Bees of Anderson Estate

When walking around the trails on the property, I noticed a stand of Sourwood trees and thought I help with the bee crisis by having a couple of bee hives in this area and get some nice Sourwood honey. However after doing some research, I discovered that I would need at least two aces of sourwood trees to be able to call my honey sourwood honey and that this area in the woods would not be an ideal place to have hives. I brought two complete hive setups complete with bees in May 2015 and placed them in a semi shaded area behind Fred’s Shed. My first year of bees did not go as well as planned but it was a good experience. Being a member of the Blount County Bee Association was really helpful with lots of free advice and mentoring by a nearby beekeeper Harlan Breeden. In 2016 I brought new bees and what a difference that made. I picked up the bees at the end of April and by early July I harvested nine gallons of some of the best honey I have ever tasted. Everything went along great for the next few months but then the toll of the drought and my neglect took effect. There is a difference between bee having and bee keeping and I lulled into the former when I got really busy in the garden. I did treat for varroa mites but because of the shady area where the hives are located – it attracts the small hive beetle and they basically took over the hives. Because the beetles have a hard shell, the bees can’t kill them – all they can do is try and herd them out of the hive. In 2017 I will be relocating the hives to a full sun location with a new stand that will handle my expansion to four hives.One of these new hives will be the Flow Hive – the new invention from Australia. It allows you to remove the honey without taking the hive apart.

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