Sunday, November 24, 2019

2019 Bee Cozy


Ants create tunnels and nest in the extruded polystyrene foam boards in warmer weather, so I postponed insulating the hives until now. In Atlanta, first frost arrived on November 12th which is just on the early side of historical average.  November 12 also marked the first subtle Arctic Oscillation downturn this winter.

Here are current the hive elements:
arctic oscillation, bee, bee cozy, beekeeping, hive wrap, respiration, temperature, ventilation, winter,
arctic oscillation, bee, bee cozy, beekeeping, hive wrap, respiration, temperature, ventilation, winter,
arctic oscillation, bee, bee cozy, beekeeping, hive wrap, respiration, temperature, ventilation, winter,

Saturday, November 23, 2019

2019 - fall hive weight and water balance calculator

  • graph 1 - dramatic 2019 fall hive weight gain
  • graph 2 - flat to decreasing 2018 fall hive weight
  • water balance calculator table - 2019 shows a slightly positive fall water balance compared to past years, while 2018 shows a dramatically wet fall water balance
Many factors contribute to fall hive weight gain, but I speculate that that dry conditions favored optimal goldenrod and aster honey bee forage; sadly these dry conditions stressed shrubs and trees.  Local fall water balance appears to slowly cycle with a period of 3 to 4 years, meaning that fall 2020 might also be dry - stay tuned.
bee, beekeeping, bloom, climate, goldenrod, hive weight, water balance calculator, aster, foraging,
bee, beekeeping, bloom, climate, goldenrod, hive weight, water balance calculator, aster, foraging,

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ivy Bee in southern England - Colletes hederae

foraging, ivy bee, non-native solitary bee, southern England,
foraging, ivy bee, non-native solitary bee, southern England,
These photos of an ivy bee are taken on the chalk cliff top trail on the Kent Coast.

The Wildlife Trusts says "that this non-native solitary bee nests in loose, light or sandy soil on southern-facing banks and cliffs with ivy nearby for foraging. They are solitary bees, but when conditions are suitable, there may be thousands of nests in the same area." First UK identification in 2001, this non-native solitary bee has a hairy thorax and a shiny abdomen.

Ivy fruit is eaten and spread by birds, yet another reason why ivy is so difficult to control. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

bottling 2019

bee, beekeeping, bottler, ergonomic, honey, pail perch, white foam, honey label,
Here's my over-the-stove ergonomic bottling setup. Not shown is my homemade pail perch which helps exclude white foam.
bee, beekeeping, bottler, ergonomic, honey, pail perch, white foam, honey label,
These yellow caps contain a drip-less valve for upside-down storage.  I attach a upside-down label to my third hand (T-square), then transfer the label to the bottle.   Not perfect, but this process helps appropriately place the label.

Friday, August 16, 2019

wax blocks 2019

bee, beekeeping, crush and strain, slow cooker, wax,

After crush and strain, I rinsed the wax with warm water.   Crushed wax was melted outdoors in a large thrift store slow cooker.  I used one cup of water and cotton fabric to catch wax impurities.   I set the cooker on high for nearly 2 hours and left everything to cool for another 4 hours.  I repeated this cycle 3 times.  Click on the photo and have a look at the tidy elliptical wax blocks.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

SAVE THE HONEY BEE license plate

bee, bee keeping, Save The Honey Bee license plate
Can your read my license plate - you are driving too close, stuck in Friday traffic or waiting for the light to change. Order your SAVE THE HONEY BEE license plate by way of the Georgia Beekeepers Association.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

crush and strain 2019


bee, beekeeping, combcapper, crush and strain, escape, foundationless. walter t kelly, harvesting, honey, slow shutter, Strainer and Bottler, wax,
bee, beekeeping, combcapper, crush and strain, escape, foundationless. walter t kelly, harvesting, honey, slow shutter, Strainer and Bottler, wax,
bee, beekeeping, combcapper, crush and strain, escape, foundationless. walter t kelly, harvesting, honey, slow shutter, Strainer and Bottler, wax,
We worked in the middle of the kitchen floor to contain the sticky clean-up.  Imagine a compact vertical stack - from the bottom up: 
Sagar and Quin (co-workers) cut comb with a paring knife from foundationless frames. Comb was crushed in the bucket using a 2 inch Plastic Joint Knife attached to a pole.

Crushed comb was poured into the strainer bottler and left to sit for a few days so that foam (tiny air bubbles) can rise before bottling.

After cutting away honey comb, frames are returned to the Storage Tote. Over-night, honey dripped into the Tote and were captured too. Sticky frames were stacked outside in a location away from the hives.  Bees assisted with the final honey clean-up of sticky frames - a circle of life scene which reminds me of sky burial.

In the 3rd photo, I used a slow shutter iPhone app.  Crawling bee behavior looks like white dots while flying behavior looks like brown lines (classic multiple exposure).