Inadvertent Beekeeper - 2012

  I didn't have any interest in beekeeping, but I had two naturally occurring colonies on a piece of property my wife and I own; one in a old hot water heater lying on the ground in the woods and one in the wall of the house on the same property. Hacking the hot water heater open is not really an option so it remained in place and we removed the ones in the wall during remodeling using a trap out.

  In the spring of 2012, I purchased a hive and a NUC to pollinate the garden and some fruit trees I have. The results were outstanding, over 5 bushels from one tree. However, in the following February, I lost the colony to an unknown cause, probably due to my own negligence. In the spring of 2013, I purchased another NUC. With the weird spring weather, I missed the pollination window and fruit that year was dismal.

   In late June 2013, I opened the hive (one deep and two med supers) and found a very robust colony which had nearly filled the top super and I decided to harvest some honey in a few days. However, before I got that done, the hive swarmed into a nearby tree. My brother-in-law and I captured that swarm and got them into a empty NUC box and later transferred them to a new hive. I am happy to say they are doing well and now I have two hives with cucumbers and peppers running out the ears. My wife makes excellent pickles, particularly her jalapeno dill pickles, and that year we had enough so that I didn't eat them all before Christmas. I decided to collect two frames of honey while I still could, which totaled 7 pounds or about a half gallon. This is more than I would use for a while, so I let the hive be to recover. Two days later the hive swarmed again and we were unable to recover it as it was out of reach in a tree. I am happy to say, the original hive has recovered and full of honey and bees.

   In the fall 2013, after removing the supers that I extract honey from, I treated both hives with Fumagilin B and Terramycin and in December, I placed a candy board on each hive. In late January, I saw some Varroa mites on the board below the mesh bottom while inspecting the hives, so some mite prevention will be in order this spring. As of March of 2014, all three colonies where looking strong.

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