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“Newbee Questions, Expert Answers” Column

“Newbee Questions, Expert Answers” Column

We’ve all been there!

You have a fascination with bees, have felt the call of beekeeping and decided to take the plunge – and then the confusion starts!

  • What hive should I purchase?
  • Where should I install it?
  • What feeder is best?
  • When should I check the queen is out of her cage?

Of course, that’s a tiny selection of many, many questions you will have. PerfectBee is proud to offer a wide range of articles and blog posts that will help you answer these questions.

But, as a “newbee” (beginner beekeeper” you will have more? And so we decided to create this unique series as way to walk in the shoes of said newbee! Here’s how we do that…

One Newbee + One Expert = One Series

This series captures the real-world, actual questions of a new beekeeper as he obtains his bees, installs them and starts out as a beekeeper. We include the type of questions you won’t always find asked else where – like “When I bring my package bees home, will they make a mess in my car?!”.

Through a Q&A style, we hope you will find this series both fun and educational?

Who Is the Newbee and Who Is the Expert?

So we needed a newbee and we needed an expert. Enter… Mark and Ron.

  • Mark Williams is the founder of PerfectBee. He launched PerfectBee in November 2015 and by working with expert beekeeper contributors helped introduce many new beekeepers to this fascinating hobby. Mark took the plunge and has recently installed his first beehive. He’s excited about where this leads – and has some questions. Lots of them! Mark…. is our resident newbee.
  • Ron Lane has years of experience as a beekeeper and regularly teaches beekeeping classes. With a light, enjoyable but thorough style, Ron responds to Mark’s questions using common sense and real-world experience of the issues facing new beekeepers. Ron…is our beekeeping expert.

We do hope you enjoy this series.

About Ron Lane

Ron Lane is a beekeeper in the beautiful state of Oregon. He has many years of experience, regularly teaches beekeeping classes and has an "Outside the Swarm" mentality to life, as well as beekeeping.

5 thoughts on ““Newbee Questions, Expert Answers” Column

  1. I have a new hive. I got a nuc on April 15 and set up my hive. It has been cold and rainy here so I haven’t had a chance to open the hive and check on the bees. I have been feeding them sugar water and noticed bees coming and going out of the hive. Today, I found 4 dead bees at the entrance of the hive. It has literally rained here everyday this past week and it is cold. Should I be concerned? I don’t want to open the hive in this nasty weather and get the bees chilled. Is there anything I should do?

    Thanks

    • Suzanne,

      You are wise not open the hive in the cold and wet weather. Unless you saw something abnormal, the dead bees at the entrance is a sign the colony is functioning normally. In other words, the bees are doing their jobs and one of those jobs is to remove dead bees from the hive. So I would not be concerned based upon finding just four dead bees at the entrance.

      When the weather improves and you can look inside the hive for an inspection, be sure there is plenty of room for the queen to lay her eggs. With the cool wet weather the bees may not be drawing out new comb very fast or at all, depending how cold its been. Sometimes when feeding a colony the bees fill the drawn comb with sugar water, leaving little room for the queen to lay. That said, if its as cold as you say, the bees are not likely taking much feed anyway. Hopefully the nuc came with a frame of stores for the bees.

      So for now I believe you are doing the best for the colony by leaving them alone and waiting for better weather. As long as they have enough food in the hive they should be fine.

      Keep up on your mite counts and good luck with your bees this season.
      Ron

  2. We left a crocheted afghan on our deck rail and the next day it had a dozen or more of what appeared to be drone honey bees on it?? Why? And what should we do?? I don’t want to interfere with any process

    • If they are drones they wont be there very long. Drones can only stay out of the hive for about 4 hours. (That is time flying so probably longer if they are not flying.) Then they must return to the hive to feed. Check at night or early morning and all the bees should be gone. It wont hurt to remove the afghan then.

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