Wednesday, July 20, 2016

summer forage - invasive porcelain-berry

This week in Atlanta, I found honey bees on an invasive plant, porcelain-berry climbing vine.   A vigorous and attractive landscape plant from Asia, but it out competes native plants for sunlight and nutrients.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

small honey label

I'm using a new source for custom printed honey labels.   Vistaprint has a honey bee graphics as a design, but I decided to upload my own image/design.     To form a circular image, I used Picasa.  Here's a link to advice from a Picasa user  "Go to the last editing tab and then to "Borders"..  Slide "Corner Radius" to the right (all the way) and make the outer colour white or what ever colour you want."

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

clean wax with slow cooker


I retired my solar wax melter and use a slow cooker exclusively to clean wax.  For safety, I operate the slow cooker outdoors and place concrete pavers beneath the hot appliance and wood table top. After crush and strain honey extraction, wax from thirteen frames are rinsed in warm water and cleaned in two slow cooker batches.   I added half the wax and two cups of water to the large oval slow cooker. Shown is cotton fabric and blue tape which suspend the wax above the water bath.  After two to three hours on the high setting, I turn off the slow cooker and leave all components (lid, cotton fabric and wax impurities) undisturbed until the slow cooker has completely cooled.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

bottle without white foam - pail perch

I was able to eke out a few more bottles of honey without white foam by tilting the pail. This homemade pail perch requires an extra pail lid, 2x4 scraps, fender washers and wood screws. For stability, a string connects the pail handle and pail perch.  To counterweight the tilted pail, I borrowed a heavy canned good from the pantry.

Before tilting the pail, I left a generous amount of time for bubbles to rise then I bottled honey to a point just above the honey gate.  After tilting the pail, I let the bubbles rise again before bottling the remaining honey.   

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hawthorn tree and native pollinators


The Druid Hills Tour of Homes & Gardens featured a home with a huge number of pollinators visiting a hawthorn tree in bloom.   Most of the pollinators are not the familiar apis mellifera.   I'm not completely sure, but these pollinators appear to be Small Carpenter Bees.  I used two resources, the XERCES guide -Attracting Native Pollinators and Bees of Georgia website by Mark Schlueter.   Notice the pollen baskets. These natives are similar in size to apis mellifera, not shown.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

adulterated honey

While working in Asia, I googled "local Taiwan honey" which led me to a puzzling topic of adulterated honey. I'm not discussing mouse droppings, but cheap sweeteners added to store bought honey.  Have a look at this YouTube and a link to Food Safety Magazine


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Native Crabapple thanks to Trees Atlanta


A few months ago, Trees Atlanta planted a large number of small trees in our neighborhood.  I quickly recognized the small Eastern Redbud tress, which consistently attract honey bees to their purple flowers.

Here are a few lucky iPhone photos of what appears to be a small Native Crabapple tree with honey bees visiting their flowers.