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I am now a beekeeeper

I have decided to become a beekeeper because there is a critical shortage of honeybees for pollination. Also, I like honey, but I probably won't get any honey until the second year. With a new hive, it is important to leave all the honey for the bees so they have enough food to make it through their first cold Cincinnati winter.

I have included photos of another SWOBA member (www.swoba.org) and myself getting the hives built and my day at Bee School. My first package of bees (about 5,000 workers and one queen), were delivered on April 12. The weather was too cold to install them in the hive outdoors, so I moved the hive into the garage and installed the bees in there. It did not go as smoothly as I had hoped, but they eventually got into the hive. I moved the hive outdoors on Tuesday (April 15) and they seem to be doing well.

3/14/08 - Nailing and gluing frames together

3/29/08 - I am in a class at Bee School

3/29/08 - I am wearing my newly purchased bee hat

4/15/08 - I put the hive outdoors for the first time

4/22/08 - Bees are just starting to leave the hive

4/22/08 - Smoking the hive before opening it

4/22/08 - Removed top from hive for first time

4/22/08 - Close-up of bees on frames

5/01/08 - Open hive to check on bees - notice how many more there are now

5/01/08 - View of top of frames under cover

5/01/08 - Inspecting the frames for brood

5/01/08 - Added second medium brood chamber

5/11/08 - Installed entrance reducer with larger opening

5/13/08 - Many bees found dead after two very rainy days

5/24/08 - Bees started building comb on top of frames where they are not supposed to build it.

5/30/08 - Very little activity in second brood chamber

5/30/08 - Bees have just started to draw some comb on the frames in the second brood chamber

5/30/08 - Looking down in the first brood chamber. Notice the unusual tall capped brood.

6/13/08 - Installed third medium brood chamber

6/17/08 - Poor brood pattern. Realized the old queen is laying infertile eggs. Ordered and installed new queen two days later.

7/08/08 - There has been a good brood pattern inside and many young bees on the outside cooling off.

7/08/08 - I added the hive top feeder with new vent holes so the hive can draw comb and rebuild faster.

7/11/08 - This frame is full of lavrae of various sizes and a few have been capped already. Notice the honey stored for them around the edges.

7/11/08 - The new queen has laid a very good pattern of brood. The uncapped cells have larvae in them.

7/29/08 - This frame is full of capped brood which will hatch into worder bees in a couple of weeks.

7/29/08 - The bees have stored a lot of honey and have capped this entire frame. It was a moist spring and summer, so the bees were able to store much honey.

8/25/08 - I am inspecting the bottom tray for signs of mites. I did not have much of a problem with them this summer.

10/08/08 - Fellow beekeeper, Joe Spicer, and I are setting up the honey extractor to remove honey from two frames. I got more than one-half gallon of honey from just the two frames.

11/6/08 - This is my final check of the inside of the hive. It is very full of bees. I removed the hive top feeder and left just one super over the th two brood chambers.

12/19/08 - It was a 60-degree day and the bees came out to fly for the first time in a month. Notice how I have insulated the hive with reflective bubble wrap and built a second foil-covered foam insulation top over the outer cover. Also, the large black rocks should absorb heat from the winter sun.

2/11/09 - It is a warm day (50 degrees) in February and the bees were flying. I put out some frames which they had filled with syrup and Honey-B-Healthy in the fall.

2/11/09 - The bees are eating Feed Bee pollen substitute on top of the frames in the third medium brood chamber.

2/18/09 - It was another warm day and the bees had flown about 150 feet to my second-floor deck. They started eating inside the bird feeder and from the floor of the deck. I think they were going after the cracked corn.

2/18/09 - I put Feed Bee powder on a coffee can lid at the entrance to the hive. I also slipped one inside the entrance. Both were empty within an hour or so.

3/7/09 - It was a warm day and I opened the hive. I found capped brood and larvae in the lower brood chamber and the hive was full of bees. Notice the amount of bees on top of the third brood chamber.

3/13/09 - I place my new hive woodware outside to outgas from the paint. Notice my design with handles.

3/13/09 - See the proximity of the new hive to the old one. The bees from the old hive have already started to investigate the new one.