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Beek Reads: Nobody Wants to be the Queen by Q Gardens

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“What role would you want in the hive?” we asked, the eight of us sitting in the circle of benches surrounded by Q Gardens’ newly green herbs and late spring blooms. The answers differed, but on one thing, we agreed: No one wants to be the queen.

The life of a drone sounds idyllic, if short-lived. Lay about the hive. Eat. Wait for a sunny day to fly out to the drone congregation area—how exactly the drones know the congregation’s location is a mystery—and find a young virgin queen to explosively impregnate. And die, gracelessly but with purpose.

The worker bee’s life isn’t so bad either. She has a number of roles, from nurse to scout, so it’s never boring, and workers have the highest “autonomy,” collectively making the hive’s “decisions.” A worker’s life is always busy, always productive.

Read the full article here: Beek Reads: Nobody Wants to be the Queen — Q Gardens

Pork Tacos with Honey Mango Relish by From Prosecco to Peaches

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I had been in the mood for tacos for a few days but could not decide what kind I wanted to make. Ground beef? Steak? Chicken? A trip to the butcher decided for me. We popped into the butcher and waiting for me was this pork shoulder (aka boston butt). Once I laid my eyes on it my taco destiny was decided.

Fruit salsas/relish don’t usually appeal to me. I like my savory dishes savory and my sweet dishes sweet, rarely do I enjoy combining the two (except for the classic salt+chocolate]. However, I had a few honey mangos hanging out on the counter, and figured I would give this whole fruit salsa thing a go. Speaking of honey mangos, where have you been all of my life? I have never seen them before this year and suddenly they are in every supermarket. I’m glad for it, they are way easier to prepare than the mangos I am used to eating.

Anyway, the next time you find yourself wanting some tacos, or need to feed a crowd, definitely give these a try. If you are a savory fruit skeptic, give the relish a go, it definitely made me a convert.

Get the recipe here: Pork Tacos with Honey Mango Relish — From Prosecco to Peaches

The Background Hum – Drones by Why Do Bees

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They’re freeloaders yet vital to the colony’s success. Most of the time they’re laid back bordering on lazy, yet they give it all to their mission when pheromones beckon, dying in the process. They’re allowed to play in the hive all season then bullied out in the fall. It’s all about colony survival. In a healthy hive, drones are the background hum, the harmony behind the melody, a small but important part of the symphony.

Read the full article at: The Background Hum — Why Do Bees

Garden Plan For Pollinators by Keeping Backyard Bees

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Many pollinator species have suffered serious declines in recent years. Unfortunately, most of our landscapes offer little in the way of appropriate habitat, forage, and housing. Even the most beautiful gardens are not always healthy ecosystems. Design choices, plant selections, and maintenance practices can make a huge difference in creating your own healthy ecosystem, filled with life. As a garden designer, I use this landscape plan for many gardens to attract the greatest varieties of pollinators.

Read full article with lots of pictures and plans here: Garden Plan For Pollinators — Keeping Backyard Bees

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The Zen of Beekeeping by Wildflower Meadows

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beekeeper holding a honeycomb full of bees

For a beginning beekeeper, opening a hive for the first few times can be somewhat overwhelming – and downright scary!  There are all those bees in there.  They have stingers.  What if they get angry???  Then there is all of the unfamiliar gear: a veil or suit, big gloves, and a new hive tool.  It can all be a bit overwhelming and cause a beginning beekeeper to feel quite anxious.

This nervousness almost certainly makes matters worse.  While it is hard to say for certain whether bees can intrinsically sense this unease, they most certainly do sense unsteady and jerky movements.  Bees do not like these kinds of rapid or rushed actions.  They especially do not like any kind of rough treatment.  For an experienced beekeeper, swatting at bees, darting about, dropping things, and banging things are all completely out of the question.

Beekeepers need to be relaxed and calm around their bees.  If you are nervous as a beginner, you need do your best to pretend that you are calm.  (“Fake it until you make it!”).  Bees are sensitive creatures.  If you move carefully and calmly, treating them with peace and respect, they will return the favor.  One of the joys of keeping bees is the opportunity to get in touch with and to give respect to the magnificent sense of peace and purpose that is in the heart of every beehive.

Read full article at: The Zen of Beekeeping — Wildflower Meadows

Bees and Water by Braman’s Wanderings

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We often see pictures of bees collecting nectar from flowers and blossoms, but they also need to collect water. The bees use water to cool their hives, help feed their young and also to keep honey at the right hydration level.

Read full article with more photos at:  Bees and Water — Braman’s Wanderings

A Relaxing Stroll in the Bee Yard by sassafrasbeefarm

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Thor’s Fight with the Giants by Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872

Hehehe, Just came in from doing a walk through the bee yard. One hive is off to itself having been established under a tree where a swarm had been captured this past spring. The hive grew to such size that moving it became problematic so it was just left on its own. The problem is the bottom board on this hive is a makeshift piece of thin lauan plywood screwed to spacers and a 10 frame deep. I had built it to use for “on the road” swarm captures but it had been utilized in a pinch and had remained.

I have known I needed to move the whole thing over to a regular bottom board and 10 frame  – some day. Yeah, it never happened. But today, with the rain and some of crappy weather behind us, I decide I’m ready to do something about it. hehehe.

Now the human mind is a curious thing and I know better than to dismantle this still large hive of four boxes on a rainy day to change out the bottom board. So the mind’s acceptable substitution, or less absurd solution, is to replace the idea of changing the bottom board with the more reasonable task of just sliding a reducer into place. The fact that it is raining outside doesn’t seem to impact this well thought out, reasonable compromise, to the problem.

Effort 1: reducer too long; about 5 bees decide they don’t want the reducer and run me off.

Effort 2: Now equipped with a bee suit and a hive tool I return and attempt to place reducer on front of hive; reducer becomes stuck sideways and won’t slide into place even using hive tool as wedge; about 20 bees decide they would rather not have a reducer and run me away.

Effort 3: I return with suit, gloves, hive tool, and hammer; I am greeted by 30 or more bees upon approach; I place reducer and start tapping it into place with hammer; within seconds about 50 – 75 bees come out and demand I leave; I set a new world’s speed record successfully installing the reducer; then, assuming this is a biathlon, I set another world land speed record running back to the house. There I discover I have transported at least a dozen hard core bees attached to my jeans, suit, and veil; I spend the next 10 minutes removing bees and resolve to just leave that hive to its own defenses – it seems they really didn’t need a reducer after all.

I wonder where I dropped that hammer.

 

Dr Warwick Kerr, the “Man Who Created Killer Bees”, has died by Bad Beekeeping Blog

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It is with regret that we report that the humanitarian, geneticist, and scientist, Professor Warwick Kerr, passed away this morning, September 15, 2018. He was six days past his 96th birthday.  Dr Kerr, a Brazilian bee scientist, had one of the most maligned lives of any research scientist. He will be remembered by some as the man who gave us ‘Killer Bees’ – the African-European bee known for its (sometimes) aggressive behaviour. The Africanized Honey Bee, a hybrid which Dr Kerr was largely responsible for creating, helped turn his impoverished homeland of Brazil from a backwater of agriculture and honey production into one of the most prolific honey and agriculture countries in the world.

Read full article at: Dr Warwick Kerr, the “Man Who Created Killer Bees”, has died — Bad Beekeeping Blog

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Dulcis Coccora Recipe by Savor the Southwest

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A bit of history to sweeten an excellent historical recipe. Have a visit and read the full recipe. – sassafrasbeefarm

Monica King here to kick off National Honey Month since I’m a beekeeper. This awareness month was initiated by the National Honey Board in 1989 to promote American beekeepers and honey.

One pharoah, Cleopatra, used honey in her beauty regime. One of Cleopatra’s secrets, and her most famous, was her ritual bathing in milk and honey. Both of these ingredients naturally soften the skin, exfoliate, and leave a fresh, sweet scent. You can do this yourself by adding two cups milk and half cup honey to your bath water.

Personally, it is Cleopatra’s sweet tooth that I can relate to. Cleopatra’s favorite treat was a sweet honey ball called “Dulcis Coccora” also known as “Tiger Nut Sweets.” A recipe was reported to have been found on a broken piece of Egyptian pottery dating from 1600 BCE.

“Dulcis Coccora”
1 pound pitted dates
water
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground cardamon
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
honey – to coat
ground almonds and/or pomegranate seeds

Read full recipe here: Bees: Tears of the Sun God Re — Savor the Southwest:

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Bees adjust to seasons with nutrients in flowers and ‘dirty water’ by Save The Bees Concert

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More and more it’s pointing to nutrition to help us save our bees.
~ sassafrasbeefarm

Researchers have discovered that honey bees alter their diet of nutrients according to the season. A spike in calcium consumption in the fall, and high intake of potassium, help prepare the bees for colder months when they likely need those minerals to generate warmth. A careful inventory of the bees’ nutrient intake revealed shifting sources and how limitations in nutrient availability from these sources can have implications for the health of both managed and wild colonies.

Read full article here: Bees adjust to seasons with nutrients in flowers and ‘dirty water’ — Save The Bees Concert

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Why Smoking Soothes the Stressed-Out Bee Hive by Meredith Swett Walker

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Smoke has long been the beekeeper’s secret weapon to avoid getting stung. Ancient Egyptian art dating back over 2,500 years ago depicts beekeepers blowing smoke into hives. But despite the age of this practice and human’s enduring fascination with honey bees, we still haven’t figured out exactly why smoke soothes bees.

