Northern bees

To our dismay (but not surprise) neither of our hives survived the winter. We’ve heard that a lot of RI beekeepers lost hives, perhaps because many of us have southern bees—ours came from Georgia last spring. The two colonies were never very robust, and this winter was bitter cold, so perhaps they didn’t stand a chance. This year we... Continue Reading →

A queen is born

From the start, our second hive struggled. We found its queen still in her cage two days after installation (the bees need to eat through the candy plug to free her). We interceded and, once released, the queen began to lay eggs---but never in great quantity. Then we couldn’t find her. The diminishing brood cells indicated... Continue Reading →

Moving in day

Our second hive has been successfully installed---a much livelier (and bigger) colony than the one from two weeks ago. Sunday we will check both hives. In the first we hope to see further signs of egg laying and capped brood. In the new hive we will make sure the bees have released their queen.

Settling in

Nearly a week has gone by since the bees released their queen. By now we should see signs of egg laying, and in some cells, larvae beginning to take shape. The worker bees should be gathering pollen and making food from sugar water (until they can collect nectar). This week they've gone through close to... Continue Reading →


As members of the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association, we can participate in the annual bee run to Georgia. Someone from the organization makes this round-trip twice in April—a less stressful way for the bees to get to their new homes in New England. Cold weather in Georgia reduced the number of available bees, so this... Continue Reading →


An occasional bee hovers over the blooming crocuses, and I realize how much I miss our own honeybees. It was so exciting to see the bees fly from their hives after the long winter to begin to replenish their supplies. This Saturday we will pick up bees for two new colonies and start over—avoiding last... Continue Reading →

The price of experience

Today was windy, but pretty warm, so we finally decided to open up the beehive and see how our diminished colony was faring. We found complete devastation. Every bee had died, some in clusters; many were inside comb cells, with only their backs sticking out, making a beautiful pattern. We found no signs of mites.... Continue Reading →

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is making herself felt, just fourteen months after Irene left us without power for eight days. We spent yesterday preparing. The generator, purchased after last year’s ordeal, is gassed up and ready to go if needed. We dug up the potatoes and carrots, and pulled out the celeriac and kohlrabi. Only the parsnips... Continue Reading →


We checked the beehives today. The older hive seems to be busier than the newer one, but both have a good amount of capped brood, and capped honey. The new queens came with a yellow dot, to make it easier to identify them among the mass of bees, but we couldn't pick them out in... Continue Reading →

Life and death

On Wednesday we had a birth and a death. A healthy chick emerged and seems determined to catch up to its four-day old siblings. That excitement was dampened by the loss of an Ancona—our favorite breed, and the one that lays the prettiest eggs. Cherisse had made a trip to Allie’s Tack and Feed, so... Continue Reading →

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