Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Friday, July 31, 2009

Brushy Mountain E-Flyer

I get an e-flyer from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm about once a month or so. This month Shane Gebauer, General Manager, writes about feeding your hives and for some, the terrible honey year.

I have been speaking to beekeepers up and down the east coast and most agree that this has been a terrible honey year. It was a wetter than average spring, and continues to be so in the northeast. I harvested the spring crop in June and averaged just 8 pounds per hive. Granted I left some behind to get the bees through to the sourwood flow. I now have no sourwood and honey which was left has been consumed.
Certainly, there are areas that are doing better, but for the most part its the same story. The reason I mention this is not to express my disappointment in the honey crop, but rather to warn of insufficient reserves in the hives. Right now I am feeding because they don't have, nor can they make, enough honey to sustain the colony, let alone get it through winter. Nutrient is one of the most under-recognized factor in colony health. Be sure your bees are not hungry bees.

This is the main reason I left so much honey on the hive for my bees. I don't want them to starve and I don't want to be feeding them now. I have four very strong hives - we'll see how it goes for the remainder of the summer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Comb Honey

I don't usually put up any comb honey - just not something I normally do. But this year, I dropped some of the cappings (the excess comb from the supers) and put in jars - I've got 6 pints.

It's great to eat the honey and have the comb to chew too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tomatoes - Late July

This is part of the garden with tomatoes that haven't started getting ripe - they're late - must be the variety and I don't know what they are. I'm still getting yellow squash. The zucchini did not do very well - I think they were crowded. I have some peppers and that's about it.
Next year I'll plant more - I'd like some beans and peas.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some of my Family

Some of the family - just hanging out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hive #6 - Three Options

I felt I had three options with Hive #6 - this photo shows robbing and this has been a continuous problem. This was a strong hive in the spring and produced a large swarm which is doing great. I gave a friend a nuc and the queen must have been in those frames and the hive never recovered. I wasn't as conscientious as I should have been in checking the hive so lots of lessons learned.

So the three options (I checked with my beekeeper friend, Mr. Ellis, and some of these were his suggestions and opinions and from others too):
First I took the super off the hive and put on Nuc #1 with newspaper between.
Option #1 - buy a queen.
Option #2 - put the bees in a nuc and hope they make a queen or buy a queen and put with them.
Option #3 - take the bees out of the hive and put with another hive and give up on this hive.
So after opening the hive Wed, I chose Option #3 - there were so few bees left in the hive, I felt sure they wouldn't make a queen and we've got about a month and a half of nothing for the bees. And I truly did not want to buy a queen.
So on Nuc #1, I put the super and on Nuc #2 I put the brood box with all the bees from Hive #6 with newspaper between.

This is Hive #4 which nothing was changed except this hive was beside Hive #6 and the robbers were still hanging around so I put an entrance reducer on this hive.
They were fine this afternoon and in a couple of days, I'll take the entrance reducer off.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Mouse

First mouse caught on Saturday evening.
Missy has already earned her keep.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hive #6

When getting the honey on Sunday, all the hives were checked and Hive #6 has no queen. We moved 3 full frames of brood from Nuc #2 and took off one of the brood boxes. Not many bees in the hive but enough that I don't want to walk away and just let them die.

Also put on a full super of honey from Hive #4 and put a piece of newspaper between the super and brood box so any bees just work their way through and hopefully not be killed or kill the bees in the hive.
I'm really upset with myself for what has happened to this hive - beekeeping is always a learning experience - sometimes good and sometimes not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Robbing the Bees 2009

On Sunday, I robbed the bees with help from Steve and Ann. I've waited a little longer this year than normal but it worked out fine. I only took 3 full supers off all the hives. I can go back later and get two from the Swarm Hive and 1 from #4 but today, three was enough.

Steve brought his blower and you just set the super on top of the hive and blow away. Makes the bees a little disoriented but they settle down quickly. Used Steve's bee brush to brush off the girls that stayed on the frames before taking them to the house.

Thanks to Steve for doing all the heavy lifting.

And thanks to Ann for helping with the extracting. I had some really pretty capped frames and the taste - well, Ann and I ate plenty while working.

