Tag Archive | Beekeeping

The First Death

Yesterday I experienced my first hive death as a beekeeper. I went out to remove the mouse guards from my hives and open up the entrance reducers (since it is still going to get cold out, I have decided to just use the medium opening). What I found in Hive A was that many bees were pushed up against the entrance. I expected some deaths, but I was concerned that the bees hadn’t been cleaning out the dead like the bees in Hive B had been doing, and I hadn’t witnessed them doing any/many cleansing flights. When I removed the entrance reducer and started to clean out the bottom, piles upon piles of dead bees came out. And I knew, before even opening the hive, that my poor, struggling hive was no more.

Upon opening the top, the feed patties were untouched. I could see down through the frames and there was not a little soul alive. There was still honey on the frames I had last seen them on. I could not see any brood. I anticipate that they had been so small going into the winter that they may not have had enough bees to keep themselves warm. Or perhaps I had no ventilated the hive well enough – I could see evidence of condensation and small amounts of mold on the frames. From my brief inspections and the lack of sunken in brood, I believe the bees may have died from the cold. Or perhaps lost the queen and then slowly died themselves. If you’re interested in how to discern why your bees died, I found this article to be very helpful: How to Autopsy a Honey Bee Colony.

I have some thoughts for next year. I’m going to endeavor to better insulate my hives and provide better ventilation (most likely by adding a notch in the inner cover to allow some of the moist air to escape). I’ve also started researching doing hive splits since Hive B is massive (already) and I’m sure will be bursting at the seams next month. It is a better alternative than letting the bees swarm. If you’re interested in hive splits, I’ve found this video to be very enlightening – Splitting Hives by UoG Honey Bee Research Centre.

I’ve also started looking at buying a queen. It’s still a bit too cold to do a split in Colorado just yet. Some nights are freezing, which would make it difficult to supply them with a sugar syrup feed. They also would not be able to keep enough of the brood warm. But at the end of March/beginning of April, I’ll see if I can get a Russian Queen (everything I’ve read has indicated they’re excellent at disease resistance, produce lots of honey, and are good at overwintering). If nothing else, my Italian queen seems to have done well in Hive B, and so I may get another one of those.

There is a lot to consider. I’m still a bit disappointed that the hive that I thought was making a solid comeback ultimately perished. If nothing else, I take comfort that Hive B has survived and is flourishing. I’m excited to see what kind of honey surplus they generate this year!

 

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Long Time No See

2015 was an incredible year for me. It was crazy, emotional, and revolutionary in ways that I couldn’t have begun to predict when I wrote my “Moment of Clarity” post almost a year ago. I feel badly for not updating my blog, but during a time of such grand upheaval, it felt almost impossible to sum everything up as it was happening. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

January 2015

I was still very wrapped up in breaking up with my ex-boyfriend and being kicked out of his house. I didn’t like the job that I was working; I was not well payed nor doing something at my skill level. My grandfather had recently passed away, and I had some lingering regrets about not returning home sooner to visit my grandparents (It had been three years since I returned home at this point). At the same time, I was becoming reacquainted with old friends from back home and was being strongly urged to move back.

March

At the beginning of March, I get a call from my former neighbor that there’s fire, police, and ambulances at my ex’s house. His mom (whom I’m very close to) is there, and there is a big scene. I’m sure some of you are thinking “No, don’t do it!” But I did do it. I went over there, spent a few days providing moral support for his mom and taking care of the dog. While things may have ended badly between us, his family had been very kind and helpful to me, and I wouldn’t turn my back on them. I even became somewhat friends with my ex, and we were more cordial to each other. In many ways, I received closure from this event that helped me get over him.

April

I was told in the beginning of April that my contract job would be ending, as the entire department was moving to Georgia. I was in a panic. We had about a month and a half to find other means of employment; while the Greater Denver Area is a great place for finding tech jobs, it can also be on the competitive side. I started hunting immediately. I was also making back-up plans. I reached out to a friend in Seattle who was willing to help me get a job there if I needed one, and I was talking to friends and family back in Indiana; the worse case scenario was that I did not find another job by the time my current one expired, and I would be forced to move back home. I really didn’t want to leave Colorado, but preparations had to be made.

At the end of the month, I was contacted by a company I had applied for months ago saying that the position was open again, and they were interested in interviewing me. I jumped on it and crossed my fingers.

May

May was a very decisive month for me. At the start of the month, I was offered a job in Seattle. The very next day, the company I had interviewed with in Denver offered me a job. It was one of the harder decisions I’ve had to make; I’ve always wanted to live in Seattle – I love the rain and would enjoy the constant overcast. But the pay and the benefits were not as good as the job here, and then there were moving costs to consider. It simply was not a good opportunity. I transitioned smoothly from my previous job into my new job.

I was also out and about more, socializing with friends and meeting new people at bars and clubs. I went back to the gym and starting working out again. I got that library card that I promised I was going to get. I started writing again, little by little. I also had to break the news to hopeful friends and family that no, I would not be moving home.

June

June started it all. One innocuous event changed my life forever.

I was good friends with a wonderful lady named Heather, and it was standard by that time for her to host regular BBQs for everyone to get together, eat, listening to music, etc. I met a lot of interesting people there; I got to socialize with plenty of people I was already friends with. That’s where I met Brett. Sitting in between me and another girl who I was discussing the finer points of content editors and how messy some of them can be on the HTML side, he made an off hand remark about how great it was to be seated in the middle of our discussion. And that’s about all that it took for me to ask him to dance and for us to get each other’s numbers.

We wouldn’t get together for another two months due to scheduling conflicts.

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w/Stella and Marty

 

August

Brett and I finally meet up at The Modena Wine Cafe just down the street from where I lived for a few casual drinks. By the end of this four hour affair, it was a date. One date turned into three, and then three turned into a long-term relationship.

September

For the first time in almost a year, I went back home. I did a long trip that split my time between family in South Bend, Indiana, and then spent a few days in Toronto, ON with two friends I made playing CS:S several years ago. It was good to see my friends and family and get to spend plenty of time with them. I dyed my hair a glorious blue. I caught frogs in a pond I knew from my childhood, and I got to spend time with a friend who I’ve known since grade school, almost fifteen years! It was an incredible time.

 

 

 

And then there was Canada. Aside from missing my flight at O’Hare because the TSA took over 2 1/2 hours to get me through security, everything was great. I visited the Royal Ontario Museum and Ripley’s Aquarium, and even got to see a Rave-mobile make it’s way through downtown (seriously, people were just following a glorified car made to look like a parade float, bumping to some serious dance music). I got to see Niagra falls and spend some time with my besties!

 

October

Brett and I moved in together, and for the first time in probably my entire life, I felt like I was home. I’ve had my own apartment, I’ve lived with other boyfriends, had roomies, and none of them quite felt like home. Maybe the closest I had come to that feeling was when I was living on-campus at university. Here, there is a sense of belonging and a feeling of being “in this together” with the person I’m living with. I feel as if my spaces are, in part, my own, and I have some control over them as opposed to just temporarily inhabiting them.

December

Business as usual for Christmas. We put up Christmas lights on the house and decorated a tree! It was nice to have someone as enthusiastic about decorating as I am, even if it’s just a few decorations here and there. Every time I looked at our tree, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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January 2016

Now we’ve come full circle! I’ve started writing again, I’ve been coming up with ideas for editing my novel and for poetry. I’ve joined a Beekeepers Association and am preparing to raise honey bees next year in addition to starting long distance cycling. It’s going to be a busy busy year ^_^!