​Adopt-A-Hive​: Quarterly Update

​Quarter 2 - ​2019

​By ​Bear Country Bees

​In our last quarterly update, we shot a video of Bret, our COO, installing a fresh bee package (including the queen) in Smokey. Since then, we’ve been monitoring the progress of the new bee colony, ensuring that they have what they need to thrive throughout the 2019 season.

​Our first step is to get Smokey situated in a safe place with plenty of shade from the summer heat and protection from wildlife (mice, raccoons, deer, etc.) that might disturb the colony. We also make sure that your bees have plenty of access to water and, of course, nectar that will be converted into honey as they forage throughout the season.

​After we have Smokey properly situated, we largely leave the bees alone throughout the season. While it can be tempting to want to check often to make sure the colony is doing well, it’s important to note that honey bees are not like other farm animals that require daily attention (feeding, watering, etc.) in order to survive. Rather, honey bees are largely self-sufficient without the need for a lot of human intervention.

​Did you know?

​Worker bees in a hive fly more than 55,000 miles and extract nectar from more than 2 million flowers in order to make just 1 pound of honey. That’s more than 4 times the distance the average person drives in a full year!

Although we try to leave the bees to their foraging as much as possible, it’s important that we check every 3-4 weeks to make sure Smokey is still healthy and thriving.

In particular, we check to see that the queen is still laying eggs and that the worker bees are building out honeycomb and filling the comb with honey. In addition to this, we check for signs of disease such as American Foulbrood, wax moth, varroa mites, and a host of other parasites that present dangers to the colony.

​Common Honey Bee Diseases

​American Foulbrood

American Foulbrood - Bear Country Bees Adopt-A-Hive Update Letter July 2019

​American Foulbrood (AFB) ​is a highly- infectious spore that attacks the brood cells of the hive.

Wax Moth

Wax Moth - Bear Country Bees Adopt-A-Hive Update Letter July 2019

​Wax moth are pests that infest hives and populate rapidly. They also ​eat beeswax, pollen, ​and larval honey bees​.

Varroa Mite

Varroa Mite - Bear Country Bees Adopt-A-Hive Update Letter July 2019

​Varroa mites ​attach to adult and larval honey bees ​and suck out the nutrients in the body of their host

If we find any signs of these diseases, we undertake the appropriate treatment measures and do our best to save the bees in the hive. Luckily, we’re thrilled to let you know that Smokey is currently 100% disease-free!

As of July 2019, ​Smokey is....


While this isn’t always the case, we certainly want to celebrate having healthy hives throughout the season and going into the winter.

Stay tuned for our next update letter where we will talk about the process of extracting honey from Smokey!


​The only time I ever believed that I knew all there was to know about beekeeping was the first year I was keeping them. Every year since I’ve known less and less and have accepted the humbling truth that bees know more about making honey than I do.

​- ​SUE HUBBELL, ​Author - A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them

​Other Things You Can Do To Help The Bees

  • ​Plant a bee-friendly garden.Sowing bee-friendly ​seeds in a garden or even a planter box​ ​can be an easy and inexpensive way to provide bees with a safe haven. ​​​Try out a ​mixture such as this one: Wild ​Flower Mix - Honey Bee Mixture.
  • ​Report honey bee swarms to a local beekeeper.Most people tend to panic when they see honey bees but ​swarming is ​the time when honey bees are the most docile. Instead of spraying the bees or calling an exterminator, please contact a local beekeeper to help relocate the colony to a safer place.
  • ​Share ​your Adopt-A-Hive experience​.One of the best ​ways you can ​help more honey bees is spread the word about ​our Adopt-A-Hive program. The more adoptions we have, the better we can care for the needs of the bees​​ and the more honey bee research we can perform!
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