With the recent introduction of the new queen (check out Justin’s bee post here) the guys have started a family tree with all the bee lines. It’s fun to decipher the bee history line after each time they go in to inspect the hives.
Deciphering their coded lingo: from what I can tell, they are classified as a “keeper,” a “Red Cross,” and a “survivor” queens. I think that is what it says!
Beekeeping is slightly more involved than keeping ducks or chickens. Sure, the bees do most of the work, but you have to stay on top of your hive maintenance – no slacking. Besides, bees are independent – they don’t listen to nobody! Especially true for those who keep bees in the city and these days, with so many folks saving feral bees, we need to be aware of the first signs of disease and swarm cells. Empty beehive boxes can fill up fast this time of year.
Justin has been helping several newbie beekeepers who had questions about their beehives. Bee colonies multiply by splitting via a swarm that usually consists of the original older queen and many worker bees who leave the hive and fly off to start a new colony. Many new beekeepers have gotten their start from swarms (we include ourselves here). Witnessing a swarm is a pretty intense experience, but, as a beekeeper, you don’t want that happening too often! If a swarm does happen early in the season, the bees will survive just fine; but with a late season swarm, it could jeopardize the colony come winter if there aren’t enough bees/honey.
As a beekeeper, you need to always bee prepared! You can’t just have bees, you gotta keep ’em!