Friday, June 22, 2012

Bee Log #73

We had our first farmers' market of the summer tonight. It rained during the whole market. It didn't just do the Seattle mist thing, it rained. The temperature was about 55 degrees. For me, it was a six layer night. That means a combination of six shirts and jackets. I was warm even if I looked rather round. One undershirt, one short sleeved shirt, one long sleeved shirt, one fleece vest, one fleece jacket and a gortex rain coat.

We actually sold more honey than I expected to sell. We paid the stall fee with a bit left over so not too bad for such a cold wet SUMMER????? night.

Bee Log #72

We had another swarm yesterday, the 18th of the year. It was about 10 feet up in an alder tree and very accessible (unlike one that we got out of a blackberry thicket earlier in the week). The order of the pictures seems to be out of my control. The first picture is dumping the bees into a waiting hive, the second picture is the swarm in the tree before we touched it and the third is placing the bucket under the bee swarm just prior to bumping the branch to get the bees into the bucket. I am hoping that the blogger program is again allowing me to separate paragraphs with the enter button.

We will be at the Phinney Farmers' market today, Friday, June 22, from 3 to 7 pm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bee Log 71

We are introducing a new look for Seattle Urban Honey. When you have a designer in the family, these things happen. We liked our old flying jar look (see the previous post) and we like our figure 8 bee. What do you think?

This Friday, June 22, 2012, we will have our honey at the Phinney Farmers' Market. The honey in the picture was harvested at the Center for Urban Horticulture where we currently have 11 hives. What is the floral source? Big leaf maple, black locust, fruit trees, raspberries, chestnut are possible sources. The market is from 3pm to 7pm. Come see us.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bee log # 70

LOOKING FOR HONEY SOON!!! Shown is a jar of early season honey from two years ago. It is the beautiful, light, tasty honey that we get in Seattle if we harvest before mid-August. (After that we get tasty dark honey.) What flowers is it from? Big Leaf maple trees bloomed in mid-May. The bees were able to get out to forage during that time. The chestnut and then black locust trees bloomed after the maple. Right now the black locust is just finishing and the tulip poplars are starting to bloom as well as blackberry. Our Italian prune tree is loaded with fruit as are the raspberries so the bees were involved with back-yard fruit. The next anticipated bloom is linden sometimes called basswood or tilia trees. This is a non-native tree that is widely planted in Seattle as a street tree.

We have harvested our first honey from some hives on lower Queen Anne hill near SPU. We need to go around to all of our hives to check for honey stores to harvest. As of yet we have not had the weather or the time to do that. In addition to checking for honey when it warms up a little, we need to be ready to catch swarms. It has already been a banner swarm year for us and we expect more in the next week because of the blackberry. Bees like to swarm when they are at the beginning of a big nectar flow.

A few of our hives are not doing well but most are booming. Last night we removed a queen-less hive from a yard near Northgate and replaced it with a hive from our back yard. The Northgate hive must have a laying worker or an unmated queen because we saw eggs and brood but only drone (male) larva. (A worker bee sometimes can lay eggs but these eggs are unfertilized and will therefore develop into a drone or male bee.) We will combine those queen-less bees with a weak but queen-right hive that needs more bees to see if we can get one good hive. Probably both hives will die but they would die anyway and this gives them a chance.

I am learning about hive management through the school of experience. We have had a few hives end up queen-less this year because of swarming and not leaving a viable queen behind. Those hives, if we catch them while they are still full of workers, are better candidates for combining with another hive.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

bee log # 69

What is the state of the hives this summer? Booming. We have captured 15 swarms and have started a new apiary on a farm near Carnation, Washington. If we can just convince the farmer to move his burn barrel a little further from the hives, I think we can get a load of honey and help the near-by vegetable farmers at the same time. It has been warm and sunny just enough for the bees to get out and forage. The black locust trees are blooming right now and the blackberry is just about to come out. The Carnation farmer reported that the bees were all over his locust tree. I have included a few more images of the large swarm that we caught.
Here you can see the bees fanning to let the other bees know where the queen is.