The first winter, our bees did not survive the winter here in Michigan.
The second winter, no bees survived the winter.
The third winter, 1 of 3 hives survived the winter.
Packages vs Nucs
We have bought packages in the past. Simply put (because I’m just the bee keepers wife), you get a bunch of bees with a queen. The bees then have to build their hive and create enough honey to be able to survive the winter and the queen has to lay eggs so that new bees will begin to populate and keep the hive functioning. We fed our bees sugar water to help them establish until the flowers were in bloom and they were making lots of honey.
We have had hives swarm and split the first year, though it is rare, and they still died during the winter.
This year we bought 2 nuc hives. The nuc hives (nucleus colony) we bought came with 5 deep frames, brood and a queen. (In bee keeper wife terms, they have honey, babies and a queen. They are a small nuclear family.) Since we had no luck buying packages of bees, we are hoping this method will be successful.
New Bees Arrived
So the bees arrived yesterday and we moved the frames into the box. The bees were very active (they flew all around and landed on hubby). He had on his bee suit. I was out there taking pictures and some bees flew out near me, so I’d step back further away (I was not suited up).
This morning the bees seem active in the hives. You can hear them buzzing to keep warm (it’s 37F at 7am). I left them marshmallows as a welcome to our home.
There were a few bees that did not go into the hive last night and they huddled together to keep warm, but did not make it.
Here is hoping 2016 is our year to have the best beep keeping year we can. We have only been able to get honey for our selves (basically when the bees die), We are hoping we can eventually sell our honey and other bee items.