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. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas, bee respiration and flight activity

Winter Storm Jonas brought 1.8 inches of rain and a dusting of snow to Atlanta.   The bees are not flying this chilly morning, but the inner cover notch is where I'm focusing my attention.   25.5°F outdoor temperature are compared to warm moist air, bee respiration, exiting the inner cover notch.

At the notch, I measured the temperature of three hives as 31.5°F, 36.5°F and 34.0°F using an inexpensive IR thermometer.   This small range of notch temperatures correlate with how I judged flight activity on warmer days.    In other words, the 36.5°F hive flies most vigorously on warmer days. Notice the drop of condensation (not rain) hanging on the telescoping cover.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Arctic Oscillation & Bee Cozy Hive Wrap

This might not be the optimal time to add the bee cozy hive wrap, but I'm itching to acknowledge winter.   As you can see from the Arctic Oscillation forecast, this is the first significant negative downturn this winter.  Atlanta December temperatures have been mild and I held off adding the bee cozy. My concerns include limited winter forage and a larger than seasonally appropriate bee population. Here are the hive elements at this time.
  • screen bottom board with no counting board insert
  • bee cozy hive wrap surrounding the June-July hive re-sizing
  • inner cover with top notch ventilation
  • two 3/4 inch sheets of XPS insulation between inner cover and telescoping cover
  • white corrugated plastic sheet overhang with concrete pavers on top

Thursday, December 10, 2015

winter-flowering ornamental cherry tree

Sorting through my latest camera work, I found a few lucky photos which overcome bright back-lighting, shooting through a window and fast moving honey bees.  In the backyard, the winter-flowering ornamental cherry tree bloom looks great and attracts honey bees too.  In some sunny locations, mahonia is or is about to bloom and spiderwort are still in bloom.

In Atlanta, November and the first half of December have been warm. NOAA climatology based on El Niño have yet to develop into cooler mid-Atlantic weather.  I'm watching the Arctic Oscillation 7 day forecast closely for a negative downturn before adding the bee cozy hive wrap.