Quarter 1 - 2019
By Bear Country Bees
Update 5/29/19: After publishing this update letter, we shot a bonus video showing the process for installing honey bees in one of our beehives. We posted this video at the bottom of the update letter (click here to go there directly).
Your bees are coming soon! As you may remember, we’re working on replacing Smokey’s colony of honey bees that didn’t make it through the winter. During the last quarter, we’ve been hard at work getting our woodenware (boxes & frames) ready for the bees’ arrival. The remainder of this letter will be showing you exactly what that entails (and a bonus at the end!).
Our top priority is ensuring that your bees have a healthy, clean environment to live in during the season. This means that we need to decide what woodenware needs to be replaced and what we can reuse for the upcoming season. We start with evaluating the frames. If the frames or the foundation (the plastic inserts) are dirty or we can tell that that there are traces of disease, we immediately discard them and replace them with clean frames. On average, we replace around 60-70% of our frames each year.
Next, we look at our hive bodies and supers (the boxes). Just like we do with the frames and foundation, we look for boxes that are dirty or have signs of disease. However, we don’t always have to throw away the boxes. Often, we can apply 2 coats of paint on the inside of the boxes to seal the disease in.
This provides a safe protection layer for the bees and allows us to reuse boxes from previous seasons. We also re-apply 2 coats of paint to the outside as needed to keep the box protected from the elements. The last thing we do is reapply coats of paint to the hive top and bottom if we determine that it’s needed. With these preparations, Smokey is ready for arrival of your new honey bee colony!
The bees are scheduled to arrive on Monday, April 29th (although nothing in agriculture is a guarantee and this date can always change). On that day, we’ll install your new bee colony inside Smokey! The bees will then begin foraging nectar from flowers nearby and we will perform our normal maintenance and upkeep (outlined in our Q4 2018 letter) throughout the season.
The average worker bee only contributes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey to the hive’s stores during her short, 6-week lifespan. Without 50,000+ honey bees working round the clock, we wouldn’t have much honey (if any)!
I have a huge belief in the importance of bees, not just for their honey, which is a healing and delicious food, but the necessity of bee colonies that are vital to the health of the planet.
- Trudie Styler