Meredith Swett Walker

In research published in August in the Journal of Insect Science, Stephanie Gage, Ph.D., with colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Carl Hayden Bee Research Center and at BetaTec Hop Products, presents a scientific evaluation of smoke on the honey bee’s defensive behavior. The researchers focused on the “sting extension response” and evaluated the effects of two different types of smoke: burlap, which is commonly used by beekeepers, and spent hop pellets—a recycled material made from hop flowers after they have been used to make beer.

Because a honey bee (Apis mellifera) hive contains valuable treasure—sweet honey and protein packed larvae—bees must mount a coordinated defense to protect the hive from the many predators that would love to plunder it. A small number of worker bees serve as “guard bees” that patrol the entrance to the hive and watch for intruders. If a threat is detected, the guard will raise her abdomen and extend her stinger into the air. This behavior is called the sting extension response, and it releases an alarm pheromone, or a chemical signal, to the rest of the colony, mobilizing other workers to prepare to attack an intruder. If the intruder provokes the bees further, stinging commences.

Read the full article here on Entomology Today Why Smoking Soothes the Stressed-Out Bee Hive — Entomology Today

Happy Birthday William Longgood

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Born September 12, 1917. William Frank Longgood was a Pulitzer Prize winning author, reporter, and teacher. Born in St. Louis, he lived much of his life in New York. More here

He came relatively late to beekeeping but shared a nicely written book titled, The Queen Must Die, and other affairs of bee and men. Not quite bee biology but a wonderful presentation of bee behavior and philosophical thoughts on same.

Here’s a nice review found here on WordPress by Bees with ebb:

https://beeswitheeb.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/the-queen-must-die/

 

 

High Altitude Honey Bee by 67steffen

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The honey bee in this shot, taken yesterday, is about 14 feet off the ground in the middle of ivy growing on a pergola.  Its wings are beating at 11,000 times per minute along with around 500 other bees in this ivy. The buzzing is very loud. I’m standing on a step stool with a 50mm SLR–bees are whizzing by me. This is nuts. But I take the photo regardless.  

Folllow more daily photos from the lens of: 67steffen

Gray Squirrels and Pollen Feeders

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(Above) Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in pollen feeder. This is a picture of last year’s pollen feeder hanging outside my wood shop. Only it might as well have been called a squirrel feeder. They have to eat too and pollen substitute is high in protein!

(Below) And here are a few pictures of this year’s effort. No squirrels this year after placing the feeders on PVC pipe and greasing the pipe. A little plastic protrudes over the opening to protect the pollen from any rain.

 

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Breakfast fruit bowl with honey by Sunsets Sunrise

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Hi everyone! I thought I would post food for today. Back on the grind of eating healthier. Breakfast is known as the most important meal. This is breakfast. Strawberries, blueberries, mango, kiwi over yogurt and oats on the bottom drizzled with raw honey. My way of eating healthier. Although at times I go off course. […]

Read full blog post here: Breakfast fruit bowl. — Sunsets Sunrise

Happy Birthday Lloyd Raymond Watson

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L.R.Watson

Birth

Cuba, Allegany County, New York, USA
Death 24 Feb 1948 (aged 66)

North Hornell, Steuben County, New York, USA
Burial

Alfred, Allegany County, New York, USA

Dr. Lloyd Raymond Watson was the first to demonstrate a method to instrumentally inseminate a queen honey bee.

It wasn’t until the 1920’s that Lloyd Watson was able to demonstrate to the beekeeping community that instrumental insemination was possible. Watson used a stereomicroscope, a light source, and hand-held forceps to open a queen’s sting chamber. He was then able to inseminate her with capillary syringe filled with drone semen. Although not always reliable, his refined technique had some success, which was a vast improvement over previous attempts.

(PDF) HISTORY OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257297540_HISTORY_OF_ARTIFICIAL_INSEMINATION [accessed Jul 25 2018].

Extension Article by Sue Cobey:  Instrumental Insemination of Honey Bee Queens

Eastern Apicultural Society 2018 – How Fortunate I Am by sassafrasbeefarm

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IMAG1739Recently I have taken some time off from blogging. In fact about three weeks now. Except for the occasional scheduled posts of famous beekeepers, I have taken a bit of time for a diversion – an experience that I want to share with you here.

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EAS 2017, Delaware

Last year I attended the Eastern Apicultural Society’s conference in Newark, Delaware. To say the least, I was taken by the scope and quality of the conference. At every turn I was impressed with the event. The lectures were outstanding, the speakers personable and approachable, and the venue perfect in many ways. I was literally up at 6:30am every morning, having breakfast with many of today’s notable beekeepers by 7:00am, and attending lectures and events until 8:30pm. But although I was trying my best to eke out every morsel of beekeeping goodness, I found it impossible to do it all. There was the microscopy track which was running concurrent with multiple lecture sessions, the honey show marched on in the background, the bee yard events, and the local excursions passing me by. I vowed to return this year to accomplish more.

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EAS 2018 Hampton VA

This year, in Hampton, Virginia, I would take a bigger bite and try my hand with one of the other tracks taking place at the conference. But before I spill the beans, let me tell you a bit of my history. You see, I’m a beginner at this avocation called beekeeping. A mere seven years although my wife and children will attest I have been diligent in my studies. During those seven years I have purposefully tried to explore as many niches in beekeeping as possible. Some things, like honey bee removals from structures, were one and done events. I’ve entered honey shows  and won blue ribbons and while somewhat rewarding I found it wasn’t my calling. I’ve kept some outyards on farms and gardens for the sole purpose of learning how to anticipate needs and scheduled visits. A couple of magazine articles were satisfying and added some financial assistance as I grew my apiary and purchased queen rearing equipment. Two years as the local association’s Secretary probably grew my knowledge base the most as I took part in responding to swarm calls, emails from beginning beekeepers, cold calling problem bee colonies, teaching classes, and surrounding myself with more knowledgeable beekeepers.

Along the path described above I checked off the boxes towards becoming a master beekeeper. And I found myself well on my way by the time I was at EAS 2017. But last year, at EAS, I saw what I wanted more than the microscopy classes or a honey show. I wanted the challenge of the EAS master beekeeping exam. Four tests – written, verbal, lab, and field. You get a pin and a certificate if you pass all four. The carrot on the stick for me was simply attempting and completing the challenge. I wanted to somehow put together my seven years of exploring and turn it into confirmation that I was well-rounded in the knowledge and skills of beekeeping. Not perfect, as my knowledge is far from complete; just a well rounded generalist.

So, this year I would give up many of the lectures and events to subject myself to mental exhaustion. Preparation started three years prior but in earnest after last year’s EAS conference. As this year’s testing approached I upped my study time and pressed my long since unpracticed study skills. Isn’t there some sort of saying about the difficulties in teaching old dogs? Well, I’m an old dog and things don’t stick as readily as they used to. Put another way, my mental hard drive has been filled for some time now with the events of life.

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Just before walking into the written exam.

The EAS Master Beekeeping testing started with a meet and greet on Monday afternoon. There were about twenty-seven beekeepers there, some younger and some older, who would be taking some or all of the tests. Some were returning from a previous unsuccessful attempt. There you learn that there is no shame in re-attempting the test – in fact it’s the norm. The remainder of the room was filled with current EAS Master Beekeepers both sitting and lining the walls. The  beekeepers testing were invited to tell their stories about what brought them there. The master beekeepers shared their stories as well and encouraged us to try our best, and to not be discouraged no matter the outcome. At some point the message comes through that this testing is not solely about spilling forth what we have learned but is also about the ability to persevere, to stand and deliver to our best ability, and to be open to learning during the testing. The meet and greet works to dispel the idea that one has to pass to be successful. What one should also be doing is learning from what is before them. Oh, I still wanted to pass the exams, but now I also had the goal to let this opportunity mentor me which took some of the pressure off.

The next two days and nights were filled with last-minute, self-imposed test preparation and rehearsing my one known oral test question (one verbal exam test question of four is known to the testee). At some point during this crunch time in the testing process it begins to become apparent that I am learning more about beekeeping and about myself.

L.R.WatsonThe written test was difficult. But too often I simply looked at the obvious yet still called it wrong. True/false, multiple choice, short answer all reasonable if only my brain would tell me whether it was White, Wilson, Watson, or Woodley. The essay questions were a delight. Time to sit down, apply structured writing, and explain what I know without rushing an answer. I walked out giving myself even odds.

The oral exam was my weakest exam performance. I had spent too much time preparing for the known question and none preparing for the unknown questions. Well, how exactly does one prepare for the unknown? Yeah, there are ways. Any response can be structured just as any good essay can be outlined. Or frame your reply as a story-teller or perhaps present your monologue along a timeline. Start rehearsing at the farmer’s market and state fair booth. I knew this and have spoken with hundreds at markets and fairs so why did I stumble and miss the mark? The testers were kind but I know I fell short.

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Dr. Caron overlooking the lab exam

Day two, on to the lab/practical testing. I had prepared for this by looking at pictures. I can read but thought a last-minute night of looking at pictures would be more beneficial and less stressful. Being a catalog nerd, I had the beekeeping merchandise down cold already – no need to study there. (Still I got stumped on one item that was used in candle making.) Onward… I had reviewed the diseases, especially the photos in the MAAREC book, Honey Bees and Their Maladies which proved beneficial. The microscopes proved to be easy enough except for my over thinking the specimens. Simma’ down now and relax. Afterwards, I gave myself less than stellar but better than even odds.

