Summer of Swarms

Leave a comment

Psalms from the Hive, by Jeannie Saum

Bees get crowded in summer days

And send out foragers looking for ways

To direct the colony to a new home.

They load their bodies with pollen  and honey

Queen and half the bees make a run for the money

Swarming off into the sky.


Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical

We’re not sure why the bees seem to be swarming more this summer, but it is really keeping us busy.  We get one to three calls a week from people who need help with a bee swarm in their

yard, or a sudden infestation of bees in some part of their house.  My husband Steve, and his side-kick, our son Nate, have become the BEEpothecary BEE Wranglers of Groveport and SE Columbus!



Why do they do it? Free bees!  When they go out to capture swarms or clear out bees from someone’s wall or garage or eaves, they bring back the bees and add them to a hive body in our bee apiary, and we have a new hive!  When a package of bees from the south costs $95, and a small starter nucleus hive costs $125, catching swarms is a great cost saving way to increase our hive numbers!  More bees means more honey, propolis, pollen and beeswax!

Steve getting behind a gutter to find the hive.

Swarm high up in our tree. We got this one!

Why do bee hives swarm?  It is a natural tendency of bee colonies. In a natural hive in a tree or log, the bee colony will swarm whenever it runs out of room.  This is the way bees increase their numbers and their colonies in nature.  The queen bee has been kept alive all winter by her worker females creating heat by shivering their bodies in a cluster around her.  In the spring when the weather warms up, the queen starts laying eggs again and the worker bees begin collecting pollen and nectar.  As the bee population in the hive increases, and more pollen and nectar are brought in, they start running out of room in the hive.  If a beekeeper isn’t inspecting their managed hives soon enough, and adding boxes with more space, the hive will do what it is ingrained to do – swarm.

Pheromones given off by the bees direct the colony to start making swarm cells for new queens. These chemical

This swarm flew right out of the nuc box and disappeared! Bummer!

signals cause the scout bees to go out to find a new home and the forager bees to load up their bodies with pollen and honey.  Then, one day the queen and half the bees, loaded down with food, leave the hive, create a big tornado like swirl of bees in the air, and eventually land in a tree or bush, usually fairly close at first.  They rest there, until the scout bees show them where to go next.  This is not good for the beekeeper because it means you have lost half the bees in that hive.  Fewer bees mean less honey, pollen and propolis!

If you’re lucky, you see the swarm resting on a tree or busy in your yard, and can go out and capture your own swarm and put them in a new hive set up. But often, they fly away and end up in someone else’s yard, tree or house!

Nate cutting a limb with a swarm

When Steve and Nate go out swarm catching this is how they do it.  If the swarm is in a tree or bush, it’s easy – as long as it is not too high up!  All they have to do is cut the limb and shake, or just bump the limb and shake it over a “nuc box”.  This is a small cardboard box that holds 5 frames of beeswax comb for a nucleus hiv

Sometimes, the queen somehow hangs onto the limb, while the other bees fall off and into the box.  When this happens, the bees in the box won’t stay.  They fly right back up to the queen on the  limb!  So sometimes the bumping of the limb as to be done a few times, or a bee brush used gently to try to get all  the bees and the queen off the limb and into the box.  Once they get the queen in the box, all the other bees will follow her in.  They look like a miniature army marching off to war, right into the box.



If the bees have found a little tiny hole to go through to get into the eaves or the wall of someones house, it becomes a more difficult job and usually there is a charge involved for doing the

Loose bricks in historic home – an invitation for bees to build a nest!

extraction.  This usually requires a ladder, tools and the removal of part of the house – fascia board,

Bee hive in the wall behind the bricks.

gutter, soffit or sometimes even cutting out wallboard inside the house.  And if the bees are inside the house, they have already started building beeswax comb and bringing in pollen and nectar. The queen is already laying eggs. So all this must be cut out.  A lot of work, but good for us, because Steve and Nate bring home not just the queen and the bees, but also the new comb and larvae already laid.  This goes into a new hive set up in our apiary.  We rubber band the  oddly shaped beeswax comb into the wooden frames in the hive box.

