Idaho Botanical Gardens May 2018 Beehive Buzz

Hi everyone!  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Mark Nagel and I am the new volunteer beekeeper at the Garden.  I have been keeping bees for 6 years and am an Oregon State University certified apprentice beekeeper working towards becoming a master beekeeper.  I have several beehives located throughout the valley and also manage the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club hives located at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center in Boise.

May has been a busy month for the three new hives at IBG.  We started with one hive from a package of bees the first weekend of April.  A package of bees is about 3 pounds of bees and a newly mated queen that are placed together in a hive.  This hive has showed great progress harvesting the spring nectar flow leading up to me having to add a honey super this week to start collecting honey!  It is not common for a package of bees to produce honey the first year, but we have had a warm early spring with a lot of nectar and pollen in the Foothills.  It also helped to have previously drawn honey comb to put us ahead of schedule.

The second hive was started from a swarm I caught the last week of April on the Boise Bench.  I gave them a permanent home at IBG the first week of May.  Doing a routine inspection this week the queen has a beautiful laying pattern and hive population is increasing quicker than expected!

Finally, the third hive was completely unexpected.  I came up to install the swarm I had caught into their permanent home and another swarm had moved into the hive we had just set up the week prior to move the new swarm into!  What a great surprise!  This hive is just starting to establish itself and making some good early progress.

Looking forward into June I will be monitoring queen production, hive population, and early season mite counts* as we move into the main nectar flow for our region late June and into July.

Please stay tuned in the upcoming months as I plan on providing monthly updates about the newest members of the garden!  I look forward to discussing bees with you all!  If you have any questions about the IBG hives or beekeeping in general please feel free to reach out to me.

*Mite counts are a way I can track the level of the Varroa Destructor mite.  A parasitic mite that is plaguing the honey bee population.  You can read more about this honey bee issue at:

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