Category Archives: Beekeeping

We’re Accidental Beekeepers who never imagined keeping Bees, but Mother Nature sent Honey Bees our way & we are very happy to keep them.

A Hive of Activity ~ Beesy, Beesy

We were little worried last week about our busy clumping bees. It wasn’t the usual buzzing around when some housekeeping, or should I say hivekeeping, is in operation. They were just in a cluster which, since it’s Spring, made us wonder if they were prepared to swarm.

Preparing to Swarm???

DH decided to do a quick check ~ to see if it was their space or their population growth that might have contributed to this clump being formed.

Checking the top bar hive.

It was actually quite “full” of comb (both honey and brood) so he added a few new bars and removed some boards, giving them more room to make new comb.

Quick inspection & remedial action done.

Notice in the top photo that an entrance has a stopper. When the hive was young & new combs were being built, space and doorway guidance were helpful, so 2 openings were sufficient, but now …
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Bees’ Post Lunar-cy Status

There’s going to be a Full Moon tonight. I think its magnetic strength has changed enough to allow the Bees back to being their usual selves. After yesterday’s bee-frenzy it’s a relief that all things are back to normal.

hive1a

hive2a

They are going about collecting pollen & nectar and simply acting like yesterday’s hype never happened. If any Beekeeper happens to be reading this, any advice or information you can share will be greatly appreciated.

Bee-wildered

There’s a first time for everything, right?
Well, today it’s the first time I’m seeing, that for almost 4 hours, the bees were simply busy buzzing around as if they were ‘beewildered’. They did not swarm (thank goodness!) and were not in an angry attack mode either.

The above is Hive 1 and in Hive 2 below, the same was happening.

Does the Moon affect the Bees? Today is supposed to be the Moon’s Perigee i.e. its point of orbit is closest to Earth. Is that the cause of their frenzy?

Beefore and After

Sometimes the “Just-In-Case” notion pays …

We cleared and stored all our outdoor furniture in the garage, took down hanging plants, sheltered potted plants in the oak-well, did all that was necessary on our hurricane checklist before heading for the airport to enjoy our vacation in Singapore and Australia, Just-In-Case. Well, while in sunny Sydney where it was the start of Spring, we sat & watched US news channels of Hurricane Matthew blowing through Florida.

Not much we could do ~ just enjoy the vacation and accept whatever mess Matthew decides to leave behind, right? Upon our return, we didn’t give it much thought during the 1st 2 days of clearing and performing CPR (Crucial Plant Resuscitation) but then we suddenly remembered: we had decided to hang up our Swarm Box a day before leaving, Just-In-Case some Queen and her entourage needed shelter.

The "Just-In-Case" Swarm Box

The “Just-In-Case” Swarm Box

On Day 3, we checked … and … Yo! Her Majesty did take refuge, perhaps to hide from Matthew(?) and decided to stay on.

Action in the Swarm Box!!

Action in the Swarm Box!!

We’ve decided to leave them alone, let them make themselves at home but to bring out a spare Top Bar Hive and place it close to the Box, to let them get used to the scenery.

Top Bar Hive in position.

Top Bar Hive in position.

Our neighbor’s hurricane shutters are still up but we are hoping 2016 hurricane season has ended, even though it’s only the 1st week of November. Did this swarm come from our other hives? Or our neighbor’s hive? Did Hurricane Matthew contribute to their  settling in this Swarm Box? Whatever the circumstance, we’re glad we had hung up this contraption and even laced it with Lemongrass oil  …  Just-In-Case.

Hurricanes and Vacations don’t mix well but …

What do you do when you’re thousands of miles away from home, on vacation, and you read on the internet that a category 3 hurricane, with a possibility of getting to 4, is heading towards your home? 😮
There wasn’t much I could do really, and to make matters worse, the closer Hurricane Matthew headed towards Florida the likelier was the possibility that my humble abode was about to get hit by the eye. So there I was along the shores of Lake MacQuarie in sunny Australian Spring weather listening to CNN live weather report wondering if I would  have a house to go back to.

