Tag Archives: Beekeeping

Spring Cleaning…

Well, it’s been a long winter for us, and for the bees.  I took a quick peek into the hive in Duvall, and have lots of hope for the season!  I will need to feed them, but should be able to split them in April or May without any trouble!!


Summer is coming!!



Checking the bees in July.

I was a little worried.  One of the hives I manage had a bad die off from some pesticides a neighbor applied early in the year, and they have had a hard time coming back.  I’ve spoken with the perpetrator, and they have seen the light (vinegar kills plants too!).  The hive in Duvall has been a struggle.  I may not run it again there next year (more on that later).  The hive at the farm though is doing well.  In fact, given that I pulled a split out of them in April, they are doing really well.  There is still some bloom to go, and they have a super and change full, as well as both the brood chambers jammed with honey and a good supply of pollen.  But don’t take my word for it, check it out!

Bee Swarm 2012.

Seems like about this time every year, I’ve gotten to catch a swarm.  This year it was from a hive I am ‘maintaining’ at a friends house about three miles away.  I say ‘maintaining’ because in theory, if they swarmed, I wasn’t doing my job very well.  But hey, they are Italian…  A dinner guest of theirs was able to shoot a video of me hiving the swarm.  Enjoy!!

Also, for the curious, I have been taking photos, and gardening, fairing, planing, mowing, milking and such at a rabid pace.  As things slow down after all the food is put up for the fall, I’ll get back to sharing ‘what I did on my summer vacation’.



August.  Hot (finally), busy and filled with fun.  Aaaaa as in, fall is coming and there is still lots to do!  I always know it’s getting on toward fall when I carry a stick with me in the mornings.  It’s either that, or I walk around like a blind person, with one hand stretched out in front of me.  It’s the spiders.  It’s about this time of year, all the little ones have learned to build webs, and have our place festooned with them.  Face fulls of buggy spider webs are not a fun way to start the day..

We have produce coming in as well, loads of beans and peas, the potatoes look like they are ready to dig (really?) and the garlic is overdue.  Blackberries are getting heavy, and the second fruiting from the yellow raspberries are starting to look promising.   We have some cooking apples in the orchard that need some saucing, and I am trying to figure out when we will go pick up our hay.  And then there are the fall veggies to get in.  I have big plans (Broccoli, Pac Choi, Spinach, Basil, Carrots, Beets) and they include a hoop house.  Like I said, big plans (I don’t think I’ll really have the time for it, but I have a hope).

I have all the downed wood from last winter split (thanks to the brother in law) and stacked in the shed.  I still have about 2 cords to finish from this summer and we’ll be snug for the coldnwet.  The spent layers are going into the freezer this weekend, and turkeys are scheduled for November 12th (We have a waiting list if you are interested in one).

So there isn’t much time here, between work, finishing up some client work, and the farm, well, the blog tends to slip a bit…  So here’s something to cool you off (not that you need it if you live in the PNW, but others might find it refreshing, I hear it’s been hot in a few places…)  It’s the last week of swim lessons for big sister (aka ‘the fish’) and it’s going to be nice to not have to keep the littlest farmer out of the pool while big sis has fun…


“the missing frame” or beekeeperfail….

Just a quick pic from the ol mobile phone, and description….

Those on FB will have seen this already, but to describe it a bit more..  I have a hive at a friends house, near the farm, but close to some better nectar sources…  One of the frames in the bottom super was all torn up, so I had pulled it, with the intention of returning and dropping in a replacement…  And life happened and about a week went by.  When I pulled it out the bees had moved on without me.  As in, had pulled down comb and ‘replaced’ the frame.  I was able to salvage it though.  I used an old empty frame, and some wire to wire the ‘home drawn’ comb into a frame.  (for what it’s worth it’s a state requirement that bees be kept in hives with moveable frames so they can be inspected for disease, so in some ways I HAD to do something).

Bees still amaze me.

Edit: the bees moved on as in, they kept working.  They are still in the hive and doing well, all that honey comb in the photo above is proof of that!


New Friends! (about 10,000 of them)

I won’t recount the entire conversation, but the basic gist was ‘there is a swarm in Stanwood, and dinner is a t 6pm, and I don’t think you have enough time for both’ versus ‘a swarm is a awesome opportunity! (although we won’t know till we’ve soaked about $60 in sugar into it, not to mention tying up equipment and the 6-12 hours of time to manage it till spring….) and it would be fun!’

So the wonderful farmer J said “fine, just don’t fall off the ladder” with the same intonations as she might tell our eldest that she could go play in the rain, but wold be doing her own laundry..  Awesome!

The swarm was about 14′ off the ground over a sidewalk, and I could ‘just’ reach the branch with the loppers.  I managed to get them down, and shaken into an empty hive body.  A few bees ended up back on the stub of a branch and after things had mellowed out, I clipped that off and tossed it in the hive as well.  top screen and entrance screen and home I went!

I put a hive top feeder on the colony with about half a gallon of sugar water, and will open the entrance later today, once they have decided to stick around…  I’ll update as things progress, although I’ve caught swarms before, I have seldom had much success in keeping them at home (anyone out there with any tips?).  I’ll do some reading tonight and hopefully improve my success…

That’s about four pounds of bees!

Bee Update!

The girls are doing well!  Or at least they were when I poked my nose in on Saturday to see how they were before leaving to go shoot a wedding.  Although I think I need to do something about the plastic foundation that I have in the hives.  They don’t seem to be taking to it at all the way they did before.  In fact, they are drawing odd little burr or brace comb that’s gong to be a real bugger if I can’t address it…

I have been rendering wax in the house and I think I can possibly re-coat the old placticell with new wax and they will be more ‘useable’.  Till then, they are getting drawn comb…  My hopes are still high, Chesnut, Locust, blackberry and fire-weed.  And I’m keeping my eyes open for knot-weed…  For now, they are happy with my feed, and pollen from the dandy lions and the sun….


Glowing Bees

Glowing Bees!
I know it’s been quiet here as of late. It’s not like I’ve been hiding – I’ve just been busy. My gainful employer recently purchased a thermal imaging device. Basically it’s a heat camera. I won’t go into all the details, but it’s got some awesome applications in the electrical industry. I figured as long as I was driving home, I would check on my bees and I was ale to do so without lifting the cover! Sorry for the ittybitty photos, as much as we paid for it, it’s not a 21 megapixel uber-camera. Then again, the pictures aren’t meant to be hung on the side of a building.

In this photo, the closer to black, the cooler the temperature. The closer to white, the hotter. The temperature in the corner shows the temp of the area in the cross hairs. As you can see, it was several degrees warmer than the ambient temperature.

I lifted the lid to see if they really were in there and, sure enough, I even got to take one’s temperature (79.3 is a bit cool, but it was just a touch over freezing outside). Hopefully by now they have started growing babies for this next year!