Black Swamp Wildflowers dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the natural heritage of Northwest Ohio

Beekeeping

We started beekeeping at this site with 10 hives in the spring of 2006. The winter of 2006 was brutal on the bees. Following a dry summer and wet fall, the hives had entered the winter low on reserves, and many colonies starved. Winter clusters dwindled in the remaining hives with an unseasonally warm winter. During the extremely harsh, and late, cold spell of february, many hives did not have sufficient population sizes left to keep hive temperatures up and colonies froze. In spring our remaining four colonies built up strongly as flowering spicebush, maple, beech, and basswood trees, and spring wildflowers provided abundant forage. Prairie wildflowers did well after that and so did the bees that utlized this resource. We continued splitting the strongest hives with the addition of queen cells, until twelve strong hives by the end of the summer of 2007 produced a plentifull and delicious golden harvest.

Worker bees collect sugar-rich flower nectar and bring it back to the hive. In the hive it is converted into honey, placed into wax cells, ripened by reducing its water content, and subsequently capped with wax.
 
2006 We started with ten 5-frame Nucs with the help of Bob Parson's Gold Apiaries. Hive strength went through a promising buildup in spring and early summer. Unfortunately, in August the weather turned outright hostile to bees and their ability to lay-in stores for the winter. An inpection in early October revealed that the bees had not managed to increase honey stores, they actually had depleted a large portion of it when wet conditions forced them to stay inside during much of the fall. We started an intense feeding regimen with sugar water as warm weather permitted us to supplement until early January.
2007 In the beginning of the year temperatures kept heading south and local beekeepers have reported a loss of between 50-80% of the hives during these harsh conditions. With 6 of the 10 hives dead from a lack of stores, we seem to have emerged on the low end of these damage reports. A soon as weather permitted, we began to supplement with sugar syrup. Basswood and maples began flowering soon afterwards finally providing the bees with natural sources for nectar and pollen. Strong hives were split with the addition of queen cells starting in mid April, and the number of colonies at this site gradually increased to fourteen. Two weak hives failed to recover from a queen loss and were removed. A rich harvest made up for the hardships that had been brought onto bees and their stewards early in the year.

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Pages created and maintained by Robert Huber and Moira van Staaden. Contact us at if you are interested to utilize the site for educational, research, or public outreach projects. Comments, suggestions and critiques welcome blackswamp.oh@gmail.com or (419) 833-1241