Archive for Bees

Sweet As Honey

Harvesting honey is – I hope – going to become one of our spring rituals. We just harvested out first honey: four medium frames, two people working two hours give 8 pints of honey (4 liters) or 12 pounds.

We are about to start our 3rd year with the bees. Last spring, at the  beginning of year two, we could have/should have had a harvest. We did not – for a number of reasons. Not the least of it was that we had a heat wave just as Keith put in new wax frames – which pretty much melted the wax frames which dripped all over the box, blocking access to the new areas of the hive. There was no room for the bees to expand; so the colony – a strong one in need of more room –  swarmed before we realized what happened.When bees swarm they load themselves with honey so they can start a new home with some food. Our harvest-to-be was depleted. We left the remaining honey to the remaining bees.

Going into winter we had two colonies. Coming out of winter we only had one. We knew one queen was weak, and she did not make it in this cold winter. And so no queen, no eggs, no replacement workers, no replacement queen With that knowledge and  no obvious signs of diseases, Keith gave most of the frames of honey of that hive to the remaining hive and saved four for us to extract. Finally! Long awaited honey….

And so last Friday on a beautiful balmy day, we extracted honey. Which proved surprisingly easy.

Remove the frames from the super (the box). The bees have capped the honey in the cells with wax.

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Blooming Currants

Did you know red currants bloom as the same time as the cherries?

They do.

But unlike the billowy dreamy snowy cherry blossoms, the flowers of red currant are rather inconspicuous. One hardly notices them – especially with the explosion of greens and colors in the garden around the shrubs.

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Still. As insignificant, small and greenish as they are, the bees and wasps notice them, and make a refueling stop.

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I know of the brilliant bounty the red currants will yield come June – following the sour cherries and at the same time as the sweet cherries.

Blue And Red

Spring is blue and red: blue clear sky and red maple flowers.

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Indeed the maples are blooming now, the earliest single species source of nectar and pollen for our bees. Read more

Postcard From The Meadow

Yes, this is a food related post. Look closer… can you find the honey bee? her butt sticking out from one of the snowdrops? “her” indeed… they are all “she”, you know.

ah… honey: the food of the gods! bee barf!

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On warm sunny days, they fly out of the hive where the cold weather has kept them cooped to stretch their wings, clean the hive (yes, they do! really!) and see if they is any foraging to do. Pickings are slim, but there are some: crocuses, snowdrops, Johnny-jump-ups, early willows and anything flowering in the greenhouse. Whatever it is, some of them are coming back to the hive with sacs of dark pollen, and you know, they only collect pollen from one species at a time…

There must be something else blooming in the woods.