Monday, November 23, 2015

Rowse Honey TV Advert 2015

I discovered a humorous advertisement in the UK.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

pollen source between equinox and winter solstice

Tropical Depression Eleven strengthened and became Hurricane Joaquin which brought extended drizzly weather and heavy rain to Atlanta.  In the rain gaps, backyard  honey bees vigorously forage for pollen. By hive odor, the pollen is probably goldenrod.  The photos show other plant species of interest at this cooler time of the year, Angel's Trumpet and Camellia.

Monday, August 24, 2015

maladaptive behavior - washboarding

I'm re-reading the public library copy of Honeybee Ecology.  This time around, I discovered an explanation of washboarding.  On page 18,  the author describes bees moving forward and backward as "planing."  In the wild, bees scrub the rough wood landing area of a tree trunk hive. The same bee behavior on an already smooth man-made hive makes no sense.

Compared to honeybees in nature, the author lists other maladaptive behaviors such as the over production of honey and a reduced tendency to swarm .  These insights hurt my feelings.  I'll get over it, but are my motives bee fitness or honey production?  On reflection, why wouldn't my existential pain include beekeeping?

I'm looking forward to finding other gems missed in earlier readings of Honeybee Ecology.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

sky burial - stack of sticky frames after crush-and-strain

I'm complaining about a good problem, too many frames of capped honey.  I credit the success mostly to honey bees from over-wintered hives and favorable Atlanta spring weather.  

I purchased a Sterilite® ClearView™ Storage Tote - Transparent with White Lid 66Qt. from Target.  The 12.25 " H x 16.25 " W x 23.5 " L dimensions are ideal for the storage of 15 medium frames of capped honey - the maximum processing capacity of the 2 (5-gallon) bucket strainer and bottler.

I'm using a a third 5-gallon bucket and a plastic scraper attached to a pole to thoroughly crush the honey comb.   I'm not a solo act - Ram, Melissa and Dillon volunteered to help - not counting the kitchen clean-up and hanging brown paper, the crush-and-strain process takes about 30 minutes.

After cutting away the honey comb, the frames are returned to the Storage Tote.  Over-night, a considerable amount of honey drips into the Tote and I captured these honey dripping too.  As seen in the photo, I stacked the sticky frames outside and in a location away from the hives.   The bees assist with the final honey clean-up of the sticky frames - a circle of life scene which reminds me of sky burial.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

swarm attached to outside of swarm trap

This story begins with several days of bees scouting my 4 swarm traps - each trap contains some brood comb and a swarm lure.  Next, I discovered a huge swarm attached to the outside of my tree hanging 8-frame swarm trap.  During back-to-back cool drizzly weather days, I wait for the swarm to move into the box.

After 2 days, I give up waiting and successfully lower the trap and bees to their new location.  After the bump transfer, I discovered 3 pieces of comb - previously hidden beneath the swarm.    Outdoor comb construction was almost beyond my imagination.

For a few days, I will keep a queen includer beneath the new hive and a 1gal pail feeder with Honey-B-Healthy above the inner cover.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

spring 2015

Reached yet another bloom marker, Tulip Poplar flowers - and with some weather luck, more nectar forage for the bees.  Already, other nectar flows required that I add more medium boxes to two over-wintered hives which are busting with bees.

Earlier this year, I replaced two hanging 5-frame swarm traps with 8-frame swarm traps and removed the bee cozy.  Scouting of the new traps began in early March - stay tuned for move-in news.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

warm bee respiration and non-invasive winter measurements

I am using an inexpensive RadioShack Waterproof Pocket IR Thermometer to measure temperature differences between cool outdoor air and warm bee respiration.  Winter temperatures arrived and this makes these contrasting temperature measurements possible.  At dawn I record the top vent and concrete paver temperature.  The concrete paver sits on top of the hive and acts as a surrogate for smoothed outdoor air temperature. These 2014 measurements are a follow up from a previous post two years ago, winter ventilation and pocket IR thermometer.

I have three bee hives (Kent, Buda and Pest) and mid-day flight activity at the Kent hive is consistently greater than the other two hives.    

If hive visits do not permit mid-day flight observation, then this non-invasive method provides some assurance that:
  • The hive is still alive provided that the graph points are above the green x= y line.
  • Greater contrast with outdoor temperatures correlate with increased mid-day flight activity.  The Kent hive trend line is further from the green x= y line, while less flight active hives have a trend line closer to green x= y line.