All posts tagged: bees

Bee beard

Some folks like to keep their bees in boxes, others in logs, this one is in a bee beard made out of a hollow log. Check out this  fantastic and unique way to home bees. Bee beard in action. Thanks to Pat for reading my blackberry post and introducing me to his fabulous log hive. It was a great way to start my grey Portland morning. I just watched the chainsaw making of the hive on his blog. It was incredible to see the face evolve out of the bare wood. Now there is an inspiration for me as an artist and beekeeper. I am in awe of the grace with which a chainsaw can be handled. Read more of Pat’s blog on natural bee keeping http://www.solarbeez.com Advertisements

My first (inadvertent) honey harvest

I harvested this honey today out of my brown hive. I didn’t really mean to do that, but it was clearly needed. I went to check out top bar hive at my house today. The bees have been really busy and I gave them 4 more bars to build comb on a few weeks ago. But when I looked though the window it seemed that the comb was crooked! Top bar bee keepers have warned me of this. Apparently once the bees start building their comb out of line it will just go on like that, eventually creating comb that spans two bars and then gets very messy to move. Well, it seems like I waited too long, as there were about six combs that bulged over at the top toward the next bar, one of them even attached to the next bar. So there I was with my hands in the hive and this mess unfolding before me. It seems like all the crossed over comb was filled with fresh nectar, so at least …

Bees need water too

My bees seem to be finding water somewhere else because they have not been frequenting my little pond that I set up for them some time ago. It has water lily and hyacinth growing in it. There are 5 goldfish to eat any potential mosquito larva. And the whole thing made it through the winter in it’s 40 gallon bucket. Well, it was way out of their flightpath and we just moved it over closer to the hive. The fish seem to like it and the plants will most certainly grow flowers there with more light. Now it’s just a matter of time before the bees discover it too. Hopefully! I do prefer the idea of them drinking water, which they use in honey curing, from a source that I can control then from someone else’s yard; particularly as it gets to be dry season around here. Other than that these bees are doing really well. I see them flying around the neighborhood visiting a variety of flowers and blackberries. They come home laden with …

Blackberries and Bees

The blackberries are blooming and though they are totally invasive in Portland, the Himalayan Blackberry that is, they are so essential to the life of urban bees. Blackberry nectar makes up the largest part of the annual honey production and is the last big flow before they settle down to fall activities like curing the honey they collected. Today I walked around my neighborhood and watched honey bees, most likely from my hive, busy collecting from blackberry blossoms, borage flowers, lavendar, wisteria and even cedum blooms. They are everywhere. Not only do the blackberries feed the bees, but they feed us with their delicious, juicy berries. Today I ate my first one. Yum! So while I completely understand the need to cut them back in certain areas. I certainly don’t like their poky selves wrapping through my tiny back yard strangling out the raspberries and veggies I so diligently planted. It is really important for the health of our bees that we leave some of the blackberries room to grow. And even more important that …

Inspecting the brown bee hive

Since I was on a roll I thought I’d check out the brown, top bar hive at my house too. It was 3 pm on Memorial Day. The temperature was about 65deg, slightly overcast and a bit windy. But I thought it was warm enough for a quick check. The bees were very busy at the front door. Really the most I have seen. But I’ve been at work mostly on the warm days. I had checked a week ago and seen lots of honey but no babies, so I wanted to get inside and make sure the queen was laying. Fortunately I got some practice at Zenger Farm on Saturday. See the bee with the yellow pollen pants? That is one indication that there is brood. They need to feed them a combination of pollen and honey to give them protein and carbs. The first frame I pulled out was all new, white wax. Now there are 8 frames filled with comb and 4 more empty ones for them to expand into. That frame …

Adding a second box to the green bee hive

We inspected the green hive today and the whole first box was full. They have been quite busy already. We saw capped brood and larva and even some capped honey. They have done a fine job building on the empty frames that had just a little wax strip at the top and bottom. So we added the second brood box with ten more foundation less frames. Jeff added a strip of wood into the top groove to give them something to get started with. Viridian was happy to eat some of the wax and propolis that we scraped off of the lid.  

Bees in their new home

It’s been a week since I shook the swarm off this branch. These are the ones who still lingered for a while after the shaking.Here the ones in the big plastic bin are fanning their little wings to call the others down from the branch. Late at night, after they’d all gathered in the bin, I installed them in my top bar hive in my little backyard. They moved right in to their new home and the comb left by my colony from last year. They went through a whole quart of sugar syrup so far and today I gave them a little more since it’s going to be a bit cooler for a while. They may really not need it. I looked around inside the hive and discovered that they are indeed storing honey and pollen. That’s a good sign. No baby bees eggs to be seen yet. I sure hope they know what they are doing. I’m a little anxious after loosing last year’s swarm, but these gals are way ahead and much …

The bees are here

They came today on a truck from Cottage Grove. Four frames of bees and honey and a new, fertilized queen ready to lay thousands of eggs. After dropping the kids at school I drove to Ruhl’s bee supply in Gladstone to pick up the nucleus hive (nuc). It’s the small wooden box you see above underneath the hive. Since they are from only an hour away they should be used to our lovely wet weather. Kate and Mary Ann gave me great moral support when I struggled to open the lid of the box. It was only held in by two nails, but I swear it was the hardest part of the whole adventure. Next I moved the black feeding tray over. We might use it in addition to the entrance feeders if the bees go through more than a quart a day. It is quite cool and rainy these days, so they may need the extra food until they get a chance to find enough nectar in the neighborhood. We’re feeding them 1:1 sugar …

The new hive

The new hive is all set up and ready to receive the shipment of bees I’ll be picking up on Friday. I had been feeling a bit apprehensive about taking on another year of beekeeping, but now I’m just plain excited. My nuc is due to be picked up at Ruhls bee supply this Friday morning. It’s going to be a busy day. First dropping off a load of kids at Trillium Charter School, where V is in her second week. Then picking up the bees and installing them in the hive at the Kerr’s house. Once they’re all settled I’m off to my second weekend of herb school with Matthew Wood. Yay, for an exciting life.    

The Bien

It is getting to  be the time of  year to prepare for bee swarming season. Last year I set up two hives. A traditional Langstroth hive in a shared garden and a top bar hive with a viewing window in my little backyard. I got started a little late, but I caught my first swarm in June and placed it in my home hive. Unfortunately the season was cold and wet and my bees never made it through summer. This year I’m buying a nucleus hive for the Langstroth that is now in a different, closer garden and keeping my eyes out for a swarm to catch. It’s still pouring ‘winter’ rains in Portland, but I’m thinking about Spring and buzzing things. I was inspired today to poke around in Michael Thiele’s blog gaiabees.com . Apiculture is beginning a transformation towards a wholesome way of living with bees. New voices are emerging. The bien is calling. … Bees gives themselves completely to the wellbeing of the bien. Their physical existence is completely devoted to its …