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.
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.
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