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Showing posts from October, 2011

Will I Ever Learn?

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Probably not.  I knew walking out to the hives I should grab my headgear.  All I'm going to do, I thought, was pull out the frames the bees have cleaned off that I put in the empty super on top of the hives and put a little tray of honey in on top of the inner cover.  It won't take long, and with the temps hovering around 50 the bees won't even bother to come out.  I was fine with the first hive, #2, and even pulled out the entrance reducer and turned it to the smallest opening.  Just fine.  Then in the other hive, I was fine with pulling empty frames and putting in the honey.  I put the cover back on top, and went to rotate the entrance reducer.  That set them off.  Immediately, one flew inside the hood of my sweatshirt and nailed me right behind my right ear.  Others were coming after me, so I took off as quickly as my gimpy knee would allow, using my cap to swat away the most aggressive ones.  I got on the other side of our prairie and finally lost them.  I took of…

There's Always More to Learn

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This is a follow-up to my last post.  Thanks to Barbara Beekeeper, whose blog I follow, I've now learned that the bad odor we experienced each of the past two autumns is not caused by the coincidental appearance of the wax worms but by one of the most abundant fall bloomers--goldenrod.  When the goldenrod honey is curing in the hive, it gives off odors that can be quite strong and seemingly have a different effect on different people.  After reading Barbara's account, I did a bit more research and found that a number of people mistake the odor for American Foul Brood, and tear their hives apart fearing to find the evidence that would indicate they needed to destroy their hives.  Others liken the smell to smelly, wet socks (or feet), while others note the odor but don't find it unpleasant. In our experience, the odor is a sickly, sweet but sour smell, quite strong.  Apparently, there are a number of varieties of goldenrod which could account for variance in the way peo…