Thursday, April 9, 2015

Goodbye Girls

I sold 3 of my 5 hives on Tuesday.  Jason and I loaded them into my truck after dark, rachet strapped them down and drove them through the streets of Pittsburgh to their new home with an experienced beekeeper.  It's a good thing to pare down.   Spring is the time of year you really need to practice good management with bees.  Well, all times of year you need to manage them well, but when the nectar flows in spring, you have to make sure you give them what they need!  You need to keep an eye on your bees and make sure they have plenty of room to store honey and raise brood.  I feel paring down to 2 hives will lessen my stress with tending to the lovely ladies, since this is also the busiest time of year for me with garden and seedling nursery work.  It takes work, and time, to be a good beekeeper, and I want to be the best one I can be.  

Home hive.  I still have these girls.
At one point last year I had 8 hives and I sold 2 at that point and ended up combining 2 hives as well, to end up with 5.  Splitting your hives is a way to make kind of an artificial swarm, and give the bees more room, and it has worked really well for me.  The problem is, then you end up with more hives and more management of you keep them all.  

The hives I no longer have (January picture!)
Empty pallets that once held hives
"I think my house used to be here"
I'm happy the girls have a new home, but I miss them already though.  I sold both of my original hives from 5 years ago...the mother hives that all my splits have come off of, and ended up keeping a hive that I split 2 years ago, and a swarm that I caught last year that have both turned out to be great hives.  

 The empty pallets where the hives stood a few days ago look a bit forlorn.  And the day after the hives left, a lonely forager sat on the empty pallet all day.  Perhaps she had been out all night, since it was a very warm night, and when she made it home the next morning, her home was not where it should have been.  Just about broke my heart.  Well, hives A, B, and D, I wish you luck and I miss you.  Go forth, and find nectar, pollen, and good health!

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