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Spring Beekeeping: Apiary Tasks for a New Season

Spring is a Busy Time in the Bee Yard

Beekeepers get eager to get out in the bee yard at the first signs of spring, anxious to find out how our colonies of bees made out over the winter. For new beekeepers, it can be tricky to know what to do - and when, and what to look for - as you go into your hives for that first spring beekeeping inspection.

Now, if you ask a question to any 10 beekeepers, you're going to get 11 answers - beekeeping is an art, as much as a science, and there can be passionate differences of opinion! Not only that, the advice you get will depend in large part on your climate and local conditions, so it's important that you know up front that the context here is eastern Canada and the New England states.

The timing of tasks may change with the climate, and the details may vary according to what regulations are in your specific area, but what I hope to give to new beekeepers here is a general sense of the spring management tasks that go along with keeping bees on a small-business or hobbyist level.

Spring Beekeeping Field Day, photo used here by permission of the photographer

Spring Beekeeping Field Day, photo used here by permission of the photographer

Watch and Learn! - Different Beekeepers have slightly different Spring Inspection routines.

Different beekeepers in different locations and climates will each have a slightly different routine - not to mention, all those beekeepers who have less snow on the ground in early spring (late February or early March through early April, say) than I usually have to deal with for the first inspection of the season... but the general principles are more or less the same, as these videos from other beekeepers will show.

After all, we are all concerned primarily with "hive health" above all, at this time of year even more than later in the season.

You want to find out what's alive in terms of each hive, see if the colonies need to have a bit more insulation to protect them from the up-and-down temperatures at this time of year, and especially make sure they have lots of feed to get them through until more plants are blooming and the bees can get out to forage. With any luck, your queens will be busy laying eggs, so there will be lots of young'uns looking to be fed!

Here's How I Do It... - On Snowshoes, If Necessary!

Early Spring Beekeeping... on snowshoes

Early Spring Beekeeping... on snowshoes

Photo: Me in my bee yard for an early Spring hive inspection © StonehavenLife (used here by permission of my partner who was standing around with the camera, at a safe distance).

A Beekeeper's To-Do List - Early Spring Hive Check Chores

  • Check for dead bees and signs of Nosema around the hives.
  • Check for signs of life in each colony, and close up any dead-out hives.
  • Feed the colony!
  • When weather permits, open the boxes to inspect for signs of foulbrood, a failing or absent queen, and other hive health problems.
  • Treat and/or requeen as appropriate.
  • Plan to increase the number of hives you run, by installing a nucleus colony (nuc) or package of bees, or by making splits of your own strongest colonies - but that's a topic for another day!
Part of my home apiary in early spring, with bee hives still in winter wraps.

Part of my home apiary in early spring, with bee hives still in winter wraps.

Exterior Hive Inspection

First Step in the Spring Beekeeping Routine

It's normal to see a few dead bees on the ground around the hive - especially if there's still snow on the ground, as they show up very clearly - and there will almost certainly be a fair number of dead ones at the entrance of the hive and just inside, on the floor. Honeybees gradually die off through the winter and into the early spring, so this is to be expected, but we hope not to see a whole lot of them!

It is also very normal to see at least a little bit of brown feces ("poop") on the hive and on any remaining snow on the ground, as "the girls" will have been out on the occasional cleansing flight on fine days, but won't yet have gone very far. If there's more than just a small amount of the brown spotting, however, that's a warning sign that the colony may be struggling with a Nosema infection.

Dead honeybees in open hive - Spring Beekeeping - photo by Flycatcher

Dead honeybees in open hive - Spring Beekeeping - photo by Flycatcher

Signs of Life?

Unwrap and look inside the hive - but wait for a warm day!

If the weather is about 10°C (50°F) with no wind, you can peek in the top of the hive to check for live bees.

Unwrap the hives, if you wrapped them for overwintering, and remove mouse-guards from entrances. Remove the outer and inner cover, and look down in to see if you can see the cluster. If you can't see any bees, put your ear down and listen for them - there may be a small cluster down in the very centre of the super, where you can't see it.

