juliecache queen bee

Working the bees

I have three hives currently, and I might soon have a fourth.

garden bed with beehive
A garden is more complete with a beehive.

Two hives are across the yard from each other. I’ve been hauling my wheelbarrow to the different sites, which is very helpful. With the deadout hives (hives that didn’t survive the winter), I have drawn comb available, both empty and filled, and the pollen and honey-filled frames are heavy.

deep brood box early in the season with smoker beekeeping juliecache
My green wheelbarrow in the foreground is a life saver!

Since it’s the beginning of the season and I started with new packages of bees, I had to ensure that the queens came out of their cages.

julia photographed the queen bee
The dark one is the queen. I had to move everyone out of the way to get this shot.

My packages came in a screened box with three pounds of bees and one queen cage. The queen is separated in her cage until the workers eat their way to her.

julia holding empty queen cage in Iowa
Empty! That’s what I hoped for.

The potential fourth hive is a ‘trapout.’ I use quotes here because I can’t really trap anything. Maybe I ought to say lure. The entrance to this hive appears to be between the chimney and gutter of a two-story house in an historic district. And it’s on a hill. Very steep roof. Yeah, no trapout being placed. I was hoping they’d be in an accessible attic, but they aren’t! I looked!

So I’m hoping that they want to live in a more spacious home, like my box. I placed some bait to make it more attractive.

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