Most exterminators these days don’t want to mess with extracting bees.  First of all, they know the bees are important and need to be saved, not exterminated.  But secondly, killing the bees is only part of the job.  If you don’t remove the wax comb full of nectar and pollen and larvae, it will decay, and smell and eventually

Bee hive behind fascia board and gutter.

seep through the wall board into the house!  Exterminators don’t want to

Nate getting a bee hive way up high behind gutter.

deal with that!

So, if you see a swarm, or you end up with an infestation in your home, don’t hesitate to call the BEEpothecary BEE Wranglers! 614-450-2339.






Steve digging out another fascia board infestation.

Getting the bees in the nuc box.

Making sure he’s got them all.



Psalm 104:

27 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are terrified;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—

32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

We Can’t All Be the Queen – Lessons from the Bees and The Book

Leave a comment


Psalms from the Hivemuskoka trip day3 369

by Jeannie Saum

Take a lesson from the bees

About how to be

A faithful friend.

It seems that they

Have read The Book

And found that love’s

the key.


Clover, Bee, and Revery

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people treat each other – both adults and children.  It was prompted in part by my middle-school-aged granddaughter’s encounter with bullying and racial comments, from her “best friends”.  We’ve all been through times in our childhoods when we were subjected to teasing or name-calling or harassment.  But sometimes, this escalates to the stage of over-the-top bullying or prejudice or down-right meanness.  It’s what causes some grown men and women to carry around the scars of childhood deep inside, into adulthood.  It’s what causes young people to shoot up their classmates at school.

It’s something that sadly, many adults feel is not their problem, believing that kids should be left alone to work it out themselves.  I’m all for kids problem solving and learning to navigate their social circles, but are times when we adults need to intervene,  set the example, be the guardrail, provide guidelines, say enough’s enough  and put a stop to this kind of behavior in our children.

My daughter tried and failed to engage the other parents to get involved and  put a stop to the hurtful behavior of their children – children who need guidance in learning what is acceptable and what is not, how to be a good friend and be kind to one another.  Kids won’t learn what we don’t teach them.

Without cooperation from the other adults, my daughter chose to close ranks with her family to protect her daughter, and  she gave her daughter a wonderful lesson from The Book, about what a true friend really is. The idea came from something she had seen on Facebook, and it was a powerful eye-opener for my granddaughter.  It made her think about what kind of friend she wanted to have and what kind of friend she needed to be.

The task was to read 1 Continthians 13:4-8 and substitute a “friend’s” name ( or your own name) in place of the words “love” and “it”.  For my granddaughter, the question her mom posited was: as we read through this passage, is this person treating you like these standards?   If not, are they truly a friend?

This all got me thinking about a similar situation in my life- the abandonment of a long-held friendship by some adult friends of ours over differences of minor theology.  Sometimes adult friends don’t act any better than children!   I’ve been thinking about the truths and  convictions Steve and I have learned from our faith and life experiences; tenets we’ve tried to live by and teach our children – faithfulness, grace, mercy and love.  I long at times, for others to show us the kind of faithful friendship we try to practice.

As I read these verses in 1 Corinthians,  I can see how all of us often fail to live up to the standards set down in these Bible verses, but it is something to strive for.  And if someone in  life is constantly behaving in the opposite way from these qualities, then one needs to question whether this is a healthy relationship and one where you can trust to let down your boundaries and open your heart, or not.

When compared to these standards,  my granddaughter realized that maybe these girls were not worthy of trusting with her heart and her friendship.  Not to say that she was to treat them badly, or refuse to forgive if amends were offered, but to just keep a distance and move on, seeking more trustworthy and faithful friendships.   And it also gave her guidelines for the kind of friend we want her to be, and the kind of friend we adults in her life strive to be.

I often end up relating my musings with our experiences with our bees.  I think we all could learn something about how we do life with each other from the bees and The Book. The bees have it down. I think their little colonies could be a model, a metaphor, of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  How’s this?