What you're trying to determine here is whether there's life in the hive.

Dead-outs should be closed up securely and/or removed from the bee yard, so that any remaining stores can't be robbed out by other colonies, in case any disease is present in the dead hive. Colonies that are noticeably down in numbers from when you put them away in the fall, or where the bees are stumbling about slowly, may be on the verge of starving, and should in any case be fed to get them through before forage is available.

Do you see a lot of bodies head-down in the honeycomb?

If you open a hive in spring and find a lot of dead bees back-end-up and head-down in the honeycomb cells, that's a sure sign that they starved at some point during the winter - most likely not long before you checked on the hive. Learn from this, to be generous with the amount of honey you leave in the hive for the bees' use!

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Pollen substitute patty for Spring Feeding. Photo by Flycatcher

Pollen substitute patty for Spring Feeding. Photo by Flycatcher

Spring Feeding of Honeybees

More hives will die out due to starvation in early spring than from any other cause, we suspect. Certainly, a colony that is fairly strong in mid-March can be dead by month's end, as the occasional warm day will stimulate the bees to move out of their cluster, then sudden drops in temperature mean they have to consume extra food to generate heat to survive.

To help honeybees get through the end of winter until they can forage, and to start to stimulate brood production, there are two kinds of feed we can give - stored honey or sugar syrup, and pollen or pollen substitute. Both are recommended, if you live in a climate where spring feeding is needed.

The most convenient way to feed pollen substitute that I've found, since powders can be messy if there's the slightest breeze, is to mix with a little syrup and set a flat patty of it on the top of the frames under the inner cover. Or you can get the patties pre-made - I've used Mann Lake's Bee-Pro patty more than once, when pressed for time.

If you have stored away excess frames of capped honey from last season, this can be fed back to the bees. In my opinion, assuming the honey came from a healthy colony, this is the best possible feed for the bees. Unfortunately, we don't often have extra honey to give, so must rely on making up a sugar syrup to get the bees through.

For spring feeding of honeybees, give a sugar syrup that's one part sugar to one part water (by weight) is recommended, though I tend to go more towards 2:1 (more sugar, less water) with all the moisture we get here in Atlantic Canada in springtime.

To prepare the sugar syrup, heat the water to boiling, reduce heat, stir in the sugar until dissolved - being careful not to let the mixture boil again once the sugar has been added. If you are going to medicate as a preventative for Nosema disease, be sure to cool the syrup before adding the medication (Fumagilin-B) according to package directions.

Early Spring Hive Inspection. Photo used here by permission of the photographer.

Early Spring Hive Inspection. Photo used here by permission of the photographer.

Frame Inspection

When the weather is warm enough - at least 14°C (about 60°F) with no wind - you can do the first real inspection inside the hives. Check the frames for signs of foulbrood, a poor or missing queen, and other hive health problems.

If you see signs of foulbrood disease in the colony, mark the hive and close it up so no bees from other colonies get in and spread the infection.

Regulations will vary from one jurisdiction to another, so check with your local Agriculture department about what the law is for you.

In my jurisdiction, foulbrood-infected colonies and equipment must be destroyed (burned) for the health of our honeybee populations as a whole - and, heartbreaking as it is, I have done this myself. As a result, I'm glad to say my bees have been completely free of foulbrood for a number of years now. Although it's awfully hard to bring oneself to kill bees and burn expensive woodenware, there's no percentage in carrying on with an infected colony and risking the rest of your hives, not to mention the local beekeeping industry as a whole.

Do sterilize your hive tool in the fire of your smoker or using a small propane torch, before moving from one hive to the next.

Handle the frames gently, but do work as quickly as possible to keep the bees outside for as short a time as possible - and set the inner cover back over the hive when you're not lifting out or replacing a frame, to keep the bees and brood from getting chilled. As the old beekeeper's saying has it, "It takes heat to make honeybees."

