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Tag Archives: bee hives

Ken went into winter with four active hives and three survived. That was a very high percentage. Normally it’s less than 50% survival rate around here due to mites and disease and many other factors that are often unidentified. Since he expected to lose more, he put in an order for three new colonies. They have to be ordered before a beekeeper can determine how many survived. The new bees arrived over the weekend and moved into their new homes in the Methow. So now there are six! The old hives were already very active and the bees have been out gathering pollen and maybe even some nectar. I used my longest lens to get these photos but still I was too close and a bee got stuck in my hair and stung me on top of my head.

Ken’s honeybees are an endless source of questions and wonderment. He enjoys working with them and checking on them from time to time to see how the hives are doing. Are they strong? Are they too strong? Will they swarm? What are they eating? Will we get honey this year? How do we keep other bees from stealing the honey? There are more questions than answers. One friend said while you need to keep an eye on them, there is so much time when you are not watching and who knows what is happening then.

 

Ken ‘smokes’ the bees as he opens the hives

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Smoking calms the bees

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Pulling a frame from a hive as a bee watches

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These are new hives this year

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The bees are making brood and storing food

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Ken points out a possible queen cell to the neighbors and their golden retrievers

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Many frames are not yet filled. It is early in the season

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There’s some honey! We got to taste it.

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