First of all, there is only one Queen (like one God in our lives), and the whole hive is all about her.  She is the top bee, the creator of life, all other bees bow before her.  The reason for their life is to serve the queen.  They can’t all be queen – there is only one queen.  She is in charge and sets the tone for the whole hive.  She works hard at what she does, serving the hive – giving life and sustainability -and the other bees, in turn, serve her.

Bees are patient and kind.  The nurse bees take care of the eggs, larvae and pupa for 20 days.  Worker bees don’t brag or try to act like a queen (usually).  They just do their jobs,  the first ones being to clean up the cells, take out the trash, and keep the brood warm.  No big flashy jobs to brag about!

Bees don’t dishonor each other or just think of themselves, rather they live a life of service to the colony – tending to young, grooming each other, building comb, carrying food, and even caring for the dead.  They work together, cooperate, do their tasks and take care of each other.

When a bee finds a good source of pollen or nectar, she doesn’t keep it all to herself.  She comes back and does a joyful dance to communicate to the others, where the good stuff is, so that all may partake!

They take whatever  comes and don’t give up. When humans or animals come into their hive and take their honey or pollen, they just keep making more.  If comb gets damaged, they fix it.  They keep building comb, and foraging for nectar and pollen, and bringing it back to the hive.

muskoka trip day3 374They don’t go looking to do evil.  They really don’t want to sting you and they won’t bother you unless you bother them, or they get trapped.  They just want to go around doing their gathering and pollinating.

Bees protect and defend each other.  They stand their ground to defend their hive against unwanted guests by guarding the entrance and checking out the smell of any creature trying to get in.  If it’s not a friend, they bar the door!  And if one bee gets killed, or one has to sting to defend, they send out attack pheromones to call all the others  bees in to defend.  And the bees practice kind of a tough love – when the drones are not longer needed, they boot them out the door.Image result for bees fanning wings

Those little bees hope and persevere – They go out with hope every day, searching for food and water.  Collectively, they spend months flying back and forth to the hive, bringing in loads of pollen, water,nectar and propolis.  They spend days and weeks fanning their little wings to evaporate the moisture out of the nectar to turn it into honey.

They are loyal no matter what the cost.  The attendant bees keep a protective circle around the queen, tending to her, feeding her, grooming her.  And in the winter, they all cluster around the queen and flap their tiny muscles a million times a minute, creating heat to keep their queen warm.  And sometimes they do this until they die, sacrificing to try to keep their queen alive.  Their whole focus is to keep their colony alive and enduring, and they will do anything and everything it takes.

I think we (adults and children) could all take a lesson in application of 1 Corinthians 13 from the bees!  Can we be patient with our friends, understanding that sometimes they will have bad days, or weeks; that sometimes they will be difficult to deal with and might need an extra measure of grace (undeserved gifts) or mercy ( not getting the punishment they deserve)?

Can we be faithful friends that don’t envy what each other has, or become so proud about what we have, or how upright and “holy” we are that we can not longer be friends with someone who makes a mistake, or has a different philosophy or is going through a hard time?  Can we be the kind of friend that doesn’t always have to get our way? Can we compromise or take turns “being happy”?  Remember, we can’t all be the queen!

Can we be the kind of friend to others who doesn’t have to gossip about them  or put them down to make ourself feel more important? Can we be even-tempered and tolerant of each other’s differences, choosing to overlook little idiosyncrasies and only choosing the most important “hills to die on”?   Can we forgive and forget when our human selves hurt or offend each other?

Can we be the kind of friend that does not stir up drama but can  speak truth in love to kindly shut down ugliness and drama when it comes from another?  Can we be honest with each other,  and when absolutely necessary, practice tough love? Can we wish the best for each other and defend each other against bullies and gossip and hurt?

Can we be the faithful friend that will help and protect someone, even in the hard times, instead of cut and run at the first sign of difficulty?  Can we be the kind of person that someone else can trust to stand by them, keep confidences, be encouraging, and persevere even during the difficult times in the relationship?

