Category Archives: Beekeeping

Flurry of Saturday and Sunday Flurries

 

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First I had to deal with my sprouts. The quinoa, like last time, sprouted red and green stems and had a peculiar odour which I would normally associate with socks. This is the “healthy” smell that I described before when I made Quinoa and Honey Bread. Theresa and her dad came over because they wanted to watch me feed the bees. I fed them pollen patties that arrived in the mail this week and some medicated sugar syrup. I am medicating my bees for American Foulbrood and Nosema. These are two out of about 4 causes for the recent drop in honeybees.

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After this, we went to Theresa’s and made fresh pasta to have with our spaghetti.

p3140021Then we built beehives.

p3140022p3140023p3140024But today it’s snowing. I had big plans for the garden. I wanted to do some weeding at Clam Bay. Big plans! I think Winter is haunting me. And taunting me.

I’m not impressed.

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The Extraction

Today I was given two frames of capped honey by a friend who’s bees died. Take a moment to remember the dead bees…

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Anyway, she was burning her frames that had dead moldy bees on it but she managed to find two frames that had capped honey in it with no mold. She’s leaving for Washington State early tomorrow morning and didn’t have time to process the honey.; which meant I got to! For all my talk of bees, for all my care of bees, I’m still a “newbee” myself. I have never extracted any honey.

The method you see here is for the hobbiest. This is not how they do it commercially nor how I will do it in the summer when I extract my honey. Usually you have an extractor that uses centrifugal force to fling the honey out of the wax cells and against a cylinder pot like container. The method I use is the poor man’s method. The method that you use when you have no other option…

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Cheerleader for Bees

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I’m not so much a keeper of bees. Moreso I would say that I’m a cheerleader of bees. Today my bees are flying. They are bringing in pink pollen to feed to the brood which means Hallelujah, the Queen is laying! This particular bee that Marc captured on film this afternoon was at Clam Bay Farms. They have crocuses, snow drops, and hazlenut trees that the bees can gather pollen from. This little bee, Miss Shee, was not only packing pollen away in her leg sacks (not a technical term) but she was also gathering nectar. GO Miss Shee Bee!!

p3020022Today was my last day off of the first weekend in March. What a glorious day it was. The temperatures peaked at 11C, which is plenty warm enough to have the bees flying. We went for a walk down on Medicine Beach. It was gorgeous. There are lots of arbutus trees at Medicine Beach Park. They will be giving out pollen by the end of the month on lovely Pender Island.

We spent the afternoon building bee hives. This is a common occurence here on Mondays. I have 27 supers (boxes) with 10 frames a box. That makes for a lot of sanding, a lot of gluing, nailing, staining, oh and did I mention Sanding! That is my job. I have an orbital sander that I prop up on the work bench to achieve maximum success with as little effort as possible.

p3020017Marc stands behind me, assembling, gluing, and nailing. We started with 270 to complete and I think we’re halfway. I hope the bees appreciate the effort.

If the weather keeps up, I’m hoping to feed my bees next weekend. I have to medicate them with their Spring dosage. They must be medicated for mites, for American Foulbrood and for Nosema. These are the three biggest killers of our dwindling honey bee population. The first is a pest, the second is a spore and the third is a parasite.

I’m also waiting for my pollen patties to arrive in the mail. This pollen is mixed with lard and icing sugar and formed into a hamburger-like pattie. It will help the bees build up to be big and strong so I can split their one hive into two by late Spring. The bees need pollen to make feed to their babies. Pollen is a complete protein for the bees, containing 21 amino acids. If the bees don’t have to go as far to gather the pollen, they can spend their energy gathering nectar which means honey, which means honey for me! (and them of course.)

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Me and My Beesuit

Bees feeding on Sugar Water

Bees feeding on Sugar Water