Guide to Beekeeping

Bees on comb. Photo used here by permission of the photographer.

Bees on comb. Photo used here by permission of the photographer.


Spot the Queen Bee

You will also want to make sure that there is a live queen in each hive, and at least the beginnings of brood production.

It is great if you actually see the queen alive and well in the hive, but it's important not to let the bees get chilled by keeping the hive open for too long this early in the season. Spring weather feels good to us, but it is not the kind of heat that bees prefer! So the presence of fresh eggs in the cells, and hopefully eggs that have been placed in a good solid laying pattern in adjacent cells with very few gaps between them, will be taken as evidence enough for now that the colony is queen-right.

A spotty laying pattern can be an indicator of a failing queen, if there's been no shortage of pollen to stimulate brood laying, so you may need to consider putting in an order for a replacement queen for any colonies in doubt. Any queens more than a couple years old should also be replaced if you have not already done so.

The queen is the bee with a long smooth abdomen, almost hidden by her attendant worker bees...

The queen is the bee with a long smooth abdomen, almost hidden by her attendant worker bees...

The Queen is longer in the abdomen than the Worker Bees, and often surrounded by her attendant bees.

Here she is, circled in red in this smaller version of the photograph.

Queens can be notoriously difficult to spot, especially if there are plenty of bees on the frame along with her. Quite often the workers will cluster around and on top of the Queen to protect her, and she can walk surprisingly quickly to duck around to the other side of the frame.

The trick is to let your eye just drift over the frame of bees and look for a subtle change in the pattern of bees working the honeycomb, rather than looking for one particular bee in the crowd.

Practice makes it easier!

Are you interested in keeping honey bees? - Your comments are welcome!

Lynn Klobuchar on March 28, 2014:

Maybe but until I do I make sure to have lots of plants in my yard that are attractive to bees -- they love naturalized oregano.

flycatcherrr (author) on March 23, 2014:

@TolovajWordsmith: Thanks to the magic of Google Translate, I have been able to enjoy a couple of blogs written by beekeepers in your part of the world. It is fascinating, how much is different in our methods and even more fascinating how much is the same!

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on March 23, 2014:

yes. when i first spotted your lens, i thought to ask the leasing office if a hive would be permitted here. a small one. i still may do so. i've wanted to keep bees for a while now.

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on March 23, 2014:

Beekeeping is sort of national sport in Slovenia. 'Our' bee is after all one of the two (with Italian) most popular species of bees in the world because it is not aggressive an it produces a lot of honey. We had bees for generation in our family too, but I live in a city where this is out of the question. The good news is beekeepers predict good harvest for next season, so prices will not be too high:)

chrisilouwho on March 21, 2014:

I'm still a little afraid but this was a fascinating read, thank you!I do try to keep bee-friendly in my garden and appreciate them around but I don't think I would want any pets, haha.

DebMartin on March 19, 2014:

Fascinating lens. I really admire those of you who tend the bees and provide all of us with so much food because the bees pollinate. Thank You. I enjoy learning from my friends who keep bees but must say I'll buy the honey and enjoy the process from afar. The bear would tear apart my hives I imagine. This winter was a hard season for the bees in my area. A lot of my keeper friends lost bees because it was so cold.

Dorian Bodnariuc from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on March 19, 2014:

I've been thinking for a while now at bee keeping, but I don't think I have the necessary time. Maybe when I retire.

Jim Houston from Wilmer, Alabama on March 17, 2014:

Really nice lens. I have a hive of honeybees under a shed of mine and I am going to try and get them into a bee hive. Haven't tried it yet with all the farm work but it's on the list. Great lens.

aswahayah on March 16, 2014:

in our country ,lot of feed bees

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 16, 2014:

A Quaker friend gave me a few of these boxes before but when I left for another place, it did not survive.

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on March 16, 2014:

Oh, forgot, congrats on your LOTD! Hurray!

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on March 16, 2014:

Like Radgrl, I'm allergic to bees, not very, but enough to keep a safe distance. I do love honey though.