Fair-weather friends are not what we need.  Not as children or as adults.  The bees get it – they don’t quit.  They’ll do whatever it takes for the good of the colony.  I believe we are called to succeed and not fail at this faithful servant love that both the bees and The  Book teach us.

Being a faithful friend is something that Steve and I have always strived to be.  To us that means being dedicated to relationships through the good times and the bad times.  It means sometimes giving extra patience and mercy to that “extra-grace-required” friend.  It means over-looking differences of opinion – politics, theology, child rearing, schooling, etc, etc,  – and knowing you can still have a relationship, agreeing to disagree.  It means being willing to put time into people’s lives, being willing to “get dirty” or lend a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on during the tough times.  And yes, sometimes, being  a good friend also means that at crisis points, what might be necessary is a kick out the door, for a time, but working for restoration.  And it also means sticking around long enough through the hard times, to be able to get to the joy!

Our children are grown now, and it’s their turn to practice these things in their relationships and teach their children a few lessons from The Book and the BEES!


1 Corinthians 13

from “The Message” Bible

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.





Winter Chores on Our Mini Farm

Leave a comment

Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Though retired, we’re still havin’ trouble

Keeping up with the chores, We’ll have to redouble

Our efforts to keep chickens fed and watered,

Egg gathered, washed and put in cartons.

Then there’s the bees, about all we can do

Is pray them through until next spring!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

Rain Barrel wrapped in insulation and plastic

Rain Barrel wrapped in insulation and plastic

The worst of winter hit Ohio early this year with three weeks of snow and some bitter cold nights in early December.  We outfitted our chicken coop with a heat lamp and thermostat, a rain barrel watering system wrapped with heat tape and run through the wall with a washing machine hose to an automatic pet watering dish with float.  This sits on

auto-pet watering bowl fed by heat tape wrapped washing machine hose, sitting on metal oil pan with light bulb under it

auto-pet watering bowl fed by heat tape wrapped washing machine hose, sitting on metal oil pan with light bulb under it

an upside down metal oil pan fitted with an incandescent light bulb to keep the water unfrozen when it gets really cold.

We’ve also added a timer and light to come on from 4 am to 8 am to supplement their light on short winter days.  This helps them keep laying at full capacity, so  we still get 18-20 eggs a day from our 20 red hens.

heat lamp connected to thermostat, light connected to timer

heat lamp connected to thermostat, light connected to timer

I also decided, a few weeks ago, to block off the bottom row of nest boxes that were on the floor level.  We had

Bottom next boxes blocked off, now laying in second row up

Bottom next boxes blocked off, now laying in second row up

re-purposed a shelving unit into 15 nest boxes, but the 20 chickens only use two or three to lay all their eggs – and it’s always the bottom ones.  That means we have to bend way down to collect eggs out of the lowest boxes.  I decided I’m too old for that!  So I screwed some thin plywood boards over the bottom nests so they can’t use them.  Problem solved!  Now they are using the next row up!  As I’ve said before, we are lazy farmers and have tried to set things up so some chores don’t have to be done every day!

Today, since we had a bit of a heat-wave, we went out to quickly finish some of the fall chores we missed, and tweak a few problem areas.   Our chicken watering system had leaked a little and made some of the straw wet, so we headed out to the coup with some wrenches and feed.  The girls are always excited to see us and expect a treat.  They squawk loudly and chase us around, pecking at our shoes.  We hauled out wet hay, tightened the leaky connection, refilled their food and re- duct taped the black plastic covering our insulated rain barrel, since the wind had blown it off.

They always expect a treat and love popcorn!

They always expect a treat and love popcorn!

