Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bee Log #76

Honey colors

We will be at the Queen Anne Farmers' Market Thursday, July 19 from 3pm to 7pm. The picture above shows the range of colors in the honey that we harvest. In general, the lighter honey is harvested earlier in the summer and the darker honey at the end of August. We have some dark honey for sale(harvested last summer) and some light honey from this summer. Take your taste buds on an adventure-Come taste our honey

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bee Log #75

The blackberry bloom is drawing to a close. The country bees have a bit of time to wait until the Japanese knotweed blooms. Sometimes when there is dearth of nectar, a strong hive will try to rob a weak hive of their honey stores. The robbers will kill the queen and then plunder a hive if they can. We had our first robbing incident of the year in our Carnation apiary. The farmer noticed bees balling each other (fighting) on the front porch of a hive and called us. We reduced the size of the entrance so that the hive had less area to defend. Sometimes, bees can get into an all out war. I have not seen it but on two occasions our hive hosts have reported large numbers of bees fighting in the air in front of a hive. When we show up, we see large numbers of dead and dying bees in front of the attacked hive.

The bees have stopped swarming (I hope) and are now concentrating on building up lots of honey storage. Robbing is just one of the ways that bees try to collect honey. For the beekeeper, it is not good because the robbers can kill a hive.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bee Log #74

We had another swarm this past week. This swarm was a little tricky to get because of the structure of the grape arbor that it landed on. We ended up brushing them into a bucket and then dumping the bees into a waiting hive. We got the queen on the first try. We knew we had her because in about 10 to 15 minutes after we put the bees into the hive, a bunch of bees start to fan at every entrance to the hive. The bees have a scent that they broadcast from their Nasenov gland by putting their rear ends up in the air and fanning their wings to tell the bees on the outside of the hive the location of the queen. Pretty soon the air was filled with bees leaving the swarm site headed for the hive. The hive sat on our picnic table until we could move the bees to an apiary that we have recently established in Carnation, Washington (about 25 east of Seattle).

This makes 19 swarms that we have caught this year. Most of these swarms have a pretty good chance to build up enough strength and stores to make it through next winter.