We had an amazing class with a class of 3-6 year olds! They were so knowledgeable and were answering questions like pros and asking questions like “where are the larva?” Pictures and more details to come!
It’s getting a little warmer and when springs officially comes and the nectar starts to flow it’s good to be ready for your colonies to expand. Expansion also gives you the opportunity to split your hive or if you hive is already big, you can split to keep them a more managable size. Ray will be speaking and showing us how.
Thank-you to Terri who presented the natural history of bees. She discussed the types of bees including the queen, workers and drones. The term beekeepers use to refer to the life cycle of honeybees is bee math. She had great questions. See if you can answer these questions with the table below.
2. If you find just hatched larvae and open brood but no eggs, how long ago was the queen there?
3. If the queen starts laying today, how long before that brood will start foraging for nectar?
It’s always fun to get together with other bee loving beekeepers, new and experienced. We had a good number of people so that our new people could get into the hive. We loved finding the heart shaped comb. Unfortunately a bee lost her life in the inspection. We always try to avoid that. Hope to see you at the next class October 4 at 8am.
We’ve had some great first time experiences for newbees during our classes. We welcome beekeepers or admirers of all levels. We would love to have people with experience that would like to help mentor and be available to answer questions.
If you are coming out remember to…
- Wear socks that cover the ankles.
- Shoes that cover the feet, ideally boots such as rain books work really well.
- Consider bringing a baseball cap, some of the suits fit better with one on.
- Long pants such as jeans or other heavy materials, some of the suits are jackets only.
- Camera/phone to get those precious first time in a suit and hive pics.
- Water to stay hydrated and eat something before you come.
Remember, it’s always possible that you might be stung and stings hurt! Don’t worry if you are nervous, you can observe too. Kids are welcome but you will need to supervise them and they might be stung.
Our March class was later in the month due to rain but the rain was very welcome. We had Reggie there for his first time in a hive.
After watching us open the hive and taking out a couple of frames he did the rest. What a natural. We found the bottom box full and the second box empty so we pulled up 2 frames of brood and a couple of honey to make some space. In the process we saw a decent laying pattern and we even spotted the queen. Great first day for a new bee.
Just a reminder, these are foundation less frames. We just push the comb around a little bit to get it straight when it’s first being made and they wind up pretty straight. No starter strips either.
It was another nice morning for a beekeeping class. Chilly but it warmed up pretty quickly. Alyssa, new beekeeper, joined us. She’s already ordered her suit and is visiting LA Honey soon to pick up her equipment. For our inspection she borrowed one of our Honeylove supported bee jackets. She was a natural with the bees and did most of the inspection. Pretty good for the first time in a hive.
We found all the brood in 3 frames in the bottom box. The queen was laying in newly built comb but looked pretty slim. There was a frame of just pollen which I hadn’t seen before. We took 4 frames of honey and put some empty frames here and there. Next time I’ll pay more attention of the positioning so we can put it on the blog.
The frames of honey will be shared at the Long Beach Organic community garden South 40 workday and their upcoming Valentine’s day event. I’m sure everyone will enjoy the treat. After I take the honey, I’ll put the frames back with a little strip of honeycomb left at the top. I’m sure they’ll build it out soon.
A couple of weeks ago we went to check out the hive to see if it had started the January build up that happens when “Spring” comes early in the coastal areas. We saw lots of honey and nectar and some pollen being brought in. There was brood and we opened up the brood area to make room for new comb. There were still some empty frames which is always good to see. The honey stores was in the some cross comb so we’ll plan on taking that out for our next beekeeping class coming up on Sat Feb 1st at 8am. We’ll cut out the honey comb, clean up the empty frames, move some brood up and inspect the hive. The honey comb will need to be put into jars away from the bees. And then we can share it with the garden at the next work day.
Last week I also took a frame to show the 4H Bee Club kids. We identified the brood and even saw a queen cell. It was quite a frame after throwing the bees off and into the hive. I figured I would go ahead and take the frame since I so many new eggs being laid in new comb. It wasn’t capped so not sure if they were planning on replace the queen or not. I took a quick trip to Spring Street Farm for an errand and found Kelli was working hard with her young volunteers. It was a surprise for Sunday so I brought the frame out so they could take a break and check out the bees.