Radgrl on March 16, 2014:

I'm very allergic to bees so I appreciate your work for keeping bees.

radex78 on March 16, 2014:

few years ago , my neighbour using coconut palm with slot at the centre as spring beekeeping

Delia on March 16, 2014:

Congratulations on LOTD! What a fascinating lens...On the ranch in California where i kept my horses, there were Bee Hives. Once a tractor hit a hive and we had bees all over, since I'm not afraid of bees I didn't run, but one got caught in my hair and it stung me in the mouth when trying to free it. I'm still not afraid of them.

SteveKaye on March 16, 2014:

I wish I lived on a few acres where I could do things like this. Instead, I live in a dense urban area.Bees and all wildlife are so important. We need to protect them. Congratulations on receiving the LOTD.

Ruthi on March 16, 2014:

No, I have no desire to be a beekeeper, but I sure respect you and others who are involved in this endeavor. This looks and sounds like an awful lot of work--for the beekeeper and the bees!

Rose Jones on March 16, 2014:

My father kept bees, and I have always been amazed by them. And I do love honey. It is yummy and at the call center where we work we recommend it for cough. BTW -have you ever seen any guys wearing bee beards?

philipcaddick on March 16, 2014:

Very interesting, as I live near horses, we do not keep bees, but very interesting. Thanks.

Renee Dixon from Kentucky on March 16, 2014:

I wouldn't want to do it myself, as I have a fear of bees and wasps- although I really admire this! Not to mention, honey is so delicious and good for you! Congrats on Lotd!

anonymous on March 16, 2014:

Not something I would be very successful at though it is certainly something I respect. Congratulations on getting LotD!

Bercton1 on March 16, 2014:

I love honey! very inspiring lens, congratulation on LOTD!

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on March 16, 2014:

I had been thinking about keeping bees as they are diminishing in numbers, but it sounds like a tough job. My Uncle used to keep them in England and it is a bit easier with their kinder weather there!Well done on an extremely interesting LOTD.

PaigSr from State of Confusion on March 16, 2014:

Honey yes bees no.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on March 16, 2014:

I'll continue to depend on others to keep bees, including a neighbor. Fascinating lens! It's very odd to see someone (you) checking a hive with snow on the ground. I had no idea! Congratulations on your very interesting and educational Lens of the Day!

Donna Cook on March 16, 2014:

Terrific lens! I suffer from Apiphobia. It takes all my courage to go to the local apiary to buy honey or to the berry farm to pick fruit. Thank goodness for beekeepers!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 16, 2014:

Congrats on LOTD! My dad was a beekeeper. I would ask what he was doing and he would say, "I'm gawking at the queen." I suspect he was looking for the queen but he made it sound like he was a peeping Tom or something. He loved suiting up and searching for his queens. In the spring he would often get calls from people that a swarm had landed in a tree or shed and he would go over, scoop them into a new box and come home with a new colony, queen and all. He loved that.

sybil watson on March 16, 2014:

My dad kept honey bees when I was a kid - we never got a whole lot of honey but it was a great learning experience for me. This is such a beautiful and interesting lens, I'm so glad you got LOTD.

getupandgrow on March 16, 2014:

I had no idea there was so much involved in bee-keeping even before the summer. Thank you for explaining it all, and many congrats on your LOTD.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on March 16, 2014:

Congratulations on LOTD!! and thanks for teaching me something new :)

Tigerquill on March 16, 2014:

Amazing amount of work, the cost of honey is really justified!

fullofshoes on March 16, 2014:

This is very interesting. I had no idea how complex the system really is... we often don't appreciate what other critters go through to survive. Awesome lens.

Tigerquill on March 16, 2014:

Amazing photos a great lens and now I truly appreciate the cost of Honey!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 16, 2014:

I've been studying beekeeping for months now. I may start my first hive this spring. I find it all very fascinating. Bees are beyond amazing. Very interesting to read about your experiences. Congrats on LotD!

