Posted by Rob Keller on February 09, 2013 at 07:29 PM in Airstream 67 Overlander, Bee Class, Bee Feral, Bee Fun, Bee Gear, Bee How To, Bee Meta, Bee Theory, Bee Think, Books, Clients, Hive Management, Mobile Bee Observatory, St. Helena Montessori Bee Class, Tips From the Hive - Nimbus Bee Blog, VW 61 Splitty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
This week we have been taking a little fun family vacation to Seattle. Sure is nice to get away to the great Northwest. Snow, sunshine, Alaskan turkey, great coffee, Twin Peaks waterfalls, and honey of course...
On our way home from sledding we stopped at the water falls where Twin Peaks was filmed back in the early 90's. David Lynch obviously saw the beauty of Snoqualmie Falls, with a higher drop than Niagara, and today was equally as cold as it is high, to use as the backdrop for his popular television series. There is a generator station at the top of the falls, although I don't remember it in the opening credits for the show. After a very brisk visit to the falls we went to their little shop for a warm cup of anything. Surprisingly the shop had a honey display, go figure... I was really impressed with the presentation of both the honey jars and the overall set-up. The jars were just those old rustic honey pot style, although I wasn't aware they were called that until I visited Moon Valley Organic's web site. Moon Valley did a great job of dressing up their honey by dipping the lids of those rustic honey pot jars in wax and making a small letter-pressed label hang tag. To set the whole display off they presented the honey nicely stacked with an eletric light underneath to accent the amber color of the honey. It definitely hooked me - I bought a couple honey sticks, I know - big whup, but I also got a small jar of their wild flower variety. Hey, that's saying a lot from a guy that has no shortage of personal honey around. I'm sure I'll never open the jar because it's so nicely done. Great job Moon Valley!
So beautiful - so cold
So warm - so yummy
Looks can be deceiving with the flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa). But not to Donna Bonick who called me earlier today to tell me the bees are all up on the eight plants she has around her property. She said the bushes were actually humming as she walked by. Note to self... this is a great early spring forage for the bees. I have a pretty big apiary out on the Bonick farm in the Carneros so any forage is good forage when it comes to the C-side. The honey from that area has a truly unique flavor, could it be the quince?... Most of the year this shrub is a mass of tangled, thorny branches with mundane foliage. But, in spring the beast becomes a beauty with showy single or double blossoms. In October we are rewarded with apple-pear like tart fruit that makes a great marmalade, jelly, or Honey-Poached Quince Pie. Check it out: (http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/honey-poached-quince-pie/Detail.aspx) and the picture Donna sent me from her cell phone.
Penn State researchers have found that viruses may be transferred via pollen. Makes sense to me that if both native and european pollinators are being affected by what we are calling CCD, we should be looking very closely at both pollen and nectar sources they share in common. It is time for all beekeepers to tighten our management straps a little and become aware of the potential diseases and pests we could be spreading in our day to day bee routine. Look at all those parasites, pests, bacterial diseases, fungal diseases, and viral diseases below, a lot of them I've never heard of before, let alone know if I'm spreading amongst my apiaries inadvertently. Yes, pollen could be the problem, but let's make sure we're not part of the problem too.
I felt so strongly about the issue I wrote this haiku:
Virus in the bees food source
Deadly flowers bloom
With that.... check this out:
Super excited about this rain, although it's really putting me off my hive winter preparation. But hey, if it's any indication of the winter, we'll have a bumping spring for our bees. Just because it's raining doesn't mean you don't have to think about your bees. Start figuring out what you're going to plant around your yard or apiary to help contribute to the year round nectar & pollen sources you all ready have. I personally will be looking very closely at California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum). But for now here are a couple great book recommendations for this rainy day...
I have been revisiting a fabulous book Michael Theile (http://www.gaiabees.com) told me about a year or two ago. Michael has made me re-think a number of my beekeeping practices. I knew Buzz had to be good because he believes it to be the new Bee Bible, replacing The ABC XYZ of Beekeeping. Don't bee put off by the silly name, the pictures are amazing and the text left me dreaming about bees as I fell asleep reading in bed. Also when I went to order the book on Amazon Michael had written a raving review, the only reviw, but it was raving! I figure if he's behind a book enough to spend time writing the first review about it, it's gotta be good enough for me. And I'm convinced it's a good enough book for you. Few books really change to way I manage bees but between The Buzz about Bees and Gunther Hauk's Toward Saving the Bees I am a changed - more informed - beekeeper.
هل لديكم الكثير النحل تزدهر منك قراءة هذا الكتاب
May your many bees prosper from you reading this book.
