The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

New bee brood in January

Honeybees with a bit of capped broodA beautiful sunny afternoon on Monday gave me a chance to dip into our two remaining hives.  I knew they were both alive because I've taken to holding my ear up against the lower brood box now and then to listen for a happy hum, but I didn't want to risk another hive dying of starvation.  Just like at this time last year, both hives seem to have barely eaten anything since I checked on them near the end of December, probably because they're down to such a small cluster, so starvation is no longer an issue.

Honeybee on a bare handThe east hive surprised me by having a small nursery already in action!  A few capped worker cells and more uncapped larvae and eggs suggest the hive is already bulking up for spring.  I'm thrilled that they're building their numbers, although a few dead larvae on the floor of the other hive's brood box suggests cold weather put a damper on the other colony's early brooding efforts.

Meanwhile, I've decided to take advantage of winter's minimal bee colonies to learn to work the hives with no gloves.  I hate to squash bees, especially when their numbers are so low, but clumsy gloves make bee kills inevitable.  (It's also a lot easier to take pictures without gloves on.)  During my first attempt, I got stung once on my thumb, but I was surprised to realize that my tough fingers barely register any pain from a bee sting.  And most of the bees who landed on my hand just chatted for a while, then flew on, so I guess I'm on the right track.

Our homemade chicken waterer is the perfect way to get your chicks off to a healthy start.


Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.


I'm sooo jealous. I have a mild allergy to bee stings so I can't keep my own hives, and I certainly couldn't handle them without gloves!
Comment by Edward - If You Can Read, You Can Cook Tue Jan 25 11:16:38 2011
We'll see how jealous you are when I go bare-handed when the hive is chock full and get stung a lot. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Jan 25 18:24:42 2011





profile counter myspace



Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.