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)
One-being - an undividable entity
Wax and comb are the only visible substance in the Bien. The individual bees are something like a reflection of tissue of the one, thier honey like blood. Can it become a window to a different kind of understanding of life and the world as we know it? Can bees be so deeply ingrained in your body that the two become one? It may be opposite from the way we live our life in general but have you ever thought to invite the bees into your body, or at least your heart? Maybe all we can do to understand and communicate with the “Bien” is to stay open. See what happens when you read too much Steiner...
The next few Images are from a series of works I created to help Kana Niccolini understand the "Bien". He has been working on a report about drones for the St. Helena Montessori.
My son Davis when he was a wee beekeeper.
Dorthea Mcfarland- not sure what she's smilling about, I killed two colonies of her bees. Okay, maybe it wasn't me, but I was there checking them both shortly before they died.
Carl from Napa State Hospital
This guy looks like he should be committed to Napa State hospital
Jimmy who took my class ages ago
I've asked the students in the Beekeeping occupation to write a quick blog entry about their beek experience this session. Here is what Sebastian Wignall has to say about varroa:
Varroa miteVarroa mites are very bad for our honey bees because they go on the bees and eat their wings so they can’t fly. which means they can’t go out to get pollen. that’s called curly wing. A way to prevent curly wing is to put a plastic tray in your hive on the bottom and spray it with pam, the one you cook with, than you powder sugar your bees and the other bees will clean each other while they are doing that the bees will knock of the varroa mites down on the screen.
These are some varroa on our bees at College Ave.
It's just creepy.
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.
Here is a great article that ran in the St. Helena Star today. It highlights what is going on with the Saint Helena Montessori and the the College Ave. farm site.
Life on the farm in the city
Program humming along
By Carolyn Younger
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
On a bright winter morning, St. Helena Montessori School students Amelia Hardy and Jackson Graff were in the Grace Episcopal Church kitchen whipping up frosting for a honey cake, and Julia Eyer was rolling out impossibly long lengths of paper-thin pasta for cannelloni.
A mile away, a group of Montessori School elementary students were suited up and peering into the opened hives of industrious bees — possibly the very ones that contributed to the honey cake — as apiarist Rob Keller gave hands-on instruction on beekeeping and discussed the deadly verroa mite.
Both activities are part of the Montessori school’s curriculum which relies on the farm, a key element in the school’s ambitious proposal for a new campus on 20 acres off St. Helena’s College Avenue. While plans for three single-level buildings with solar power, natural air conditioning and low water-use systems make their way through the city planning process, students and instructors have been busy at the old farm property. (The Napa River which borders the property’s eastern edge, and recently underwent riparian restoration, serves as an outdoor “living lab” for the students.)
Although still in the early stages, the farm is already a vital part of the school’s education philosophy and has been abuzz with activity since early summer.
In August, before the official opening of school, students in the newly initiated adolescent program had staked out an area at the end of the narrow lane past aging farm buildings. They disked and amended the soil for a vegetable garden, working under the guidance of garden and viticulture instructor Lia Bettinelli and various volunteers.
Carolyn Younger photos Under a bright fall sky, St. Helena Montessori School garden and viticulture instructor Lia Bettinelli, left, joins elementary students Katie Johnson, Caroline Melancon, Baker Dill, center, Malcolm Hardy and parent volunteer Yesenia Villaseñor as they weed the school’s farm garden, carved out of a parcel off College Avenue where the school hopes to relocate.
The teens installed fence posts, strung wire, dug trenches and laid out irrigation lines — even undertook some arc welding to create a garden gate.
By the end of September they were ready to plant, and in November the whole school of 108 students (pre-kindergarten to eighth grade) took a farm-day field trip to harvest pumpkins and gourds and bright summer flowers.
During harvest they picked grapes at a local vineyard and followed the fruit to the winery. The pumpkins they harvested from the farm and apples picked from the Crull family trees went into Thanksgiving pies or jugs of cider and became lessons in chemistry, budgeting and business.
At the end of November the students took a week-long field trip to Southern California where they expanded their knowledge of California history.
In early December, the farm was humming again — not only with bees, but also with lively conversation — as students in the elementary program attacked weeds, deadheaded spent blooms, explored the mysteries of seed pods or enjoyed getting their hands dirty.
At the moment, the vegetable garden is given over to cold weather crops such as chard, broccoli and lettuces. Nearby, two cardoon plants, easily mistaken for artichokes, are thriving in a field of newly sown fava beans and other cover crops.
