Memorial Day Weekend With The Bee Team

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747


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 

We look forward to hearing from you!

Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz


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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Bill- this is so interesting!!! Those hives look like file boxes. How do they stay dry?   So the bees have their own version of Game of Thrones. 

May 27, 2019 06:39 PM #1
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Good job!  It must be very rewarding to harvest that sweet honey after all the hard work.  Some of our neighbors do this too and we have been blessed with some of their honey.  You're doing a good thing for the bees and the food world.  We need more bees.

May 27, 2019 08:07 PM #2
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Wow, this was very interesting. I don't know much about bees except 1) we need them and 2) honey is yummy. But now I know just a little bit more. Interesting about the queen and beenapping.

May 28, 2019 04:05 AM #3
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Bill. Interesting to say the least. Good luck with your operaton as it continues to grow. Enjoy your day after your shower!

May 28, 2019 04:35 AM #4
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                            Thank you Liz and Bill.  

Jun 01, 2019 06:31 PM #5
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

We've toyed with the idea of a having honey bees, but honestly, it's a bit too much for us at this point. Instead, we have a Mason bee house and enjoy working with them. Much easier than your big job. I'm fascinated though, and love hearing about beekeeping. D 

Jun 02, 2019 07:25 AM #6
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Bill - it takes a sweaty man(or errrr a sweatier one perhaps) to work in the way you perform your bee duties.  Good for you!   Admirable and quite fortunate for any/all recipients of your  generosity.  

Jun 02, 2019 10:55 AM #7
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Liz and Bill Spear - I knew someone else who kept hives. It really is fascinating work.

Jun 02, 2019 12:23 PM #8
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Fascinating, I did some video last year with a friend who is a bee keeper on setting up and starting a hive. So glad I saw this featured by Kathy Streib.

Jun 03, 2019 07:37 AM #9
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

So interesting. I've always been terrified of bees, probably because I don't know how to identify the good from the bad, so I stay clear of them. Last fall I took my granddaughter to an event and there was a beekeeper there with hives. I still can't believe I approached and checked them out. It was a big deal for me to get past my fear. I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed hearing about your experience. So glad Kathy Streib shared this!

Jun 04, 2019 08:10 AM #10
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


That was a fun read!

But wow, it all seems pretty complicated, with a bit of drama, but sounds like it all worked out. I had no idea there were all these issues with bee-keeping, although I suspected it was not a simple thing. You've certainly learned a lot, with some good teachers - bees, and human!


Jun 05, 2019 12:19 PM #11
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