Next, we headed out to our apiary of 4 hives.  One thing we didn’t get done in late fall was removing the hive top feeders from our beehives before the winter snow hit. We loosened the top and box feeder on the top of each hive, quickly took them off and sneaked a quick peek before putting the inner cover and lid back on.  We were excited to find live bee clusters in all 4 hives!  They’ve made it so far!  We left 2 boxes of honey on each hive to feed them over the winter.  The bees cluster together and vibrate  their wings to create enough heat to keep the queen in the middle warm at 85 – 90 degrees!  They work hard doing this all winter, moving in and out in the cluster to get warm and need lots of honey for energy.  I learned something new at a fall beekeepers’ meeting – that the bees don’t heat the inside of the hive.  They only heat the cluster.  For this reason, many beekeepers suggest not insulating the hive.  Insulation can create air flow problems that causes moisture to collect and drip on the bees, and they’ll die.  The bees can take the cold, but not being wet.

cluster of bees under the inner cover

cluster of bees under the inner cover


Another thing I learned recently was, that when it snows we must make sure the lower entrance does not get clogged with snow and ice.  This can happen even if the snow isn’t that deep and create airflow and moisture problems.  So I’ve been stopping at the hives on my trips down the driveway, when we’ve had a snow, to clear off the entrance ledges.  So far, so good.

~  ~  ~  ~

Bees carry out the dead to the entrance ledge.

Bees carry out the dead to the entrance ledge.

Psalm 65

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,  God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain,  for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.


Leave a comment

Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

If you don’t watch them

Pay attention to signs

They’ll get crowded

And head for the pines!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

the swarm in the hazelnut tree
the swarm in the hazelnut tree

And that is just what they did! Only it wasn’t the pines, it was the hazelnut trees!  One day, while Steve was out mowing the front yard around the hives, he made a second pass beside the row of hazelnuts trees and saw something that wasn’t there 5 minutes ago – a huge cluster of bees hanging from a branch about 7 feet up in the air.  He ran in to get me and anyone else in the house who would come out to see.  We all trooped out to stand around and look up at it and wonder what to do.  Steve was convinced that as fast as it had formed, it had to have come from one of our hives – most likely the 8 frame that had made it through the winter.  Truth be told, we still hadn’t established a routine schedule of inspection and had been kind of lax.  I’m not sure we would have even know the signs of swarming at that point.  There’s just so much to learn and remember.

Steve was all excited and pumped up about capturing this swarm.  He realized it would mean another hive to add to the apiary!  But how to do it?  Sure, we had read about it briefly in books, but it wasn’t one of those details we’d remembered all about.  Don’t know it ’til ya need it!  So back  into the house we trooped, to look it up on the internet!

After reading some how-tos and watching a few You-Tube videos, we started gathering supplies – an extra hive box a make shift bottom and top board (since we didn’t have a 5th set yet) a cardboard box, a sheet, and a ladder. And of course, we called our partners in crime, the Dotsons, and they rushed over to share in the excitement!  Then out we trooped, again.

Steve was going to try the process we had learned about online.  He climbed the ladder with the cardboard box and I spread the sheet on the ground in front  of the hive box and sandwiched one edge of it between the bottom board and hive box, making a wide sheet-ramp.  We didn’t yet have a bee brush, so Steve used his gloved hand and tried to brush as many bees as he could, off the swarm and into the box.  They didn’t cooperate very well and got MAD.  Steve got about 1/3 of them into the box and gave up.  The swarm was still a ways above Steve’s head, making this more difficult. So, he got down and dumped the box of bees on to the sheet.

bees marching up the sheet to the hive
bees marching up the sheet to the hive

The bees used the sheet-ramp to march up to the hive box and go in.  We didn’t know if Steve had gotten the queen, but theoried that if the worker bees had found this great new home, they would go back and signal to the queen and she would leave the swarm and follow them to the hive.  This theory proved to be in error, because after leaving them alone for an hour, we went back out to find all the bees back up on the swarm in the tree!! Man, you give ’em a beautiful new mansion and they don’t even appreciate it!

On to Plan Two.  The only other choice, we decided, was to cut down the branch the swarm was on , and shake it into the new hive box, much like you do with a package of bees.  The only problem was that the swarm was 7 feet up a tall, thick branch.  So, we had to wait for our son to get home and come down with his chain saw.  This proved to be the trick!

the swarm all settled in their new home
the swarm all settled in their new home

Nate came down about an hour later and with three of us holding onto what proved to be a very heavy branch, he managed to cut through it.  We tapped it several times over the open hive box, and then propped it over the box for a while.  We must have gotten the queen into the box, because this worked! After about an hour, most of the bees were happily in their new home and we had an extra hive!  Pete and Laurie, our techie friends, got it all on video and had it posted on Facebook before we were even done!