Every element is seen as a educational opportunity an a means of creating a lasting understanding of the region’s environmental and agricultural heritage, said Heil, instructor and adolescent program head, in addition to offering hands-on math, language and art experiences.
“Obviously our goal in time is to be as self-sufficient as possible,” Heil said. “The students in the adolescent program have made a lot of progress. Amelia has ambitions to sell the produce to local restaurants and to tailor what’s grown not only for our own table but for the local economy. The overall goal for the whole school is to connect students with reality, especially with nature, but also with community members and economic enterprises.”
Guiding the younger students in the various activities are the “student managers” from the adolescent program. Hardy is in charge of the garden and Graff works with the bees.
Back in the Grace Church kitchen, culinary arts student manager Eyer and fellow students were preparing lunch under the tutelage of instructor Grant Showley, a former chef and restaurateur.
Other students in the new program — Susan Gleason, Hanna Gleason and Alex Herman — have also taken on student manager roles.
“We’re trying to provide as many real-life experiences for the students as possible,” said Heil.
As with the school’s other programs, the adolescent program makes use of a number of community resources:
They’ve made paper with which to cover their journals with Calistoga artist and Nimbus Arts instructor Anne Pentland.
They’ve gone birding with local enthusiast George Gamble (one of those responsible for artist Herman Heinzel’s impressive “Birds of Napa County”).
They’ve learned about the valley’s terrain from Ken Stanton and Eileen Bileci, studied the early pioneers who helped shape the valley’s growth, and been given a crash course by David Garden Sr. on the history of a neighboring property now occupied by Stonebridge Apartments and the upper campus of Napa Valley College.
Planning the new campus
St. Helena Montessori School, based on Maria Montessori’s child development theories, has been part of the community for 26 years.
When parents and teachers realized the school was about to outgrow its current quarters behind the New Harvest Baptist Church — the six seventh- and eighth-graders are currently taught in Grace Church’s Bourn Hall across the street — a parent committee sat down with an architecture firm.
Together they developed a campus plan that would accommodate the school’s toddler, primary, elementary and adolescent programs in two low-slung buildings set in an outdoor “classroom” of native plantings.
In addition, a third building was included to serve as a permanent home for the arts-driven Nimbus Arts programs which incorporate science, the environment and agriculture in its classes for children and adults. The programs would be open to the public during non-school hours.
As proposed, this 7-acre portion of the property departs from the current zoning as ag land and the school is asking to have it rezoned for public and quasi-public use. The remaining 13 acres, which includes the farm, would retain its ag designation.
Plans for the relocated campus are expected to be aired at a public hearing early this year, said Lester Hardy, a parent and attorney who is shepherding the project through the planning process.
“In some ways we are really quite a ways along,” Hardy said. “We’ve spent, all told, something like a year doing the environmental studies and in refining the plans, putting together a draft initial study for the department to consider for purposes of environmental review ... There are a lot of different elements that have to be pulled together to ... incorporate all the features and address the different concerns.”
It has been a long slog requiring changes and modifications. But, Hardy added, “the most wonderful thing is to see how genuinely engaged in the ag work the children are just as soon as they get the opportunity.”
Here are a couple images I made that day.
Hello Lia, Julia, Alex, and Jackson:
Beekeeping here in the Birkshires must be amazing. The landscape is so lush and green, I see bees foraging all day on a number of different plants. It is incredible the numbers of feral bees (or what I am guessing are feral bees, as I’m not seeing many domestic hives.) out very early in the morning and late into the evening. It is so exciting to see so many bees in the landscape, I was slightly disappointed traveling across country earlier this summer where I saw very few bees traveling through the Midwest. It is something we will have to think about when we recreate an environment that is rich in different pollens and nectars for bees at College Ave. I’m inspired by the Birkshire landscape and plan to meet with a gardener in town to see if any of the plants I am seeing bees forage on are compatible in our region.
As a group we need to concentrate on the bee gardens around the queen breeding facility that will be to insure strong, healthy, well fed bees. Take time while I am gone to discuss cover crop options and what special plants you all would like to include in the garden both for personally and as something that could be used in the kitchen for lunches.
Check out the difference in the landscape:
Another reason I love the Birkshires is for the amount of used book
stores in the area. In the past few visits I have acquired a large
majority of my beekeeping books in this region. I’m not sure why, but
both the Birkshires and Las Vegas have the best used book stores. I
have only been here a couple days and have already found three books
that I think might help out both Alex and Julia. One on California
insects and another on the history of honey by Eva Crane. If time
permits Google Eva she is a pillar to the history of beekeeping.
