Bee on a wire

151024 Fence5 Post

A quick update on our bee fence. If you’ve been following along, you know that the fence encloses our apiary on the side of our yard. My neighbor used his tractor to dig the post holes, which was a huge help, and I installed the rails over the first few months of the bee year. See my post Bee! I’m Expecting You! for some historical photos of the spot. Continue reading

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The Buzz about Bees

Buzz about BeesI finished reading Jürgen Tautz’s book The Buzz about Bees, Biology of a Superorganism. A number of sources touted this as an excellent book, and I was not disappointed. The book presents the case for treating the entire colony as an organism. Center to Tautz’s argument is that a bee on its own cannot reproduce; the unit of reproduction is the colony itself via swarming and requires the workers, the drones, as well as the queen. Continue reading

I mite bee crazy

My prior post You may bee right was never intended to have a sequel. Yet it elicited a somewhat critical response from a local beekeeper who was disappointed in my lack of mite checks. I know I’m supposed to check mites, but it takes time, and I didn’t know how, and its my first year I’m still trying to get comfortable with bees flying around my head. In any case, while the top bar hive was the one to suspect, everything I’ve read indicates that a new hive with new comb in a new spot is likely to survive the first winter. So it was that I set out to prove the criticism unfounded and myself correct. Hence, a sequel.

TBH Comb

A brood comb from Venus on Oct 12, 2015. The top part of this and other brood comb now has capped honey.

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You may bee right

Now that winter is fast approaching, I finally checked for varroa mites in my hives. I should have done this over the summer, even once a month starting in May or June. Then I would have some good numbers for how my hives fared over the course of the year. Alas, tis not the case.

Venus

Our top bar hive Venus on October 4, 2015

Between vacations and family and work this summer, it seemed like I was only home long enough to catch my breath and do quick inspections of the hives. So one day I realized it was the end of August and I’d done no more than think about the possible mites in our hives. Continue reading