I had a five gallon bucket almost full of honey. I put it in two buckets cause it's so heavy to lift. I'll strain this again and then put in jars but that's for another day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Pond

Since it's been hotter than heck lately, I decided to put in a new pond - this is close to the beehives and I wanted some water down in the garden.
So I had help - the best kind! And you won't see a photo of Lily but she was helping too and all the chickens - you know, the free lunch scenario - a bug or worm or something in the dirt.

Missy is fascinated with Buttercup but the kitties don't bother the chickens. Of course, the chickens think they're dogs.

But Missy and Buddy had lots of fun in the pond liner - silly kitties.
I'm going to get some more pond plants and put something in for the bees to be able to get to the water. This is an old pond liner that had a leak I just couldn't seem to fix - got some Plumbers Goop - it's in a tube and looks like a clear liquid cement. It did the trick.
And yep, I'm all tuckered out!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Getting to Know You

Lily and Buddy seem to be getting along okay now. Missy is so timid and shy - it will still be awhile for her.
Lily's ready to play - she just forgets she's a little bigger!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

To Be a Bee

Q: How to honeybees make honey?

A: Worker bees collect nectar (water and complex sugars) from flowers and pass it to other workers, which convert it to digestible sugars. Bees evaporate the nectar's water by working it in their mouths and then depositing it in cells and fanning it with their wings. When the liquid is reduced to about 18 percent water, the honey is ready for them to use.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oscar Mayer

Oscar Mayer died last week (7/6/09) - he was 95. He was a real person. This is the Weinermobile.

I did not eat Oscar Mayer bolonga or hot dogs (we grew up eating and still eat Carolina Packers/Bright Leaf hot dogs and bologna - it doesn't get any better) but I can hear that little song in my head.

My bolonga has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R

My bolonga had a second name - it's M-A-Y-E-R

Oh I love to eat it everyday,
And If you ask me why say,
Cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!
and the hot dog -

Oh I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer weiner
That is what I'd truly love to be
Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer weiner
Everyone would be in love with me!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I stand corrected!

Milkweed - this is what I have in my garden - not Joe Pye Weed as I've been telling everybody in the world!
Folks have said to me, "wow, that doesn't look like my Joe Pye Weed". And I would say "whatever" and still insist it was Joe-Pye Weed. So I was wrong and I stand corrected!
The milkweed in my garden is wonderful and the bees (honey, bumble and all other kinds of stuff) just love it.

Yesterday while visiting some friends, I got some Joe Pye Weed plants to put in my garden - big, with lots of good roots. And these ladies know what they're talking about - if they say it's Joe-Pye, then that's that!

And I got a lot of other plants that I really like and I know you're not supposed to say "thank you" for plants but I sure was excited to get them.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Additions to the Family

A little gray tabby

and a calico - they are so cute!

These are to be "mousers" and live in the barn - that's my plan and I hope it works.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baggie Feeder on #6

On Tuesday morning I finally got around to putting the baggie feeder on Hive #6.
These photos will show you the process - it's quite simple and one of the easiest ways (for me, that is) to feed a hive.
I made the frame for the baggies and then just put two gallon cheapo brand of baggies on top of the frames. Then the inner cover and they're good to go. Cut a couple of slits in the baggies - about an inch.

Everything looked good till mid afternoon when I checked back to see how everyone was doing. Evidently some of the sugar syrup went out the front entrance and there was a robbing frenzy! I had put an entrance reducer on this hive but it was not the smallest opening. So I changed the entrance reducer to the smallest size to help those girls keep the neighbors out of their house.

I did check the baggies and both were already empty.

What a mess - trying to help and probably made it worse with the robbing situation.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Full Buck Moon

July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month's Moon was the Full Hay Moon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Beeyard - July 2009

The Beeyard - July, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Swarm Hive and #6

Yesterday I checked Hive #6 - I had wanted to take off the super so the bees would have to fill up the second brood box. And I was also concerned about wax moths since this hive seems to be queenless right now.

No wax moths and they had filled out a frame or two with honey but I took it off and also put the entrance reducer back on the hive. No reason other than it makes me feel better. I may start feeding this hive - I've got to check with some of my fellow beekeepers and see what they think. I really need a queen and may have to end up buying one.

The Swarm Hive is still bursting at the seams so I put the super from Hive #6 on their hive. Shook off the bees before doing this and it should give them plenty of room - the hive is so full of bees - it's awesome!

These photos were taken about 3:30 Tues afternoon - it was hot, hot, hot!