Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

 

Grayson and I took a beekeeping class at the Lee County agricultural extension office last summer.  As a result, we have become avid backyard beekeepers.  The picture above is Grayson with an Apis mellifera (honeybee) on his thumb. 

 

We have two boxes of honeybees and we absolutely adore them.  We tend to their needs and we do our best to protect them from harm.  Florida has become a difficult place to keep bees alive.  Florida’s beekeeping rules are different from the rest of the country.  I am eagerly waiting for somebody to write the book on Florida beekeeping.  There is so much to discuss when it comes to bees and their keeping.  I couldn’t do it in one post.  But I will write about our bees frequently as we  desperately try to keep our bees alive. 

 

 Our bee boxes on stands. 

We lost an entire box of  bees several days ago.  I believe they were poisoned while out working for the day.  There were dead bees everywhere.  We are very, very sad about the entire event.  I’ve heard people say they were sad when they lost their bees, but I didn’t truly understand the emotion until it happened to us.  It’s becoming difficult to keep bees alive if you live near a golf course or a citrus grove.  The poisons get them eventually.  Are you now wondering what those poisons are doing to us?  Me too.  Our other box of bees are lethargic and barely hanging in there.  We’re feeding them sugar-water prepared a special way for feeding bees and saying a prayer for them. 

 

This is one of our girls on our lime blossoms.  Our garden has been buzzzzing with activity.  These worker bees are out collecting pollen, nectar, water and propolis.  Propolis has wonderful antimicrobial properties.  Bees use it to sterilize the hive and fill in cracks. 

 

During the bees active season, a colony usually has one queen, several hundred drones (males), and many thousands of workers (females).  In the above picture, the queen is marked with a green dot.  This is an international queen color code to determine her age.  She is also marked so that she is easy to spot when tending the bees.  The color green indicates that she is a queen from a year ending with a 4 or 9.  Each year has a different color.  The queen can still be spotted without a colored dot on her as  she is larger than the other bees. 

My colony, in the above picture, is not doing well.  If they were, you would see capped brood in the picture.   The term brood is used to refer to the embryo or egg, the larva and the pupa stages in the life of holometabolous insects. The brood of honeybees develops within a bee hive box.  

some capped brood cells here

If all goes well, this is the honey harvest you can expect at the end of the season.  Most backyard beekeepers get much, much more than this.  

 

This is a local honey stand, at the end of the beekeeper’s driveway, that is not far from us.  

 

We bought our honey here for years before we became beekeepers.  They use the honor system.  You choose your honey and put the proper amount into the money slot. 

Unfortunately, for the first time in history, beekeepers everywhere are giving up… at an alarming rate .  They are not able to keep their bees alive.  Since beekeeping is not our livelihood and only a backyard hobby for us, we will not give up…yet. 

Come grow with us!

3 Responses to “Don’t Worry, Bee Happy”

  1. Melinda Copper Says:

    great job, Lisa! Glad you’re enjoying your bees. I’ve got some in a topbar hive, just to pollinate the garden, doesn’t make a whole lot of honey but is very low maintenance. Fortunately, not too much poison out here. Now you need a nice goat! I happen to have several extra😉

  2. Very nice blog! Excellent photos and I like the Black Letterhead theme!
    Keep up the good work,
    Santiago Wallace
    Wallace Family Apiary

  3. I wanted to add one more thing. I agree that it is getting increasingly difficult to keep bees alive here in Florida, I’ve lost more colonies than I care to talk about/ I hope your bees recover and that you don’t give up on your girls.
    Santiago

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