Kathy, (aka "Bessie"), and I began our beekeeping experience in the fall of 2008, when we began a year-long course in beekeeping through the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We got our first package of bees in April of 2009. At the suggestion of our daughter, Jessica, we are logging our beekeeping experience. Hope you find it interesting. It has been interesting, rewarding and entertaining for us as well.
Labor Day Harvest
Just a quick update. We collected frames of honey from all 3 hives,
though we'll extract only 11 frames. We left a super on each hive.
Some frames are completely filled and capped on one side, while others
are about 70% capped. It will be at least a couple weeks until I can
check them again. This may be our final extraction, though, since I may
save those frames for late fall feeding. Given the weather and the
fact that two of the three hives were started this summer, we've done
all right with honey and will have over 100 lbs. for the season. I'll
update this tomorrow or the next day with some photos and the amount we
extract. I'm guessing a bit over 2 gallons.
Tomorrow night we're going to a screening in Iowa City of the film "More Than Honey".
Our state apiarist, Andy Joseph, will introduce the film. I've seen
the trailer and it should be very interesting visually at least.
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…
Kathy and I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. It was basically an eco-tour, arranged by a former classmate of mine who has retired from Iowa State University and has taken groups to Central America for more than a decade. We saw beautiful scenery, many wonderful birds, reptiles and mammals, ate terrific food and made new friends. It was a great time, and with the slow emergence of spring I'm wishing I were right back there!
One side trip we took was to a huge pineapple plantation. It was very interesting learning how they are planted, harvested and selected for either fresh pineapple, juice, or what have you. As we were enjoying our treats at the end of the tour, I noticed some small insects very busy, coming and going, at the base of a column that supported the open serving area. I looked closer, and noticed many small insects flying in and out of a small tube going into a crack.
My guess was they were some type of bee. Jim, my friend and our guide, wh…
We went out yesterday to take a look at the hives since it was edging above 40 degrees. I wanted to see how many were flying and pull out the tray on each to check them. Bees were flying, more from the newer hive. In hive #1, though, when I pulled out the tray I noticed right away some small black particles. They appeared to be a couple millimeters long and segmented. They were located in the same part of the board as the cappings that have dropped through between several frames. Each time I examine the boards, the cappings are confined to a couple long strips from between several frames. The particles weren't located generally around on the board, and this is the first time I've seen this. My first thought was mouse droppings, but they appeared to be segmented in 3 or 4 segments. Then I considered eggs of some kind. Unfortunately, I cleaned off the boards and I didn't save them yesterday but did go out and take some photos and collect some today.
In the first ph…