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A little Chicago bee news

Via @BestBeekeeper: Epicurious has a feature about a biking beekeeper here in Chicago, Jana Kinsman, that’s worth a look. Another beekeeper inspired by news of Colony Collapse Disorder.

With the warm winter, we might see some early swarms, so here’s the Chicago Honey Co-op’s page on swarm removal. They list a few folks who are available to grab swarms in the Chicago area.

– Slim

Bees unleashed

On Wednesday Dave and I unwrapped the hives, and they’re doing quite well. Of the two viable hives, one is Italian, the other Minnesota Hygenic. The Italian hive was very happy, almost no challenges and hardly paid any attention to us. The Mn Hygenic were kind of testy. Both had a good number of frames of brood, and at least two each of frames of newly laid eggs. Both had eaten a good bit of the pollen patties and have been bringing in a lot of nectar, each had several frames of new honey. There populations seem good but there were no signs of swarm cells, thankfully, and each has a number of empty frames, some of which I rearranged, including switching the top and bottom brood boxes in the Italian hive, to give the queen more laying room.

– Slim

M & R

M & R

M & R visit the bees

A bonus photo from last summer, when the kids visited the bees.

Rededicating myself to the bee blog this year. So far, the bees have made it through the winter well. With the many warm days, they have been eating off Boardman feeders again. And there must be early tree- and flower blooms coming in, because they are bringing in pollen. (Likely the maples are already starting to bloom.) Today I gave them pollen patties just in case. We started the winter with three hives, but I thought only two of them would survive, because one had a queen who at the end of the fall was only laying drone brood. The bees in that hive had twice raised new queens, and the last was not properly mated. Well, she’s still alive! And has several thousand bees still in the hive. Crazy. The other hives are raising brood, and bringing in a lot of nectar/sugar water. So things look good for the spring.

– Slim

Rarin’ to go

Took a quick look at the hives today. Too chilly to do a full check, but they were all out flying, so I peeked in. Saw brood in one, (South1), good numbers of bees in 2 others. Although North2 looks good, its numbers are a little low–although there could have been more in the lower hive body. They’re all stil wrapped, will take that off when weather improves a little, so because of that and for fear of chilling them and only looked at one or two frames in each hive.
– Slim

Lots of bee news

As our bees have started venturing out, the wider world has lots of bee news.

The Washington Post had a good piece about commercial beekeepers and Colony Collapse Disorder.

And New York City has decided to rescind its longtime, insane beekeeping ban.

Closer to home, and even more exciting to me personally, is that Oak Park, Illinois, is reconsidering a similar ban.

– Slim

Back to It

Well, didn’t blog in the fall because I had a book coming out, and was discouraged about the bee situation.
But all four beehives have survived the winter so far, so I am going to get back to it.
I feel very lucky; the hives seem strong, and still have some stores, although we have started feeding them. Tonight, a friend who with his wife has a summer place in Michigan said a friend of their who has 50 hives lost all of them; he described the symptoms and they match colony collapse disorder. More soon.
– Slim

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