Tag Archive | nectar

Yellow Hive is Back!

June 7, 2015

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You may recall that we lost Yellow Hive over the winter.  The apiary just isn’t complete without all 5 hives going at once.  Blue Hive was looking strong, so two weekends ago ((May 24th) I transferred some of their honey, nectar and brood frames to Yellow Hive, along with some healthy looking queen cells, and of course some bees.  I gave them sugar syrup w/ my homemade Honey B Healthy and stood back to see if the split would take.

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I didn’t post this sooner for fear of jinxing them.  I’m very superstitious like that. They started slow, but now activity in Yellow Hive is picking up.  Yay!  The weather has been cool and wet, so once the sun comes back out and things dry out, I’ll give them a look to see whether a queen has emerged and started laying yet.

Expecting a Swarm

Any day now I’m anticipating that Blue Hive will swarm.  I know that because I’ve seen queen cells and a virgin queen romping around.  There is space in the brood chamber for laying, but when they decide to go, they’ll go.  Fingers and toes are crossed that they’ll split themselves and will make a bee-line for the swarm trap.  I continue to add lemongrass oil to the entrance to lure them in.  Then I’ll collect them and add them to a new hive.

Preparing for the Best

Speaking of new hives, the hubster and I have had discussions about the number of hives I can add to my collection.  He insists that 5 is enough.  Yes dear, 5 is a good number.  However, if I d happen to catch a swarm, then they need to go somewhere, so just incase they decide to cooperate (a rarity) I’m preparing hives 6 and 7….just incase.  After all, I couldn’t possibly let them go homeless!

Watching the Garden Grow

We also planted the garden two weekends ago.  Another yay!  And with the recent rain, they’re popping up nicely.  We’ll bee caging tomatoes today, and even my cucumbers are popping up from seeds that I salvaged from last year’s cucumbers, which were crazy prolific.

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The major nectar flow is dying down, but there’s still plenty of flowers and color coming up.  The wildflowers will be out soon.  The bees are bringing in the honey.  Boxes are heavy and filling fast.

Tis a happy time of year.

 

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Back from Vacation

July 4, 2014 (Friday)

I have returned after a week away from the girls and I’m happy to report that they are all present and accounted for, happily buzzing about and making the garden grow so tall that even my tallest hives barely peek over top.

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The garden provides some food sources, as does the clover and flowers, but trees are the primary sources of pollen and nectar for the bees. Now that they’ve stopped blooming, we’re experiencing some dearth, resulting in robbing activity and a frenzy on our hummingbird feeders. During our drive through South Dakota, the grasslands were filled with yellow flowered alfalfa. I thought about how my bees would go nuts in a field like that.

I’m always amazed at the many, many locations that would bee perfect for keeping bees – like parks, nature reserves, and vast fields of wildflowers. Seems to me the best way to increase the bee populations is to give them more places to live and flourish. So I was happy to see apiaries set up periodically in the grasslands along the highway.

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I wondered if I would have noticed them were I not a beekeeper. I’m so much more aware of bee-related things now, spotting beehives, bees, flowers and nectar sources.  It was good to get away, but I’m happy to bee home tending to my own bees, picking the fruits of their labor from the garden, and keeping tabs on their honey production. They’re coming along slowly but surely. Soon we’ll be extracting honey that WE can eat.  Perhaps as soon as this weekend…

Gardening with the Bees

July 4, 2013 (Day 55)

The Monarchy Overseeing the Garden's Welfare

I walked up this morning and admired how well the garden is growing.  Another unforeseen benefit of having bees.

The hives sit high, allowing the girls to oversee their abundant kingdom of greenery.  My role in the garden is to plant, pull a few weeds, ensure there’s adequate water, and the bees do the rest.  I’m happy to hand it over to them.  Working in tandem with Mother Nature, they are doing a beautiful job.

I can’t remember the garden ever being this fruitful this early.  Cucumbers are growing in mass numbers.  Not the odd shaped, uneven cucumbers we’ve had in the past, but long, even, heavy cukes that come from good pollination.  Each day I pick 3 or 4 zucchini squash, and clusters of tomatoes will be ripe and ready to pick in the next week or two.

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I’ve learned in life that you get what you give.  So I try to give the bees plants that they’ll enjoy.  Sure they visit the buds on tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and zucchini.  But I also keep a large collection of herbs that we’ll both enjoy, like mint, cilantro, lavender, thyme, and sage.  They even have a plot of clover set aside safe from the mower.


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Nasturtiums and marigolds are planted within the hives’ view.

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And a sea of blooming plumbago is only a few feet and a few days away.

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I never considered bees when planting my flowerbeds and garden, but I’m happy that my choices have worked in their favor.  And in mine.  Gardening is now a partnership.  The girls and I have our separate roles and responsibilities and we share the rewards.

To think that large industries pay lots of money for pollination, and I have it free in my own backyard.