A few days ago, I saw the bees clustered around the hive entrances after a hot day and got really nervous that they were getting ready to swarm. Until then, the bees would head inside once the sun started going down. On this particular night by 8:30pm they were still in a bunch outside, and the numbers were growing. I thought for sure they’d be gone by morning having swarmed in a tree out of my reach. It didn’t happen. The next day they huddled again, and then they did the same thing again on another warm day. Turns out, this is how they cool off. They were also hanging out by the container pond I set up for them as a water source. Lesson: bees have chill.
Guess what? I did another split! Up to six colonies now. One of the hives was getting crowded, and I didn’t have a spare box. Rather than risk a swarm, I picked two frames with full of covered brood and newly laid cells, and put them in a nuc box. That induced the making of a queen. It’s been a week and you’ll see in the pic that they’re raising a queen! The red circle is the supersedure cell (queen in the making), the green circle is a hatching worker bee. In a little over a week, if all goes well, there’ll be a new queen hatching. Cross your fingers.
Maybe you’ve considered getting a couple of hives, or maybe you’re just intrigued by the curious life of an apiary. Here’s a video of my backyard so that you can see one example of the kind of space necessary to keep bees. I live in the suburbs, and things are going fine so far with beekeeping in the backyard – all two months! I checked in with my next door neighbors before I started. Chatted with them a little bit about what to expect and why, and they were fine.
You can keep bees in more densely populated urban neighborhoods too. There is a growing number of rooftop beekeepers, and right on the concrete slab behind a townhouse you can place a hive stand and get started, if you are so inclined. Be sure to check your HOA bylaws, and city code. Many municipalities are recognizing the importance of pollinators like bees, and doing what they can to support, or at least allow, beekeeping. There is also the option of partnering with someone who has space and wouldn’t mind hosting. There’s plenty of that going on too.
I’m no videographer, but I hope this gives you a sense of what it’s like in my bee yard.