On Sunday, with the warmer weather and the spring nectar flow it was time to build up the hive.  This was the first time opening the hive since late Fall. So this was a chance to see how they over wintered and spot if there were any diseases present.

Well, happy to say the feral hive that we captured 2 years ago are doing well.  The broods and the queen looked healthy with no signs of disease – thank God.

Opening up the hive for inspection.

So far so good.

There she is – the queen bee!

Can you spot her?  To a trained eye she’s easy to spot.  Look for bee that’s the biggest and a little darker than the rest.

Though slightly agitated, the bees really were very docile.  Show no fear and they will likely not bother you.  Hey, you are talking to a beekeeper’s daughter.  Believe me I know.

I love the smell of smoke in the afternoon.

Off come the super’s box.  Don’t have a clue what I am talking about?  Sorry.  Learn more about beekeepers lingo

Out come the super frames.

Checking supers and not being tempted to lick some of that golden honey.

Added a second brood box to the hive to give the bees room to expand during the spring honey flow. Now putting back the supers.

All done.  No stings, the bees got an extra addition to their home.   Now we just wait and let them do their thing.

Hopefully it’ll be another good honey year, especially since the orange trees are finally loaded with flower buds.  In a couple months it will be time to do some honey extraction.  So stay tuned for all the finger licking fun.


  1. Chris says:

    Wonderful!!! I have been hesitant about starting this project, as I have a slight fear of them. I don’t seem to mind a bee or two, but I’m not so sure about a whole hive! I would like to work through that though and rise to the ocation. After all we need more healthy hives around. Maybe I will let someone come in and set their hives on my land, instead. Thanks, C

  2. Judy says:

    Cool post! The bees are very interesting…. and so very important for pollination of our veggies!

  3. Chiot's Run says:

    We’re getting bees this year, I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see how it goes. I’m hoping I can keep them healthy.

  4. DoubleD says:

    My parents kept bee hives when I was growing up on our small farm. I was too young to participate (yes it was a long time ago!) but do remember my father using the smoker and wearing his protective netting hood etc. Your photos brought back a lot of great memories of lazy days under the apple tree with my siblings, the large garden, chickens, and yes… the bee hives.

  5. redclay says:

    “To a trained eye she’s easy to spot”

    Apparently I don’t have a trained eye. Like DoubleD, my parents raised bees when I was young and I was likewise too young to participate…hence my inability to find the queen. I did learn not to be scared of them though…a valuable lesson.

  6. Glynis says:

    Thanks for these fantastic photos!! I am really wanting bees but my DH, Mr. Boss Threads is still pretty reluctant. I’m not afraid of bees and we actually babysat bees growing up as my uncle was an urban beekeeper on a side of a gorge in downtown Toronto.
    These photos really show the hives working, and I loved to see the guys just in hats and not in gloves. That was how my father and uncle worked but at the bee class I took, they warned against it. It’s nice to feel the living, alive bee-ings you are working with!

  7. Robert says:

    I love seeing pictures of bees. Don’t forget to kill your queen in the June – July time frame, or at least cage her. Alternatively, you could move her to a broodless nuc, this will help drop the Varroa mite levels and give them a chance to build up for winter.

    Here’s a link that may be helpful. He’s out of California so much of the data on nectar and pollen blooms will be helpful for you.

  8. Angie Robinson says:

    I thought you used top bar hives. Did you switch and if so why?

  9. JD says:

    Here is a previous post regarding the hive change:

  10. NO SWARM | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] and went on to say, “so you are telling me that you were right on the mark deciding to go and expand the hive last month and by doing this basically suppressed their urge to swarm.”   “That’s […]

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