Tough year!

It’s been a tough year for Honey Bees. The plight of the poor honey bee even made the cover of Time Magazine! We managed to harvest a few pounds of honey, 143 to be exact, so we aren’t complaining.

However, one of our hives had a problem. It lost its queen and we didn’t notice. If they made a new queen then it didn’t survive the mating flight, so they were queen-less for quite a while. We finally noticed and added a queen only to find that they killed her. Why you ask? If a hive goes long enough without a queen then a worker bee, or more, will start to lay eggs. The problem is that workers have immature sex organs and cannot mate. Thus their eggs produce only drones (male bees). Male bees do nothing around the house, er hive, and these drones aren’t even healthy enough to go out and do their duty! The problem is that once workers start to lay eggs the hive thinks it has a queen and they kill any queen you introduce. So what to do? Jonathan and I had to take every brood chamber and super (the boxes that hold the bees) , take them to the other side of the yard and empty the bees on the ground. The theory is that worker bees that are laying eggs have swollen bodies due to laying eggs and thus can’t fly. So everyone flies home except the laying workers. Then we introduce a new queen in a cage so that they can get used to her and accept her. IT WORKED! Many thanks to Nancy of Sacramento Beekeeping for her patience and assistance, as well as the new queen! By the way, bees don’t like being tossed on the ground and we hope to not do this again.

We are very happy to have our honey being sold by both Fremont Massage and Wellness and now Mikey’s Country Store and Deli. Please visit our “where to buy” page for directions. Until then we are getting our bees prepared for winter. Spring 2014 is just around the corner.

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