Beekeeping

Bees looking up

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The weather has turned in our favor over the last several days. The bees are gathering fresh nectar and loads of pollen. It’s a long road to full-strength colonies, but things are finally headed in the right direction. Some of the parent colonies that declined after I split them have turned the corner toward recovery. […]

Beekeeping

Extreme Wintering 2008

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BiggestMeow’s comment in the last entry mentioned our yard that sits at the bottom of a river levy….Well, that yard no longer holds any bees. Now to divulge the circumstances of vacating that yard On two occasions, we fished the bees out of a few feet of water, but this year the story had a […]

Beekeeping

A Pollination Adventure

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Hinegardner Orchard in Montour requested that we take bees for apple pollination in short order, so Alex and I loaded the 4×4 and headed north. With the flatbed out of commission, the job is considerably more laborious. Ideally we used the Swinger to load several 4-way pallets, and then Dave Hinegardner unloads them with his […]

Beekeeping

The Good News and the Bad News

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Sunshine and warmth were the good news today. I had begun to wonder if the dandelion bloom would amount to anything, but I saw some respectable patches of yellow today. We’ll hope the progress continues and the bees find some nourishment and vigor. The bad news? Alex and I broke down with the flatbed at […]

Beekeeping

Fewer bees this year

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It appears our colony count will wind up a little lower this year. A few years ago we were around 700, but the long winter has a number of the hives looking quite weak. That is a sad fact considering that forty percent of last year’s hives didn’t even survive the winter. The first round […]

Beekeeping

Yellow blossoms arrive

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The dandelions started to bloom a couple of days ago. I thought it might take a little longer before the bees got to visit them, but they are starting to come back to the hives with a fair amount of orange pollen. Now we have to hope the weather starts to cooperate so those flowers […]

Beekeeping

Splashy surprise……..

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I awoke and encountered a dampened world. Last night I pulled up to the Ebert Honey House at 11:30 p.m. and needed to make a decision. I could go home and rest from a day of splitting and moving bees, or I could gather some more equipment and move another dozen colonies to their new […]

Beekeeping

Splitting begins!

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After the interminable winter and frequent rains, splitting new colonies from the old hives is behind schedule. I finally got some nucs made this afternoon, but first I shook the last thirteen 3lb. packages that came out of California via Larry Draper. I will feel relieved to put queens in the nucs tomorrow. It feels […]

Beekeeping

Too cloudy for bees

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For the record, seventy degrees is too warm to have a two pound package totally blocked up. The bees were more than ready to have some fresh air at those temperatures. I had partially unblocked the entrance before I opened the lids, otherwise a lot more bees would have wound up in the air. I […]

Beekeeping

Package bee delight

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At 6:00 Sunday morning six hundred packages from California arrived at our place. Half the garage was filled with cages. A couple of days later the bees are all at their respective homes and the garage sits empty. The neighbors stopped to ask why so much traffic flowed into our driveway They came back with […]