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)
Yanko Design created this beautiful observation hive but...
They could have really used a balling beekeeper that knows observation hives on this project.
From the outside the hive looks awesome, but the bees would make an absolute mess out of this thing in about a week. During the nectar flow that thing would be a nightmare of burr comb.
Their comb is in the wrong orientation, bees build according to gravity not horizontally.
And what's up with the glass shell "filtering light to let through the orange wavelength which bees use for sight". Not sure I'm buying that... I'd have to look into that one, curious -- it's a question for Eric Mussen.
Smoke can be released into the hive to calm the bees before it is opened, in keeping with established practice. I guess the hive doubles as a vaporizer?.. Epic!
Regardless, I still want one.
Scroll down to about half the page:
Why is it every time I see bee hives that don't belong to me I'm drawn to them like a moth to a flame? Even if they're not my business, I can't help it. I should be MYOBB - Minding My Own Bee Business.
It's a sickness, I'm all-consumed by wanting to open them up and check out how the bees are doing; well that, and more importantly, how is the beekeeper managing the hive? I'm not talking about pulling a bunch of the frames, checking the brood and all, just a little peek at the top bars to see the size of the cluster. Okay, I lie, it's not past me to pull a frame or two especially if I have a hive tool handy, and in a pinch I've done it with a pocket knife too. It's bad, really bad. Don't hate me, I'm only thinking...why not? We're all in this together, no one should have anything to hide, right? Don't worry, I'll let you know I've been there. And sure, if you want to pop into one of my colonies, I'm all good. Just don't roll my queen. Truthfully I had never dreamt of opening someone else's hive, at least without asking, until that one day I ran into a small group of colonies off the side of the road while I was out riding bikes with the boys. Okay, so I'm the ring leader, but they're all beekeepers too, they know the drill. These particular green hives were pretty ghetto -- no inner covers, the top covers were all but falling apart, and all the boxes were straight up - jacked up - the whole nine-io -- nasty! What kind of beekeeper keeps their bees in those conditions? Why is it against the law to mistreat a dog or cat but a beekeeper can keep bees on old janky diseased gear with no regulations, right..? That's what I'm saying. My boy Jason Beeman said it best, "It's better to be a honeybee hero than a honeybee zero". Whoever owned these hives were plain negligent. That day we didn't open the hives, it was too cold and drizzling so we rode away...but only 'til the next sunny day. Yeah yeah yeah, so you're not down..? Just don't slip up off your bee path. Be a bee keeper not a bee haver. For all the bee ballers out there trying to do the right thing we're already looking at a long uphill battle, we don't need anymore obstacles from the beeks not up on their game.
Giving it the squeeze...
I am processing more and more of my honey through a little tabletop wine press. It kinda sucks cause, my God, it takes forever and my kitchen is perpetually sticky, but well worth it!
I'm over forcing my bees on foundation -- predetermined cell size is counterproductive to what the bees know and want to build themselves. Beeple < bee people > LET YOUR BEES BUILD THEIR OWN WAX for crying out loud.
As for filtering, all I use is a utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids, for separating coarser from finer particles, but not separating pollen from honey. Oh,I guess it is generally referred to as a sieve...!
Okay, if you don't believe me, check this out:
This year we went BIG sunflower at the Montessori School.
They are such a great late summer nectar/pollen source.
I planted about 4 rows - 300 foot long mixing varieties.
I have a lot of mouths in that apiary to feed.
(For those of you who don't know, I have a 7 year-old son that has always been into bees. I'm pretty sure "bee" was the first word he learned how to say. I have been taking him out to my apiaries since he could barely walk. Now all of a sudden he really wants to help and be more than just the "smoker kid".)
Spent the last few days working bees with Davis, I figure in another decade or so he'll be able to take over this menagerie I'm creating. He has totally stepped it up with the bees. Last week Davis was giving the tours to the guests who came to visit the trailer at the Napa Valley Museum. He told me he wants to teach them everything he knows about bees. I'm blown at how accurate he is. Check him out:
(I'll explain why I'm marking queens later.)
A few Davis took of me:
Seeing as it is still a little too early to go into full-blown hive inspections, I am taking this week to throw a fresh coat of paint on my unused and new wooden-ware. I'll switch them out as needed as I go through my bees in the next couple weeks when the weather is nicer.
This year I'm going aqua-ish and orange-ish. Think Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, and Don Shula, the Miami Dolphins Baby! Actually, I don't know what I'm talking about, I hate football, I googled those guys on line. What I really meant to say was: Think Steve McQueen's Porsche in the movie Le Mans.
But be ready...
One of the few hives I was able to get a look into this year -ONLY quick peak- will need a little room in the brood chamber and a couple frames above for nectar stores. I think that early heat wave we had a few weeks ago got the bees started slightly ahead of schedule. You can tell this colony, a swarm I picked up on White Hall Lane last year about this time, is ready to go by the fresh, new bridge comb they are building above the frames. The bees have nowhere else to build so they are headed up into the open space of the top feeder that was above them.
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:
Okay, here's the deal. My intention was to chronicle each day's beekeeping adventure, but here I am 3 days later. So,
I'm not getting off to a great start since I still haven't posted from
yesterday-- oops, make that two days ago. Working in flashback, here's
what's going on..
* Met with Michael after dropping our kids at the Waldy School -- discussed trading bee work in exchange for Davis going to Spring and Summer camp at Connolly (flash forward to today when he actually was at the camp, when he got in trouble one time during the day and my wife was late for pickup -- good exchange).
* Received a call from Anita on White Hall lane about a swarm, her husband Dave was a great help.
* Went by a "trap out" I am working on, also on White Hall Lane in Saint Helena.
* Cleaned out the bee stuff in the back of my truck.
* Hived the swarm from White Hall lane.
* Met Nate regarding bees he has had on the property he manages. The bees have been there roughly 6 years now. They look really good considering they have not been managed in years. The weird thing is I pulled out the monitoring tray and there was drawn comb and nectar on the bottom. The hive stands are for sided wooden boxes on end, so it would make the perfect place for a second colony to live. Curious, more later...
As a reference, I put football sized swarms on three frames. I offer some drawn comb. I do my best not to offer swarms honey and pollen unless I absolutely have to, not to say that you can't spread disease from sharing just drawn comb. I'm sure there are pathogens bees can pick-up from sharing any part of the hive that is sanitized by heat. I know in the last post I was going on and on about the "goodies" I offered the storm swarm but sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. The two extra frames in the above picture are plastic foundation being used as follower boards. Not only is the hive body beat-up, but I'm needing followers too. Hey! It's all I had around alright?..
I cut and removed the entire limb the swarm was hanging on and lowered them in a 5 gallon bucket perfed with 1/16 holes. I easily slid the entire colony and the olive branches out of the bucket into the hive.
I added an empty deep on top of the bees giving them the space and privacy to get started on their wax production.
About 7 hours later the bees shifted to the far right side of the hive -- most likely the side the queen decided to go towards. Tomorrow I'll go in and gently move the bees to the center. So much for my theory that bees will automatically jump on drawn comb.
In this "trap out" we are trying to re-route the bees from coming around the post. Their hive is behind the pole occupying the space between two interior walls. The owner, Tom, has made a plywood cover that will act as a hallway for the bees to go an extra 4' towards a hole closer to the end of the porch.
Cleaning out the back of my truck meant taking my bike out. Check out my rack...
More later on our zero emission honey bee tree removal last week.
Check out this salamander we caught by Nate's bees. Gorgeous but slimy, Davis loved it.