I just love standing on this bridge and seeing all the work Hal and Patti have done. It’s so beautiful.
Hal called me up last week to say he took some video of a bee swarm flying INTO his unoccupied bee log. I’m thinking “Well, that’s a first. Whenever I see a swarm, they are flying OUT of something…like a hive.” I had to see this. While I was there I shot some photos of all the work they have done. I draw inspiration every time I visit. It was here that I learned about sedum and what a wonderful bee loving flower that is. There is so much color here, so many flowers. It surely takes hard work and dedication to keep everything looking so good.
When I first saw all the bees sipping nectar on these sedum, I knew I wanted a bunch. It’s clear it’s nectar they are after…I didn’t see a speck of pollen in their pollen baskets. This photo was shot at Patti’s garden in September 2012
It didn’t take long for the bees to set up home. They swarmed INTO this log, April 18.
Patti’s gunnera is growing under the bridge
Hal and Patti on bridge, May 10, 2013
This video shows the swarm of bees moving INTO the vacated log hive. Hal explains what is going on as he shoots the video on his iPhone.
Hal’s first log hives
Posted in Bee-loving flowers, Gardening, Hives, Log hives, Natural Beekeeping, Swarms, Videos | Tagged bee-loving flowers, beekeeping, bees on sedum, Gardening, Gunnera, honey bees, Log hives, multi-level garden, natural beekeeping, Pitcher pump water fountain, Verticle log hive | Leave a Comment »
Bees, bees, bees
My daughter, son-in-law and new granddaughter were visiting us on Mother’s Day. It was about noon, we were eating lunch…my wife spots this horde of bees. “It’s a swarm!” We all rush out to see it. I think it probably came from the Warre hive that’s been threatening to swarm for over two weeks. Son-in-law says, “What can I do to help you capture it?” My wife says, “Oh, thank you, Jim, I didn’t want to have to do it.”
We let the bees coalesce on a branch.
They settled down into a nicely shaped swarm about 12 feet (4 m) up.
This calls for the Steinkrauss-Morse swarm retriever
A Bucket of Bees
“The queen is over here…” Bee stick their abdomen up in the air to fan the pheromone letting stragglers know where the queen is.
It was a win, win, win. My son-in-law, Jim Montgomery provided much needed assistance in corralling the swarm, my daughter was able to capture the whole event with the camera, and my wife was able to spend more time with our granddaughter.
Where did the bucket of bees go? Well, I would have liked to put it into Bee-atrice because it’s a ‘prime’ swarm, but Bee-atrice was already occupied. I found someone who didn’t want package bees. He has built a Perone style hive. It’s a BIG hive. I like his attitude…”The Perone hive is built for the bees, not the bee keeper. It’ll hold about 150,000 bees. I’ll let them build their own comb.” We arranged for the ‘hand-over,’ and met at a very scenic state park along the Oregon Coast.
Vernon built his own Perone hive. He brought the framework holding 17 top bars where the bees will build their natural comb. He held it up so we could see how big the hive will be. In the background you can see why I wanted to live on The Oregon Coast.
Posted in Hives, Natural Beekeeping, Perone Hive, Swarms, Uncategorized, Videos | Tagged beekeeping, Capturing a swarm, honey bees, natural beekeeping, natural comb, Oregon Coast, swarm retriever | 1 Comment »
This is how the garden looked in August 1997. All those beautiful raised beds are now rotting into the ground after 16 years and need to be replaced.
Trex-built raised bed 5-5-13 Don’t look at the background…it’s messy. I’m linear. I can only work on one bed at a time!
We built most of our raised beds in 1996 and ’97. The lumber came from a small sawmill using white cedar that had been passed over by the big timber companies. It was sawn to a full 2 x 10 x 16′ (5.08 cm x 25.4 cm x 4.87 m) It was beautiful wood. We had less personal time then but more energy…lots more. As good as that wood was, it still rots when in contact with the soil. So after 17 years all those 16 beds have got to be replaced. We found this decking material on close-out. It’s not cheap but is supposed to outlast wood. It’s a little wobbly so I had to set the corners in concrete, but if it outlasts wood, it’ll be worth it. We’re trying to replace ONE raised bed a year now. The green one was built last year out of old siding…much cheaper than this one, but won’t last as long.
