Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bee Log 45: August 10, 2010

At last we have honey to sell at the Phinney Farmers' Market on Friday nights from 3 to 7pm. Look for us there.

My husband uncapping a frame of honey. Note the dark honey in the center of the frame. The bees were collecting from two different flowers.

The extractor with a frame of honey inside.

The garden is producing despite the cold summer that we have had in Seattle. Shown is an orange cauliflower.

Six year old Belle wants to be a beekeeper. Her parents brought her over to our house to look at the beehives. The bees were a bit scary but that did not deter her interest. I have to admit that I am a little afraid of the bees too. One should respect a stinging insect with a powerful venom inserted with a barbed needle connected to a pumping device.

All of our bee suits were all hopelessly too big for tiny Belle. It was raining so we had a really good excuse not to look inside a live hive. We did watch the bees at the entrance of the hive for awhile. We also looked at an empty hive with frames inside and at our honey extractor.

I hope that this interest in bees will grow into a lifelong hobby or business. One never knows with a 6 year old. One must be careful not to discourage good things because of youth.


  1. Hi- I am a beginning beekeeper in west seattle. Just one hive, and started this spring. Nice to read your posts. Our bees also produced lots of light golden blackberry honey, once the sun finally came out in early July.

    Right now, besides clover and lavender, is there anything else in the city for them? I'm concerned because so many of my neighbors are mowing their lawns now and removing the clover flowerheads - especially on warm dry days.

  2. Welcome to beekeeping! I hope that your bees are doing well in this difficult cool summer. I am learning a lot about plants this summer. In the city, we have gardens that are watered and gardeners that plant all kinds of flowering plants. I too am concerned about clover mowing! I was thinking of doing a blog on that topic. Right now, the mimosa trees are starting to bloom as is Japanese knot weed. These are both good nectar sources. Japanese knot weed produces a tasty honey that is as dark as Coca-cola. There are some wild asters that are a good dark honey source as well. The bit of rain we had will stimulate blooming in this current hot spell.

    You might want to look on the Puget Sound Beekeepers web site for the list of flowers blooming by month.

  3. Thanks for the info! I am a PSBA member and have been more involved than ever this year with work parties, etc since getting my bees. They are doing pretty well now, thanks for asking. Thank goodness for the warm dry weather after July 4th!

    I'd really love a post on mowing. I've toyed with the idea of asking my neighbors, with clover lawns, to stop mowing at the end of July and leave the flowerheads for the bees. I thought of offering each one who agrees, a small jar of honey as reward. Wish I had lots of honey to bribe with! I also thought about handing out clover seeds to the neighborhood, to get more people interested in clover. It's funny you mention knotweed, because my husband and I used to remove it from the wetlands around here. Now, with the lack of late summer forage in the city, I secretly LOVE to see the knotweed! But, really we can't talk about that with most people we know, you know.

    I have learned so much with my bees. And we just need to find creative ways to educate our non-beekeeping neighbors about how their gardens can support major bee forages even through the late summer and fall, and show them how that those flowering "weeds" they sometimes hate are often one of the bees' best food sources.

    Are you always at the Phinney market? I would love to stop and see your booth and taste your honey. But we can't go next Friday. Perhaps the following Friday, if you're there?

  4. We should be there each Friday until the first Friday in October. I would love to meet you.

    We are selling our honey by the zip code in which it is collected. We usually have 4 varieties out and more under the table.

    On clover, my husband is mowing with the mower at the highest setting. The lawn looks good and a lot of the clover is spared. I think the clover is just about done for the year now.

  5. bees are absolutely crazy about tansy and goldenrod--and these two plants will grow just about anywhere. they love any kind of vetch and the little white daisy that grows in the lawn. But if you choose to add tansy, goldenrod and vetch to your jungle, you'll have a home for many lycaenidae species and fill your garden with startling blue butterflies as well. tansy and goldenrod are choice plants for hairstreaks and coppers, maps, fritillaries and whites. When i shoot in srbsko in the goldenrod patches, I am literally covered with bees. they ignore photographers.