Posts Tagged ‘wood carving’

June 8, 2014...Bee-atrice has BEES.  It's been a rough time for her, but I think this one will take.

June 8, 2014…Bee-atrice has BEES. It’s been a rough time for her, but I think this one will take.

June 16, 2014...10th day of bees in Bee-atrice.  I think they will stay this time.

June 16, 2014…10th day of bees in Bee-atrice Log Hive.   I think they will stay this time.

While I was out of town, a huge prime swarm chose Bee-atrice Log Hive for a home.  I knew if we waited long enough, we’d get lucky…I just wish I could have witnessed the swarm moving in.  Bee-atrice was happy.  She had been rejected twice.  I had tried to console her after she had been rejected by two small swarms that I had given her.  I told her that “rejection” might more appropriately be referred to as “redirection.”  Those small swarms would not have made it anyway.  I told her that she just had to be patient until the right swarm came along.

April 27, 2014...Pat drops the little cast swarm into Bee-atrice.  They stay a total of two days, then take off to parts unknown.

April 27, 2014…I drop the little cast swarm into Bee-atrice log hive. They stay a total of two days, then take off for parts unknown.

May 25, 2014...A second chance presents itself, in the form of a swarm in the apple tree.  I get the swarm bucket ready.

May 25, 2014…A second chance presents itself, in the form of a swarm in the apple tree.   I bag it and drop it into Bee-atrice.  I thought for sure it would stay, but after 8 days, it took off for the Asian Pear tree.  I started thinking something was wrong with Bee-atrice…then it dawned on me…maybe I was the problem.  Maybe I should just back off and let nature take it’s course…thirteen days later (while I’m away), a huge swarm picks out Bee-atrice.   She later tells me, SHE rejected those little swarms, not the other way around.  I guess she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

June 9. 2014...lots of bee traffic at the entrance.

June 9. 2014…lots of bee traffic at the entrance.

June 10, 2014...This is the first time I've ever seen 94 degrees register on the thermometer.  This is the optimal temperature for brood.

June 10, 2014…This is the first time I’ve ever seen 94F degrees (34C) register on the thermometer. This is the optimal temperature for brood.  Three days ago it read 60 degrees (the ambient temperature)

June 9, 2014...the bees can be seen through the observation window.  If they stay, we'll be able to watch the comb building process.

June 9, 2014…the bees can be seen through the observation window.  If they stay, we’ll be able to watch the comb building process.

June 16, 2014...10th day, natural comb can be seen already, through the top side entrance.

June 16, 2014…10th day, natural comb can be seen already, through the top side entrance.

June 19, 2014...Day 13, this is where the bees hang out at night while they are waiting for the comb to be built.

June 19, 2014…Day 13, this is where the bees hang out at night while they are waiting for the comb to be built.

June 19, 2014...In this slightly out of focus shot, you can see how far the bees have built the natural comb...almost to the top of the observation window...a length of about 14 inches (35 cm).

June 19, 2014…Day 13, in this slightly out of focus shot, you can see how far the bees have built the natural comb…almost to the top of the observation window…a length of about 14 inches (35 cm).

Drones dropping down every time I uncover the observation window…

The carving of Bee-atrice.

Getting her ready for a swarm last year.

Bee-atrice’s debut

A Bonnet for Bee-atrice

Two month’s later Bee-atrice’s swarm chooses Bee Beard Log Hive

 

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May 11, 2014...This little nuc hive survived the winter without any help from me.  No sugar feeding or pollen paddies. (Tough love)

May 11, 2014…This little nuc hive survived the winter in a tree without any help from me. No sugar feeding or pollen paddies supplied. (Tough love) No honey was taken.  It came from a swarm on April 18, 2013.  Now it’s ready to swarm.

Bees revving it up to make their move

Bees revving it up to make their move

Ten minutes later, the bees appear to be headed back into the hive.

Ten minutes later, the bees appear to be headed back into the hive.  Later in the day, all was quiet.

May 19, 2014 (8 days later)...A swarm starts to form in the bamboo.   Could this be two swarms from the same hive?

May 19, 2014 (8 days later)…A swarm starts to form in the bamboo.
Could this be two swarms from the same hive?

May 19, 2014...While the swarm is forming on the bamboo, bees are fanning at entrance to tree hive.

May 19, 2014…While the swarm is forming on the bamboo, bees are fanning at the entrance to the tree hive.

By late afternoon, all the bees returned to the tree hive.

May 20, 2014 (next day)...A small swarm in the blackberries...

May 20, 2014 (next day)…A small swarm in the blackberries…

...and a small swarm in the bamboo.

…and a small swarm in the bamboo.

Again, a small group of bees are fanning at the entrance, while other bees are flying around the two swarms.

Again, a small group of bees are fanning at the entrance to the tree hive, while other bees are flying around the two swarms.

Could it be that the queen can’t/won’t fly?  It came from a swarm, so I know it’s wings haven’t been clipped.  I guess I’ll find out in the next few days what is going on, but if a more experienced beekeeper wants to hazard a guess, I’d be curious.

In looking back at where this swarm originated from…from my log hive, on April 18, 2013.  The swarm picked this patch of bamboo to settle in.