The last exam is the field test. Veils required; gloves shunned. No worries right? Let me say that although I am a beekeeper I do not enjoy being stung. But the thinking is a master beekeeper works his bees in a manner that minimizes stings. Hello? Does anyone here realize that it’s August? Dearth most likely? At home, 400 miles to the south, we are well into nectar dearth and the bees are cranky. Yeah, I do go gloveless sometimes, but usually I tend to rush things and know this about myself so I use white nitrile gloves – or leather if the bees are especially defensive. None for today though. So I wait for my time to go forth into the hive with an EAS Master Beekeeper. Then I see Landi Simone walk into to the bee yard and she and Paul are assigned to me.

Now, I really like Landi’s presentations. I’ve listened to her lecture titled, ‘Reading the Frames’ multiple times. I heard her lecture at EAS 2017 as well. In my mind she wrote the book on reading the frames. But now it’s time for her to role play the part of a newbee beekeeper and I’m to play the role of the experienced beekeeper. I’m going to read the frames to Landi Simone. Like they say at Disney, “On Stage!”

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We stand at the hive and I do my external assessment. Paul stands in front of the hive. Yeah, he’s testing to see what I’ll say. I tell him to move out of the path of the bees. He wants to know why. I mutter something about UPS planes on landing approach to an airport runway. Landi offers a comment to my comment which depending in whether she is in character or out of character could be good or not so good. We proceed with the exam and I open the hive after applying just the right amount of smoke. Casually I say, “In South Carolina we always inspect the underside of the inner cover to assess the presence of small hive beetles and to smash them.” I glance down and instead of SHB the queen is running across the inner cover. Really? Now, this has happened to me only twice before in seven years but there she is in all her glory. I manage to get her to run down between the frames while silently praising Priestess Melissae. I mutter again, this time something about extra credit for finding the queen on the inner cover.

DSC_0153We proceed in dismantling the hive and all the while Paul is simulating the chattering of an excited first timer in the hives. I am trying to be patient but he’s eating up valuable hive time and I’m thinking his every question needs a complete answer or I’ll lose credit. At some point I’m explaining varroa mites and a different voice from somewhere booms out, “Tell me what a varroa mite IS?” Am I hallucinating or is someone calling out from the building’s roof? I turn to my right and yet another master beekeeper in an orange suit has appeared out of nowhere. I’m now completely derailed from my monolog and before I can shift gears and gather my thoughts he says, “What classification?” I tell him it’s not an insect so I would venture it’s an arthropod but from there I don’t know the taxonomy. He answers his own question, “It’s a parasite!” I take up his lead and start in with Apis cerana adapting to varroa which has not happened with Apis mellifera. Everyone seems somewhat pleased and the orange suit disappears.

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Down, down, down we go into the bottom hive body, well past my typical time in a hive, and I still don’t have a definitive diagnosis for this troubled hive. Then a brief interruption from Paul who, continuing the role of the new beekeeper, is now complaining of a bee sting to his arm, I scrape out the stinger with my hive tool (he really does have a sting) and minimize the event although he wants more. Another question and I mutter something about too many questions – the bees are getting restless and have issued their warning and Landi is quick to ask, “Why are they making that noise?” I tell her, “They are telling us, it’s time to leave,” as I start to close up.  After closing, I finally repeat some of what I have been saying all along: spotty capped brood pattern, too few capped cells for the amount of open brood, queen has filled open cells with brood (appear well fed and healthy) as the spotty capped brood emerges which presents as mixed larval ages on the frame. Oh yeah, and backfilling. All of which is accurate but I’m only talking symptoms and have not given a diagnosis nor a prescription. Finally, I offer up a closing statement: “Possible mites causing the spotty brood due to hygienic behavior but I can not rule out inbred queen. Check the mite count immediately and treat if indicated. Re-inspect in two weeks to see if the copious open brood pattern turns into a good capped brood pattern in which case the colony has re-queened already. If not then re-queen. And cut back on the feeding before they swarm.” As we walk away I have no idea if I have satisfied their questions or correctly read the hive. I didn’t do myself any favors getting cranky towards the end. Crap shoot on this one.

As I’m walking back to my car to put everything away I realize I’m exhausted. But I have a good feeling that it’s done – all done. I survived the exams. Not that I thought there would be torture if I didn’t do well. I was simply happy to have put myself out there and given it a try.

I had to return home the next day to fulfill a family obligation. I wouldn’t be at EAS to see those in my testing class who passed receive their pins and certificates at the Friday night awards ceremony. I wish I could have. A connection is established between the test takers even though most of us had only just met two days prior – stories between us about how our families thought we were a bit off our rockers for constantly reading about bees – actually a lot about that. Also possible divorces if the books didn’t get put away, wanting to prove to the spouse we could pass, and worry that we’d have the books out for another year.

I explored my strengths and weaknesses on the drive home. I would be happy with passing two of the four exams. That would leave only two for next year. I felt like I did poorly on the orals although they were giving me praise on the way out the door. Nice guys but I knew better. By the time I passed through the middle of North Carolina I had developed a better presentation. Next year I’d make every oral presentation a story. “Let me tell you the story of almond pollination and the beekeepers that ‘got er’ done.” Yeah, that’s the model I’ll use next year.

And what was I thinking on the field exam? I jumped out of character several times. And worse of all I implied they were asking too many questions. Definitely not a good mentor tactic. I’d get dinged on that one. In fact, I thought, that’s probably an automatic fail. Next year I’ll start with coaching my mentees on how we have limited time and if they have non inspection related questions, or wanted to ask about their grandmother’s allergic reaction, we need to do that before or after the hive inspection. And next year, afterwards I’ll hold a debriefing and tell them they need to do their homework before our next session. No more sandbagging on the homework and asking questions already covered in their beginning beekeeper class. I’d suggest they review their book before we start our next hive inspection. By the time I arrived in the Midlands of South Carolina I had my game plan in order for next year.

But most importantly by the time I arrived home I realized what I had gained from the experience. I learned what a better beekeeper would have done and said, both in the oral and field exams. The tests were a time for me to both deliver my knowledge and to take some knowledge away. “Trust in the system,” I remembered one master beekeeper saying during the meet and greet session. He was right. I was satisfied with what the system taught me and recognizing my blunders. I could fix those next year.

Friday morning my phone rings and it’s my friend and mentor Dave. He’s still at EAS and the test results packets have been given out. He wants to know if I want him to pick up mine. I tell him, “sure” and after a brief verbal consent to a lady at the front desk, he opens up the packet and begins to read the results to me. When he comes to the last one his voice lights up, “Larry, you’re a master beekeeper!” Now I know Dave and he’s not a prankster, but we all make mistakes so I ask him to be sure. He re-reads the scores and says it again.

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                        Dave and me at EAS 2018, Hampton, VA

In retrospect, I ask myself if I indeed passed. I’m sure I did not performed at my best. As with many things, some days things just flow, and on other days Murphy’s Law is in full effect. But I came through it displaying the ability to persevere, to stand and deliver to the best of my ability, and to be open to learning during the testing. That’s what they wanted even if I didn’t hit the high notes. So, in the end, I’m not really sure how they knew I learned as well as ‘spilled forth,’ but I have to trust the system.

How fortunate I am. My results came as I was driving my son to school – his first year in a dorm room. How fortunate I was to have him see how study results in a positive outcome. And how fortunate I am to have a wife that supported my effort despite months of my preoccupation with bee books scattered about the house from the dining room to the nightstand. And how fortunate I am to have been tested by Dr. Delaney and Dr. Caron. Some years from now when I’m old and gray someone might ask me about the testing and I’ll be able to say I took the test under these distinguished entomologists. And how fortunate I am to have been able to read the frames to Landi Simone even if I didn’t do it as efficiently or accurately as she. And how fortunate I am to have (with)stood and delivered on the oral exams to three great guys, Larry, Jim, and Bill, cheering me on through a tough half hour. I am indeed a fortunate beekeeper.

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Beekeepers get ready for Spring in the Fall

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Get ready for Spring!

Lots of articles speak to the beekeeping year beginning in August or early Fall. Yikes, that’s now!

If you harvested in June then you probably fed your bees through the dearth. If you waited until now to harvest you probably got less honey but you saved the costs associated with feeding. Either way, now is the time to build the best bees you possibly can for the winter.

I know it’s still hot but get back in there on the next reasonably nice day and assess them. You don’t really have to take every frame out and make them upset but get an idea of what they have. Look for capped and uncapped brood, pollen, and honey stores. And start picking up the back of that hive and compare it to what you see inside so you learn what’s heavy and what’s not.

We’re on the cusp of the Fall flow and soon your hive will start to stink from goldenrod pollen. That smell should bring a smile to your face as they are making preparations for winter and raising fat winter bees. Some of you may have more honey than you need, others will see some empty comb. Read your hive and, like an artist, choose your tools to create the ideal hive for overwintering.

Most beekeepers assess and treat for Varroa after they pull honey whether that was a couple months ago or now. You want to do everything possible to increase the health of your bees now so they, in turn, raise strong winter bees over the next two generations. Sickly bees build sickly bees; strong bees build Arnold Schwartenegger bees. You want Arnold on your side when the temperatures are 20 degrees in January and the pantry is waning.

Beekeepers that started this year will reach the pinnacle of their beekeeping in March 2019. Then they will have bees-a-plenty and the race to stay ahead of the bees becomes an exciting and enjoyable problem. Using this year’s drawn comb they will explode. The bees will be saying, “Scotty, give me all you’ve got.” and you’ll be saying, “Captain, I don’t think she can take much more! She’s gonna swarm!” (pardon the paraphrase).

