New Bees 🐝

Below are some quick photos of the new bee package install. I was bey lucky to get Warren to help me. This package was more robust than I thought so I may be able to do a split soon. I will put up a more detailed post shortly but this is a teaser for my spring installations.

Brief Spring in Baltimore

Above is a quick video of the bees in🐝 Park Heights on a warm winter day this week! This is the one surviving hives from one of the other beekeepers at the site.

The temperature was over 70 degrees that day and there is some clover on the field. It’s was a great day for getting out of the hive.

Michelle

The warm up…or really more of the same.

This morning, I ventured out to check on the hives and greenhouses after the deep freeze of the past two weeks.  A found a few bees working in the hive which was a good sign. The white stuff is the sugar or bee candy that I made a few weeks ago.

Most of the vegetation in the area is still frozen from the frost but, its good to see that my bees persist.  Even though 40+ degree weather feels balm to us because of the persistent cold, to the bees it’s just another winter day.

Stay Warm!

Michelle

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Feeding at Dusk

This is an update on the feeding process and my latest visit at dusk on December 13, 2017. After working on a few projects this week, I finally got a chance to check on the bees, on Wednesday evening at dusk. The forecast for that evening was for light snows and sleet and the weather was in low 30’s to high – 20’s.  The wind was biting cold and my fingers despite having on gloves froze quickly so I tried to be as efficient as possible while still trying to document the visit with my SLR.

Due to the temperatures, bees tend to cluster.  Definition of Clustering: The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering to keep the center between 27 °C (81 °F) at the start of winter and 34 °C (93 °F) once the queen resumes laying. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold.

Below are some key details from my visit:

  1. Bee Candy Results: The results of my no-cook bee candy (candy bar). It crumbled because I may have added too many drops of essential oil.  It smelled great but it was sort of fail. I am going to have to reassemble new bars.
  2. Removing Frames: I took out empty frames and added honey from other hives that failed. I froze these other frames for at least 48 hours at home as per the advice of other beekeepers to remove issues of wax moths.
  3. Second Hive Issues: In the second hive (this is a stronger hive) the frames were glued together (propolitized – propolis) due to greater activity by the colony in the second box. Due to the cold temperature and impending nightfall, I did not spend a lot of time so I left the sugar on top and closed the hive quickly.

Lessons Learned: 

  1. Bee Candy Redo: I will try a cooked version or use less essential oil in my no-cook recipe.
  2. Next year I will be better at: Working my frames more. Get into these hives more often to reduce the issue with propolis
  3. Time well spent: That the care and feeding of these bees has been worth it and I have learned a lot!

I will do another check soon. Over the last few weeks, I have been collecting equipment and beginning my winter rehab and preparations. This next few posts will be on these endeavors.

Michelle 🙂

 

 

First Snow…

 

So there not much to this post but I went to check on the hives early on Saturday morning. The bees were inside like expected and nothing much to report since I was the dumb one taking photos in the snow…

In my rush this week, I did not install my mouse guards or add the bee candy as planned. But, I got some work done on freezing frames from the other hives and gathering donated local wax. I will share this in another post.

With the changing of the season officially, I will start to focus on the inside aspects after finishing up the last few chores. A good thing is that the ground was still warm and this snow should melt within the next day or two. The weather report shows that it will get into the forties this week which will allow me to get these last task done, but I thought that I would share the nice snowy shots on the site.

Below are some photos of my house later in the afternoon. It snowed all day and we got a few inches of snow but we lucked out with the pavement being warm so no shoveling 🙂

Michelle

Viva la Abeja! Long live the Bee!

 

Today, I was pleasantly surprised to find active bees building comb in Hive 1 at the Woodland site.  See video below:

I  only checked because I have been working on the greenhouses at Woodland for the winter season. I have been amazed by the greenhouse results so far. Below are some photos from my other project which is greenhouses. It has been exciting watching the progress.

Thanks for checking out the site and now I will be making at least two bee candy bars!

Michelle 🙂

 

Hive update – late November

The holidays took their toll on my posting habits but, I visited the hives regularly and took photos on these visit. The photos are not that exciting due to the lack of action so I posted a small collage to summarize.

Since the temperature has dropped the activity at the hives have slowed dramatically. As far as an update, I believe that the weaker hive has died out and only the second one remains. Below is some video that I took on my visit on Monday.

Over the next week, I will prepare “bee candy” for the remaining hive. Making fondant is not my specialty but, I have found some recipes that I may try so wish me luck😉☘️

My next posts will be of candy project and more detailed information on my process for wintering my equipment.

Look out for future posts on beekeeping information sessions and events that I will be hosting in Baltimore this winter.

Michelle

 

 

Visit to Real Food Farms

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Real Food Farms Sign – November 2017

This morning, I had the opportunity to visit Real Food Farms in Baltimore, MD.  They have a large campus in Clifton Park with some very healthy hives on the farm. As part of their support for the bees, they have pollinator-friendly plants around the site along with crops that grow seasonally. They also allow their bees to keep the honey so it less maintenance for the farmer/beekeepers.

Above is a photo of a sign for visitors to the site.   I think that this is a great idea so that people can ask questions and not fear the bees, in other words, “respect the bee”.

Since it was the end of the season things are moving indoors so my further photos aren’t great. But, I just wanted to share a few photos and encourage others to visit the Farm and or support their efforts.

Michelle 🙂

 

Finally, fall in Baltimore…

The “real” fall has finally arrived in early November in Baltimore. Above are some photos of the Woodland garden from this week and I was lucky enough to have some help from Sophia on Monday.

This week it has been colder than its been all year and damp. I am always commenting (rather complain about) the dampness of Maryland despite growing up in the constant humidity of Miami, when it rains here and it under 50 degrees it’s really cold to me.. So this week when the temperatures hit 42, I was freezing.

The good news was that we can retire the summer crops but, the bad news was that it meant saying goodbye to some of these plants (the last gasp of my various tomatoes). Over the last few weeks, we moved seedling into the hoop houses at Woodland and we have been preparing the moisture levels in the houses for new plant life. This my first year using hoop houses and I am excited about this project. I will share more photos of the winter oasis.

As for the bees… Not much movement for the last few days because of the dreary weather. Below are two days of photos. I fed the hives and when I thought all was calm, the guard bees on the more active hive let me know they were still around. The other hive was more docile.

Otherwise, I have been working on my indoor business activities and preparations for the winter. Hopefully, the weather does not take a turn for winter soon and the Friday freeze will be brief.

I will keep you updated!

Michelle

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