Bees: Good news/Bad news

February 20, 2010

Good news: A couple of weeks ago I tapped on each hive and listened for buzzing.  One hive buzzed back.

Bad news: One hive didn’t say a thing. Quiet? Dead?

Good news: I went to the first Heart of Illinois Beekeepers meeting of the year lat night.  My husband pretended he was an avid beekeeper’s assistant.  The honey sweetened treats afterwards were delicious and I got psyched up to go check on the bees today.

Bad news: I checked the hives today. The silent hive is very dead.  They apparently starved.  On one hand, if I had fed them more honey in the Fall perhaps they could have made it.  On the other hand, I didn’t take any of their honey from them so they wouldn’t have made it on their own anyway.

Good news: The other hive is very much alive.

Bad news: In my excitement and because you don’t see or hear bees buzzing in still pictures of how to feed a winter hive I wasn’t really prepared and a worker bee immediately flew out and stung me just below my lip.

Good news: There is snow on the ground still so I iced it as I trudged up to the sheds to get the materials I needed – including my hat and veil.  After suiting up more appropriately, I took off the cover and put an empty box on top of the hive and then put some newspaper on top of the frames, next to the bees, and some granulated sugar on top of that.  I’ll check when the weather allows me to this week and see if they have eaten all the sugar and need more or not.

Bad news: My lip started to swell.

Good news: I iced it for a good 20 minutes or more and it is not really noticeably swollen anymore.  I should probably ice it some more.  Seems that the bee stings I got in the summer were worse the second day than the first.  Either way, it should be gone in a week.

So, I am still presently a beekeeper.  The plan is to order some more bees for the dead hive. I have one source for sure, but may look for some other options too.  I’d rather buy bees I know have not been treated with miticides, but those are hard to come by. 

I am excited to start the season again.  I always look forward to spring, but now I have an additional reason.  I want my bees to get out their and get some pollen and some nectar and start building up their strength for honey making.  This year I hope to actually get some honey for myself.  Meanwhile, I think I’ll need another bag of sugar.



  1. You beat Martha to the hive checks… http://www.themarthablog.com/2010/03/a-late-winter-check-of-the-honey-bees.html

  2. Sorry to hear about your sting – ow! But glad to hear you’ve got a live hive! I didn’t realize you have to feed them – how often?

  3. Bummer about the dead hive. But on the bright side…you still have one healthy hive!!

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