But, back to the topic at hand – building better winter bees. Time now to step up your game one more time before we enter the long dull days of winter. Although most days in the Midlands of South Carolina allow for the bees to fly they won’t be flying much because there won’t be anything out there. And you’ll be stuck inside wishing for Spring to come and waiting for that first Red Maple bloom, or with your ear to the side of the hive listening for their hum as they convert honey into heat.

So, assess them now and and get them flying towards a hive full of strong winter bees and a hive filled with lots of stores for the long winter ahead. Go for it! Build better bees!

Picture: Early Spring bees. Notice no leaves on the trees yet.

Poor Man’s Yellow Jacket Trap

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yellow jacket trap

I’ve made several traps in the past with varying degrees of success. Here’s one specifically designed that allows the yellow jackets to enter but not the honey bees. I think it is a 5/32 size hole. Last year I tinkered with the mix formula. Instead of totally sweet which would attract the honey bees I stumbled onto a mix of apple sauce, vinegar, and a spoonful of sugar (just enough to get a fermentation going). The yellow jackets like the CO2 and I think and the vinegar is not attractive to the honey bees. I used a 2 liter bottle and filled it about half way full in a short time. If you get your bait mix down it will not attract the bees at all and you can then open up the entrances for the yellow jackets.

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Honeycomb Cheese Wheel by snapshotsincursive

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What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Honeycomb Cheese Wheel! Remember when you were a kid and for fun you puckered up with those candy red wax lips? Me and my girlfriends would put them on, batt our eyes, sashay our hips, and laugh hysterically. Most often we’d find ourselves chewing on the sugary insides […]

Get the full recipe here: Honeycomb Cheese Wheel — snapshotsincursive

Midlands Beekeeping Calendar for September

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As always, All beekeeping is local. Here’s my offering for the beekeeping calendar for the South Carolina Midlands for the month of September: Plan on checks twice this month but do not work unless necessary to prevent triggering robbing.

Although we have recently had a pleasant break in the weather, September weather usually continues to be hot in the Midlands. Don’t expect extended cool weather until mid October. In the meantime, slightly reduced temperatures may open up some alternative Varroa treatment options.

The main management issue this month is a continuation of last month’s focus on pest management. Pests are growing in numbers while bee populations are typically falling in response to a reduction in available nectar. Varroa, Small Hive Beetles, Yellow Jackets, and other pests can overwhelm a hive leading to decline. A weakened hive then becomes vunerable to robbing and wax moths. The beekeeper must get ahead of the pests as responding after a problem is observed may be too late.

September 1st – September 31st

1) Continue to monitor and control pests – Varroa, Small Hive Beetles, and Yellow Jackets. If you have not yet treated for Varroa now is the time to assess and act accordingly.

2) This year’s hive beetle population seems to be greater than last year’s. I suspect this is due to last year’s warm winter, increased rainfall this spring and summer, and overall supportive weather. Place traps or Swiffer pads in hives before you notice a problem. Check traps weekly and replenish or replace as needed.

3) Yellow Jacket traps with lure can be placed around the apiary. There are several low cost or no cost do-it-yourself trap plans online. If you see yellow jackets attempting to breach security at the hive entrance observe how your bees handle the situation. A strong hive will eject the intruder in short order. Keep hives strong by adjusting hive size to bee population. Poor Man’s Yellow Jacket trap.

4) Goldenrod and Asters begin to make their appearance. We sometimes get a short fall nectar flow. If we get a fall flow you’ll notice a renewed vigor on the landing board and lots of pollen entering the hive. The smelly sock odor of goldenrod will be noted when you open the hive and sometimes when walking through the apiary.

5) Typically no local queens are available in September. If you need a queen you’ll probably have to order one from a warmer climate.

6) It’s crunch time to combine weak hives with strong hives. There is a saying, “Take your losses in the Fall.” Experienced beekeepers combine their weak hives with stronger hives knowing they can split in the spring and nothing is lost. (Assess and make sure the weak hive is not weak due to disease before combining.) Better to strengthen a strong hive than allow the weak hive to perish. Use the newspaper method between boxes with slits to allow the bees to become accustomed to each other. Remove weaker queen prior to combining. Note: Assess and make sure the weak hive is not weak due to disease before combining.

7) Use entrance reducers as appropriate. Many colonies have been bringing their populations down over the course of dearth period. Adjust their entrances accordingly. Addition of an upper entrance such as a notched inner cover is advisable prior to entering colder weather to allow for ventilation (cover with screen if robbing pressure is a concern).

8) Increase feeding this month to stimulate the brood rearing of nurse bees which will raise your winter bees. I continue to use a 1:1 mix during this time but nothing thinner. Coupled with autumn pollen flow this can give a boost to improving the quality of your winter bees. Some beekeepers begin the use of 2:1 this month. The decision is yours based on your assessment of your hives, their stores, and whether you think we’ll get cooler weather sooner rather than later.

9) Begin to tip colonies forward from the rear to assess their weight. Notice the number of frames of honey stores inside so that you can compare what you are feeling with what is actually inside. You will need this assessment skill during winter when you shouldn’t open the hives.

10) If needed, make efforts to bring all hives with extra supers down to overwintering configuration. For ten frame hives that usually means one deep and one medium OR three mediums. If you have eight frame hives do the math to accomplish the same internal volume.

11) The occasional late swarm caught this time of year can be housed briefly in a box and fed. They will pull out some nice comb but anticipate combining them after a short while with an established colony.

12) Prepare your honey and wax entries for the South Carolina State Fair. Helpful hints can be found here.

13) Attend your local association’s monthly meeting. Volunteer to educate the public on the importance of honey bees by signing up to work a shift at the upcoming SC State Fair booth.

14) There’s still time to sign up for the Advanced (Journeyman Beekeeper Preparatory) class to be held in Lexington, SC on September 22nd and October 20th. Visit our FAQ page to learn more. https://www.scmidstatebeekeepers.org/journeyman-portal

15) It’s September and time to start preparing for autumn! Enjoy the following resources as you prepare your colonies:
Fall Management by David MacFawn
Fall Management Review from MSBA Beekeeper Class

 

Honey bee nutrition by Fat Daddy’s Apiary

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As with all creatures, good nutrition is very important to a colony of bees. Many beekeepers only look at the amount of liquid stores a colony has, but pollen is equally important, yet often ignored. A lack of liquid stores can lead to starvation in both summer and winter, but a shortage of pollen can have a serious effect for some time, as poorly nourished larvae can result in poorly performing or unhealthy adults.

As a beekeeper, it is important to “read” a colony, because it is telling you something all the time. On each inspection, get into the habit of looking into a few cells where there are freshly hatched larvae, around 4-5 days from egg laying. If there is plenty of food coming in, the larvae will be in a big puddle of brood food, but if there is little food coming in, the bottoms of the cells will be almost dry. I wish this sort of observation was taught more by teachers.

Read full blog article here: Honey bee nutrition — Fat Daddy’s Apiary

Happy Birthday Albert J. Cook

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Birth: Aug. 30, 1842
Michigan, USA
Death: Sep. 29, 1916
Shiawassee County
Michigan, USA

Albert J. Cook (1842-1916) was a 19th century educator and writer who influenced an entire generation of American beekeepers. He served as an instructor at Michigan Agricultural College (Michigan Agricultural University) in 1866 (Michigan State University later) where he offered one of the first collegiate courses in beekeeping culture.

Cook published the first textbook on American beekeeping, The Manual of the Apiary, in 1876 based upon his lecture series. The book was an instant success. Beginning as a mere brochure, this textbook expanded through ten editions in less than a decade, growing with each edition.

Albert J. Cook, professor of zoology and entomology, established the insect collection at Michigan Agricultural College (Agricultural University of Michigan) in 1867. By 1878, the collection consisted of nearly 1,200 local specimens collected primarily used for demonstration classrooms, for comparison, and to aid in species identification for farmers Michigan.

External links

Bibliography

  • Manual of the apiary. Chicago: Newman & Son (1880).
  • Wintering bees. Lansing: Agricultural College of Michigan (1885).
  • Report of apicultural experiments in 1891. (1892).
  • The Bee-Keeper’s Guide; or Manual of the Apiary pp. 543. (17th ed.) Chicago: Newman & Son (1902).

Source: http://beekeeping.wikia.com/wiki/Albert_J._Cook

Happy Birthday Maurice Maeterlinck

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Tucker Collection – New York Public Library Archives

From Wikipedia:

Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck[1] (also called Comte (Count) Maeterlinck from 1932;[2] [mo.ʁis ma.tɛʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in Belgium, [mɛ.teʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in France;[3] 29 August 1862 – 6 May 1949) was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was a Fleming, but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911 “in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations”. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.

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From Amazon.com on his book titled, The Life of the Bee.

In an exuberantly poetic work that is less about bees and more about life, Maurice Maeterlinck expresses his philosophy of the human condition. The renowned Belgian poet and dramatist offers brilliant proof in this, his most popular work, that “no living creature, not even man, has achieved in the center of his sphere, what the bee has achieved.” From their amazingly intricate feats of architecture to their intrinsic sense of self-sacrifice, Maeterlinck takes a “bee’s-eye view” of the most orderly society on Earth.
An enthusiastic and expert beekeeper, Maeterlinck did not intend to write a scientific treatise, even though he details such topics as the mathematically accurate construction of the hive, the division of labor among community members, the life of the young queen and her miraculous nuptial flight, and the movement and meaning of the swarm.
An enchanting classic by one of the most important figures of world literature in the twentieth century and winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Literature, this fascinating study is a magnificent tribute to one of the most orderly communities in the world. It is also filled with humble lessons for the human race.

