This has been a roller coaster year both for gardening AND beekeeping. Of all the years I could have started beekeeping, I picked "the worst beekeeping year" (according to several fellow beekeepers) in a long time to begin. By July we had just short of 9 inches of our average yearly rainfall. This translates into rotting crops, washed out nectar and pollen, and wet bees.
The excitement began last summer, attending meetings, wondering what the heck everyone was talking about in "bee lingo", then last winter building the hives was fun, and waiting on the bees to arrive--like an expectant mother!
Three packages arrived, one absconded (that's one of those beekeeping terms that means "they got the h**** out of here" on the third day of their residence. Okay, I have two hives. Sometime in July one of them swarmed. Everything I read said that bees don't swarm their first year......I DIDN'T READ THE BOOK TO THE BEES---darn!
When I realized that one hive had swarmed I looked at the other hive and they had no queen, no brood, no eggs. A couple of weeks later the hive that swarmed had eggs and brood and obviously a queen that I didn't see, but the other hive was still egg-brood-and queenless.
Advice from several veteran beekeepers was to combine the hives since it's so late in the year. Take off the cover and inner lid of the queen-right colony, put a sheet of newspaper over the top (no bad news please) and place the queenless hive on top. Supposedly the bees will eat their way through the newspaper, walk through the hive and fly out the front entrance and come back in the same way.
We'll see. After feeding them all summer, getting stung about 20 or so times, and I haven't even added up how much money I've spent, I think I should have adopted a kid instead.
P.S. Whatever a beekeeper wants to charge for his honey, don't complain