March Newsletter: Update on our hives that were vandalize, What is a NUC? Top Easter Basket Ideas.
Our Hives Were Vandalized Twice!! What happen, what we found, the outcome.
First Vandalism: In mid-February we were contacted by a local organization that we partner with, stating that our hives on their property were vandalized! We quickly went over to access the situation. We noticed that two of the hives were affected. We also noticed that the there was an indentation behind the fence of crush flower bushes that looked like a someone may have fallen and made a path through the garden…probably because the bees were stinging them. The video below was taken upon arrival.
Second Vandalism: Two days after the last vandalism we received a call that the hives were vandalized again! The second time is where we receive the brunt of the damage and hives were killed. The person doing this must have come back with clothes that protected them from the bee stings. We had one hive that was in a tree that was decimated. The hive arrived at the tree last fall, she made through the winter and we going to move her into a new hive box in the spring. You never want to relocate bees in the fall or the winter as they may not survive the move. The losses were heart breaking. We decided to move all that hives to another location to see the extent of the damage. The videos below is the video of the second vandalism:
The Move: Alma went early the day of the move to prep the hives. We noticed that one hive literally moved the whole colony out of thier box and between two other boxes… which is strange behavior but we later understood why. We placed the whole hive into a transport box. Alma and her husband went late in the night and the bees were so cooperative. We could tell that the bees were stressed out but were ready to go and understood we were there to help. The move was jarring and difficult because of the weight and size of the hives. Alma stated that there are rare times when your soul connects with nature. It is like you and a completely different species understand each other’s intent and need. You connect and the root of the intention is love. This was one of those rare moments for she and her husband. Video of the move:
The Outcome: We let the bees get use to their new location and landscaped it which also can stress the hives out. We fed them honey and pollen taken from other hives in the beeyard. Some of the hives did not survive the move. They were so badly beat up. We knew we were taking the risk in moving them but not to move them would have sealed their fate…at least we can try to give them a chance. These were the losses that really hurt our hearts because we tried so hard to save them and they tried so hard to live. The hives that made it, we noticed signs of trauma. The bees moved their babies and as much as they could to the second upper box. Bees do this to survive a disaster, because the first level is no longer safe. We see this behavior during times of flood or hurricanes. We suspect chemicals were being used outside the hives so they moved up to the second box up. One hive abandoned their hive all together and hustled between their box and the neighboring box. The other thing we saw is a delay of egg laying of the queens… no capped brood. This is also a sign of trauma. The queen will stop laying because they don’t feel secure in their home and therefore may need to leave…so why make more baby bees. The good thing is that the queens were just starting to lay eggs again 3 ½ weeks after their trauma. In the end our losses were 60% of the hives that were vandalize. Our tangible losses were over $2800. This number amount doesn’t include the value of the live bees or the future income we lost from the honey and future hives each of these colonies would have produced. It also didn’t include what we needed to spend in time and money to get the bees back to health. We started a gofund me page and received donations to help us. We were and are very grateful and blessed to all that donated. Security cameras were place that site where the vandalism happened. Alma will be heading out to purchase bee equipment next week. We had to “borrow” equipment from other hives to help the effected bees but now that it is spring, the other hives will need their equipment back. A local church has offered to help us built the boxes and decorate them. We will most likely have a box building day at the shop as well. Below is the link to the gofund me page:
Want to get started in Beekeeping? A Nuc is the way to go. What is a NUC?
A Nuc is the best and more secure way to start hive because your colony will be off to a much
better start than a colony started from packaged bees. A nuc is essentially a small working hive, whereas package bees are a box with bees with a queen. When buying package bees you have to supply the bees with a new home. You may run the risk of the bees rejecting the new home provided and take off elsewhere. Nucs come with frames filled with brood, honey, and pollen provided by the queen and bees of the nuc. The frames are well covered with enough bees to keep the brood warm and to take care of the small hive. A healthy, young, laying queen is also included with the nuc. A nuc will grow fast enough so that bees are an established colony and at full strength for when the honey flow starts.
What makes our Nucs Special: Our Nucs are "grown" not "thrown."
It is an accepted practice to throw together a nuc for sale. Large-scale beekeepers will throw together the needed 5 frames to make a nuc by taking frames from different hives. They will then shake a reasonable number of bees into the box, pull and cage a queen and place her in the nuc. The nuc is then sealed and sold. The risk is that the bees may not accept the caged queen and you really do not know the quality of the queen you are getting until months later when her genetics have taken over.
Our nucs are grown. Our nucs are started with a queen cell. The queen hatches in their nuc box, mates, and cared for by the bees that have been by her side since hatching. So that we can be sure of her temperament and laying pattern. We keep our queens for 3-6 weeks or until they have "grown" their nuc to the needed 5-8 frames. By receiving a "grown" nuc the new owner is receiving a nuc that is a true family and reflection of the quality of their queen.
Want to learn more about Beekeeping? Alma will be providing a live beekeeping seminar webinar. The Live Beekeeping Webinar is Saturday, April 3rd: Intro to Beekeeping starting at 9:30 and Intermediate Beekeeping starting at 3pm We know how intimidating beekeeping can be from the beginner’s perspective. Unfortunately there is not a book on beekeeping in the South much less beekeeping in the tropical south...so we are here to help. Alma will not only teach you what she does but also what other beekeepers do any why. This way the student will have a better understanding of beekeeping and which set up is best for them. Students will also better understanding of different beekeeping perspectives when attending a beekeeping club meeting. The seminars are $60 each or book them together for $90.
Intro to Beekeeping Seminar:
A Bee’s Life: Bee biology/behavior, life stages and duties, types of bees in the hive. How Agriculture has change and the effects it has on how and where we keep bees. Plight of the honeybee, Types of Beekeepers & how they mix. State Regulations for keeping bees How to register your bees and set up your location to meet requirements. Unique challenges in keeping bees in the Southern states and Florida.
Beekeeping Set-up 101: Options for Protection Wear, Parts of the hive: their different names and uses, Options of hive set up…pros and cons, Langstroth hive, Flow Hive, Top Bar Hive, DYI Hives…pros and cons, Tools and Equipment: option and uses, Feeder options …pro and cons
Options When Purchasing Bees: When to purchase bees.Nuc vs Package bees Bee Breeds How to Install your bees. Determining best location. What to do when you bring bees home
Intermediate Beekeeping Seminar:
The Making of a Queen: Swarming – What happens to the swarm and what happen to the queen that left. Types of queen cells, Science of queen bee development. Queen bee timeline, Science of queen breeding
Hive Inspection and Record Keeping: How to prep hive for inspection, effectively use a smoker, what to look for, and how to document.
Now What??? How to trouble shoot the unexpected...Uncommon honey bee behavior, pests, queen cells, & much more