 

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Use Honey first for a cough, new guidelines say by Lytchett Bay Apiaries

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New guidelines for doctors from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) say they should tell patients to use honey first when they have a cough. This is based on 3 studies that showed honey reduces symptoms by 2 points on a 7 point scale.

Honey and over-the-counter medicines should be the first line of treatment for most people with coughs, new guidelines recommend.

Read full article here: Use Honey first for a cough, new guidelines say — Lytchett Bay Apiaries

Happy Birthday George W. Imirie, Jr.

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Birth: Aug. 27, 1923
Death: Aug. 6, 2007

imirie1By Patricia Sullivan

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007

George Wady Imirie Jr., 84, a master beekeeper who tirelessly promoted the value of bees and beehives, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 6 at the Casey House in Rockville.

As a beekeeper since 1933, Mr. Imirie knew enough about the stinging insects to brave the swarms at his Rockville home without the usual head-to-toe beekeeping garb.

“Bees don’t like socks, especially woolly ones,” he told a reporter in 1997. “A hat is a good idea, because if a bee gets tangled up in your hair, it’ll sting you. I don’t wear a shirt, because that way, if a bee is on me, I can feel it and brush it away.”

Far more than stings, Mr. Imirie worried about the decline in bee colonies over the past several decades, infestation of the wild bee population by mites, and the level of knowledge and skill of those who keep apiaries.

“He definitely was someone who didn’t feel it necessary to tolerate any ignorance around him,” said Marc Hoffman, a member of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, which Mr. Imirie founded. “He would interrupt someone to ask, ‘How many hours is it before the larva emerges from the egg?’ and you’d better know the answer.”

But he also shared his knowledge, writing an opinionated and blunt newsletter called the “Pink Pages,” which addressed how to prevent swarming, how to prepare in fall so bees would overwinter well and how to deal with pests. The newsletter was read by beekeepers around the world. He coined a phrase now popular in bee circles, “Be a bee-keeper, not a bee-haver.”

In addition, Mr. Imirie and his sons thrilled Montgomery County Fair visitors and schoolchildren with demonstrations with a live hive of honeybees.

A Bethesda native born to a family that has been in the area for 298 years, Mr. Imirie started tending hives at age 9, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He dropped the hobby when he went to the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree.

He was studying for a graduate degree in atomic engineering when World War II broke out. He was briefly in the Army, then joined the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M., working on the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the war, he studied engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and American University, one of his sons said. Mr. Imirie returned to Bethesda and helped run the family auto parts business for most of his working life until it was sold 18 years ago.

Mr. Imirie resumed beekeeping on his six-acre property in Rockville. He set up the hives in a square around a gnarly old apple tree. A hedge trimmed to a height just taller than Mr. Imirie surrounded the yard so that when bees emerged from the hives in search of nectar they would fly high enough to clear the bushes and avoid bystanders.

He founded the beekeepers association in the 1980s and for many years ran it almost single-handedly. After five strokes in 1990, Mr. Imirie began using a scooter. Throat cancer further slowed him in the late 1990s.

When Maryland agreed to produce auto license plates with a beekeeping insignia, Mr. Imirie was given the prototype, BEE 001, which he affixed to his scooter.

The association named its annual award for education after him.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/05/AR2007100502370.html

Birth: Aug. 27, 1923
Death: Aug. 6, 2007

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Honey Chicken Toast by The Honey Cottage

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Do you enjoy simple dinners that are healthy and tasty?

One of my favorite meals is Honey chicken toast because it is a great meal on a busy day. This meal is perfect for one person or a whole family. My favorite honeys to use on this recipe are; alfalfa clover and the plain whipped honey from Honeyville. I switch between two different honeys depending on my mood. These are nice and sweet; which is complemented by the salt sprinkled on top. This dish is perfect for sparking your taste buds. Don’t take my word, try it out for yourself and see what the buzz is all about.

Read full recipe here: Honey Chicken Toast — The Honey Cottage

Happy Birthday Walt Wright

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walt-wrightWalt Wright was born and raised in Burtonsville, MD, then a barefoot country boy area, and now suburbia of a sprawling Washington, DC. He enlisted in the Air Force to get electronics training, and served as a radar repairman. After service time he joined General Electric in maintaining overseas sites of the Security Service (spell that SPY).

Still with GE, in 1960 he relocated to Huntsville, Ala./Redstone Arsenal to make his contribution on the nation’s quest to put a man on the moon. Development of the propulsive stages of the Saturn V moon rocket was accomplished by NASA on Redstone Arsenal. His responsibility on that program was electronic compatibility of subsystems within stages and compatibility between propulsive stages and the electronics of the instrument ring. No interaction (interference/noise) was permitted between systems on the man-rated launch vehicle.

For the Shuttle program, an added responsibility was systems engineer for on-board Range Safety components. The Air Force has autonomous authority to destroy any launch from the Cape area that poses a threat to populated areas of eastern Florida. Astronauts on board is no exception. If the launch strays from the predicted trajectory, the Air Force can destroy the vehicle by radio command. On-board equipment to implement destruct includes the command receiving and processing electronics and pyrotechnics to disperse propellants.

Walt is aware that the above work history provides very weak credentials to be considered as a honey bee “expert.” He took up beekeeping in his late fifties to supplement retirement income. Confident in his trouble shooting skills, he accepted the challenge “very early” to get to the bottom of the swarming problem. He credits observation skills, sharpened by years of electronics trouble-shooting, for solving the riddle. He was surprised that it was as easy as it was. When his hypothesis was in place in three years, he thought at first it must be in error. Surely, thousands of beekeepers, looking into millions of hives, could not possibly have missed the obvious. His conclusion: beekeepers see, but do not observe, or ask themselves why the bees do what they do.

Honey bees are motivated by survival of the colony. Survival of the existing colony is priority one. In the spring, priority two is the generation of the reproductive swarm. Not even that much is described in the popular literature. Walt concentrated his investigation of swarming in terms of colony activities that support those survival objectives. His findings are a radical departure from literature conventional wisdom. As an example, he claims that all the elements of “congestion”, such as bee crowding and nectar in the brood nest, are deliberate steps to implementing the reproductive swarm process, and not the other way around. The literature has congestion as the “cause” and that’s backwards.

Getting his observations published has been slow moving. Editors of the magazines have an obligation to their subscribers to weed out the chaff from crackpots. Natural skepticism creates mostly rejections of submitted articles. For the year 06 he resorted to writing articles on general beekeeping techniques to build a base of credibility.

He looks forward to presenting his observations through Beesource. It should not be necessary via this medium to appease editors or their advisors. As a start in telling it like it is, he announces point blank: The mystery of reproductive swarming has been solved.

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Walter William Wright
August 24, 1932 – February 6, 2016
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Reference:

http://beesource.com/point-of-view/walt-wright/

Title Publication Date
*Spring Reversal Not Good Management for All Areas? American Bee Journal Jan-96
*Spring Management is Mandatory With Tracheal Mites American Bee Journal Feb-96
*A Different Twist on Swarm Prevention, Part 1 American Bee Journal Mar-96
*A Different Twist on Swarm Prevention, Part 2 American Bee Journal Apr-96
*Checkerboarding – A Preliminary Update on My Swarm Control Method American Bee Journal Jun-96
*Checkerboarding Works American Bee Journal Jul-96
*Swarm Prevention Alternative – Checkerboarding Results and Conclusions American Bee Journal Nov-96
*Tennessee Early Spring Management Bee Culture Dec-96
*Playing It Safe Bee Culture Feb-97
*Swarm Prevention in Tennessee Bee Culture Mar-97
*Apply Survival Traits of Honey Bees for Swarm Prevention and Increased Honey Production, Part 1 American Bee Journal Feb-02
*Apply Survival Traits of Honey Bees for Swarm Prevention and Increased Honey Production, Part 2 American Bee Journal Mar-02
*Nectar Management 101 Bee Culture Feb-02
*Is It Congestion? Bee Culture Feb-03
*Survival Traits of the European Honey Bee Bee Culture Mar-03
*Seasonal Colony Survival Traits Bee Culture Apr-03
*Swarm Preperation Bee Culture May-03
*Colony Spring Operation Bee Culture Jun-03
*Colony Decision Making – And a Look at Observation Hive *Behavior Bee Culture Oct-03
*Evils of the Double Deep Bee Culture Nov-03
*Survival Traits #6 – Operational Effects on Nectar Accumulation Bee Culture Apr-04
Pollen Box Overwintering Bee Culture Sep-04
Do You Get Black Locust in the Supers? Bee Culture Jan-05
Are They Supersedure or Swarm Cells? Bee Culture Jul-05
Fall Feeding Bee Culture Nov-05
Nine Frame Brood Chamber? Never! Bee Culture Jan-06
Drone Management Bee Culture Mar-06
Deficiencies in Design of the Queen Excluder Bee Culture Apr-06
Advantages/Disadvantages of Swarm Prevention By Checkerboarding/Nectar Management Bee Culture May-06
The Reasons Why the Queen Excluder Limits Honey Production Bee Culture Jun-06
“Attic” Ventilation Bee Culture Jul-06
Yarn # 1 – Little Momma Bee Culture Aug-06
*Backfilling – What’s That? Bee Culture Sep-06
Freebees Bee Culture Oct-06
Nest Scouts and the Dance Language Bee Culture Nov-06
Boardman Feeder/Stimulative Feeding Bee Culture Feb-07
Splits Are a Sound Investment Bee Culture Mar-07
*The Capped Honey Reserve Bee Culture Apr-07
Art of Beekeeping Bee Culture Sep-07
CCD – Another Opinion Bee Culture Sep-08
How Many Eggs CAN a Queen Lay? Bee Culture Nov-08
More on the Pollen Reserve BeeSource POV Mar-09
Adverse Effects of the “Patty” Bee Culture Apr-09
Propolis – Another 5 Percenter Bee Culture May-09
Objections To The Double Deep Bee Culture Dec-09
Colony Age Effects Bee Culture Feb-10
Small Hive Beetle – My Perspective Bee Culture Jul-10
*Prevent Swarming – Before The Bees Even Think About It Bee Culture Feb-11
*Increased Honey Production of Checkerboarded Colonies Bee Culture Apr-11
*CB Saves Work, Time, And Expenses Bee Culture Jun-11
*Nectar Storage Before The Main Flow BeeSource POV
Nectar Management Works! – by Rob Koss BeeSource POV
Management For Honey Production BeeSource POV
Supplement To Management For Honey Production Handout BeeSource POV
Note: Title with an asterisk (*) in front are pertinent to Nectar Management.