Julia, both you and Alex have a pretty hard road to hoe as far as your
subject matter. Both the history of beekeeping and solitary bees are
very broad subjects, I might suggest narrowing your concentration. As
I thumb through these new books thinking about the direction the two
of you might take I’m a little overwhelmed with all the material. I
have not heard from Jackson so I am still unsure of his focus.
Used book accusations from this trip so far:
Honey – Isha Mellor
A Book of Honey – Eva Crane
Toward Saving the Honeybee – Gunther Hauk
Lilipoh Magizine – Cover Story “ Honeybees as wise messangers”
The Joys of Beekeeping – Richard Taylor
California Insects – Jerry Powell
Poisonous Snakes of the New World – Clifford Pope
City and Suburban Gardens – Tom Riker
Woods Trails – Phyllis Busch
An urban Dweller’s Wildlife Companion – Ron Wilson
The End of the Game – Peter Beard
Material World – Peter Menzel
Henri Cartier-Bresson – The Early Work – Peter Galassi
The World of Henri Cartier-Bresson
W. Eugene Smith – Jim Hughes
Wallpaper in the bathroom at Yellow House Books
Ms. Rogers at the Book Barn.
The Book Barn is a fabulous place to buy books at a great price. A little off the beaten path but well worth the journey.
KNOWING YOUR ENEMY
I would also like all of
you as a group to start wrapping your heads around the varroa mite. I
am attaching an article on a recent varroa discovery on the island of
Oahu. What do you feel as a group could be the ramifications of this
recent discovery? Why is it such a big deal? I believe as beekeepers
varroa mite control will be paramount in successfully raising the best
sustainable bees in our area.
Serious Bee Mite Found On Honey Bees In Hawaii
Close-up view of a varroa mite. (Credit: Photo by: Walter Nagamine, entomologist, HDOA)
ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2007) — A honey bee mite has been discovered at a bee farm in Manoa, Oahu, after abandoned hives from Makiki Heights were relocated to the property last week. Varroa mites were detected on bees in three of the abandoned hives on April 6 by the beekeeper and reported to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). Samples of the mites have been sent to a mite specialist at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratory on the mainland for confirmatory identification.
The varroa mite is considered one of the most serious honey bee pests and occurs almost worldwide. Hawaii had been one of the few places where the mite was not known to occur. It is not known at this time how the mites were introduced to Oahu. So far, surveys conducted on hives in the Tantalus, UH-Manoa and Makiki area have detected varying degrees of infestation of the mite. Surveys on commercial hives on the Big Island, where several of the state’s queen bee raising operations are located, have not detected the Varroa mite.
“This bee mite poses a major threat to Hawaii’s bee industry and to feral bee populations,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Teams of HDOA staff have been working rapidly to determine the extent of the infestation and to establish containment and control plans.”
HDOA Plant Industry staff from three branches, including entomologists, plant quarantine inspectors, plant pest control specialists and pesticides specialists, have mobilized statewide and are working closely with the local bee industry and USDA officials.
“We are enlisting the help of all beekeepers, commercial and backyard hobbyists, to help us in assessing the extent of this infestation,” said Lyle Wong, administrator of HDOA’s Plant Industry Division. “HDOA officials will be visiting bee hives to conduct surveys and the cooperation of beekeepers is very crucial in possibly stopping the spread of the varroa mite.”
Entomologists and pest control specialists will survey all islands for the mites as soon as possible. The Plant Quarantine Branch is preparing a quarantine order preventing the interisland movement of bees and beekeeping equipment. In the meantime, beekeepers are being asked not to move bees interisland.
The varroa mite is reddish brown in color with an oval and flattened shape. It is about the size of a pin head and can be detected with the unaided eye. Varroa mites have piercing and sucking mouthparts and feed on the blood of honey bee adults, larvae and pupae. The mites weaken adult bees and cause emerging bees to be deformed. Varroa mites are spread from hive to hive through bee contact.
The varroa mite’s natural host is the Asian honey bee, a species that is not extremely affected by the mite. The mite spread through Europe via Russia. In 1987, the varroa mite was discovered in North American bee colonies in Wisconsin and Florida. By 1988, the mite was detected in 12 U.S. states and has since spread throughout the continental U.S. In 2000, the mite was discovered in New Zealand.
FIND THE QUEEN:
FIND THE DRONE:
FIND THE MITES:
Please e-mail me with your project progress.