GrammieOlivia on March 16, 2014:

I did not know it was such a procedure to have bee hives. I applaud your hard work to keep us in honey!

tonyleather on March 16, 2014:

I have a reasonable size garden and an allotment, but I an uncertain whether I want to keep bees or not, though I do love having them around!

Jared Khoo from Singapore on March 16, 2014:

Especially enjoyed reading your detailed lens because it has your personal experiences.

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on March 16, 2014:

Congratulations on Lens of the Day! So interesting! It's one of those things you hear about without know how it's done. Great information here!

Marie on March 16, 2014:

I already liked this awesome lens but came back to congratulate you on LOTD - what a great spring pick :)

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on March 16, 2014:

I've always been interested in bee keeping but so far, I haven't built a hive. Our area is wooded and even with our gardens, I'm not sure if there is enough forage for a healthy hive.

Danny Gibson from Northampton on March 16, 2014:

What an interesting lens this is.But for the life of me I could not spot that damn queen.

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on March 16, 2014:

amazing that you do this - my phobia all my life was bees, but lately I'm a bit better about them, for whatever reason that phobia is just melting away bit by bit - I'm amazed with this though! terrific page you've put together, well deserved LOTD congratulations

Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on March 15, 2014:

I would love to keep bees, but currently, I have too many irons in the fire. Once I get my chickens and quail buddies going, I'll be ready for bees next. -great article and look at you all bundled up in your snow shoes -eheh too cute :)

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on March 12, 2014:

Very interesting lens, I liked reading how you do them, especially with all that snow. My husband has been doing bees for many years now. I leave it to him he is the expert. We have 100 Nashi pear trees and they need the bees to pollenate the trees, so bees are a early spring job in NZ too. Thanks for sharing.

AlleyCatLane on March 12, 2014:

Wow! You certainly know your bees! Had no idea it was so complicated. Excellent article!

julieannbrady on March 01, 2014:

I applaud the bee keepers out there! When I planted my sunflower garden a year ago, I saw a lot of healthy looking honey bees on the sunflower blossoms. I am just now getting ready for a second go at it, planting the seeds from my last year's garden! I am hoping to see honey bees again. Never heard of Nosema. [Sounds like no-see-ya and I'm familiar with that term.] ;)

flycatcherrr (author) on April 02, 2013:

@kimadagem: Absolutely - CCD showed up in 2006, just out of nowhere! We have been let off lightly here in Canada so far but bees are a bit like the 'canary in a coal mine' for environmental issues, an early warning system... There was a super program on PBS about CCD that might interest you, very beautifully produced as well as educational, called "Silence of the Bees". You're in the US, so you should be able to view it at - well worth watching.

kimadagem on April 02, 2013:

Very informative lens - I learn so much here on Squidoo. :)I wanted to ask you - I heard a radio broadcast today, on our local NPR (National Public Radio) station, about the declining number of honeybees due to "colony collapse" (not sure if I got that right). Apparently it's worldwide. Have you seen or heard anything about it? It seems to have a lot of people concerned.

flycatcherrr (author) on March 21, 2013:

@askformore lm: Beekeeping is like any kind of farming venture, for sure - a lot of work, but deeply rewarding in a number of ways. :)

askformore lm on March 21, 2013:

Very interesting! I have a friend who has many beehives, it is not an easy job - but he loves it. And I love the honey he gives me.

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on March 21, 2013:

@flycatcherrr: I'm so glad there is cause for hope :-)

flycatcherrr (author) on March 21, 2013:

@Loretta L: Yes indeed, the Varroa mite is a real scourge in the bee world, partly for its actual physical attack on the individual bees but we're starting to realize its impact also as a critical vector for disease. It's been very disheartening, especially with growing resistance to the miticides that were all beekeeper had to help us for a while - but fortunately the scientists are now starting to make real progress and we've got a few more eco-friendly options for mite control. There is hope! :)

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on March 21, 2013:

Wow, there's a lot to beekeeping. I know apiarists in this country are very worried about a mite, I think it's name begins with v, which is responsible for major problems in the bee world. I love organic honey, and I love to see honey bees working away at the plants in my garden.