Soil leveled, drip water grid laid out, tires centered over drip holes. The tires extend the warm temps into the cool evening.
Hoops added with 1 x2x 8 re-enforcement. I use this to hold the tent open too.
Don’t glue any of the pvc like I did for many years. That way you can have more options like this swing-away hose connection
Clear plastic over hoops, held up by rope and the re-enforcement wood. Why have ‘tents?’ Our night time temperatures will dip to 45 deg. F (7 deg. c) even in the middle of summer. Use 6 mil UV stable greenhouse film. It’ll last for years of opening and closing every day. We like our tomatoes to be warm and happy.
Posted in Drip watering, Raised beds | Tagged cloches, Extended growing tent, Gardening, Gardening tips, growing tomatoes in cool climate, organic gardening, Sustainable living, vegetable growing | 6 Comments »
5-6-13…at 10:40 am there is an audible humming…the bees are revving up already.
I had heard about ‘tanging’ recently (banging a spoon on a cooking pot when bees start to swarm to get them to land close by and down low). I tried it out three times last week and it seemed to work. All three times were with one hive and all three times, the ‘swarm’ calmed down and went back into the hive after about 15 minutes. That seemed to be proof beyond a doubt the tanging worked. The third time I tried it out, I took video of it which can bee seen below…
On Saturday, May 4, they started in again about 10 or 11 am. My wife was not happy that she was doing all the work in our veggie garden while I was happily shooting video on the bees, so the bees had to do their thing while I had to do my thing. After 15 minutes of frenzied flying, they settled down again with no tanging. So there goes my theory.
On Sunday they were fine. On Monday they get all worked up again. Seems like there are lots more. I don’t have time to catch an impending swarm so I tang again to try to keep it close.
At 10-47, I start tanging to keep the swarm as close to home as possible.
Temperature at 66 deg. F (less than 20 deg. C) They wouldn’t be bearding, would they?
At 11:02 more bees are flying out. Some are flying excitedly above the hive as well as crawling onto the side.
At 11:05 there are quite a few on the front, but fewer are flying around and they are flying lower.
At 11:07 they are definitely calming now and actually filing back into the hive.
At 4:38 pm, I checked on them again. Looks like they decided to stay on the outside.
I shot this video and sped it up in parts to keep it relatively short. It was shot on May 3, so you can see the difference in the size of the ‘swarm,’ if it is a swarm…but if it isn’t, then what is it?
Starting the Tanging Experiment
Posted in Swarms, Videos, Warre Hive | 5 Comments »
What to do if you need to add ‘ladders’ to your Warre box, but you don’t have any comb. I don’t want to use any plastic foundation or anyone else’s comb. So I’m using melted organic wax and painting it on posts hung from the top bars. It worked last time so I feel confident it’ll work this time.
It doesn’t take much wax, or much time to melt, so stick around when you do this.
Coating the bars and posts
These are how the t-post ladders will hang down once they are in the hive…trouble is I couldn’t remember if the bees build comb with less than 3/8 inch or more than 3/8 inch.
I started gathering the items together, went out to my bee hives and observed what looked like a swarm forming. I grabbed the melting pot and spoon and started tanging. Three days ago they headed back in when I tried tanging. Maybe this time too, then I’ll add the extra box and maybe they’ll be happy.
At 10:07 am It looks like a swarm is forming on the hive I want to add the box to
At 10;11 am Yep, a swarm is in the works…quick, get the wax melting pot and bang on it with a spoon
At 10:15 am, it’s still growing so I tang faster, wondering if I’m crazy
At 10:16 am, swarm bees are flying higher and higher
At 10:20 am, it almost looks like they are calming down
At 10:28 am after about 10-12 minutes of tanging, they are headed back in
At 10:35 am, they are definitely headed back in
At 10:44 am, they’ve calmed down for today…what about tomorrow?
At 10:58 am I add the box with t-post ladders. I’ve got to get a hive jack so I can do this right next time.
At 11:05 am, bees are crawling up t-post ladders already.
Day 3, the bees are still climbing the posts and a daisy-chain is visible.
More on tanging and video.
