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Busy Bees & Keepers

Spring is a busy time for bees and beekeepers.

For most of the country this winter has snowy and cold, but in western Washington state the weather has been mild. As a beekeeper this is both a blessing and a problem.

If the winter is short and mild it is a blessing in that the bees use less food and plants bloom early. This gives the bees a longer period to build up supplies for the next winter. However, the weather is mild, but winter returns, the entire colony might starve because of the postponed spring. Right now it looks like winter will continue to fade away.

I have three hives (the boxes), but only keep two colonies of bees for to pollenate my garden and orchard. While I’ve done this for eight years, what I know I learned through trial and error (many errors) and by reading books. I’ve never taken a class—until now. I took this picture as the second session of the apprentice beekeeping class ended today. While I’m probably beyond the apprentice level, I’ve learned things during both sessions. The class has three more sessions.

The smiling woman, with lanyard, is Susanne Weil, one of the officers of our local beekeeping association. She is standing behind two hive boxes.

I have only one colony of bees, but I’ll be ordering a package of bees in a couple of days. A package consists of a queen and around 2000 bees in a box. While they arrive I’ll do a blogpost about it.