks (months?)
    Love love love the bees. Yay!

  23. Irvin Lahue
    February 7th, 2018 @ 4:37 am

    Pen May 6, 2013 at 7:51 am Reply 9 When I was younger I was influenced by a strong heterosexuality that made boys interesting to look at before they even spoke, whereas girls were not. On top of that, I preferred traditionally boyish activities.As an adult this is still the case, but I also realise that both those things involve appreciating people at a pretty shallow level and have nothing to do with deeper values. On the other hand, I still find it easier to start a conversation with someone who is attractive and interested in the same things as me. In order to get close to women I generally have to work through those early levels of relationships that do tend to be a bit shallow and focus on commonplaces. One of the problems perhaps is that we all use gender to try to establish what those commonplaces might be. My worst ever house guest experience was a woman who, after realising that I didn’t know that much about her profession, IT, wouldn’t be dissuaded from talking to me about shopping for dresses and shoes (her second favourite interest) for two whole weeks. I would have preferred IT and I’m surely not less competent at discussing it.

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