Category Archives: Bees

The Bees Swarm

Monday afternoon the bees called me from the garden.  I went over to find a huge swarm in the air circling all around.  The sound was intoxicating.  I ran back to the house and got the camera and recorded this video. TURN UP YOUR SOUND!!!

 

 

After about 30 minutes, they settled down in our tree and stayed there the night.  We tried to lure them into a fresh bee box with a full tray of honey and some lemongrass oil because it was difficult to capture.  It hung high in a tree above a web of branches.  The swarm bate did not work and they took flight the next day just before the thunderstorm.  Again they called me to them with their buzz.  I chased them out into the pasture but I lost them in the forest.  I trust they found good cover before the rain.  They are so smart.

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We still have the other half of the bees in the original hive but now hopefully they have replaced their queen and made more room for more bee babies.  We almost had two hives and then only half as many bees, but we gained so much learning in the process.

Welcome Home Honey Bees

Two weeks ago Friday the bees moved back on to the farm.  The first couple of days they saw sun but then only rain and wind and a bit of hail.  They are loving this sunny day!

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Today they are out and about collecting food.  See the pollen sacks on their legs as they return to the hive.

Bees-pollen sacks

Funny story how we got to know each other…I picked up the nuke hive from Chris Zanni and drove them home in the back seat. As a way for them to get to know my scent and jerky, fast movement style I brought the bees into the cool guest room to stay the night and become friends. It was sweet. I would go visit their screen mesh box and talk to the hive I could see hanging there. All was good that night and morning. Then about noon the second day, I hear the bees and go to check them out and realize there is a hole in the box. The bees are getting out and building a new pattern in the window of the house. At first I was confused as what to do. It was mid-day and too hot to set the hive; I needed to wait until dusk. So I decided to pick up the box and take it outside. Good thing I did because in 15 minutes there were hundreds of bees outside the box, but luckily outside the house too. The ones stuck inside the bedroom came out easily when we removed the window screen. It all worked out great as the majority of bees stayed with the hive to protect the queen and I received another opportunity to practice relaxation and anxiety management.

Bee-tray

Now they seem happy building and growing the hive and very tolerant of our family.  I can see by the bottom tray they are building and growing. The photo was hard to capture but you can see the bees are working on the left side where the wax shavings and pollen balls are building up. I cleaned the board yesterday so I can see the work they have done in the last 18 hours or so.

It is good to have the bees back on the land.  I love to walk by and hear the buzz of their activity in the back corner.

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Bee Update

Late in January with the warm days I noticed the bees active in the heat of the day.  I could monitor their activity as well by watching their debris on the bottom board of the hive.  Then by mid February, after those heavy rains and winds, all activity stopped.IMG_20150228_164650_200

Last weekend I opened the hive and found no living bees.  There was plenty of honey and a cluster of maybe 30 dead bees huddled together in the center.  Saturday I spent the afternoon extracting the honey and wax and learning about bee life without fear of damaging their home or personal concern for stings.

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Then I spent most of Sunday fascinated…watching the golden nectar drip on the mantle above the stove…for hours.  Each drop represents so much work for those bees.

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The hive was just not strong enough to make it through the winter and we are not exactly sure why. Like life, the sadness of loss also offers lots of learning and opportunities for reflection.  We hope our learning this year will provide for a more successful hive next year.  We will be picking up new bees from Zanni the first week of April.