Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bee Log 64: August 30, 2011

I am not happy today. This is the result of 3 bee stings to the face through my bee vale. I am puffed up like a chipmunk trying to stash seeds. I guess this goes with the beekeeping territory but I wish I did not respond so spectacularly.

We have a grumpy hive. This is usually due to genetics so the cure is to re-queen. That means that we have to go through 6 medium bee boxes (westerns) and find the queen. We are not using queen excluders this year so the queen, bless her non-heart blood system, could be anywhere in the tall,populous hive. That means really upsetting the bees to find her.

Last night we moved the hive after dusk from the host yard to a more remote location. We tried to secure all entrances immediately but the bees poured out a poorly secured top entrance. Then the front entrance plug came part way out. So we loaded a hive that had nasty bees crawling all over the surface. My husband got it in the ankles and wrists and I got it in the face each time my vale brushed the skin. We brushed the bees off of each other, got in the truck with our bee suits on and drove to the remote site. Unloading was as unpleasant as loading but at least we were alone and did not have to worry about the residents. Husband took a few more hits on the ankles. Boy those bees love his black fuzzy socks.

We stopped at a grocery store after all was over and I tried to find meat tenderizer made from papaya. I found some but it had salt in it and that did not sound too good so I bought a ripe papaya. When I got home, I cut off a piece and rubbed it all over my face concentrating on the sting sites. I also took Benedryl and ibuprofen and went to bed with an ice pack. I think the papaya helped.

It is overcast and threatening rain today so we will not attempt any search for the nasty queen today.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bee Log 63: August 20, 2011

Yes! We have honey! It has been so cold this spring and summer in Seattle that I did not think that we would ever get honey. The bees have been packing it in. We took our first honey August 1 and got another harvest this last week. The result is honey to sell at the Phinney Farmers' Market on Friday evenings from 3pm to 7pm.

Our honey is tasty and unique. We are selling most of the honey by hive location. For instance, we have had a nice lot of honey from 98103, 98119 and 98125 so we sell that honey by zip code. We can only guess at the source of the honey because we know what was blooming before the harvest. I know blackberry is one of the components of the current honey as well as Linden trees and clover. Japanese knot weed will be next along with the little yellow dandelion things (I think a wild aster) currently blooming in yards around us. Each group of hives produces a unique taste. Honey is a bit like wine as each harvest has an individual taste.

We have been busy with our bees. 25 hives has us working about 2-3 days a week this time of year. Some of the hives are more productive than others. And the production in an individual hive varies through the season.

Come see us at the market if you live in Seattle. Phinney Farmers' Market is a smaller, family friendly market with a great selection of fruit and produce and a wonderful set of vendors.