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My cell phone is sticky. By Christine at The B(ee)log

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A little humor in the bee yard always helps as this article by Christine at The B(ee)log demonstrates. Cheers! sassafrassbeefarm

On my last colony check, I leaned over too far and my cell phone slipped out of my pocket. Neither the bees nor my phone were best pleased by this occurrence, but we all survived largely unscathed. (Note to self: Phone goes in lower suit pocket, not upper pocket!)

Fortunately, much like buttered toast, cell phones always land screen-down. Actually, this usually isn’t fortunate at all – but it was today. That universal law meant my phone didn’t slip between the frames, so I could pick it up again quickly. Although I can picture the discussion with the repair tech if that had gone another way…

via My cell phone is sticky. — The B(ee)log

Yellow Jackets by sassafrasbeefarm

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Yellow jackets. Not that you can see any in the picture, this was a call for a honey bee removal. I’ll give the caller credit for thinking they couldn’t be yellow jackets because they weren’t in the ground and they were in a hollow (sort of) cavity. Sometimes those pesky yellow jackets do things differently.

From Wikipedia:

Yellowjacket or Yellow jacket is the common name in North America for predatory social wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. Members of these genera are known simply as “wasps” in other English-speaking countries. Most of these are black and yellow like the eastern yellowjacket Vespula maculifrons and the aerial yellowjacket Dolichovespula arenaria; some are black and white like the bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata. Others may have the abdomen background color red instead of black. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side-to-side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging. Yellowjackets are important predators of pest insects.[1]

Yellowjackets are sometimes mistakenly called “bees” (as in “meat bees”), given that they are similar in size and sting, but yellowjackets are actually wasps. They may be confused with other wasps, such as hornets and paper wasps. Polistes dominula, a species of paper wasp, is very frequently misidentified as a yellowjacket. A typical yellowjacket worker is about 12 mm (0.5 in) long, with alternating bands on the abdomen; the queen is larger, about 19 mm (0.75 in) long (the different patterns on their abdomens help separate various species). Workers are sometimes confused with honey bees, especially when flying in and out of their nests. Yellowjackets, in contrast to honey bees, have yellow or white markings, are not covered with tan-brown dense hair on their bodies, do not carry pollen, and do not have the flattened hairy hind legs used to carry it.

These species have lance-like stingers with small barbs, and typically sting repeatedly,[1] though occasionally a stinger becomes lodged and pulls free of the wasp’s body; the venom, like most bee and wasp venoms, is primarily only dangerous to humans who are allergic or are stung many times. All species have yellow or white on their faces. Their mouthparts are well-developed with strong mandibles for capturing and chewing insects, with probosces for sucking nectar, fruit, and other juices. Yellowjackets build nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside man-made structures, or in soil cavities, tree stumps, mouse burrows, etc. They build them from wood fiber they chew into a paper-like pulp. Many other insects exhibit protective mimicry of aggressive, stinging yellowjackets; in addition to numerous bees and wasps (Müllerian mimicry), the list includes some flies, moths, and beetles (Batesian mimicry).

Yellowjackets’ closest relatives, the hornets, closely resemble them, but have larger heads, seen especially in the large distance from the eyes to the back of the head.[1]

Read more here: Wikipedia

Everything Starts with a Tasty Meal by sassafrasbeefarm

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Quite literally, everything starts with a tasty meal.

In 1943 Abraham Maslow wrote a psychology article proposing a human heirarchy of needs. The short and sweet of the article is: humans start with meeting their basic needs such as food and shelter and, only as those needs are secure can we move to more advanced levels of operations.

So, what does this have to do with bees or insects? Nothing except that we probably need to understand other life forms also have a hierarchy of needs even if limited or primitive. Instead of behaviorally based it’s totally instinctual and for most it starts with food and ends with reproduction. Small Hive Beetles, Wax Moths, Yellow Jackets, and other pests are simply trying to have a tasty meal and move on to reproduction.

Our job, as beekeepers, is to interupt their ability to progess from food acquisition to reproduction. They want food; deny them access to food and they never progress to reproduction. Let this thought occupy our minds as we contemplate how to combat these pests (after all, we’re already fed so we can operate on higher Maslovian levels).

Denying food to pests: Does our bee feeding program build up the opposing armies as well as feed our bees? Do you see SHB or yellow jackets at your feeding station? Have we provided our hives with adequate defensive tools like entrance reducers, SHB traps, and “hive right-sizing” to guard and protect food stores? Are we inadvertantly announcing food availability with fragrant oils to attract pests who are actively seeking out food sources?

Using their needs against them: Bait traps can turn the tables on the pests by tricking them into thinking a food source is available. Simple, cheap traps can be made to attract these pests while NOT attracting honey bees. Poor, poor pests; can’t we all just get a snack? If they are hungry they are more likely to try that bait trap. Be careful not to create an increase in pest pressure through careless feeding of the foes.

My point is simply, if they don’t eat they don’t reproduce.

I remember some time back being encouraged to think like a honey bee. During these times of food dearth, perhaps it also pays to start thinking like a pest.

The Weakest Link by sassafrasbeefarm

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queen cage

Not the actual cage but you get the idea.

It’s been three weeks since I installed some virgin queens in some splits. Yeah a good three weeks. I’ve checked them a few times but with the daily rains for the past  eight or nine days I’ve been behind. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

I had a friend over the day after I placed them into the mating nucs. I gave him some of the virgins. He opened the first hive and no cage was obvious. “Oh, that cage dropped down between the frames. Just skip that one.”

Fast forward three weeks to today and I’m checking the those colonies that haven’t shown mated queens. I get to the hive with the ‘sunken’ queen cage figuring I’d combine it with another hive should it still be queenless. After all not much time and it will turn laying worker on me. There the cage was between the frames standing on the bottom board. I took it out and laid it to the side.

I inspected all of the frames for eggs and the queen just to be sure. None. The workers were running laps around the bottom board – how odd.

So, I was about to handle the situation when I looked at the queen cage I had pulled out and there were workers all over it. Surely not…

Then I remembered what I had seen just a few minutes earlier: The cage had slid down and the cage exit hole was sitting on the bottom board. Surely she’s dead right? Nope, she’s alive and active.

Probably has missed her opportunity to mate, but hey, let’s give her a chance. She’s been locked up for too long not to give her a chance.

The weakest link is the beekeeper.

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Citrus Honey Chicken by The Thankful Heart

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And for your busy days, here’s an easy dinner, done in about 30 minutes.  It’s full of citrusy flavor with just hint of sweetness.  A little mixed rice, a bright salad and it’s dinner!

Read the full recipe at: Citrus Honey Chicken — The Thankful Heart

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Funny Honey at the Zoo Reveals Bees’ Foraging on Sugar Baits by Entomology Today

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In the course of a study on mosquito movement at a zoo in Manhattan, Kansas, researchers discovered that local colonies of honey bees had foraged on a sugar bait for the mosquitoes that had been applied to foliage near the zoo. The bait had been dyed for the purpose of tracking mosquitoes that had fed on it, but the dye also showed up in much of the bees’ honey. Here, a frame from one of the zoo’s bee hives shows honey dyed red (black arrow). The bait in this case was nontoxic, but the discovery indicates a need for further study on attractive toxic sugar baits’ impacts on bees and other nontarget insects. (Image originally published in Kapaldo et al 2018, Journal of Insect Science)

Read the full article here: Funny Honey at the Zoo Reveals Bees’ Foraging on Sugar Baits — Entomology Today

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Create a garden habitat to help essential bees by Vancouver Sun

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Worldwide there’s concern that the survival of many bee populations — in particular honeybees (Apis mellifera) — is threatened by several complex factors that will require a multi-pronged approach to resolve.

The loss of natural habitat, stress, the lack of nutrition, the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, a parasitic mite (Varroa destructor), and many bacterial and viral diseases seem to be the prime causes of decline in all bee species.

Read the full article here: Create a garden habitat to help essential bees — Vancouver Sun

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Deformed Wing Virus by Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm

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Deformed wing virus (DWV) is a highly viral disease transmitted by Varroa destructor. The disease is commonly found in colonies infested with mites. Deformed Wing Virus is regarded as deadly due to its ability to spread fast in any colony. It causes massive wing deformation in bees making it difficult for them to live normally. DWV which is regarded as a low-grade infectious disease is commonly triggered by mite infestations. It has a reputation for being massively destructive leading to the decimation of well-established colonies globally. The deformed wing virus is common in late summer and early fall. A high concentration of mites can be overwhelming for any bee colony.

