The First Month With Our Bees

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This month has definitely buzzed by fast!

Already one month into our beekeeping adventure and we feel both knowledgeable and brand new at the same time.

We have done roughly one inspection a week have watched our little colonies grow and grow. Overall, our hives have been growing and thriving! A few hiccups here and there as we keep on learning but at the end of the day our bees are still here, so that has to be a good sign!

One thing we have learned right off that bat is how much we don't like the gloves that we bought! We have used them for every inspection this far but moving on we are going to try the much thinner disposable latex gloves. The original ones did not give us the precise movements we would like and were too bulky and in the way. The disposable ones have a greater chance of stings but it is a risk we are willing to take.

Something that gave us some concern was not being able to spot our queens.

I had read that it is common but when we introduced our nucs and found our queens easily so we thought each time would be a cinch! We spotted both on our first inspection, but the following ones we just saw one or the other. Each time we did our inspections we saw wonderful signs that a queen was present in both hives: lots of eggs and larvae, calm nature of the bees, pollen pants coming to the hive, so we knew that we were dealing with masters of disguise. Our plan was to open the hive up yesterday and really look hard for both but it was very windy so we decided to hold off until a calmer, sunnier day.

One of my absolute favourite moments so far was watching a baby bee hatch!

My sister and I were doing an inspection and we were discouraged from not finding the second hive’s queen. It also decided to start pouring rain on us so we had to close up early. But before the rain came, we noticed a little antenna poking out of a brood cell. We stopped to watch and soon enough a brand new baby bee emerged! She looked so new and fluffy and lighter in colour than the others, who couldn't care less and were trampoline over her. For them, it was another day but for us, it was an amazing sight we won’t soon forget.

We decided to take off our entrance reducers in week three since the hives have been so busy coming in and out and need all the room they can get. When it gets closer to wasp season, we may add them back in to help those guard bees.

The thing that has surprised me the most in our first month of beekeeping is that we have had ZERO stings!

I was certain that we would all get stung a few times and I even put up a “stings in counting” counter on our blog but it is still sitting at zero! Each time we inspect the hives there are two of us in full bee suits but usually at least two more come close to the hive, watching and inspecting with us, with no protection at all! Either we just happened upon some very kind honey bees or maybe they aren’t as vicious as I had thought!

A bit of a regret that we have already is not giving our hives enough space in our apiary. It most definitely works for now, and we are in the process of planning a bit of an expansion, but in retrospect it would have been nice to plan more space for us to walk and inspect around the hives. Stay tuned as we adjust the apiary to make more room for the humans!

These bees have truly been so amazing to have and all of us here are just in awe of how incredible they really are.

Almost every morning and night at least two of us go out to the chairs we put right beside the hive, sit with a coffee and just watch the bees go in and out of the hive. Watching them move and hustle, as well as checking out the awesome colour pollen pants each lady is sporting, has become our new favourite past time. We are so lucky to be able to have this experience and we can’t wait to see what this summer brings.

I’d also like to thank you all who have entered into our “Name Our Queens” contest. There is one day left to get all your name ideas in there and we are picking our two favourites tomorrow!