Author Topic: Bees!  (Read 75366 times)

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Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #90 on: July 14, 2015, 09:29:11 AM »
Yeah, someone told me baking soda, and interestingly the "active ingredient" in After Bite is baking soda.  Eric used apple cider vinegar on the three he got this weekend and said it worked well.  Plus it masked the "danger" pheromone and stopped more bees from stinging him after the first two.

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #91 on: July 19, 2015, 11:23:15 PM »
Blogged the extraction so far:  http://reefbotanicals.blogspot.com/2015/07/were-farmers.html

What I didn't put in that post is that the swarm hive is FINALLY queen-right!  We saw the queen and brood, and added two more frames of capped brood from another strong hive today, so they have a fighting chance!


Offline trusk4u

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #93 on: July 24, 2015, 05:53:27 PM »
Happy news indeed! And all the honey you've been harvesting is amazing!  You will sell out in no time flat. People are CRAZY for local honey!

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #94 on: August 04, 2015, 11:57:21 AM »
So I got tired of waiting for Eric to get his computer fixed and then ordering labels, and then first labeling the bottles, so I used one of our existing Reef Botanicals designs as a temp label for this year only, and we'll bring it to Staples and have it printed there on the color label printer on 2"x2" labels.

Because I wanna sell honey!

Plus, there's a beekeeper auction in NJ on 8/22, and we plan to go & see if we can get any good deals on equipment we know we'll need for next year.  I can't wait!

The "real" label will have the pale green circle in the middle behind the product name instead of behind the brand name, and the pawprint will be replaced by a bee.  The rest will likely stay about the same, except that next year we'll also have Raw Wildflower Creamed Honey and possibly also Raw Wildflower Comb Honey, if I can convince E we should do a little comb honey.  And it'll be printed professionally on waterproof labels next year.

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #95 on: February 01, 2016, 01:29:08 PM »
It's been months & months since I updated, but I'm excited about our girls again.  We had an amazing day of weather yesterday, so they were out like crazy, cleaning house.  All of the live hives (10 out of the 11) have a lot of bee carcasses out front on the snow now, since it was finally warm enough for them to pitch out their dead.  And they were all coming out to "go to the bathroom," since they're really clean & won't go in the hive unless they've got dysentery.  Lots of little yellow dots all over the snow.  Love 'em!

So yes, we lost one hive.  It was the one that was least likely to make it, so I cried, but wasn't surprised.  They were the small swarm that Eric caught late season, and though we tried to bulk them up with new queens and additional frames of brood, they just didn't get their numbers high enough to survive the cold snap when it came.  We took back the food we'd given them that they didn't eat, as well as their drawn honeycomb and honey, which we'll give to the bees come spring.  And we fed all the other hives; if these bees die, it will NOT be because we let them starve, that's for sure.

If the other 10 continue to do well, we're in a really good position to expand in the spring and get a ton of honey, so we're looking forward to that, at least.

Offline trusk4u

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #96 on: February 14, 2016, 10:29:08 AM »
Sorry to hear that you lost one, but at least it was only one. I don't plan on keeping bees, but when I start planting in this yard, I am going to try and plant stuff that they like.

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #97 on: February 14, 2016, 11:27:47 AM »
That's all your local beekeepers (and bees) can ask!


Offline trusk4u

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #99 on: February 25, 2016, 09:38:44 AM »
It is amazing that so much sap is required to make syrup, but it is soo worth it!!! I could never go back to the fake stuff.

As for planting for bees, I have a pretty good list of things to plant in both the front and back. It includes:
Cosmos, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia, Snapdragon, Goldenrod, Lavender, and Catmint. Goldenrod concerns me a bit because it's always been considered a weed (like dandelions) but it is pretty. If I plant it, it will likely go towards the back of the yard close to the creek. I want to have a fairly "wild" section back there and will put the bird feeders there too. 

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #100 on: February 25, 2016, 12:48:56 PM »
Those sound terrific!  I actually think goldenrod is gorgeous, and it's one of the best things for bees because it blooms in late summer and fall when they don't have much else around to eat.  Early spring and late summer/fall plants are in such short supply for the girls.

I've never tried fake syrup, unless they used it at IHOP when I was a kid.  In the supermarket the other day, I saw "Sugar Free Vermont Syrup."  It wasn't a lie, didn't say "maple" anywhere, but man it was made to LOOK like maple syrup instead of the chemicals from which it was really made.  Terrible.  I get irrationally angry when I see stuff like that.  It feels like such deceit, even when it's not actually a lie.

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #101 on: May 17, 2016, 10:44:33 AM »
We've been having a heck of a time with the bees because of the wonky weather.  It got warm really early, so the queens in the established hives started laying eggs earlier than normal, building up the colonies' populations.  Normally, at that point we'd split hives to control swarming and increase the number of good, strong hives we have.  Well, we intended to do that, but then we had a cold snap which precluded us from opening the hives and disturbing them, and especially from taking any of their brood because it would freeze to death if we split it up.  So our hands were tied, and meanwhile the queens were still in there pumping out babies.  So as soon as it got warm, ALL of our biggest hives swarmed.  It's REALLY frustrating.  We caught a bunch of the swarms, so we were able to increase the number of hives anyway, but because it happened this way instead of with controlled splits, it's likely our honey production for this year took a big hit.

Meanwhile, we had 4 new hives in a friend's yard.  She was so excited; she grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and really wants to bring some farm life to her kids (9 year old twins).  Well, two nights in a row there were bear attacks, and three of those hives were destroyed.  We salvaged one, moved it to our yard, and gave it a new queen on Sunday since the queen had been killed in the melee.  Its' got a good population so we hope it pulls through.

Yesterday when Eric worked from home, he was able to inspect the 6 hives we have in a yard up the street.  The biggest one swarmed, so the population is lower and they have to make a new queen; we're hoping she hatches and mates well.  One that we were figuring for lost - it had no queen and a laying worker, which just kills off a hive because the worker can only lay drones and no females/workers/queens - suddenly made a queen and there's viable brood in there.  We have no idea how that happened!

The two nucs and swarm we housed there are doing really well.  And then there's a resource hive split we did that may need a queen, so we'll give them one tomorrow.

Stress with a capital STRESS!

Offline Larissa

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Re: Bees!
« Reply #102 on: May 31, 2016, 10:44:51 AM »
So... two of the hives that were queenless after they swarmed made new queens.  We're ecstatic about that!  Five didn't, so for two of them that had good populations, we took eggs from another hive and put them in, in the hopes that now they'll requeen themselves successfully.  For the other three that were weaker, I'm picking up new queens for them tonight.  We still have two of the 20 to inspect, but they've got good population, so we've got a little time with them. 

What we did do over the weekend was move them about 20 feet from one location in the yard to another.  Those two aren't in our yard, they're in a friend's in town, and the way we had them, they defied logic and flew backwards over their hives, bothering our friends on their deck all last summer.  :/

So we moved them over to another part of their yard facing an entirely different direction.

Thought I'd add a photo; I've posted pix before of what the frames of honeycomb look like in our hives, but in one of the hives we inspected Sunday, we found that the bees apparently hated their wax foundation, so they ripped it out completely (just the one frame), and started building comb in a lamb's ear formation, the way they would do in the wild.  It's gorgeous, and just goes to show that bees will do what bees wanna do.  They don't read the same books we do.  :)