Choose color scheme

Category Archives: apiculture

  • Down with the Sweetness

    Processing the honey we harvestedIMG_8705

    Maple Syrup & Honey this year

    IMG_8740

  • Bees no more

    Unfortunately, the bees yet again did not make it through the Winter. we have yet to carry a hive through one… With this in mind, we have decided that we will not do bees until we have a way to shield them better from the cold. We combined the green house and the well recently, the vision is to create a small oasis for all things which do not desire freezing. A heated green house / well house / bee shed maybe? We’re not sure what this looks like yet but I’m done killing bees. In the meantime we don’t want to let all this honey go to waste.

    IMG_8636

    IMG_8618

    IMG_8686

  • Just a weird colony this year

    I just can’t make sense of our bees this year. They were never raging but always strong, sometimes happy rarely mad. In spite of their effervescence the whole Summer, they never brought quite enough to stock up the whole hive. I’d sit and watch the entrance, seeing them go back and forth, but rarely with pollen attached to their legs. The whole time I’d wonder what they were up to outside if not gathering pollen.

    So I just don’t know what to make of them, they have some decent honey and I hope they’ll surprise me once more by making it through the Winter. I have to say that since we started producing maple syrup, I see the work to sweetness ratio a whole lot differently for bees.

    Cleaning shit up

    IMG_6717

    Capped honeyIMG_6746

    Robin stayed with me behind while Nicole did all the work 😀 His first time so close.

    IMG_6730

    We tried to extract 3 frames and we moved them close to the house for processing the next day. Unfortunately, the bees found them soon the next morning and a huge mess ensued with confused bees and humans. We just gave them back, for now…

  • First inspection

    IMG_4760They’re not raging but there’s brood and they’re happy.

  • Honey

    All in all this has been a pretty weird bee season. Between the swarms, the bear attacks, the drone baby-boom and the lack of reserves; I lamented that no sweetness would be gained from the hard work.

    To my good surprise however, the bees finally adjusted to all this and got in a decent amount of honey. It probably helps that they already kicked out all these freeloader males.

    Lot of activity but they remained super friendly throughout my extraction of a few frames

    I only pulled 6 frames, I want to leave enough food behind for the cold days ahead

    IMG_0393

    The cells are packed!

    IMG_0401

    The frames gotten from the Top Bar Hive are all used, the wax is saved for soap & lip balm making.

    Sticky business

    While the frams of the Langstroth Hive are spun in an extractor in an effort to save the wax (saving bees the costly work of making more wax if you’re only interested in the honey).

     

    As I said, not a great year but happy to have gotten some loot

    IMG_0420

    Looks great, tastes great

    IMG_0421

  • Crazy Swarmy Week-End

    I missed swarms so far because the hives are far from the house and so I only see them every few days. This week end was a trial by fire when it comes to swarming.

    Finally, the neighbors spotted a swarm. It landed on a hemlock branch 40′ high. I tried everything to get to the branch including a 32′ extension ladder to no avail. So we put swarm catching box nearby and I kept a very close eye on them hoping to catch them on their take off to their new chosen home. Except one hour they’re on the branch doing nothing unusual and the next, gone! All gone, except for a couple of trailing bees seeming as lost as I was; the whole thing just vanished.

    Up

    IMG_4109

    Well that was a waste of time and efforts. Especially considering they took almost a 24h to figure out where to go. The next morning, the neighbors tell me that the buzzing is back… That can’t be, whether the swarm is confused or I have a new one on my hands.

     Can you see them?

    IMG_4126

    They are on a hop hornbeam this time, same height but an easy fell. And we proceed to do just that. We tie it to another tree to ease the sucker down with friction and it all works beautifully for the first 45 degrees but it all came crashing down for the remaining 45. The bees were not happy about that. They flew back to where the tree initially stood, I was afraid they would find another high branch nearby; but they eventually flew back to their branch of origin which was now very accessible to me.

    Settling down after the ride (make sure to turn the volume up)

    I brought the swarm catching box to them and hand scooped them to the entrance little by little. It took a while with branches, leaves in the way and barely cooperative bees. Eventually a critical mass was reached and they all went in.

    Definitely a foreign feeling to have your hand in there

    IMG_4170

    I inspected the other 2 hives to see what they were up to and heard a piping queen in both! Meaning these were indeed 2 different swarms.

    Piping queen, tried to find her but time ran short as the other bees were starting to dislike my intrusion

    Lesson learned: tall trees are a bad idea around hives. I’m going to have to find a better spot for them.

    All of this wouldn’t have been possible without awesome people like Nina who lent me a swarm catching box and good advice, and Peter who is always ready for an adventure. I wouldn’t have been able to catch my first swarm without their help.

  • The hives are getting full

    The Langstroth is doing good but the top bar is raging.

    IMG_4002

    Bees gorging in honey dripping from broken comb.

    IMG_3990