Spring Bee Situation

OK. Well. I have learned my lesson. Again.

I like to keep my bees by the pond. In my mind that’s a convenient location and is near water. After several years of beekeeping in drought I thought the pond was the solution to all of my hive cooling problems. Well, after several winters of frozen hives I have decided I need to place my apiary near water but near shelter and away from the freezing cold air that blows out of the west and across the frozen pond for four months every winter.


So we are back to one hive. Again. But it looks strong.

I haven’t blogged about beekeeping previously for two main reasons. First, I am more of a bee owner than a bee keeper and I’m not very good…even after 10 years. Second, it seems…and I hope you understand this…intensely personal. Beekeeping is very…zen. I have to be totally chill when I have a frame of brood in my hand and about a thousand stinging beasts ready to launch at any moment.

I have a beekeeping mentor (get yourself a mentor) who took me out on January 1 my first year of beekeeping to check 50 or so hives. I don’t remember what the arrangement was. Either he pulled the lid and I poured sugar on the frame tops or the other way around. Whatever the deal was, he didn’t let me wear gloves. Hood? Fine. No gloves. Fewer smashed bees that way. Did you know that I type for a living? It’s hard to type when your fingers are swollen like bratwursts. I got so stung up…you wouldn’t believe it. I hardly have any reaction to bee stings these days. Thanks Arvin.


I am down to one hive right now. I have high hopes of splitting that survivor hive. But I need that hive to continue to survive. They are pretty low on food and are flying hard. The trees haven’t bloomed yet so we set out a feeder with a 1:1 syrup. Should see big bees in three weeks. Should be good times.

We use spare chick drinkers. Multi-purpose infrastructure, right? We place rocks in the bowl because bees are not good at swimming.

Do you keep bees? Do you understand what I mean about it being personal? It’s my alone time. It requires my complete attention. And it’s a lot of fun. Sorry I don’t write about it more.

12 thoughts on “Spring Bee Situation

  1. I knew you kept bees, as you’ve mentioned them once or twice. I think this is more than you’ve ever said about them before though. Ten years, huh? That doesn’t fill me with hope. We’ve got ambitions to do some beekeeping, and there’s a strong organization locally that encourages newbies to shadow an established beekeeper for a year before starting – every year, I sign up, and then have to let it go. Maybe next year…

    • Honestly it may be the coolest thing ever. There is a certain smell to a healthy hive…it kind of sticks to you. It’s kind of sweet, kind of earthy…kind of heavenly. Other than the pointy parts, it’s the coolest thing ever. And I rarely use smoke unless I’m messing with feral bees.

      Don’t miss the chance.

  2. Since bees aren’t good swimmers maybe by the pond is a bad location choice for more reasons than cold. The bees this weekend were big and busy. They looked very healthy,but they were keeping their “pointy parts” to themselves. Of course, the kids and I moved around quite a bit to get away from them.

  3. i didn’t know you even had bees, ha. i should have guessed though. i am a beekeeper, this has been my first year with bees since moving to GA. the climate here seems to make things a bit easier on the bees, plus the lack of bears. just got my first sting of the season, right on the ear.

  4. I’ve kept bees for several years, and I completely agree with you Chris about it being personal. I usually hear one of two responses from people when they find out I keep bees, “your crazy, I’d never do that” or “that’s so cool, I want to do that”. There doesn’t seem to be people that ride the fence on the subject of bees. I tell people that even if my bees didn’t pollinate my garden, or give me honey, I’d keep bees simply for the smell of the hive. There’s not another smell in this world like it. Again, it’s personal.

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