Tag Archives: Bee Keeping

Can Bees Survive Hurricanes?

Has Ma Nature made Bees hurricane resistant? Will they stay after Hurricane Irma blows through or will they simply abandon their hive and find a safer place?

They are on lower ground so we hope that in itself provides a buffer to the forthcoming hurricane wind force. We can at least try our best to help keep their roof in place.

Yes, we are about to find out if Bees and Hurricanes are compatible creations of Nature.

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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.

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.

 

 

Swarm No. 2 ~ Just Bee-U-tiful!!

As I drove on to our driveway this afternoon, hubby came walking out, fast, and said “You won’t believe what’s happened!”. My first thought was “Uh-oh! Did someone die?”

Fortunately, no, it was good news. Well at that point in time it was good news. A new swarm of Honey Bees is in our front yard, about 30ft away from our beezy Swamp Box, up on a tree. Out came the cellphone from the handbag, just in case they disappeared if I was to run in to grab a camera. Wow!

OK, at the time of this post, 7.45pm, the swarm is still there ~ not as active but still there. Will they stay? Is there a way to persuade them to stick around? We already have a hive in the backyard and are now trying to establish one in the front yard. Can we use that green Swarm Box we have to attract them after we move the present occupants to the Topbar Hive which we have set up?

There is something in the front yard attracting bees … could it be the lemongrass hedge?

 

 

 

Our Swarm Box (part 2)

We have slowly lowered our Swarm Box thrice now, each time about a foot or so.

Believe it or not, we surfed the internet and took advice from experienced beekeepers and did our hive-moving at night, using a flashlight, when the bees were “indoors”. Making it as gradual as possible and as permitted by the curvature and rough surface of the tree trunk, we have now gotten it to manageable height. Our “spare” Topbar Hive has been cleaned and put in place with a garden fork inserted nearby to act as a kind of landmark. I took this short video with my cellphone which (I think) shows the bees are still busy & don’t mind the change of height of their ‘temporary’ residence.

The white band on the tree trunk was about 14″ below the Box’s originally position. We had brushed some diatomaceous earth there to end/break the route of a colony of ants plying up and down the tree.

So now, we wait further before sitting the Box on the Hive …
(Adopt the Pace of Nature; Her Secret is Patience. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.)