Archive for the ‘Bee Video’ Category

I love the May garden. Everything is so lush and and green.

3002 Garden looking SW, 5-8-16JPG

May 8…Looking over the garden to the southwest, Sue’s foxgloves (grown from seeds) provide the foreground colors, the volunteer Tower of Jewels (or echium Pininana) to the left, yellow turnip and kale flowers all attract the bees.

3007 Potatoes, peas, cultivator, 5-8-16

The potatoes are up.  I just tilled between the rows with the little cultivator below.

3009 Cultivator, 5-8-16

For several years, we tried to garden without using fossil fuel. We prided ourselves on the ability to spade the garden and then hoe out the weeds. But now we’re several years older. Last month when we were faced with the task of planting potatoes, my wife says, “Let’s get the old Troy-Bilt tiller out.” Yes, it started on the second pull, but it also is waaaay too big for the raised beds. Reverse doesn’t work on it anymore and plus…it uses fossil fuel!!! Enter the battery-powered Greenworks cultivator. It’s easy to use, works well in the raised beds, and USES NO FOSSIL FUELS!

2988 Peas growing outside, first time 20 yrs, 5-6-16

Peas planted outside…first time in about 25 years (because of the deer fence.)  I added a couple of rows of carrots in the middle after I tilled it one more time.

3005 Buckwheat, tomatoes, peas+carrots, potatoes, 5-8-16

Buckwheat is growing well, tomatoes need cages, peas and carrots, potatoes in far back.

2931 Sue plants corn, 5-2-16

May 2…..Sue plants some corn.

2941 Sue plants lettuce, 5-3-16

…and a second batch of lettuce.

2998 Tall lobelia transp. 5-8-16

Just for the fun of it, we bought some giant lobelia (Lobelia fistulosa) for the hummingbirds and bees. A daisy to the left and the Knockout dahlia in the center back. The dahlia has flowers that attract leaf cutter bees (at 1:18)  It’s fun to watch the leaf cutters in action.

3036 Creative drip watering, 5-10-16

II had to get creative with the drip water grid for the squash. I’ve been accused of planting the squash too close together in years past. This time, there are only 5 hills here, where I’ve planted 10 or more hills before. The idea is we will get more if we don’t crowd them. I left the turnip flowers for the bees (and for next year’s seeds)

3034 Drip watering Hubbard, 5-10-16JPG

Drip watering gets the water to the customer without wasting any.

3032 Drip watering squash, 5-10-16

Another look at it…I think these are Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

2944 Hubbard near, pumpkins far, 5-3-16

There’s never enough room for squash. We are trying some ‘container squash’ this year. It’ll trail down over the stump grinding experiment.

3023 Squash barrels, 5-10-16

These squash are up against the fence for a reason. They get the morning and afternoon sun. We might try using the fence to trellis them. The upside…more squash. The downside, I’ve got to water by hand unless I figure out a drip water solution.

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2779 Andrea's swarm, view, 4-16-16 copy

April 16…Andrea called to let us know she had a newly formed swarm, hanging about chest high off the yellow plum tree…did we want it? “ABSOLUTELY!”

2780A Shaking swarm into bucket, 4-16-16 copy

It was pretty easy to ‘pop’ the bees into the bucket…

2802A Brown Warré, 4-19-16 copy

…and into a Warré hive. Back to having bees again. Thank you, Andrea Gatov!

2756 Echium against blue sky, 4-15-16

I’ve been protecting this echium plant for two years. It has finally paid off with these bluish-red blossoms. Just in time for the bees. I think this is Wild Prettii echium.

2804A Bee near Echium, 4-19-16 copy

The day after we hived Andrea’s swarm, the bees were all over this shapely echium plant.

2804B Bee on Wild Prettii, 4-19-16 copy

One of our new guests partakes of the nectar.

2757A Bumblebees like it too copy

Yellow-faced bumblebees like it too.

2833 Turnip flowers, 4-21-16

Turnip flowers collect bees.  Is that a ‘hat’ on Bee Beard Log Hive???

22A Turnip flowers, 4-21,16 copy

April 21…Close-up on turnip flowers.

 

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2223 GKLH, 12-19-15

December 19, 2015…The Grand Kids Log Hive is going strong, I’m happy to say. I know the anchors are probably not necessary, but I can hear the heavy gusts of wind hitting at night and I got tired of imagining the tall hive tipping over. Now I can sleep better.:)

2284 GKLH Temp at 46F, 12-30-15

December 30, 2015…The temperature inside the hive is a chilly 46˙F (7˙C), and yet the bees were flying this cold day.

