Saturday, April 28, 2007

Feasting After the Winter Fast

Today we had hoped to do our first hive inspection. Our friend that sold us our apiary was supposed to come down to step us through it. But the weather has not cooperated. Today it only reached about 60 degrees. None the less, the girls were quite active. Very active, in fact.

With all the rain of the past couple of weeks, the grass has really grown so we decided to spend the morning mowing and weed eating. We cleaned up around the apiary, and when we turned off the mower and weed eater we noticed a very loud buzzing. We looked over at the apiary and saw a line of black. The bees had a flight path going and the workers were very busy gathering pollen from the dogwood and redbud trees that are in full bloom. We walked down to the flight path and stood on the edge of it and watch for quite a while. It was really awesome. We have six hives - and each hive has at the very least about 10,000 bees. And most of them were out collecting pollen. It was really a sight to behold.

I didn't have my camera with me, so I didn't get a picture. We went back down later in the afternoon, and while they were not quite so active, they were still out and about. We got a few pictures and I put a couple up on The Bee Buzz website.

The fact that our girls are so busy is a good sign. There must be plenty of little babies to feed for them to be so interested in gathering pollen. Hopefully it will be warm enough next weekend to inspect the hives. I am hoping to locate the queen in at least one of the hives. I'll be sure to take some pictures.

Bee happy!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Our Bees Rock!

The weather last week was just brutal. We had several inches of rain followed by two full days of very strong winds and below normal temps. We worried all week about the bees and the homestead. But when we arrived Friday night, the bees were just fine. They are really a hardy bunch. I am so proud of them I could burst. Unfortunately, the homestead didn't fair quite as well and suffered more uprooted trees than we could count. If you are interested, check out the Back To Basic Living website for some pictures.

Saturday was gorgeous with temperatures in the 80s. We spent almost the entire day clearing out fallen trees, but we did go down to check on the girls and they were just a flurry of activity. We could hear them buzzing about the apiary before we could even see it. We noticed that there were so many bees flying in and out of the hives that they were having some trouble getting through the hive reducers. The reducers are put on for the winter to help keep the hives warm and block some of the wind. We've hesitated removing them this spring because the weather has been so crazy and it's much colder than usual. Well, we decided that since it doesn't look like we'll be going down to freezing temps again, we would go ahead and remove them. I put some pictures of the process up on the website. I also included a few close up pictures of some of the girls. They really show a lot of patience with me chasing them around with a camera - but they do occasionally get annoyed, and they are pretty quick to let me know. Check it out.

The only straps we had when we got the bees home were motorcycle tie downs. They certainly did the job, but we actually like to use those tie downs on motorcycles, so I ordered some hive tie straps from a bee supply catalog. Next weekend we'll replace the tie downs with the straps.

Bee Happy!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Poor bees. It's been raining since before noon yesterday. It rained all night and it's still raining. Apparently the whole East Coast is getting this weather, but that doesn't make the bees any happier about it. They are snuggled up pretty tightly this weekend in an attempt to stay warm and dry.

Hopefully it will dry out and warm up this week. I'd like to get some more up close pictures of the girls to put on the website.

Bee Happy,

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Too Cold to do Anything but Clean House

After weather in the 80s last week, we were hit with a blast of cold air and have been in the 20s the past couple of nights. I walked down to check on the apiary around 1PM and the girls were complaining bitterly about the cold. But, the industrious gals that they are, they were busy cleaning house. I put a picture up on the website of one of the busier hives. Check it out.

I split open several plums and spread them around the hives. Seems so much is in bloom everywhere except here on our property. We are usually a week or so behind much of the area, so we should have some Red Bud trees, Dogwoods, spring bulbs, etc. blooming pretty soon. In the meantime, I hope the girls like the plums.

I also put a Colony Collapse Disorder article up on the website. This phenomenon is really pretty widespread across the US, and it's extremely worrisome. To my knowledge, it has not yet been reported in Virginia, but it has been reported in all the states that surround us. If the cause is not found, I'm afraid the honey bee population may not recover. Check out Cyberbee (click on the CCD link) for more information on Colony Collapse Disorder.

In a few weeks our friend John (the guy that sold us the 6 hives) will be coming down to walk us through the spring inspection. I'm really looking forward to that. I'll be sure to get some pictures up of the experience.

Bee Happy,