If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember last year my Dad brought us two new hives of bees and promised to teach us all he knew about beekeeping. I was so excited about learning from him, since he has kept bees since I was old enough to remember. Hubby was a little apprehensive at first about beekeeping, (don't tell him I told you that) but quickly fell in love with the process of working with them and watching them work as well.
Sadly, late last summer we realized something was terribly wrong in one of the hives.... only young bees were coming in and out of the hive and soon we found several piles of dead bees at the entrance. I was very upset but Dad assured me that it wasn't our fault and that any number of things could have happened. Then, after having a terrible winter this past year, we opened up our one surviving hive early in the spring only to find they had swarmed and were gone.Needless to say, I was heartbroken.
However, after talking to several local beekeepers, we found out they had also lost several hives in the past couple of years without any warning, sometimes losing what they thought were healthy hives. This gave me some consolation that it wasn't our fault, but I still miss my little bees....
On a much brighter note, the hive that Dad started for himself last year really took off and now it is thriving. So much so that he called a few weeks ago and told us he was ready to take off some honey. Dad brought the "supers" (the part of the hive with the honey) to the house and we got busy.
Dad isn't really moving as fast as this picture would lead you to believe- the lighting was just bad. *grin*
Dad's new toy, an electric capping knife. The inside of the knife has a thermostat-controlled element that heats up the knife and melts the wax as it uncaps- making quick work of what once was a painstaking job.