Read the full article here: Deformed Wing Virus — Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm

Drawn Comb, Wax Moths, and Fish Bait by sassafrasbeefarm

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First and second year beekeepers! You may be pulling honey supers, extracting, and have empty drawn comb. Or maybe a hive failed leaving you with drawn comb. Drawn comb is gold! You can always buy more bees, catch a swarm, make a split, or otherwise replace bees. But drawn comb can not be purchased. Having drawn comb exponentially increases a colony’s productivity versus starting on foundation. A spring package on drawn comb typically makes honey the same year.

Beekeepers must protect their drawn comb from wax moths which will take every opportunity to destroy your bee’s legacy.

Here are a few excerpts from an email I sent discussing protecting drawn comb from wax moths:

Be thankful they are on plastic foundation. Otherwise you often have to replace the foundation. And if they are in wooden frames wax moths will actually bore holes in the wood as well. On plastic you can scrape it off and re-coat with wax for next year.

As for the freezer: You can google wax moth, life cycle, etc and find some research. It’s like anything else, dependent on temperature and length of time of exposure. Two days may be sufficient IF your freezer is at 0 degrees F. If your freezer is kept at 10 degrees F it may take 6 days. And if at 20 degrees F it may take 14 days. (These are guesses but you get the idea.)

There is a temperature range for wax moth reproduction. When the temperatures get cool enough outside they are no longer a threat. I guess there are some people with a limited number of frames who can store them in the freezer until the weather cools enough.

Every year we get posts on the discussion board with pictures saying they froze the comb for X number of days and then placed in in a Tupperware or other container and under the house or some similar dark place only to find the comb destroyed by spring. Last year in bee school a member of the class asked me about this specifically and said if he placed them in the freezer for days and then immediately placed it in lawn trash bags and sealed them completely and absolutely shouldn’t that work? I told him that “in theory” his plan would work but my experience is some eggs will hatch and if conditions are right they will destroy his comb.

On Para-moth (paradichlorobenzene) crystals: They do work but it is not a one and done application. Use them generously. Periodically check them through the storage period and replenish them as needed. They do “melt” as they release their gas into the supers. I’ve seen some people tape the edges of the supers to make a gas seal. Unfortunately this dark, sealed environment is also ideal for the moths when the para-moth dissolves and no longer provides protection.

Using open air and light: I did this one year with good success. I simply have too many supers now. Also, anything I place outside now is subject to squirrels who seem to like the comb, pollen, honey residuals.

BT (bacillus thuringiensis aizawa): Reports are, this works well. As you know it used to be a recognized method of wax moth control in bee hives but the company decided to not renew it’s license for use as such. Data used to be on the Clemson site. BT for use on crops is recognized as non chemical, organic bio control method and approved for use on organic crops. While an approved organic pest control method, it is no longer legal for use in bee hives.

I have a friend that uses BT and sprays the comb coming out of the extractor.

If you do not protect your comb from wax moths don’t despair, I understand the larvae are great as fishing bait.

You can read more about the Greater Wax Moth here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galleria_mellonella

And on the Lesser Wax Moth here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_wax_moth

Overwintering success: the one thing I do differently by Rusty

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I’m posting this now instead of winter as the title might suggest. Why? Because it pertains to what we should be doing now in preparation for winter. Rusty is correct in her assumptions. It’s what we do or don’t do that gets our bees through the winter. Enjoy!

It’s official: I overwintered all my colonies once again. In fact, in seven of the last ten years I managed to pull every single colony through the bleak northwest winter. Having said that, the questions I’m asked are always the same: “What mite meds do you use?” “How long do you feed?” “What is your winter configuration?” All these queries presume that there is some magic trick to overwintering. If you only buy the right stuff, you will have no more bee problems.

The questions remind me of photography. Every time someone takes a truly outstanding photograph, people ask, “What camera did you use?” as if the camera went out and took pictures by itself. The photographer wasn’t sitting in the mud, all scrunched down at bug level, sweltering in the sun, and not breathing lest he produce carbon dioxide. He didn’t take 853 shots and discard 852 of them. He didn’t spend the next three days charging all the batteries he drained that afternoon. And he didn’t drive 349 miles and burn untold gallons of fuel to get to the place with all the right bugs.

You need to do the work

Like good photographers, good beekeepers actually do the work. Overwintering a bunch of honey bees is an art form. To me, it is amazing that any bug—not in a state of diapause or quiescence—can actually make it through such a long period of incarceration. I think we should be more surprised by colonies that make it than by those that don’t.

But in deference to those who want to know how to overwinter, I had a long think over it. I know what has vastly increased my chances of overwintering—things like moisture quilts and no-cook candy boards. My system evolved over a number of years and weathered many naysayers. I read books and asked question of engineers and architects about how things work in enclosed spaces, things like airflow, ventilation, heat loss, and condensation. Then I asked questions of biologists about nutrition and entomologists about diseases and vectors.

Read the full article here:  Overwintering success: the one thing I do differently — Honey Bee Suite

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A Curated Collection of Beehive Cams by Grove Greenman

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A collection of beehive cams that includes views from inside a hive, a zoom camera the viewer controls in an apiary, and lots more.

Visit all the Honey Bee Hive Cams here: A Curated Collection of Beehive Cams — Grove Greenman

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Honey Barbecue Pulled Chicken by Frugal Hausfrau

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Pulled-Chicken

I wish we all had time to stand in front of the barbecue and have parties on the deck (or by the pool if you’re so lucky) but man, sometimes we’re just busy and need to eat! That’s when this big batch of Honey Barbecue Pulled Chicken is a lifesaver.

Read full recipe at: Honey Barbecue Pulled Chicken — Frugal Hausfrau

Happy Birthday Brother Adam

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From Wikipedia:

Karl Kehrle OBE (3 August 1898, Mittelbiberach, Germany – 1 September 1996, Buckfast, Devonshire, England, UK), known as Brother Adam, was a Benedictine monk, beekeeper, and an authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee.

“He was unsurpassed as a breeder of bees. He talked to them, he stroked them. He brought to the hives a calmness that, according to those who saw him at work, the sensitive bees responded to.” – The Economist, 14 September 1996

Biography

Due to health problems Kehrle was sent by his mother at age 11 from Germany to Buckfast Abbey, where he joined the order (becoming Brother Adam) and in 1915 started his beekeeping activity. Two years before, a parasite, Acarapis woodi that originated on the Isle of Wight had started to extend over the country, devastating all the native bees, and in 1916 it reached the abbey, killing 30 of the 46 bee colonies. Only the Apis mellifera carnica and Apis mellifera ligustica colonies survived.

He travelled to Turkey to find substitutes for the native bees. In 1917 he created the first Buckfast strain, a very productive bee resistant to the parasite. On 1 September 1919 Adam was put in charge of the abbey’s apiary, after the retirement of Brother Columban. In 1925 and after some studies on the disposition of the beehives he installed his famous breeding station in Dartmoor, an isolated model to obtain selected crossings, which still works today. From 1950 and for more than a decade Adam continued his gradual improvement of the Buckfast bee by analysing and crossing bees from places all over Europe, the Near East and North Africa.

In 1964 he was elected member of the Board of the Bee Research Association, which later became the International Bee Research Association. He continued his studies of the Buckfast bee and his travels during the 1970s and received several awards, including appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1973)] and the German Bundesverdienstkreuz (1974).

On 2 October 1987 he was appointed Honorary doctor by the Faculty of Agriculture of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences  while in search of a bee on the Kilimanjaro mountains in Tanzania and Kenya, which deeply moved him and he saw as the official recognition of the scientific nature of his research. Two years later he was appointed Honorary doctor by the Exeter University in England.

On 2 February 1992, aged 93, he resigned his post as beekeeper at the Abbey and was permitted to spend some months in his home town Mittelbiberach with his niece, Maria Kehrle. From 1993 onwards, he lived a retired life back at Buckfast Abbey, and became the oldest monk of the English Benedictine Congregation. In 1995, at age 97, he moved to a nearby nursing home where he died on 1 September 1996.

Video series on Brother Adam: The Monk and the Honey Bee Parts 1 – 5

 

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Mite Treatments by What Should I Be Doing With My Bees This Month?

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Mite treatments will be the hot topic for all beekeepers very soon. Look at the graph above about the bee and mite population and the timeline. The Varroa population lags the bee population, up until early September. Then the mite population keeps increasing as the bee population goes down. This high infestation of mites damages the bees physically and also exposing honeybees to viruses. This high infestation of mites is what kills honeybee colonies.   Beekeepers need to stop this rising mite population during the month of August before the Varroa population explodes. Looking at the graph one can see there is a sharp rise in the month of August in the mite population. Treating colonies in September in many cases is too late. The bees may be so damaged by the rising mite population that they cannot recover.

Read the full article at:  Mite Treatments — What Should I Be Doing With My Bees This Month?

Beekeeping Calendar for August

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As always, All beekeeping is local. Here’s my offering for the beekeeping calendar for the South Carolina Midlands for the month of August:

Plan on checks twice this month but be brief when opening hive to prevent triggering robbing.

Monitor and control pests – Varroa, Small Hive Beetles, Yellow Jackets.