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;  his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,  nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,  ten thousand at your right hand,   but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes  and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,  no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you  to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,  I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him  and show him my salvation.”

Our First Winter With the Bees

Leave a comment

Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Will they make it? Survive the cold?

What can we do to help them along?

Block the wind, feed ’em, say a prayer.

Hope that despite our ignorance,

In spring, they’ll still be there.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

We headed into our first winter with the bees, wondering if we could keep them alive.  But before there was even a hint of snow, we had lost a hive.  Our original hive, near a stump in our yard, just seemed to dwindle.  Maybe the queen died, or stopped laying?  We don’t know.  So we just had to hope that the 8 frame from the OSU Bee Yard would make it.  We didn’t do anything special, just left the honey in the hive for them to eat.  We had read that the bees cluster to gether in the center of the hive, and can keep the center of the cluster at 95 degrees.  The bees on the outside change places with the inner bees to get warm.  So we left them alone and kept our fingers crossed.  We spent the winter rereading our bee books and planning our expansion for the next spring.hivesnow

Meanwhile, Laurie and Pete went into the winter with two hives.  On a warm day in November, Laurie walked out to their hives and saw bees flying in and out of the entrance – a good sign!  But when she walked out to the hives on a warm day in January, she saw nothing!  In a panic, she called one of the master beekeepers from COBA.

“Put your ear to the hive. Can you hear anything?” he said.

“Nope,” Laurie replied.

“Open the top.  Do you hear anything?”


“Take out some frames. What do you see?”

“Dead bees, in a small cluster on 3 frames, but lots of honey. Our girls are all dead!!”

The master beekeeper got a chuckle out of “our girls”.  He explained that even though there was honey for them to eat, they could not keep themselves warm enough to leave the cluster to get to it.  He suggested that the colony might not have been strong enough to make it. But then again, sometimes, we just don’t know why…  We’ve heard the average loss is as high as 60%!

Guess beekeeping requires a lot of starting over, trying again, not giving up. Perseverance is a must!

Philippians 3

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The First Inspection

Leave a comment

Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Wanna come see

While I check on the bees?

                     Just coming to watch.

                    I’ll stand way back

                   And wear my hat.

Wow! Look at ll the girls

Tending eggs, bringing pearls

Of pollen in

To feed their kin.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.


Steve went out to check on is hive for the first time.  He asked if I wanted to come out

Steve's reverie,  beekeeping!   The start of our journey learning about the amazing treasures from the honey bee!

Steve’s reverie, beekeeping! The start of our journey learning about the amazing treasures from the honey bee!

and watch nd take notes for him in his log book.  So I donned my pith helmet and bee veil and went out to watch from a distance.  Man those hats are heavy and hot!  Steve identified eggs larva and hatching bees and found the queen.  I dutifully wrote these findings down for him, from my distant vantage point.  I wasn’t really afraid – I work around bees all the time in my gardens.  They don’t bother me if I don’t bother them.

I just didn’t want to act too interested, or get to involved.  I had other things to do – like paper grading and lesson plans, and laundry and cleaning, and gardening and . . .   but it was fun watching Steve be so excited about what he saw.

Check out this site for information about the first hive inspection.  http://www.honeybeesonline.com/blesson10.html

Psalms 144

3 O LORD, what are mortals that you should notice us, mere humans that you should care for us?

4 For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow.

5 Bend down the heavens, LORD, and come down. Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.

6 Release your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies! Release your arrows and confuse them!

7 Reach down from heaven and rescue me; deliver me from deep waters, from the power of my enemies.

8 Their mouths are full of lies; they swear to tell the truth, but they lie. 9 I will sing a new song to you, O God! I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.