2279 GKLH, bees flying in, close, 12-30-15.JPG++

12-30-15…The bees broke ranks for a short time in the afternoon. I was relieved to see them after viewing the cold temp on the probe thermometer in back. When they’re in a cluster, you can’t see them in the viewing window.

12 Bee Beard, 12-18-15

December 18, 2015…Bee Beard Log Hive might be feeling his age, but the bees still like it as can be seen in the video.

2239 Warre plastic film protected, 12-25-15 copy

12-19-15…my only Warré, having lost the other two during the summer. After seeing too much moisture on the bottom board, I removed it and tacked some black plastic film on three sides. We’ve been having record rainfall in December and it’s possible rain was entering on the observation window sides. I hope this helps.

2138 Birdhouse bees, frost, 11-26-15

November 26…All is quiet. The birdhouse bees didn’t make it. I was hopeful this year because they came through the three month winter shadow last winter, but I must have lost them between October and late November.

10 Birdhouse bees, no bees, 12-18-15

December 18…I shot another photo when the weather warmed back up. Doesn’t look like anything is moving in there.

8 Birdhouse bees, empty comb, no bees, 12-18-15

Empty comb at the front. I guess I can hope they are clustered somewhere back in there, but that’s just a sliver of hope.

2228 Green tree hive, insulation, 12-19-15

The green tree hive is entering it’s third winter. If numbers mean anything, this hive is a survivor. With the sun so low these days the light can reach through the branches to get the bees flying relatively early. Often its the only hive flying. I’m always happy to see the bees flying especially after a ‘rocking’ big storm. This hive is totally intervention free. No mite strips, pollen paddies, or sugar water, it just keeps on going. It’s slightly above my height when I’m looking at it, so occasionally an incoming bee will alight on my ear. “Ooops, sorry I’m in your flight pattern.”

2 Pussy willow tree, 1-1-16

January 1, 2016…The pussy willow tree is getting ready to bloom.

5 Pussy willow buds swelling, 1-1-16

1-1-16…Willow buds are swelling

1 Buds swelling on willow, 1-1-16

More willow buds. “Hang on, little critters, It won’t be long before pollen is available.”

So I’m back to four hives.  I’m a little worried about the Warré hive, because of all the moisture inside.  I’m hoping the sheet of black plastic I tacked on three sides will cut the wind and moisture back.  In the video you can see bees tossing out dead bees.  I always think of that Doors song with Jim Morrison chanting, “Bring out your dead,” over and over again.

I’m a treatment-free beekeeper for better or worse.  I can’t bring myself to believe that killing the varroa mites will solve any problems.  I’m of the opinion that we will NEVER rid the bees of varroa mites.  The bees MUST adapt, because eventually the mites will develop a resistance to the poison and then what do you do?  I say let the bees adapt.  Let the weak hives go.

I’m not feeding the bees anything either.  I saw bees bringing in pollen into my Warré hive in December.  It could be ivy or even gorse.  If they can hang on just a bit longer, they will get pollen from the pussy willow blossoms.    Jonathan Powell of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, also explains the risks of sugar very well at about 3 minutes into this you-tube video.  “Studies have shown that sugar destroys the bees internal intestines and also it destroys a very particular enzyme call the P450 enzyme which the bees use to counteract some of the pesticides and toxins they find in the environment.  So by feeding sugar, we may be averting a starvation if you’ve taken too much honey, but we are also damaging the bees.”  And here’s another article about  feeding anything can be detrimental to the hive. (including honey)

The video.. 

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When I first started pulling the old flower heads off, I noticed seeds were popping out before I even detached them from the stems. Then I tried putting this sea shell underneath and 'pouring the seeds into it.' The short video shows how delighted I was with the results.

When I first started pulling the old flower heads off, I noticed seeds were popping out before I even detached them from the stems. Then I tried holding this sea shell underneath and ‘pouring the seeds into it.’ The short video shows how delighted I was with the results.

A small pile of seeds using my pocket knife as a reference.

A small pile of seeds using my pocket knife as a reference.

These seeds are TINY.

These seeds are TINY.

A few seeds on the knife blade show how small they are.

A few seeds on the knife blade show how small they are.

