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Backyard Apiary
Adventures in natural beekeeping
Adventures in natural beekeeping

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Hive at the garden is making up for the other 5 that died during winter. Pulled 6 frames of honey with at least another 6 frames that were not entirely capped.
Bees (3 photos)
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Faith Mountain Farm - Backyard Bee Hive

I stumbled across this site tonight after getting severely side tracked. For a while, I have been tinkering with the idea of getting hives in to more backyards with the goal of spreading out my hives and encouraging more people to become beekeepers. I am pleasantly surprised to learn that Faith Mountain Farm, located a few hours away in NC is already doing something similar. They have a program where they lease and/or sell hives to people to put in their backyard. Provided with the hives is the opportunity for the client to acquire the skills and confidence to learn how to be a beekeeper. Or at the very least, help finance the ability for others.

Lost the third hive (of three) in the backyard.

This was the strongest hive, which had about half a box of capped honey, no sign of brood, and only a handful of dead bees on the bottom board. The bees have been collected in to a jar. Time to put my tax dollars to work and get the state inspectors to help me figure out WTF happened. Anyone else experience hive losses this winter?

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This winter is off to a bad start.

Sadly, I discovered today that two of the three hives in my backyard have failed. One was my strongest hive, Hegemone, going in to winter with nearly two medium boxes full of honey. There were 2-3 dead bees total on the frames, lots of capped brood, no honey stores, lots of pollen, and no signs of major bee die off. It is very odd and very sad. My guess is that the numbers were too high for the early cold weather. The light activity at the entrance that I saw at random times was most likely foragers from other hives.

The other dead hive was my top bar hive. A dozen or so dead bees on the bottom of the hive, no stores, with capped brood and plenty of pollen. The few frames at the entrance of the hive had what appears to be a bacteria/fungal infection that looks like it is eating away the comb. I wasn't confident that the hive would make it through winter, but the rotted wax is unexpected. Due to the infection, the box is most likely headed to a fire pit. I took pictures and bagged a frame or two to pass along to the state inspectors to see if they can shed more light about what it is and what happened. I also bagged sections from hegemone that contained brood.

The third hive in the backyard is strong and feisty. I lifted the outer cover to check for signs of life and they almost immediately took to the air to let me know I wasn't welcome. I refilled their entrance feeder and also gave them another jar above the inner cover to make sure they have access to syrup at all times. Due to the failed sister hives, this hive will be pampered throughout the winter to help ensure it is strong enough to breed queens and make splits next spring.

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This is a good trend that has been taking place over the past few years. Are there any businesses in your area that are keeping their own hives to enchance their core business?

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It would be nice if all honey was inspected on the way in to the country. The illegal honey from China and a few other asian countries makes it difficult for US beekeepers to make a living and it subjects US consumers to a disturbing amount of antibiotics and chemicals.

The only way to be sure that what you are buying is actually honey, buy local. Most farmer's markets have local honey available. Prices vary, but the flavor will be much richer than the imitation "honey".

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