Gregory Moore from Louisville, KY on February 25, 2013:

Very well done and informative lens. Blessings.

cmadden on January 27, 2013:

I don't know that I could manage keeping bees, but I read and enjoyed "The Dancing Bees" in college (let's just say, a few years ago...) - and I enjoyed reading this very interesting lens!

RuralFloridaLiving on December 01, 2012:

Always enjoy reading about beekeeping. Thanks for sharing.

Belva Boggs on March 30, 2012:

My husband has been researching bees for several years now. He now has some beehive plans and is more serious about the matter. I worry though, because he is allergic to yellow jackets. Wonder if it is the same thing?

oiloflife on March 30, 2012:

That is wonderful! Looks like a lot of fun :)

Heather McGlaughlin from Marryland on March 29, 2012:

Very informative lens, my husband has been pondering the idea of bee keeping.

LouisaDembul on March 25, 2012:

I have never tried beekeeping, although I really love honey.

kindoak on March 25, 2012:

Excellent lens. I just moved to a cabin - considering start to keep bees for honey.

Kathy McGraw from California on March 24, 2012:

Very interesting....and today has been quite a bee day for me, but mine were only in photos :) Love your photos on here! I never knew you had to feed the bees, I thought they went in and out of those boxes finding their own food. But maybe that's because we don't get much snow and there seems to be pollen all the time.

flycatcherrr (author) on March 24, 2012:

@badmsm: Oh, very cool - I hope you'll write about it!

badmsm on March 24, 2012:

I'm building a Kenyan Top Bar hive for our yard. Bee keeping is cool! Liked & blessed by a Squid Angel! :)

anonymous on March 24, 2012:

I love bees too, and would love to get one of those suits on to go and inspect a hive. Maybe some day :) Super lens, congrats on front page feature.

aquarian_insight on March 24, 2012:

I love bees and thoroughly enjoyed this lens. Thank you!

MelonyVaughan on March 23, 2012:

What a wonderful lens!

MelonyVaughan on March 23, 2012:

What a wonderful lens!

ferginarg lm on March 23, 2012:

beeauty lens :-) I didn't know you could replace a queen, so the hive just carries on with a new one? That's amazing. Thanks for this, not that I will ever be a bee keeper it's interesting to read about it.

ismeedee on March 23, 2012:

Very useful information- I would love to do beekeeping but I think my back yard space is far too tiny. Or even if it's not, there is a public walkway right behind there and lots of children walking past to the park- I believe it wouldn't be a good idea!

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on March 23, 2012:

I have always wanted to be a beekeeper. I did some work with them in high school studying the varroa mites.

Bigdaddyguru on March 23, 2012:

I'm still looking for the queen, I liked your lens

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@sheriangell: Sounds like a swarm, resting before it moved on to a new home. (Contrary to old horror flicks, bees are most gentle when they are swarming - a swarm is just nature's way of creating a new colony, by dividing up the old one when it gets too big and sending part of it off to find a new home.) It will be a couple months before we get into swarm season up here - nothing is blooming yet, not even pussy willows, but down there in the balmy south you are probably into enough early forage that it's not so unlikely.

sheriangell on March 22, 2012:

Strangest thing happened at our home here in North Carolina this week. In a bush that was just beginning to sprout leaves we discovered what we thought was a huge hive of honeybees. It was bigger than a basketball and looked like it had been there for a while, however we had never noticed it before. Two days later it just disappeared..... what the heck happened??Great lens and Angel blessed today!

cheech1981 on March 22, 2012:

beeeesss ahhhh!!! props to the beekeepers for gettin me some honey though. :)

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@intermarks: So happy to hear you've learned something here; I love to share knowledge of bees. As for hibernatiing, they don't actually do that... you can read more in this comment where I replied to Zvous who had the same question:

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@Fignewton37: I've heard of that movie but haven't seen it yet - thanks for the reminder to look it up!

