Update, prompted by couchdive
Posted by Darwish 10 years ago
I love this picture. It's summer, the flow is on, the bees are happy; this is as good as life gets, subhan allah. I'm covered in bees!  
It was a good summer for beekeeping here. I modestly increased the number of hives I managed this year; a mere four hives.  
After we move this winter, I will be expanding the beekeeping operation. About a dozen next spring, and then double in size the next couple of years. God willing, I would like to get to the point where I can keep bees full time. It will take several years to get to that point.  
I lost my first swarm this year, which is bad. But I watched the whole thing, which was awesome. I learned a lot.  
So, yeah.  
ultrafastx: What exactly is "losing a swarm"?
crataegus: I had a long, pedantic explanation of swarms and how they can be lost. Instead, I'll let Darwish explain when he pops back in.
Darwish: Well, the hopefully short and not-so-pedantic version goes like this: honey bees reproduce on a colony level. A strong hive will send out the old queen and about half of the worker bees (with about half of the honey) to start a new hive somewhere else.  
For the beekeeper this is not so good, for two main reasons: the swarm takes a lot of resources with it, thereby weakening the parent colony, and the swarm has a slim chance of ever seeing its first anniversary.  
It's an utterly fascinating process, and it is easy to get lost talking about it.
ultrafastx: Understood. I've seen swarms building new hives. I was just curious if that was what you meant, or if you meant that you tried to CATCH a swarm and it didn't survive.
Darwish: That's what I meant.
FoolProof: I guess I ought to just shut my ignorant ass up, then. ;D
Darwish: Bees can smell ignorance.
FoolProof: Yes, but what does it *taste* like?
Darwish: Ass.
FoolProof: No need to get nasty. I just asked what it tasted like.  
Darwish: Ass!
FoolProof: Sir, I don't have to take this abuse. I'm just asking you a simple question. Can you help me or not?