My consolation was just knowing I would not be in the way of Matthew’s sadistic whirlwind delirium. (Having been through Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma, trust me, I know what hurricanes can do.) After consolation, came relief ~ he decided to blow at 68 mph instead of over 100mph as he had done over Haiti.

Today, upon my return … ah yes, the house is still standing.
Upon closer inspection, *relief* there are no leak marks.
And the garden cum food forest?

mess

A living 3-week old mess!

Mother Nature's mulch supply.

Mother Nature’s mulch supply.

Some lived; some died.

Some lived; some died.

Some actually coming back to life!

Some actually coming back to life!

Tidying up needed, but not too bad.

Tidying up needed, but not too bad.

We had to save the doors but left the plants to Ma Nature.

We had to save the patio doors but left the plants to Ma Nature.

BUT … it’s not been a total tragedy ~ perhaps a nudge to rethink and redo, to work with Mother Nature and the changes she brings forth. It’s also eye-opening when I see and learn new things such as …

The hive survived! even though the vegetation around got demolished.

The hive survived!
even though the vegetation around it got demolished.

... and the bees are hurricane tolerant.

… and the bees are hurricane tolerant.

The trellis collapsed but not the Passiflora vine.

The trellis collapsed but not the Passiflora vine.

They are actually bearing fruit!

They are actually bearing fruit!

lots of fruit!

lots of fruit!

Even the Cassava (which I call Ubi Kayu) is calling out ~ “cut me, I’m ready for harvest!”

Nice and ready.

Nice and ready.

But tomorrow ~ stir fried Angled Gourd ( 絲瓜) with eggs and garlic for lunch!

Dead vine but edible gourd.

Dead vine but edible gourd.

Life goes on …

Hive Five (Feet Fall)

There is a hive which was (still is, somewhat) blowing in the wind, up on a tree which the bees must have felt comfortable with. I call that our Hive No. 2.  It just got bigger and bigger and we simply watched, hoping that the hive engineers knew what they were doing.

They chose the tree & the height.

They chose the tree & the height.

Then came the day of …

The 5ft Fall

The 5ft Fall

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Been Beezy checking Bees & Combs

Sky was clear and air was still. Lots of bees were out foraging for nectar and pollen and we decided that conditions were ideal to do a special check on our “new” hive, which began with a swarm that visited our Swarm Box in early April and were moved to their new home-hive in mid-April. Our main concern today was mites, which if found, we wanted to get rid of at an early stage.

So, the roof of the Top-Bar Hive got removed & the combs were inspected bar-by-bar.

Looked healthy, mite free.

Looked healthy, mite free.

Walls, base, combs looked "clean".

Walls, base, combs looked “clean”.

Apart from mites, we were also trying to spot the Queen …

Lots of nanny workbees, some drones, capped cells ~ but can't spot the Queen.

Lots of nanny workbees, some drones, capped cells ~ but couldn’t spot the Queen.

8 combs build in about 12 weeks.

8 combs build in about 12 weeks.

They were healthy and happy (except during our short intrusion)

They were healthy and happy (except during our short intrusion)

We now have peace of mind for these “newcomers”.
It is our hope that one day we will be granted audience with their Queen.

 

 

The Bees Sure Know What They Want

It’s been 6 days since we spotted Swarm No. 2 but how long had it been there before we noticed it is anyone’s guess. Day after day I’ve been watching it closely hoping that the “scouts” would persuade the Queen-bee to move to the Swarm Box a.k.a. Hivingham Palace.

Alas (or should I be filled with glee?), I think they’ve made their decision to live in a Treehive about 25 feet above ground level.

... still up on the tree today.

… still up on the tree today.

How did I come to that conclusion? Well, the wind & rain calmed down today and while the workers were out gathering food, I actually saw a comb.

a tree comb!

a tree comb!

Is their comb safe on the tree? Will it get heavy and fall off when filled with honey and larvae? I guess Mother Nature will show me how she works on things.

Now, there are 2 Swarms of Bees in our front yard!! :mrgreen:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find…” ~ Matthew 7:7