Here's what Kim Flottum has to say about The Buzz - in English not Arabic. I definitely agree with him on this one!
This is a great read too. A little BD wooo-wooo, but he has a lot of information that just makes sense, although I am being told by my father-in-law that Biodynamics are a hoax and Rudolf Steiner was a complete nutcase, a flimflam man with a tremendous imagination, a combination if you will, of an LSD-dropping Timothy Leary with the showmanship of a P.T. Barnum. Hummmm, we'll have to get him to drop in here for a little guest blog sometime soon.
Check him at: http://biodynamicshoax.wordpress.com/
Here is another book that has been recently recommended to me by none other than our local cover crop cowboy Mark Griffin. In an e-mail he says "Rob, I just got a killer book called Honeybee Democracy, have you seen it? Bomb"! At the time I hadn't seen the book, but subsequently with a lil' help from the information super highway I found a link to Bee Culture's site where you can read Chapter 3. From the 10 page pdf the book looks really great, kind of a hybrid... with the knowledge in The Buzz and the real life experience I've read in the books of Sue Hubbell. Honeybee Democracy looks like it's well worth the cover price and it appears you can order it from Princeton University Press where you can catch a read of chapter 1. So between Bee Culture and the publisher's site all you'll need to come up with are the Prologue, Chapters 2, 4 thru 8 and the Epilogue -http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9267.html
As a quick side note speaking of Bee Culture, I'd highly recommend you all sign up for Kim Flottum's Catch the Buzz. To get you the very latest information from the world of beekeeping and all the things we touch as fast as possible, Catch The Buzz.
Sign up here: http://www.beeculture.com/content/catch_buzz.cfm
Although last time I tried to subscribe it didn't take, I've been ripping off the link every time I see it posted on the Sonoma Beekeepers Yahoo group. Ettamarie Peterson is the best for disseminating information.
Till the next rainy day.... feel the democracy and catch the buzz.
Just goes to show that when varied pollen sources call, the bees listen. Eric Mussen was all up on that theory ages ago.
Then read Randy Oliver's Fat Bee articles:
Makes sense to me........
Pollen source - In my area Black Berry is one the last pollen sources of the year , and the saving grace for our bees. In years past Black Berry has gotten us out of many a sticky sitch during severe nectar/pollen dearths. It's very easily identified by the gray nondescript color.
How exciting, it's been raining big in Napa all day. The funny thing is when you see the people that just don't get it. You know the ones, all grumpy 'cause they're getting wet running to their cars at Starbucks. All my homesteading homeboys like Michael at Connolly Ranch are busting. We are beside ourselves with hopes of a wet winter and what that will inevitably bring to us and our bees in the long run. I'm sure the rain put out our covercrop cowboy, Mark Griffen, up there at the Reserve, they're hustling to wrap up harvest I'm sure. Give it a week when the soil is prime and he's planting that Reserve cover blend JR mixed up for him at Napa Ag Supply. We'll have to have him drop in here at the ol' bee blog and lay out the stats on that for us, but until then you all better get your cover on and sow some seed for the bees. Because I saw what Mark has done in the past with cover crop -- he dropped the buckwheat bomb --I'm going to follow his lead and use his blend this year. I'll assess how it goes, and perhaps make some mods to his mix next year. We are a little more fortunate in that in our apiaries we don't have all the restrictions Mark has in terms of how the cover might affect the vines. It's crazy all the "you can't do this - you can't do that" hurdles one has to jump through when it comes to the vineyard. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with the vine, it's just all the red tape that comes with the grape if you know what I mean....
Bottom line is we're going to have a busting cover crop year if this rain keeps up. Besides Mark's blend I'm going big Phacelia tanacetifolia. Michael and I are going to unleash a fury of Phacelia that will make the bees flip. I'm telling you.... Apparently the seed is hard to come by.
I'm looking at:
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
P.O. Box 2209
Grass Valley, Ca 95945
If you haven't heard about Phacelia you need to read the attached PDF. It's an amazing plant and the bees love it. It's on both Michael and Melissa Garden's top five. M&M....
This is how it went for a wet beekeepr in Napa earlier today:
At the College Ave apiary I put cinders on top of ply to help keep some of the rain off the landing and out of the hive. Tilt your hives forward and weigh-down your lids. Check out the landscape, the rain will hopefully bump the forage for these bees. Well, it's probabley late for this year, but next sping will be roaring.
These are nice covers but I still put a piece of ply over the front to help with excessive water build-up on the landing. The bees looked cold, so even though they're calling it a tropical storm I also put in the monitoring trays to help them conserve some heat.
Extra entrance reducer and... I know - I know.... you're meant to feed the bees inside the hive.