The buzz

The Monthly newsletter from Second Story Honey

Join me at Rooting DC - February 29!

Rooting DC is a FREE, all-day urban gardening forum that provides education about urban agriculture and food systems, cultivates health and protection of the environment, and builds community.
Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, 4800 Meade St NE, Washington, DC 20019

February bee update

All Winter the worker bees have kept their queen safe, warm, dry and fed inside the hive by clustering around her in a tight ball. They protect her because she is the future of their colony.

Deep inside the hive the queen senses the days getting longer. It is time for her to start laying eggs - a new generation of honeybees. The eggs and larvae in the nursery need lots of food and warmth. For the new bees to grow and thrive, the worker bees in the nursery increase the temperature inside the hive from 75F to 95F. This extra energy expenditure is fueled by bees consuming the honey stores inside the hive. 

I can see exactly when brood-rearing kicked into high gear in my hives by watching the hive weight. Below is a plot of the hive scale data.

Graph showing the weight of a beehive declining in Jan - Feb 2020

In this graph I can see that for most of the Winter the bees were consuming honey at the rate of 4oz per day, but on February 12 that rate nearly doubled to 7oz per day. I added 10 pounds of sugar fondant on February 16 as a kind of insurance to be sure they have enough food close at hand. This will bolster their food stores and, with luck, tide them over until the flowers in our neighborhood start to bloom and the bees can collect nectar. And in 22 days on March 5, those eggs laid on February 12 will emerge from their cells to be the first new worker bees of 2020!

If you have questions about the bees email me at [email protected]

Recipe of the month: Chocolate Clusters

This recipe takes almost no time at all and is fun for kids who want to help in the kitchen. And the sea salt brings out the honey flavor. 

Macro image showing the honeycomb like structure of this light, aromatic crunchy candy topped with flakey sea salt..


6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3 Tablespoons HONEY

1 teaspoon water
1 1/2 cups nuts (English Walnuts)
sea salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper or use a non-stick baking mat. 

In a double-boiler or on the low setting in the microwave, melt together chocolate morsels. Once melted, mix in honey and water. Stir in nuts. Cool for ten minutes.  Drop teaspoonsful onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Yield 24 clusters.

Adapted from "Honey Recipes from Maryland Kitchens" a publication from the MD Dept of Agriculture in cooperation with the Maryland State Beekeepers Association.

Featured items

We've got lots of new candles of all shapes, sizes and colors available in our online shop. Come take a look!

Decorative glass votives in multiple designs containing 15-hour beeswax votive candles.

Decorative glass votives

Pillar candles (3 x 5") with carved scrolls in green, red and natural beeswax (other colors available).

Beeswax container candles

Trio of evergreen tree candles in small, medium and large. Available in green, red, purple, sea glass and more.

Raw DC Honey

Large and small wise owl candles in sea glass (other colors available).

Beeswax pillar candles

Saturday, February 29: Rooting DC at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, 4800 Meade St NE, Washington, DC 20019 

Everyday: online at

Howard County Holiday Mart, Saturday, December 7, 10am - 5pm

Thanks so much for your support. You can opt-out of these newsletters at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link below.  That said, I hope you won't :)  

   Jan Day