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@lilymom24: Thank you! Those are my own bees - I think they're quite lovely. :)

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@Skylermeyer2012: Absolutely, yes. Honeybees like hot weather. You'll find that bees are kept for honey and pollination in most countries around the world. :)

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@N Beaulieu: Glad to hear it! There are some excellent beekeeping associations at the local level in most of New England, and some good people in the state Ag departments who can help with the learning process, too. Good luck to your father and his friend!

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@infiniti99 lm: Hi Stephen, you're down in Massachusetts, right? Yes, in your climate, bees can often survive through the winter without human care (not so up here in Atlantic Canada, normally) so I would imagine you do run across the odd colony - good idea to have at least a couple of beekeepers on call for removals. Glad you enjoyed this!

flycatcherrr (author) on March 22, 2012:

@rgasperson lm: Funny thing: the more that people learn about honeybees, the less they are afraid of them. I like to suit up kids in protective gear and take them out to watch the bees close up. Fascination soon replaces any trepidation, I've found. :)

Robert T Gasperson from South Carolina on March 21, 2012:

What do you do when you have a fear of bees?

infiniti99 lm on March 21, 2012:

Great lens.This very important information for arborist and landscapers.I have run across hives many times in trees being taken down.I have a very large colony that we saved this winter living in 2 very large logs.It's to warm to move them to the beekeeper I hope she will come to me.

lasertek lm on March 21, 2012:

I like this lens! Thanks for sharing

N Beaulieu on March 21, 2012:

Your article has lots of great information. My father and a buddy of his are new to beekeeping in New England and I'll be sure to pass this info along to them.

miaponzo on March 20, 2012:

Very interesting lens! I love bee stuff! Blessed!

getwellsoon on March 20, 2012:

I have always wanted to start beekeeping, this is very informative and helps me as I keep researching. Thank you!

Heidi from Benson, IL on March 20, 2012:

Good information and easily readable even for someone like me who knows nothing about beekeeping.

Ribolov LM on March 20, 2012:

Nice lens, nice pictures, great infos. Thnx for this lens.

intermarks on March 20, 2012:

I never think about how bee will be like in the spring, are they hibernating? I really learn something new from your this lens. Thanks!

Skylermeyer2012 on March 19, 2012:

I'm living in a tropical area and I'm just confusing if I can raise some bees here also?

anonymous on March 19, 2012:

I'm always amazed at raising bees and getting honey from it. Enjoyed reading this.

Fignewton37 on March 19, 2012:

Interesting lens. I find beekeeping fascinating as well as helpful to the environment. I saw a move called "Ulee's Gold" about a man who made a living out of beekeeping. Bees are fascinating. Thanks for the lens.

lilymom24 on March 19, 2012:

How very interesting and the photo of the bees on the comb is just lovely. =)

Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on March 19, 2012:

@zvous: I was gonna ask the same thing! Thanks for the Q & A.

zvous on March 19, 2012:

@flycatcherrr: thanks for the answer flycatcher

flycatcherrr (author) on March 19, 2012:

@zvous: Hi Zvous, that's a good question! Honeybees do not actually hibernate in winter, in temperate climates, but they do slow down their activity and metabolism when the weather gets cold and there are no flowers for them to visit (just snow!). They huddle together in a tight cluster in the center of the hive, around the queen, and they vibrate their bodies to generate heat. Bees on the outside of the cluster are continually moving into the center, where it is warmest, so all bees get a turn at being in the warm part. On an occasional warm sunny day, early in the spring, bees will come out of the hive on a "cleansing flight" (to get rid of bodily waste), but mostly they stay in the hive until warmer weather and the spring forage flowers start to bloom.

zvous on March 19, 2012:

i just curious, when winter, are those bees hibernate? because i'm living in tropical country, i don't know this bees behavior. thanks

anonymous on March 19, 2012:

What an interesting lens - we have a bee friendly garden, but have never kept bees.

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