My First Taste of TwoHoneys

Today I did a little work with the bees. They’re doing much more work than I am, let me tell you that. The new colonies (Tomboys and the Girls of Summer) are building comb like crazy. Because they were installed only a week ago, I had to leave them alone for a bit so they could release their queen and get to work without my interference. Their queens are active, and the workers are working up a storm.

They had built burr comb (comb built in odd places where it’s not wanted by me) that I had to remove…some of it already contained honey, so I ate it. Just bit right into wax built by my very own bees and full of honey from my very own yard. I tell you, Reader, I’ve never tasted honey so fresh and delightful. Deb had some, too, and she love it. It’s so bright and good!

The Amazons are about to explode with baby bees. Their hive is full of larvae, and I watched one bee morph from larvae to bee right before my eyes. I watched the queen walk all around the new brood, too. Very cool.

And I got a bee up my pants that stung me on the back of the leg. I knew it was coming, but what did you want me to do?!

Good Bye, You Sorry-Ass Mouse

When we installed our two new colonies on Sunday, I watched several Amazon girls hauling grass and twigs and dead leaf material from their hive. Uh oh, I thought.

Today I dug into their hive to check their spring progress, and I discovered a dead mouse between the top and bottom boxes. I scraped his sorry ass off with my hive tool and flung him out into the woods.

Then I saw that he’d eaten away a huge hunk of beeswax foundation from two frames and had built his nest in there. There was more nest material on the bottom board.

I cleaned it all up, all the while apologizing to the Amazons for not installing a mouse guard at their entrance. Of course, those girls had already made mincemeat out of Mr Mouse; but I hate that they’d spent one ounce of energy or precious springtime worrying about him rather than on pollen collection and comb drawing and brood rearing.

My Girls Can Take It

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. We were on hand yesterday to watch Christy install her bees. She was gentle. She went to great lengths to avoid any violence or aggitation to the bees…it was an elaborate process. Here she is preparing her brood box to welcome its new family.

Here’s Jana and Deb posing with Christy’s hive boxes. We all ate the most delicious flan and fruit together before the big event. See how much fun? Christy made it a little party.

Then Deb and I came home and installed our bees. We shook the daylights out of them. It was quick, and it was crazy.

Now, Reader, you know that I’m not a violent person, and I would never intentionally upset my bees…but they are not delicate creatures. And they can take a little action. So, we simply dumped them into their new homes without any coddling. And now they’re happily flying around getting to know the lay of the land. If they’re gonna make it over here, by golly, they’d better get tough.

And we’ve now named each of our hives so you’ll know who we’re referring to when we talking about them. We chose strong names…absolutely no pussyfooting. From left to right: Amazons, Tomboys, Feisty Girls (Deb’s still vascillating between Feisty Girls and Girls of Summer. It may change).

Whatever Goes in Your Yard Goes in Your Honey Goes in You

The Scott’s lawn service truck just pulled up to my across-the-street neighbor’s house, and now the guy is out spraying chemicals on the grass. Deb calls them the honey-bee eliminators. Friends—pesticides and herbicides are bad for bees; and they’re bad for your honey. Whatever goes in your yard goes in your honey goes in you. How hard is this to understand? Let’s keep it raw and sweet. Dandelions and clover are very very good.

We're Going Naked

A long-time beekeeper wrote an article for the April issue of Bee Culture magazine, and I like his philosophy. He doesn’t medicate his bees. At all. Ever. For any purpose. Not even mites.

All but one beekeeper I know makes a very big deal of medicating for mites. But this fellow¬†believes that because mites have become an issue, then we should be determined to raise mite-resistant bees. Which means no treating for mites. I’m going with this idea. He says we may lose a lot of colonies to mites or other diseases, but eventually we’ll have stronger, mite-resistant, disease-resistant stock. This is now my philosophy, too.

HEAR ME NOW: There will be no medication of any kind whatsoever in my hives. You can count on it.

Don't Want No Stinkin' Sugar Water

The past two days have been….drumroll….SPECTACULAR! High 70s and nooooo clouds. And the bees are flying like nobody’s business. They come back to the hive heavy with pollen. They’re not touching the sugar water. No.