The four squares on the left are Hidcote Hypericum, pollinated by our bees last year and planted from that very fine seed. On right is a store-bought seed mixture.

To plant, just throw some seeds into one of these planting kits.  We start planting under “Grow-Lux” fluorescent lights in February or March.  The four squares on the left are  Hypericum, pollinated by our bees the previous year and planted from that very fine seed.  If your winters aren’t too cold, you can scatter some seeds in some bare ground and see if they come up.  If they grow, you’ll enjoy watching all the bees go crazy on the flowers.  Note: I’ve been calling this plant a Hidcote Hypericum, but I just read that Hidcote is considered a hybrid, so I could be wrong.

Here is some more information on it…

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Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11, but that swarmed moved on without us capturing it.

Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11 of this year, but that swarm moved on without us getting it.

Sept. 23...Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 23…Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 17...These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I'm starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don't understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into the winter shadow.

Sept. 17…These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I’m starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don’t understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into their second winter shadow.

Here's a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

Here’s a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in. This is at 125x (digital zoom) and not as sharp.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in.

May 14...The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice went into swarm mode.

May 14…The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice log hive went into swarm mode.

May 14...Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I'm happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing lots of pollen. They can be seen flying well here... https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byp0gCTqCQ6rZjBJVmZOa0FJZzQ/view?usp=sharing

May 14…Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I’m happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing in lots of pollen.
They can be seen flying well here…

Sept. 23...I'm down to only one Warre hive now. It's doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive 'shuttered' in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I'll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Sept. 23…I’m down to only one Warre hive now. It’s doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive ‘shuttered’ in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I’ll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Bees head into the Warre loads of pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven't taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Bees head into the Warre loaded with pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven’t taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Sept. 23, 2015...Sad to say, this hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.

Sept. 23, 2015…Sad to say, the Grand Kids Log hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.  The Grand Kids are back.

Sept. 3...Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 3…Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 21...Looking up into the empty combs, this hive is clearly NOT going to make it. When the wasps start attacking, I'll plug up the entrances and wait until spring. Maybe I'll get lucky with another swarm...

Sept. 21…Looking up into the empty combs, I see a lack of bees.  Clearly the queen isn’t laying and I’ve seen a few drones exiting.   Footnote:  This hive must have superceded a queen, because there are not only new bees, but also new comb.  This is the only hive I can see from the house…from where I eat actually, and I gotta say, I’m so happy to see the bees flying to and from this hive when I sit down to eat!!!

Steve says his swarm 'is hanging in there,' but he's starting to feed again because they haven't built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

Steve says his swarm ‘is hanging in there,’ but he’s starting to feed again because they haven’t built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

We are headed into autumn with four hives, which is all I ever really wanted, but I had really hoped that Grand Kids Log hive would be among the survivors.  It begs the question…are smaller hives better?  I’m beginning to think so.  I’ve thought about partitioning off the big log hive, but then there might be air flow issues.  The birdhouse bees seem to deal with lack of air flow, so maybe it won’t be an issue.  Right now I’ll let nature take it’s course and hope I can attract another swarm in spring.

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September 15...Barbara's Kahili ginger (hedychium gardnerianum) is finally flowering.

September 15…Barbara’s Kahili ginger (hedychium gardnerianum) is finally flowering.

Poor Man's Orchids

I wonder if this is the same ginger plant that I shot when photographing the Poor Man’s Orchids in July 2013?  If it is, Barbara has waited over two years to see it flower.

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Growing turnips for the bees and for us

June 22...I mowed half the mustard flowers down and spaded them into the soil. Those lengths of white pvc were supposed to hold the deer netting over the clover, but the clover experienced a freeze at a delicate stage and died out. All this mustard is volunteer courtesy of our compost bin. Clearly, it doesn't get hot enough to kill the seeds.

June 22…I mowed half the mustard flowers down and spaded them into the soil. Those lengths of white pvc were supposed to hold the deer netting over the clover, but the clover experienced a freeze at a delicate stage and died out. All this mustard is volunteer courtesy of our compost bin. Clearly, it doesn’t get hot enough in the bin to kill the seeds.

Two years ago we planted turnip seeds in July and had the happy surprise of turnip flowers in January.  The bees appreciated having a nectar/pollen source in the middle of winter.

