It's been a while since I've posted about the bees. The winter is pretty slow for them but since our winters are so mild they don't just completely shut down like they do in a colder climate. Gabriel continues to learn a lot and has actually done several bee removals. Benjamin is becoming fascinated with bees also and asked for bee gloves and veil for his birthday.
Right now we have a total of 4 hives.
top bar hive our friend build Gabriel. This is a view of the observation window. Sorry for the glare, I was being scolded for being in the bee yard with out a suit and veil on.
Right now all of our hives are feral. We actually like that. Now, we're not experts at all, but it seams to us that if we have a mix of domestic and feral bees that the good genes from each are going to be passed on to the offspring. Feral bees are super hardy and amazing workers. Domestic bees are tamer. So maybe over time our bees will be bees that are hardier and harder workers than true domestic bees and tamer than true feral bees.
Over the winter we lost one hive to carpenter ants. It was a smaller hive that seemed to struggle from the beginning. We're now in the process trying a few different things that will hopefully get rid of the carpenter ants and not hurt the bees. The bee yard is next to a wooded area with some dead trees that are full of carpenter ants. The wooded area is not on our property so we also need to be respectful of our neighbors.
We've made gate in the chicken fence so they can go into the bee yard and scratch around. That's their new favorite place.
How are the bees fairing in your neck of the woods?