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The Beehive: Splitting the bees between two states to maximize output headline

By Brett Kent / For the Enterprise

Welcome back to the Beehive. I have so much to say, and just a little space to say it. LOL

I want to talk about the end of the maple syrup season, and the beginning of the 2015 honey bee adventure. So here we go.

Brenda and I had a great inaugural, maple syrup season. I learned from the beginning, that this was going to be more than just gathering sap to make syrup. This was an opportunity to get together with our family and friends.

It turns out that our son Ryan and his girlfriend, Mariah, and our daughter Danielle and her husband Caleb all enjoyed this experience. We hauled 1,400 gallons of sap home, and made 30+ gallons of syrup. Not bad, wait until next year. LOL

About ten days ago, Brenda and I returned to Kansas, so we could bring ours bees home. We have to wait until dark so all the bees are back in the hive boxes before we could load them on the trailer. While we were waiting, we decided to drive over to an apple and peach orchard, which was about two miles from where our bees were.

I wanted to talk to the owner about wintering our bees on his land next year. My plan was to have a second location in Kansas. This would allow us to spend some time down there in the spring, and split our hives down there, while at the same time, our bees would be pollinating the apple and peach trees. It would be a win-win for both of us.

So we drove in and approached the owner and his father who were walking through the orchard. I gave him my sales pitch and waited for his reply. There was a moment of silence and then he said, “You know, people all over this country are begging the beekeepers to put bees on their orchards. Now you come in here and tell me you want to move your bees, from Minnesota, in here on my land?

“Well, I must be the luckiest farmer in Kansas. Of course I want your bees.” Whew, that went better than I thought it could have.

Ok, back to the bees. It was getting dark, and we had a two hour job loading the bees on the trailer, and securing the load. We started driving north at about 9:30 p.m. As we drove through the night, I remembered why I said I would never do this again.

We pulled into our driveway about 8:30 a.m. There are no words to describe how exhausted we were. Brenda had a coffee IV going. LOL. We unloaded the bees and went to bed.

The bees are in great shape. Twenty-four of 28 hives survived. Earlier this week, I called my beekeeper buddies in Texas. They sent me 45 queen bees by overnight delivery.

The following morning, at 10 a.m., my queens were waiting for me at the UPS garage south of town. The last two days I have been making splits, which means I have separated the bigger hives into new, smaller hives. Then each new hive gets a new queen. Our bees did so well, that we are going to increase our amount of hives this year by 30 percent.

We are well on our way to an exciting new beekeeping season. All we need now is some rain, some dandelions, and some luck.

You folks take care, as always, thanks for your interest.