Posted in Hives, Swarms, Videos, Warre Hive | Tagged beekeeping, natural beekeeping, swarm, swarm video, tanging a swarm, Warre hive | 9 Comments »
Bee-atrice is looking good. Okay, the yard sign on her head isn’t too flattering, but it was all I could come up with in a hurry. We will fix that later.
When Bee-atrice became aware of her beauty she developed a real attitude. Her long golden hair, the color of the setting sun, a beauty mark on her face, and the fact that she was carved out of a hard wood by a professional wood carver made her vain. In conversations, the iPod would always be pulled out to show how she was carved. She would tell people. “I’m special. I was carved out of myrtlewood which only grows on the Oregon Coast and in the Holy Land.” We told her the brochures weren’t exactly true, myrtlewood also grew along the California Coast, and the kind in the Holy Land was a different variety. She would counter with the fact that “Myrtlewood” is the only wood still in use as a base “metal” for legal tender, “besides my mouth was carved ‘open’ so I can sing.” I think she fashioned herself as some kind of diva or something.
We decided to place her near Bee Beard. We just figured they’d hit it off because they had so much in common. One look at Bee Beard and she realized her open mouth was carved to let bees pass in and out. She was shocked and humiliated…stomped off in a huff. I couldn’t figure it out. Bee Beard has never complained about anything, not even once. He’s been through a whole year of wind, rain, and bees. It’s true we’ve never smoked him or bothered him much, I just figured Bee-atrice would be the same. Not so…“I don’t want to be next to him and I don’t like bamboo. It attracts wasps. “ We ended up promising her a one of a kind Easter hat and face her into the sun so it could shine on her beautiful golden hair. She gave in to the flattery, but there was no way she would agree to be near Bee Beard or even to look at him.
The bees first couple of nights were spent here in the corner of log.
I’ve always wanted to note the temperature of the hive.
I’m surprised the temp is only 83 F (28 C) I wish I could see inside better, but I’ll have to wait until the combs are visible in the observation window.
A short video show bees already bringing in pollen on Day 6
The start of the project
Preparing Bee-atrice Log Hive for Prime Time
Hal started it all
Posted in Hives, Log hives, Swarms, Videos | Tagged attracting a swarm, beekeeping, honey bees, Log hive wood carving, Log hives, Observation window on log hive, pollinators, Quilt box on log hive, Verticle log hive, wood carving | 8 Comments »
This tight #8 screen will hold the burlap. The wood shavings and sawdust will fill it up.
Quilt box with burlap
Filled with myrtlewood shavings and sawdust.
Scorching inside of hive cavity…mouth entrance can be seen below
Myrtle leaves and sawdust are for the bottom of the hive.
Bees live in Myrtle Trees. The wood smells good and the leaves are like bay leaves…you can use them in place of bay leaves, but in smaller quantities. According to wikipedia, the leaf has been used as a cure for headache, toothache, and earache—though the volatile oils in the leaves may also cause headache.
I used cedar sawdust in the bottom of my first log hive. Phil Chandler of biobees.com was discussing the importance of hive ecosystem…“that it might be beneficial to have wood shavings and possibly dry leaves in the hope of stimulating an ecosystem similar to the natural environment where perhaps earwigs and woodlice etc. would live below the bees and maybe eat any falling varroa.” Since my first log hive survived the winter intact, without me feeding or medicating them, I think I’ll try the sawdust option again. This time I’ll add myrtle leaves to the mix.
I’ve been saving the last of the old comb in the freezer. It’s time has come.
The plan is to remove the bars, drop the swarm in, then replace bars
Fence post anchor…two were planned, but the swarm came first.
We left town to visit the grandkids. It was just a day trip, but when we got back a little package was waiting for us…hanging from a tree.
Because of the angle the picture was taken, this swarm looks bigger than it is. Tree hive in background.
Thankfully I was prepared. All that I had to do as it was getting dark was to snip the branch with a bucket under it and carry it to the log…remove the top bars and drop the swarm into the log. This is swarm #5 from Bee Beard Log hive. It probably does not have a mated queen, but the weather looks good for the next 7-10 days, so it should be a safe bet that the queen will be able to fly out.
Beginning of the log hive
Bee-atrice, the Carving
Posted in Hives, Log hives, Natural Beekeeping, Swarms | 2 Comments »