The Bees Have Arrived

Leave a comment

Psalms from the Hive  

by Jeannie Saum

Bees!  They’re here!

Steve’s jumpin’ for joy!

Empy hives waiting

For their new


Dump ‘em in! Dump ‘em in!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.


Steve got word today that he will get bees from the first truck load after all.  Guess there were  some cancellations or something.  He and Peter rushed over to Barry, the bee supplier’s place after work to pick up his bee package and the Dotson’s.  He came home with a screened box full of buzzing, wiggling bees and little queen cages.  Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy, so Steve couldn’t put them in the hives.  He was so bummed.

And guess where they had to sit for two days??  On my kitchen counter – Yikes!  Flashbacks  of live turkeys in the garage, many Thanksgivings ago.  What my husband gets us into . . .!

A few days later, Steve was able to dump the package of bees into his first hive.  He was officially in business!

How to Put Your Bees in the Hive

By Howland Blackiston from Beekeeping For Dummies, 2nd Edition

As a new beekeeper, one of your first steps is actually putting your bees in their new hive. Take your time and enjoy the experience. You’ll find that the bees are docile and cooperative. Read the instructions several times until you become familiar and comfortable with the steps. Do a dry run before your girls arrive.

Ideally, hive your bees in the late afternoon on the day that you pick them up, or the next afternoon. Pick a clear, mild day with little or no wind. If it’s raining and cold, wait a day.

To hive your bees, follow these steps in the order they are given:

Using your hive tool, pry the wood cover off the package.  Pull the nails or staples out of the cover, and keep the wood cover handy.

tap box
tap box

Jar the package down sharply on its bottom so that your bees fall to the bottom of the package. It doesn’t hurt  them! Remove the can of syrup from the package and the queen cage, and loosely replace the wood cover (without the staples).

Examine the queen cage. See the queen?  She’s in there with a few attendants. Is she okay? In rare cases, she may have died in transit. If that’s the case, go ahead with the installation as if everything were okay. But call your supplier to order a replacement queen (there should be no charge). Your colony will be fine while you wait for your replacement queen.

Remove the cork at one end of the cage so that you can see the white candy in the hole. If the candy is present, remove the disc completely. If the candy is missing, you can plug the hole with a small piece of marshmallow.

Out of two small frame nails bent at right angles, fashion a hanging bracket for the queen cage.

Prepare the hive by removing five of the frames, but keep them nearby.  Remember that at this point in time you’re using only the lower deep hive body for your bees. Now hang the queen cage (candy side up) between the center-most frame and the next frame facing toward the center. The screen side of the cage needs to face toward the center of the hive.

remove some frames from the box

Jar the package down. Toss away the wood cover and then pour (and shake) approximately half of the bees directly above the hanging queen cage. Pour (and shake) the remaining bees into the open area created by the missing five frames.

dump the bees in the hive
dump the bees in the hive

When the bees disperse a bit, gently replace four of the five frames.  Do this gingerly so you don’t crush any bees. If the pile of bees is too deep, use your hand (with gloves on) to gently disperse the bees.

Place the inner cover on the hive.  If you’re using a hive-top feeder, it is placed in direct contact with the bees without the inner cover in between, so skip this step and go to step 12. The inner cover is used only when a jar or pail is used for feeding. The outer cover is placed on top of the hive-top feeder.

Place the hive-top feeder on top of the hive.  Alternatively, invert a one-gallon feeding pail above the oval hole in the inner cover; add a second deep super on top of the inner cover; and fill the cavity around the jar with crumpled newspaper for insulation.

Plug the inner cover’s half-moon ventilation notch with a clump of grass (some inner covers do not have this notch).  You want to close off this entrance until the bees become established in their new home.

Now place the outer cover on top of the hive. You’re almost done.

Insert your entrance reducer, leaving a one-finger opening for the bees to defend.  Leave the opening in this manner until the bees build up their numbers and can defend a larger hive entrance against intruders. This takes about four weeks. If an entrance reducer isn’t used, use grass to close up all but an inch or two of the entrance.

Genesis 1

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Older Entries