"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."
C. S. Lewis

Beekeeping 101

19 May 2013

Our continuing adventure in Beekeeping . . . We picked up two nucs today - A nucleus consists of 3 to 6 frames of bees, including a Queen, workers, brood in all stages and honey stores.  This is the third
year we are attempting the art of beekeeping. They are wonderful, fascinating creatures - but as
we attempt to manage hives, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Some of those being disease,
starvation, extreme weather, swarming to name a few.

We picked up our bees today from Bill Lewis of Bill's Bees. Bill is a commercial beekeeper that
has a gift for teaching and mentoring those of us who want to take this challenge on. There were approximately 50 attendees at the class today, many of them picking up nucs.  We went through
our nucs locating the Queen (Italian), eggs, larvae, capped brood, nectar, capped honey, and pollen. Some of the nucs had more honey than others, some more brood - each colony is unique.

Italian bees are known for being very gentle - Bill is wearing only a veil and hat - most everyone had their full gear on.

Each year's Queen is marked with and international identification - the red dot you see below. When the Queen slows down her production - this makes it easier to spot your Queen and "cull" her if necessary.

You can also see nectar in the cells in the above picture. The bees will "fan" this nectar with their wings, causing dehydration. When that point of dehydration is reached, they will "cap" the cells with beeswax. Nectar is 80% water and honey is 14 to 18% water.  The bees know exactly when to "cap" the cells - thus providing and ideal storage system.

Bill's dog, trying to go for a ride with us.