Those of you who have been with me for a while know I keep a hive of bees in my back garden.
Or, well, I used to.
Last February, my entire hive of lovely ladies died dead. This was such a well-behaved team of bees that it was beyond disappointing to one day realize there were no humming sounds coming from the hive and that I hadn’t seen anyone coming or going for a few days. Then, to open up the hive and see all their little corpses…
I tried to figure out what might have happened. I’d had my hive completely abandoned once (no corpses), which wasn’t a happy day, but at least I could hope my girls were off pollinating someone else’s flowers.
After speaking with a local beekeeping lady, she said if everything looked healthy within the hive (there’s a lot of really gross things that can go wrong, so I won’t go into detail just in case you’re eating), then the hive might have gotten wet. And if bees stay wet too long, they die.
The inside of my hive had been suspiciously moist. I might have found my murderer: the hive itself.
The hive in question was a top bar hive, which if you’re not familiar with this type of hive, basically looks like a xylophone with the “keys” being bars that the bees build comb on. There’s plenty of advantages to this type of hive, but one of the disadvantages is it can collect moisture.
No new bees showed up over the summer (I attract swarms of bees rather than buying them…yes, you can buy bees), but after doing research for an article on beekeeping I wrote for Horticulture Magazine and after seeing that local beekeeping lady’s hives, I was eager to try out a more traditional type of hive: the Langstroth.
So, after plenty of comparison shopping, I placed my order. And, after plenty of cursing, I got the *#%$* thing assembled. I then had fun with mixing up some pastel colors to decorate and protect the woodwork.
The result? Voila!!!
And lets’ get a closer look at who dropped in to help show off the hive…
As you can see, Tammie Beastie is equipped to take good notes on any new arrivals…although since she’s bundled up in her Aran sweater, it might be a bit cold yet for any apiary activities.
The Langstroth hive not only provides a good beginner-level set up, but mine also features a sturdy roof covered in metal sheeting…my ladies are going to stay snug and dry this year. Assuming I can attract a swarm, that is.
Of course, that entire stack of boxes won’t go out just yet. I’ll start off with one big (deep) box, then add on as the season progresses. Again, assuming I can give some wandering bees a place to call home. If you happen across any, send them my way.
It’s been chilly out in the garden, but it’s actually been kind of nice being forced to go outside and get the hive set up, which has also motivated me to start in on some much needed garden tidying in anticipation for spring.
That’s it for now. Keep your fingers crossed, and hopefully an upcoming newsletter will feature the new residents!!
If you want to read more about my beekeeping adventures, then be sure check out these posts from my blog….
Hope you enjoyed this little detour from all the writing and history posts lately. But don’t enjoy it too much because I’ll be back next Wednesday with another bookish announcement. See you then!!!
Not ready to into the garden just yet? Then grab your copy of Domna: A Novel of Osteria to lose yourself in an epic tale of passion, ambition, and betrayal today.
The Complete Series of Domna includes all six parts of the serialized novel:
- Domna, Part One: The Sun God’s Daughter
- Domna, Part Two: The Solon’s Son
- Domna, Part Three: The Centaur’s Gamble
- Domna, Part Four: The Regent’s Edict
- Domna, Part Five: The Forgotten Heir
- Domna, Part Six: The Solon’s Wife