Sunday, June 27, 2010

Honeybee update

We checked the frames last night. The queens are doing beautifully and its thrilling. Hive 1 has 80% of its frames full of brood and/or honey so we put another super on top so they will have more room. Hive 2 has about 60% so we will wait another week before adding a super. From what I understand, the queen will continue to lay eggs going up and won't go back down so you want to have the bottom super almost full before adding another. Brood and honey are in patches around the frames. In the winter, the "cluster" of honeybees will move around the hive and have access to the honey in different places.

This is Hive 1 after lifting the inner cover. We used a little smoke so that the bees would go down into the frames enabling us to gently scrape away this patch of honey cells.

Regrettably, this picture is blurry but we were trying to move quickly through the frames so as not to disturb them so much. The darker colored cells are brood and the pale white cells at the top are honey.

They were so beautiful and as before, it was humbling to work with them. I can only hope that even in light of our ignorance of their work, we'll do right by them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BP Oil Spill Insider at the Gulf Emergency Summit

Just in case you hadn't heard.

Part 1

Part 2

Sunday, June 13, 2010


It's been a few weeks since the bees came. The first week and half, they seemed to be clustering on the left side of one hive and we fussed that something had happened to the queen. We were anxious to look and see but thankfully checked with a teacher first who cheerfully advised us "Leave them alone, leave them alone some more and when you are done with that, leave them alone again." We've lifted only the hive cover three times to feed them and each time they were extraordinarily gentle. Today though, they made it clear it wasn't a good day. It's overcast, cool and drizzling and they were quite bouncy. Even the smoke disturbed them, unlike prior checks. Working with them is all about being with them, watching and listening. They know way more than I do about making honey so I'm just there to learn and try and help as best I can.

These are not the greatest photos but latex gloves and touch screens are tricky.

The hive with a few frames removed:

Applying smoke:

Shaking the bees into the hive. This step blew my mind. You turn the box over and whump! 3,000 odd bees are free.

The queen cage. My hands were shaking. I was still getting over the fact that we unceremoniously dumped these bees and then realized what I was holding was their main focus. It felt like 40,000 eyes were staring at me.

Uncorked, this is where the queen cage sits. We waited four days before removing it.


Saturday, June 5, 2010


A walk in the woods, a shower in the rain at the end of a hot summer day - how did I get so lucky?

Friday, June 4, 2010