Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Are the Girls Thinking of Swarming?

Building comb on the inner lid cover
Two of our three hives have been so active we decided we'd take the first good warm day (today) and check them out and divide. Well, we went in today and Queen Madeleine's kingdom was booming but no signs of imminent swarming except for the fact she's laying many, many drones. No backfilling, no queen cells.

Since there were lots of fresh eggs we decided to divide anyway and let the bees in the queenless box raise a new queen.

We split up the bees and moved Madeleine (She's a pretty gal!) and company to the back of the yard where we are starting a satellite bee yard. We closed the hive to keep the bees in and gave that hive about two quarts of sugar syrup. We'll give them a few days to get acclimated to their new location and then open up the door. We'll call the new Queen Lauren when she appears.

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20 -- Is It Really Winter?

The bees don't think so.

It's over 70 degrees and we went out to check our three hives. Everybody is busy and plenty of pollen is coming in. We planned to put in some sugar cakes, but the top boxes on all three hives were still so heavy with honey we decided to leave them alone. They obviously have stores enough for now. And since the weather is expected to be in the upper 50s to 70s during the day for the next two weeks all is looking good. The strongest hive (Madeleine) has the newest queen from last Summer. The second strongest is Bianca with a queen from 2015.

Friday, February 10, 2017

On Recycling and Making Valentines!

I'm a saver. I save old Christmas cards, all old cards as a matter of fact. I deflate old Mylar balloons and use them for crafts and wrapping paper. I save buttons when I turn worn out clothes into rags. And today is the reason I do it.

Three little grandkids came for a sleepover last night and here's what we've been doing. Other valentines are already in envelopes to mail. Now we just have to decide who the lucky recipients are for these treasures.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3: Winter is Coming, but Today -- Pollen Coming In!

Since we got back from our Canada trip in early October we've fed our three hives three times with three quarts each. So far we've used about 50 pounds of sugar to make syrup and the girls eat it up lickity split. Today I fed another three quarts each and broke down Bianca's hive to three boxes for the winter. All three hives have lots of bees and were all bringing in pollen -- orange and yellow. The weather the past few days has been warm and mostly sunny so they are active and still out working.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Frustration of the Backyard Beekeeper

We got back from our trip a week ago and on Sunday I fed two of the hives 1/2 gallon of sugar syrup each: Queens Madeleine and Bianca. I went out today to feed the other two and Anya's hive is pretty much finished. It had a small clump of bees but certainly not enough to get through the winter and the boxes were so light I suspect the other hives have been robbing. So I didn't feed those bees. I gave Rachel a bag and a second bag to Bianca. The top box in Rachel's hive is very heavy and I went down to the bottom in Bianca's hive -- lots of bees, lots of weight, so they appear to have plenty of stores. The feeding bags in both Madeleine and Bianca's hives were drained dry and I'm happy to say no dead bees. So status on feeding is:

Madeleine -- one bag
Bianca -- two bags
Anya -- nothing and we will take that hive down
Rachel -- one bag

I'll feed again at the end of the week.

We don't seem able to get beyond three hives. It will be interesting to see how things go over the winter and what our status is next Spring. Well, one good thing -- we don't need to buy any more equipment at present.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Surprise! And Count Your Blessings!

Hopewell Rocks at low tide
Do you like surprises? If you do we can cure you of that. We've been travelling for a week with our camper on what is supposed to be an extended trip to Canada and back. And it has been a series of unpleasant surprises. The first was opening the camper and finding the refrigerator door open and a bottle of beer that popped open when it feel out onto the floor. I suppose we can consider our camper baptized in beer. And it didn't make the surprise more agreeable that it was my fault since I didn't check the latch on the door.

Our second surprise at our next stop was a tipped over quart jar of honey that dripped down into the cupboard and onto the floor. I was as agitated by the loss of our precious honey as I was by the mess. We will be cleaning up honey forever I think. I keep finding more places covered with the sticky stuff. So far no ants thank God, but I expect to find that surprise sooner or later.

Prospect Harbor and a Lobster Boat

We took a drive down to check out Prospect Harbor. What fun! Lots of Lobster boats anchored there and one unloading and sorting the lobsters. A fun peak at Maine's lobster trade. While we road the tourist bus around we talked to one local gentleman who rides the bus almost every day to talk to the driver and the tourists. He was a wealth of information about the lobstermen. The trade is much more controlled now because of over trapping. Each lobsterman is limited to 800 traps max and they can't trap for two months when the lobsters are shedding. I think the months were July and August. Every trap has to be registered and have a tag showing its registration number. Folks with vacation homes can get a license for five traps, but the lobstermen don't like it and the man said often the buoys that mark the traps will be cut loose. I hope he was exaggerating and that's a rare occurrence.

lobster boats in the harbor