It is now critical that the beekeeper assess Varroa levels and treat this month as needed. (If you have not treated yet you, most likely, will need to treat.) Varroa mites are now out-breeding your bees. Fewer drone cells means they will start entering more worker cells. It is equally as critical that you determine the effectiveness of your treatments by measuring Varroa levels post treatment. Do not assume that a treatment was effective. Establishing a healthy population of bees now will be reflected in your fall bees and ultimately in your winter bees. Allowing your bees to maintain a high mite load now will result in poor preparation of fall bees and sickly winter bees later. Of course, depending on your current mite level your bees may not get to winter if this is left unaddressed. If you are seeing deformed wing virus you most likely have a serious case of mites and a high virus load and need to take action now.

Dearth continues this month. Even if you left the bees plenty of honey consider feeding a thin syrup to provide hydration. Syrup is quick and ready for the bees to utilize as needed helping them keep the brood fed, cool the hive, and keeping the hive at 50% – 60% humidity. Monitor stores, remembering they are not bringing much in and will consume what is currently stored as we continue through dearth.

August will be your last opportunity to obtain local Midlands queens. Early contact with your local supplier is suggested.

1) Treatment options for Varroa control are now limited due to the extreme Midlands heat in August. Options include oxalic acid vaporization, Hopguard II, or  ApiVar and other hard chemicals. If using oxalic acid, a series is suggested.

2) Implement pest control measures to contain Small Hive Beetles and Yellow Jackets.

3) Monitor and reduce entrances to assist the bees with guarding. Be exceptionally careful to not spill syrup or drip honey when working colonies.

4) Re-queen as necessary.

5) Unite weak colonies with stronger colonies if no disease is present.

6) A small upper entrance may be beneficial with venting excess heat – depending on your colony strength staple a screen to prevent unwanted visitors yet allow ventilation. Or use popsicle sticks between the inner and telescoping covers to allow heat to escape.

7) Remove colonies from mountains and extract Sourwood honey.

8) Cotton bloom has already started but you still have time to place colonies on upcoming soybeans.

9) If you have not been feeding, harvest summer honey on any remaining colonies. As it is getting late in the season, leave at least one super of honey for bees.

10) Monitor pollen supply coming in to hive. We occasionally see a late summer pollen dearth that lasts a couple weeks depending on weather. Some locations produce more pollen than others. Bees must have pollen just as they must have nectar or syrup in order to create brood food and to maintain a healthy immune system. Monitor pollen stores by observing the presence of pollen on brood frames and the frames on the edges of the brood nest. If your colony needs supplemental pollen consider feeding dry pollen or substitute in open pollen feeders. Do not use pollen patties as they create SHB problems here in the  Midlands. More here: Pros and Cons of Feeding Dry Pollen Substitute.

11) Starting the last week of August begin to increase your syrup feeding using a 1:1 mix and provide enough to stimulate brood production. Monitor stores as well. The goal is to start raising the nurses that will raise the nurses that will ultimately raise your winter bees. It is important that you begin to raise well fed and healthy bees free of mite loads, and viri now. Do not let sick or compromised bees do the job of raising your winter bees.

12) It’s also time to start monitoring stores to ensure you will reach the goal of one full super for winter.

13) Register your entries at the South Carolina State Fair (free until September 1st).

14) Start preparing your State Fair entries – wax and honey.

15) Attend your local monthly meeting. Volunteer to educate the public on the importance of honey bees by signing up to work a shift at the upcoming SC State Fair booth.

The above are general guidelines for the average bee colony in the Midlands of South Carolina. We all have hives that may be outperforming the average. We also have colonies that underperform the average. Use your judgement in making changes suggested here. Beekeeping is an art as well as a science. Only you know the many, many particulars associated with your physical hives as well as the general health and population of your colonies.

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Honey Bee Speed: 100 Flowers Per Hour by 67steffen

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The typical honey bee (female forager) will visit 100 flowers in an hour’s time before returning to the hive to drop off collected pollen. The bee will repeat this process about ten times in a day. I like to say the honey bee travels at a speed of 100 FPH, even though it  beats it wings around 12,000 times per minute.

View original article here: Honey Bee Speed: 100 Flowers Per Hour — 67steffen

Bee Stings and Nectar Dearth by sassafrasbeefarm

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One of our own took a few stings to the face last night. It seems instinctual for bees to go for the face.

If you’ve just started keeping bees you’re going to be asked by your friends and family, “Do you get stung?” I typically am cordial and say, “Yes, sometimes.” Then in an effort to be a good bee ambassador I go on to minimize the sting and tell them stings to the hands and arms are not so troubling. I also have a tendency to lift up the honey bee by maligning the yellow jacket. If any yellow jackets are reading this I apologize.

The true fact of the matter is, I just don’t like being stung! So, just a reminder for everyone to suit up or get yourself a veil for quick chores. Especially new beekeepers may fall victim to the bees’ gentleness during the nectar flow. Yes, they are most typically gentle during the nectar flow but even then things like queenlessness, an overcast, drizzly day, or entry early or late in the day may draw unwelcome attention from guards or foragers in the hive. Yes, you may get away with opening them up for changing a feed jar 20 times before one day when you pull that cover and wham!

And then the dearth comes. New beekeepers out there need to know that our Midlands area nectar flow will take a sharp turn downward very close to the beginning of June. It doesn’t turn off, but nectar in excess of colony needs will. This happens at a time when colony population is booming as a result of spring growth and times of plenty. What happens is those numerous foragers now become unemployed. Often they will head out in the morning and “clean up” what nectar is available early in the day, then hang out at home afterwards. It’s hot, nectar is becoming scarce, they’re crowded, and ready to guard their honey stores from other colonies also out looking for food. Also, yellow jackets and other pests may be on the increase which makes them more defensive than normal. My point being, that docile, gentle nature you have become used to during the current nectar flow will become more defensive after the nectar flow so let’s get in the habit now of suiting up or wearing a simple veil. Don’t be the test case for when dearth starts in the Midlands.

Could Beekeeping Save the US Political System? by Married with Bees

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Beekeepers have some amazing qualities. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get our politicians to be more like beekeepers?

Read full article here:  Could Beekeeping Save the US Political System? — Married with Bees

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Spinach Strawberry Salad with Honey Dressing byFarm, Garden and Beyond

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What a great way to use fresh Summer produce and compliment anything that you are tossing on the grill.

Get the full recipe here: Spinach Strawberry Salad with Honey Dressing — Farm, Garden and Beyond

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DIY Beard Balm by Keeping Backyard Bees

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Beard balm is a leave-in conditioner that softens, moisturizes, and helps style your beard. The beeswax in beard balm offers a light to medium hold, but its main job is to seal in moisture. A well-made beard balm will also condition the skin, leaving it soft and moisturized. Beard balm is a thicker, more moisturizing product than beard oil.

Read full recipe for beard balm here: DIY Beard Balm — Keeping Backyard Bees

Safety in the Bee Yard by sassafrasbeefarm

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Safety is always important but summer heat, dearth behavior, harvesting, and other factors make it especially important to talk about it now that dearth has started and the summer heat is upon us.

Your suit/jacket/veil: Make sure your jacket and especially your veil is “bee tight.” Holes in your veil, which you may have been ignoring. will be found by the bees this time of year. If you need a new jacket this year, consider one of the newer light weight ventilated jackets to help with the heat. And just a reminder to double check your zippers before opening the hives.

Gloves: You may have tried going gloveless during the nectar flow and had success. You may still have success. Don’t throw your old gloves away though. You may find having them handy a good idea for times the bees object to your presence.

First aid kit: I keep an old small metal Band-Aid box in my yard bucket. In it I have:

1) an old expired plastic card similar to a credit card for scraping stings out. I usually use my fingernail but having a card may come in handy and is actually probably more efficient in removing stingers with minimal injection of venom.

2) Benedryl, StingEze, Aspirin, Tylenol

3) Bandaids, tweezers, alcohol wipes.

I also have a chemical ice pack in my yard bucket and always a spare bottle of water.

You can quickly overheat in the summer while working your bees while wearing multiple layers of clothing and headgear. Last year, when out in the heat of the day, I started wearing one of those bandanas that absorb water (gel). For Christmas my kids found some fancy ones that hold a bit more water. I have not tried the new ones yet but the old ones worked well. A fellow beekeeper showed me a handy trick once when she poured a bottle of water into a cloth diaper and wrapped it around her neck before putting on her jacket.

Drinking Water: It’s not enough to have a backup bottle of water. Have multiple bottles of water close by when working your bees on hot days. Take frequent breaks. Hydrate!

EpiPen: A company has started selling generic Epipens for $10 through our local box store CVS pharmacy. I am not allergic but at my next doctor’s visit I’ll be asking for a prescription and will keep one with me on bee yard visits.

Cell Phone: A few years ago I stumbled when my foot hit a root stob while I was turning with a heavy box. I dislocated my knee and went down. I managed to reduce the dislocation and get back to the house but it made me think, “what if…?” Make sure you take a cell phone with you. It may be the most valuable safety equipment you pack. Also,  there’s no harm in telling someone where you’re going before you go out either.

Summer in the “famously hot” Midlands of South Carolina can be especially difficult on the beekeeper as well as the bees. Take extra precautions to ensure your safety in the bee yard.

In Praise of Bees in Our Yards by Kingfisher Journey- Marina Richie

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A burly bumblebee nose dives into the unfurling gold petals of a California poppy and vanishes. I lean ever closer until I’m a foot away. The bee spirals up and out, bearing pollen on her legs. Off she hums to the next flower, almost bumping into the honeybees plying the summer morning air.

Read full article with some awesome pictures here: In Praise of Bees in Our Yards — Kingfisher Journey- Marina Richie