Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hive Clean-Up

My Mooseboots journey, as is life, is filled with pleasant successes and disappointing failure.  The bees were a sad example of a failure.  From the exciting beginning steps to the ultimate recognition of failure, they provided a lot of food for thought and learning.  Where did I go wrong?  I will never know.  Did I release the queen on installation?  Was the hive infected with a virus from the breeder?  Was the colony robbed of all resources and died out?  I know for a fact that I was queenless at one point ... the sheer number of drones was out of proportion with the rest of the hive.  Perhaps, I had a laying worker.  The only thing to do is try again.

I have removed the legs from the hive and removed all of the dead bees.  The hive is indoors right now.  I will paint it and prepare it for next spring.  I have also removed all of the comb from the bars.  I figure that if there was an infection, it might do no good to keep the comb.  So, assuming the risk outweighs the benefit, I melted it all down.  I am now the owner of 1 half-pint of bees wax.  Wendy and I have talked about what to do with it a bit, but it is still sitting there.

Last year, I put my name on the list for a breeder in Vermont.  His bees have been bred and raised in Vermont, so they should be better suited to my area anyway.  I believe he is also very careful about the chemicals and techniques he uses for his bees.  All around, I hope the bees arrive healthy and ready to set up their new home.  I may just put my name on the list for local swarms, to be safe.

The further I travel on this MooseBoots path, the more I learn how much there is to learn, whether it is the bees, mushrooms, friction fire, basket making, or something else entirely.  I am often overwhelmed, and yet simultaneously excited to continue down the road.


  1. I stumbled upon this beehive idea in the Grit magazine just the other day....

    It talks about how much healthier this type of hive is for the bee's because it is geared more toward the natural flow for the bees...and its fairly easily made.

    Anyways it might be worth a look into. Lee and I are going to work on one as soon as the hustle and bustle of the holidays are passed.

    Better Luck next time aye.

    All the best,

  2. Leigh, we bought our hive from Gold Star Honeybees, a local beekeeper. She advocates top bar hives.

    You might also check out The Barefoot Beekeeper website. He has a bunch of downloads, including plans and how-to stuff. I look forward to hearing how it works out for you.

  3. Julie, I learned a bunch, but I've got a lot more to learn.

  4. You have to stop talking about the bees as a "failure." The only failing is in not doing. Afterall, it's not like it was a total loss. There is the little bit of beeswax.

    Speaking of ... I have a recipe for lip balm I'd like to try ... for gifts. 'Tis the season ;).

  5. I have The Barefoot Beekeeper saved to my favorites. When I clicked on your Gold Star Honeybees it didn't work... and for some reason it says "page not found" in my google search. Would you mind reposting the link again?

  6. Wendy, we can certainly do better, but ... you are right about the only failure being "not doing."

  7. Leigh, here is the link for Gold Star Honeybees again. I opted to spend the money the first round, but will build my next hive.


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