Friday, September 30, 2011

Porch Bees (a new batch)

These bees were once part of a bee tree on the local Air Force base. The tree had to come down. They wanted Mark to try to save the bees, and he got a few, but not the queen. The bulk of the colony was crushed when the tree came down. There wasn't time to do a trap out.

He rescued some of their own comb.

They've struggled. Mark has fed them a bunch, given them frames with eggs to make a new queen, to no avail. He's pondered what to do since they haven't appeared to have created a queen for themselves and it's late in the season to get one.

I just know we like having them around. I think that makes us weird.

Oh, yeah. We were weird *before* we had porch bees.

UPDATE: Mark combined a hive from a neighbor's garden with the porch bees. When he checked them 9/25, he saw a "big, fat queen, laying like crazy" which is great news.  They're getting a steady diet of sugar syrup to help them build up stores. My fingers are crossed. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poisoned Nectar?

An insightful post from Richard about the development of an attempt to get rid of mosquitoes and the potential harmful impact on honey bees.

I want to change the lyrics of the famous song to, "All we are saying, is give bees a chance!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ponderings Prompted by Bees and their Foes

On Monday morning as I left our driveway to go to work, I noticed a Very Large Spider had cleverly built a Very Large Web from the front corner post of our porch to a nearby bush.

Result? Unsuspecting bees launching out of the hive first thing in the morning were getting caught in the sticky mess.

The porch hive needs every single bee it can get, so Mark dispatched the web for the spider to rebuild elsewhere.

The bees reminded me of myself: launching out each day, not suspecting that something is lurking in plain sight, near a clever trap. The devil is sneaky that way, waiting for me to establish patterns, to grow complacent and busy, to be comfortable and distracted.

Fortunately, I have a keeper who is looking out for me, ready to knock down that web.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photos from a mid-September Inspection

It had been so long since it felt like a hobby!  On a cooler Saturday, Mark and I went to Bee Hill to do a brief inspection.

With the honey harvested, the pressure was off in terms of making many notes. We just opened each hive, made sure there was evidence that everything was in proper order (queen right, no infestations of mites or beetles), and closed it back up again. 

Can you see the almost mature bees' faces? They're still being fed, not yet closed up. You can also see the drone brood poking up above the level of the worker brood.

I noticed dark orange and golden pollen in the pollen baskets of many bees, but without a major nectar flow or the super hot temperatures of summer, the bee yard seemed calm.

See the rows of dark pollen stored for winter?
No masses of bees bearding on the fronts of the hives for the most part. No aggression (until Hive 1, the meanest bees in our yard). Just a pleasant time in the bee yard. I'd missed it.

We've got labels, yes we do!

We've got honey, how 'bout you?

Can you tell I've been to some high school football games lately?

We have labels for our honey jars and can now officially sell it.

Didn't the bees do a great job? It's so pretty!

New jars have deluxe no-drip lids and can be inverted so you never have to wait for your honey to flow down to the bottom.  I'll give you three guesses on which Lewis does not like to wait for his/her honey.

Like you need three guesses.

Large jars are three pounds and cost $15. Small jars are one pound and are $7.50.  Give Mark a call if you want to come by and pick it up, 662-418-4422. I'll bring in a box to work next week, and I'll be contacting those of you who are "on my list" to see if you're still interested. Or, feel free to leave a comment.