You might want to stay upwind of me. Right Guard isn't up to battling the sweat saturated, smoky mess I'm in right now.
And no, it's not from flipping burgers on a hot Memorial Day weekend, but it's from spending a large chunk of this weekend with our "bee team". We're amateur beekeepers in addition to our real estate work and taking care of a rather sizable collection of furry ones :)
We started the weekend with our main hive (the tall one towards the left) and a small hive that needed moved into a regular hive. And we'd had success with a swarm trap so also on the agenda was transferring them out of the fake log trap into a hive. And Saturday morning we picked up the cores of three new hives!
So our plan? Scale up from 1.5 to 6 hives in one weekend. And no, selling honey isn't a side hustle for us, it's just a hobby that involves some work to help manage the honeybees. We do gift some of our raw honey to family, friends and clients, and we still have more than we need stashed away, and with the increase in hives (assuming success), there will be plenty to harvest in the future.
Saturday we'd taken care of the three new hives so they were all set up and we finished in time for me to get some mowing in AND go show a home.
Sunday the weather forecast wasn't favorable for the time frame after church and Liz's volunteer work.
Today we got an early start and were ready to finish up.
But here's the thing about beekeeping (and it shares a lot in common with real estate), what looks easy on YouTube is often not so easy in person. While getting the swarm trap down was easy, there were surprises along the way. Apparently at one point a bird had set up shop in the trap before the bees decided to call it home. And while moving comb from it's natural state in the trap to a wood frame more suitable for our hives looked easy online, let's just say there were some casualties along the way. We did get them moved in, but you never get them all so there's some "free range" honeybees cruising around our side yard right now wondering who foreclosed on their place.
And the small hive we wanted to move surprised us when we went to move the frames to a bigger hive. We didn't see the queen and we didn't see bee larvae and new eggs. We assumed the queen had fallen victim to a Jon Snow maneuver (or a hungry dragonfly) and that we'd need a new queen. Without a queen, a bee colony doesn't last long.
Our preferred bee supplier was out of queens for purchase, but fortunately a major beekeeper an hour's drive away had one. Not on our agenda, but away we went. The old beekeeper taught us a few things (we still have much to learn), so when we got home and reinspected that hive, we FOUND the queen (and some larvae). Ooops!
Here's another thing about bees. The queens don't share the throne. One queen per hive or it's a knife fight up close and personal. Either leave or die!
So what to do with our extra queen?
There's a cool trick you can do with honeybees, and it involves some beenapping. You can take some frames and bees from an established hive and move them to a new hive. You can't just throw the queen in with the gals, there needs to be some introduction time. So the queen and a few "attendant" bees are in a small cage with an edible barrier. After a few days the bees forget about their old queen and "adopt" the new queen. Over that few days the barrier is eaten away and the queen can come out of the cage and get to filling the cells with eggs.
So instead of stopping at 6 hives as we planned, we now have 6 and a small starter hive. If our beenapping and new queen are compatible, eventually we'll have a small hive to transfer to a bigger hive.
And now...where's the shower?
And if you need a real estate team to help you move out of your hive or into a new one, we work with big and small in the Cincinnati area! Just give us a call/text at 513-520-5305 or email Liz@LizSpear.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz