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Another Swarm

First swarm of the year from one of my hives, at least the first one I know of.  I was just thinking to myself earlier in the day had good a job I’d done this preventing swarms….I guess bees will be bees!

This was on the small side, but easy enough to get in a small hive.  I’ll give it a few days then check how they’re doing.  Most of my queens are marked so I’ll be interested to see if this “swarm” queen is one of my marked queens.

On a related note, yellow poplar, blackberry, raspberry, and white clover are all blooming right now.  We will probably see the strongest nectar flow of the year over the next 2 weeks.  Small Swarm

Early May Swarm

I think it was random where the bees decided to cluster after the swarm.  I’m fairly certain they are not from the hive they are clustered on.



First Swarm of the Season!

Got a call from a friend today telling me about a swarm of bees that I could have if I could go get them.  This is the first one I’ve had a chance to pick up this year, so thought it was worth snapping a couple of pictures and telling the story.

Bees typically swarm in mid – late Spring as a means of reproduction.  A swarm is usually accompanied by the mother queen and about half the rest of the bees.  A new queen cell is left behind to emerge, mate and keep the original hive going.  Usually there are multiple queen cells but in the end only one queen will survive.  The swarm then sets out to find a home.  While they are looking for a home (hollow tree, hole in an old wall, etc) they will usually gather on a nearby branch for a day or two.  If you’re lucky enough to find out about a swarm at this point it’s as easy as shaking the branch over a hive or bucket and the swarm is yours.

That’s exactly what I did today.  In about 15 minutes I had the swarm loading in my bucket and headed back to my house to put in a small hive.  It’s always fun and slightly unpredictable when you go to catch a swarm, but this one turned out lust like you’d want it to.  Hopefully it’s early enough in the year they can expand and actually produce some surplus honey as well!

29 Feb

Maple Bloom Finally Here!

Posted by gmeadevt in Uncategorized. Tagged: , .

Today was 65 and sunny, certainly unseasonably warm for February, but I’ll take it!  And so will the honeybees!  I’ve been watching a big red maple in my yard for the past few days and the buds have finally started to open and I actually saw a few bees working the new blooms today.  This is a much anticipated (by me at least) and welcome source of nectar and pollen for the bees.  Maple trees are the first major nectar source of the season and will be the basis for the first cycle of new bees being created right now.

A couple of days ago I couldn’t resist and took a quick inside several of my hives.  After a recount I realized I actually have 12 hives.  However 3 of them are on life support and could pretty easily become casualties yet.  At any rate the other hives I inspected are doing well with several frames of brood in each hive.  I slapped some homemade pollen patties on several of them, fed a couple, and started making plans for some serious feeding in the next week or two.  The next time I make some pollen patties I’ll snap a couple of pics and post the recipe as well.

25 Feb

Welcome to my new Honeybee Blog!

Posted by gmeadevt in Uncategorized.

I’ve thought for awhile now that I’d like to share my honeybee adventures with the rest of the world, or at least anyone who happened across this!  I’m still a relatively new beekeeper, however I’ve spent more time than I’d care to admit studying, reading, and generally just messing around with my bees.

First a bit about me.  My name is Greg Meade, married to Gayle Meade, and we have two kids Hannah Grace, and Wesley.  We live in the great little town of Abingdon in Southwest Virginia.  I’m a forester by training and have a great job at The Nature Conservancy.

I hope to post from time to time the various activities me and the honeybees are up to.  Currently I have 10 hives, and I’m hopeful they can make it till Spring since we’re so close.  I’ve lost two hives this winter and one is barely hanging on.

With the warmer than average winter I’ve been able to check on the bees several times and they’ve been doing very well overall.  In fact just this week I caught them on a warm day gathering pollen.  It’s pale yellow as you can see from the picture.  Not sure what plant this is coming from, but they seem pretty eager to start collecting.

Bees gathering pollen in late February