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Showing posts from February, 2012

Why do you keep bees?

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As we enter our fourth year of beekeeping, I've been thinking about why we began in the first place.  In the fall of 2007, I think it was, Kathy suggested we attend a session at a local county park on the subject of beekeeping.  We got to see and touch some of the basic pieces of equipment and paraphernalia that is part of the whole process and learned a bit about the biology of the European honey bee, its life cycle and social structure.  A bit fascinated, we decided to go into it a bit further and signed up for a year-long course, meeting roughly once a month, in which we would learn the basics of beekeeping, order and install our bees and follow them through the first season, including extraction of honey (from the nature center's bees since ours wouldn't likely be producing the first season.)
     At the first meeting, we were asked by the instructor why we were interested in pursuing this endeavor.  I responded that we were primarily interested in having bees to…

Feeding Time

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February 17th, and another of a string of nice days.  Temperatures today reached the upper 40's.  We ordered some pollen patties and today seemed like a good day to apply them.
Bees were flying at both hives when we went out to check on them.  Popping the lids, we found quite a few bees above the inner cover, particularly on hive #1, and many more bees on top of the frames in the top box.  I minimized the time the bees were exposed to the air and gently placed the patties on top of the frames.  I had to adjust my first placement, since it was directly in the middle so when I put the inner cover on, the oval slot was completely blocked.
Bees looked healthy.  No sign of nosema and the number of mites on each pull-out tray was very minimal.  In fact, I had trouble seeing any at all.  Crumbs from wax cappings indicated bees have been feeding on honey.
It will be interesting to see how quickly they consume the patties.  I'll try to check in about 2 weeks.
To see a short video of to…

I'm a buzzin', Mon

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We just returned from a weeklong getaway to Grand Cayman.  While gone, we missed some "almost" Caribbean-type weather here in Iowa, where temps reached over 60 degrees!  Still, it was a bit warmer there (pretty much 81 degrees every day). 
While sitting out on the patio of our nice apt. (that's Kathy in the hat), we noticed honeybees flying around the palms.  Dumbly, though I had the camera with me on several occasions, I failed to take a picture.  They were all over the little blossoms that eventually turn into coconuts.  We saw them everywhere we went on the island, so I began to wonder if there are many beekeepers there.  After just a little research on google, I found this link to a blog entry about Otto Watler, a native Caymanian beekeeper.  I think you might find it interesting.  He sounds like a busy, creative guy.  Hopefully he is still tending his gardens, and I wish we had known about him earlier.
Aside from the coconut palms, we saw bees on a number of plants.…