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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Beekeeper Error(s)

My commitment to this blog since the beginning has been to write about all of it - my successes, but also all of my failures....Today brought my failures front and center.  As always I have learned a lot, but I should have known better.  I know I should have.

When things go wrong in a beehive managed by a beekeeper, it is almost always due to beekeeper error.  I've made two major ones.

When I installed the Mississippi Queen in the hive at Ron's, I should have put her and the bees in a completely new and much smaller living situation.  I don't know why the bees were not thriving there, but they were originally the queenless half of Lenox Pointe, the thriving hive at my old house.

They never made a queen that was any good and the final queen they had before Mississippi arrived was weak and pitiful.  The comb was old and from last year and the bees were not doing well.  I should have put new frames or at least undrawn ones in a nuc hive, moved some of the honey and all of the bees and installed her there.

Instead I put her in the old hive and she and the bees decided to leave.  So today I found an empty hive.

I came home and was looking out my window and the Sister's Keeper nuc looked forlorn and empty - bees were madly flying out of all of my other hives, but this one had no action going on.  The last time I opened it, I took a frame of brood and eggs to give to the Unintentional Nuc to make sure they grew into a good hive.

Because we are at the end of the nectar flow, I decided to replace the frame I stole with a frame of drawn comb.  I have a few of pretty, unsoiled drawn comb mostly from hives that have died.  When I put that frame into the nuc, I broke some cappings on the adjacent frame of honey.  As I turned away from the hive to go back to my office, I noticed honey flowing out of the bottom of the nuc on the ground.

I had the conscious thought that the honey flow on the ground might draw robbers, but I didn't do anything about it...making the excuse that I needed to hurry back to the office.

Tonight when I opened the nuc and looked into it, there were about five bees.  I didn't explore it because it was getting dark and I didn't have veil or smoker, but the edges of the cells that I could see were ragged as cells look when robbing has occurred.

I was so upset with myself.

I don't know what I should have done - I know be more careful in putting in the new frame.  But should I have watered the ground under the hive to get rid of the honey?  Or scraped it up with a spatula and THEN watered the ground?  I know I should have done something.

I've been telling Jeff for several weeks that we need to get robber screens on all the hives and then not pushing that we get it done.  He's busy, I'm busy.  Now I'm worried about all the hives and that we'll lose more hives because we are not doing what we should be doing - putting robber screens on all the hives ASAP as Billy Davis has suggested.

I have a little #8 hardware cloth here and I know what I'm going to be doing either early tomorrow or after work tomorrow night.


  1. I am sorry for the setbacks Linda! Beekeeping is a lot of things but easy is not one of them. I have been struggling with my own learning curve this season, and am pungently mindful of my favourite bee board .sig: learning beekeeping one mistake at a time! A warm and sisterly beekeeperly hug to you. Onward and upward.

  2. I guess the best way to learn is to make mistakes. But it still doesn't make it easy to take!
    Just when you think you got bees figured, they go change the rule book !

  3. If anyone has a solution to my dilemma please email me at justyourkevin@gmail.com

    Last year I lost two hives bees, honey and drawn comb to white assed wasps...today I noticed a white assed wasp battling for entering into a hive. HELP!!!


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