We were hoping for a good year in 2016, and it was good to us! We're a small apiary, but growing every year. My unofficial goal for this year was to produce 300 pounds of honey. Well, today we REACHED OUR GOAL! Our latest honey harvest was just over a 150 pounds, giving us a total of 311 pounds for 2016. Our hives did really well last winter, so we'll follow the same protocol of feeding, winterization and love that we have given to them the last few years. Hopefully, 2017 will provide more growth, more honey and happy bees.
Here are the first three, one pound bottles of honey from our farm. It's been a long time coming! Last winter, in the dead of winter actually, I was in the living room assembling our first hive bodies. I was dreaming about having busy bees in them, making honey for us all to enjoy. Well, the bees did a great job in their first summer and we have our first honey. Our harvest was limited to about 60 pounds, but I was expecting NO honey in the first year. Can't wait for 2014 season already.. Sweet dreams everyone!
I checked all four hives yesterday morning. All seemed well even though I did not see any of my marked queens. One hive had a larger then usual (I think) number of drones, which could indicate a problem with the queen. Hopefully the weather will cooperate next weekend and I can do another full inspection.
Here's a snapshot of me pouring a "3 lb package" of bees into the top of a new hive. Despite my inexperience, the bees are thriving and no one was stung! Below is a video of the entire process on another one of the hives. By the time I finished the fourth hive I was feeling like an expert. I have a lot to learn, but we're off to a good start. Today I checked all four hives. The queen cages were all empty and I was able to locate the queens in all four hives (thanks to the company that marks them with iridescent paint). The fourth hive had so many bees in it I added another brood chamber already.
Things are HUMMING right along. Enjoy the video. -John
Bzzz from the back seat!
This is what it looks like when you put 40,000 live bees in your backseat. The drive from Weston to my house was rather busy inside the truck. You may notice that there are a LOT of bees on the OUTSIDE of the cages!
After months of preparation our first four bee hives are in the yard! I m starting with just the lower brood chamber for the introduction of the bees to the new hives, we'll add more as they build new comb later in the Spring. Tomorrow I'll remove the rocks and put some mulch around the base where the weed barrier is.
It's a beautiful Spring morning at Lazy Bee Farm! This is the view from my bedroom window. Happy chickens and tilled gardens ready to sow. Have a great day!
Nancy took this video while I was tilling the garden today. This is our first time getting the tractor and the new rotary tiller dirty. I was really impressed with the job it did! This area is for our vegetable garden, so it's not very large, but we bought enough white clover seed today to plant a full acre for the bees. We'll get to work tilling the clover field in the next week or two. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to till a full acre. The bees should get here around mid-April.
We picked up our new tractor today. It'll take a bit of getting used to before I'm comfortable with the controls. It's significantly larger than the last tractor, so Nancy will be expecting me to get more work done too! I did splurge a little and get the canopy (and cruise control). The canopy will keep the sun & rain off of my head, the cruise control will allow me to nap as I'm mowing the field. At least that's what the dealer said. :-)
Be safe out there!