Beginning Beekeeping: Bees Do What Bees Do


Corinne Anthony headshotTime has passed since I wrote my first post, and I’m happy to tell you that my second queen bee has been laying eggs successfully, increasing the bee population in my hive. And here’s how I know!

From the time a queen bee lays an egg, to the time a fully-formed bee emerges from its capped comb, takes 21 days. I took off a month to head north and get out of the hellacious summer of Virginia. During that time, a gracious (and brave) neighbor fed sugar syrup to my bees every other day.

My colony of bees was small and reigned over by a young queen. The life expectancy of a worker bee is six weeks or less when they are actively foraging for nectar. By the first week of July, the nectar and pollen flow slows down to a snail’s pace. There’s not much blooming in mid-summer. I needed my queen to lay eggs and lay fast. So to make it less stressful for the bees, they got their sugar water from a simple feeder.

The feeder is a quart jar with tiny holes pricked in the cap. When set upside down in its wooden stand, the bees are able to enter through an opening and reach the syrup oozing out the holes. The recipe is one part sugar dissolved in one part hot water, with a tablespoon of wine vinegar mixed in. This “bee brew” is the best formula for stimulating egg laying.

Bee at feeder
Chow time at the bee feeder. 

Upon my return home, I needed to open up my hive and check out how all was going. It had been a hot spell, and I thought it would be best to do my inspection early in the day, before the heat became too intense. First mistake!

Tuấn Mai
1/18/2013 3:23:36 PM

Hi, I'm a young beekeeper in Vietnam. I have had just only one year experience. Could you tell me your email for shearing some experience?? I'm glad to contact with you. My email:

Don Seymour
9/27/2011 9:01:43 PM

I am thinking of raising bees next year and I would like to know what I will need to get started and maintain and build my hives. I hope that you can help me.

Nebraska Dave
8/28/2011 9:44:23 PM

Hey for all you folks new to bee keeping, GRIT has a special addition just for you in the shopping section of the Website. Of course there's nothing like swapping information of a blog for day to day practical information. I hope you all have a wonderful bee keeping day.

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