Last year we tried growing turnips for the bees again, but for some unknown reason, most of them didn’t germinate…only a few in the middle row.  We were looking for a place to bury crab shell and dug it in on both sides of the few turnips.  They must have liked it because they grew HUGE.  Since there were so few and since my wife makes a delicious turnip soup, those turnips never got to go to seed.

This year we’d like to try it again…with lots of crab shell, and lots of turnips.  This is our attempt to ‘grow for the bees.’

I had to get the trench dug and bury the crab shell before work. Crab shell doesn't keep very long before getting really rank. It's in the bin in the wheelbarrow. A tire is weighing down the lid to keep the raccoons out of it. You don't want raccoons to make a mess of things. Uh, they will if it's not protected.

I had to get the trench dug and bury the crab shell before work. Crab shell doesn’t keep very long before getting really rank. It’s in the bin in the wheelbarrow. A tire is weighing down the lid to keep the raccoons out of it. You don’t want raccoons to make a mess of things. Uh, they will if it’s not protected.

A bucket of kitchen garbage...

A bucket of kitchen garbage…

...and a bin of crab shell...

…and a bin of crab shell…

...go into the trench.

…go into the trench.

This is what crab shell looks like after being buried for 8 months.

This is what crab shell looks like after being buried for 8 months.

July 9...The drip water grid is in place. We're ready to plant.

July 9…The drip water grid is in place. We’re ready to plant.

July 10...Turnip seeds planted and covered with vermiculite.

July 10…Turnip seeds planted and covered with vermiculite.

Deer net hoops set up.

Deer net hoops set up.

July 17...It looks like ALL the turnip seeds germinated this year.

July 17…It looks like ALL the turnip seeds germinated this year.

We better use some fabric to protect them from the wire worm.

We better use some fabric to protect them from the wire worm.

August 1...Hmmm. I think I planted these too close. I better thin them out.

August 1…Hmmm. I think I planted these too close. I better thin them out.

We'll be eating turnip greens for a few days.

We’ll be eating turnip greens for a few days.

I'm going to try some crab water mixed 1:5 parts water to see what happens.

I’m going to try some crab water mixed 1:5 parts water to see what happens.

August 1...I'm watering just the outboard rows of turnips with the crab water just to see if crab water encourages them to stronger.

August 1…I’m watering just the outboard rows of turnips with the crab water just to see if crab water encourages them to grow stronger.

This yearling deer is waiting for me to leave 'her' garden.

This yearling deer is waiting for me to leave ‘her’ garden.

Aug. 9...If a little crab shell is good, does that mean a lot is even better? Let's add some more on this side.

Aug. 9…If a little crab shell is good, does that mean a lot is even better? Let’s add some more on this side.

I better protect it from the raccoons. I don't want them tearing up the seedlings to get at the crab shell. If you're wondering where I got all the tires, I used to plant 60 tomato plants...inside the tires for warmth. I poked, cut, and drilled holes in each one to drain rain water out. Now a days, I'm not planting that many tomatoes, but it's costly to get rid of the tires...anyone want some free tires?

I better protect it from the raccoons. I don’t want them tearing up the seedlings to get at the crab shell. If you’re wondering where I got all the tires, I used to plant 60 tomato plants…inside the tires for warmth. I poked, cut, and drilled holes in each one to drain rain water out. Now a days, I’m not planting that many tomatoes, but it’s costly to get rid of the tires…anyone want some free tires?

August 23...Turnips are exploding with growth. Just in time because this part of the garden is starting to lose the sun.

August 23…Turnips are exploding with growth. Just in time because this part of the garden is starting to lose the sun.

August 23...Making Purple Top White Globe Turnips.

August 23…Making Purple Top White Globe Turnips.

August 29...Freshly picked turnip 'thinnings.'

August 29…Freshly picked turnip ‘thinnings.’

No bug holes, which is the reason why we use a 'pest protection' floating row cover.

No bug holes, which is the reason why we use a ‘pest protection’ floating row cover.

August 29...Turnip soup made from scratch by my Sweetie. :)

August 29…Turnip soup made from scratch by my Sweetie. 🙂

September 2...More turnip thinnings result in a Turnip Frittata.  Soooo very delicious!!! After reading about the health benefits of turnips, I planted more this evening.  If they flower in January or February, the bees will benefit as well.

September 2…More turnip thinnings result in a Turnip Frittata. Soooo very delicious!!!
After reading about the health benefits of turnips, I planted more this evening. If they flower in January or February, the bees will benefit as well.

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