May 21...I checked to see if the swarm was still in the bamboo this morning.  It was.

May 21…I checked to see if the swarm was still in the bamboo this morning. It was.

A closer look reveals that while small, this swarm might be big enough to make it.

A closer look reveals that while small, this swarm might be big enough to make it.  I called Bob to see if he still was interested in getting  swarms for his Kenyan Top Bar Hives.  He was.

Bob bags his first swarm.

Bob bags his first swarm.  Bee Beard Log Hive looks on, as patient and quiet as ever.

Bob said he was interested in getting the blackberry swarm too.  It went very well.  Here the bees are fanning to indicate the queen is within.

Bob said he was interested in getting the blackberry swarm too. It went very well. Here the bees are fanning to indicate the queen is within.

Bob was patient when I asked him to pose with the blackberry swarm in bucket...hey, I've got to bid them 'goodbye.'

Bob gets his second swarm.  “Two in one day,” not bad for a new beekeeper!

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January 14, 2013...a beautiful warm day brought the bees out to the heather.  I saw very few honeybees, but very many bombus Melanopygus (this one) and also Bombus vosnesenskii (yellow-faced bumbles)

January 14, 2013…a beautiful warm day brought the bees out to the heather. I saw very few honeybees, but very many bombus Melanopygus (this one) and also Bombus vosnesenskii (yellow-faced bumbles)
Here you can see the pollen release.  When the bee gets the nectar, the pollen shoots out.

Here you can see the pollen release. When the bee gets the nectar, the pollen shoots out.

As she grooms herself with her front legs, you can see what looks to be a static electricity charge on her bee fuzz...shows up better on the video.

As she grooms herself with her front legs, you can see what looks to be a static electricity charge on her bee fuzz…it shows up better on the video.

This short video shows a bumblebee (bombus Melanopygus) sipping nectar from heather in mid January.  As she sips, pollen can be seen shooting out.  Later she grooms herself.  I noticed what looked to be a static electricity charge when her front legs combed her fuzzy head.

I didn’t want to interrupt the music so I added some video of my Bee-atrice log hive which didn’t make it through the sub freezing weather.   I looked at a comb which had some capped honey as well as uncapped cells.  I replaced the comb in the hopes that this hive will attract a swarm in spring.

It should be raining sideways this month.  It’s not.  After our cold snap, we’ve been enjoying daytime temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s F. (10’s and 20’s C)  When I filmed this it was 71 F. (22 C).  Our honeybees love it.  They are bringing back yellow and orange pollen.  I can’t figure where they’re getting it because the pussy willows aren’t blooming yet, but traffic is heavy as can bee seen on the video.

This is my second winter with bees.  They don’t fly when it’s raining of course, but we do get breaks in the rain, the sun pops out and the bees are flying.  I feel bad for the beekeepers that must tuck their charges to bed in the autumn and trust they will emerge when the weather warms up sometimes months later.  I’m talking about people like Emily Heath among others in cold far away places. 🙂 I guess you could say I’m spoiled to be able to see them active during the winter.   I don’t know what will happen in spring.  It’s possible we’ll get our rain then…given the choice, I’d rather get it now.  In any case the bees are making use of the warm weather.

How are your bees?

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Bee Beard...August 1, 2013.  The bees always fly around at the entrance between 1:30 and 3:30.  I'm not sure why, the outside temperature is only 68 F (15C)

Bee Beard…August 1, 2013. The bees always fly around at the entrance between 1:30 and 3:30. I’m not sure why, the outside temperature is only 68 F (15C)

After it threw six swarms, I wondered if Bee Beard had anything left.  Yes, there were bees but was there a laying queen?  Then in the beginning of April,  I started watching in horror as drones were being tossed out of the entrance.  Drones with reddish colored eyes and ‘chewed up’ wings.  I checked the bee literature and learned that I was looking at a good example of “Deformed Wing Virus,” thought to be caused by the dreaded varroa mite.

Two bees evicting one with Deformed Wing Virus

April 1, 2013…I was filming the bees at the entrance when I heard a thump on the landscape cloth. Two bees were evicting one with Deformed Wing Virus

It started in the beginning of April and continued through the end of the month.  Then came Drone Awareness Month.  I thought for sure, this would be the end of the hive because I had a “laying worker.”

April 25, 2013...SIX DRONES visible.  I have never seen so many drones at the entrance.

April 25, 2013…SIX DRONES visible. I have never seen so many drones at the entrance.

You can notice these bees because of their eyes.  The tops of their eyes meet in the middle.  Also drones are big.  In the video you’ll notice how much bigger they are then the worker bees.  I wasn’t worried about their size however, I was worried there was no queen.  For this many drones in one place, it meant (to me) only one thing…a laying worker.  If there’s no fertilized queen (possibly because of all the swarms) then sometimes a worker bee will start to lay.  If you inspect the combs, you’ll see the eggs laid on the side of the cell or multiple eggs in an individual cell…the sign of a laying worker (or more than one)   Workers are not fertile and can only lay drones.  If they are only laying drones, the colony will die out, because drones don’t work.  Since I didn’t want to open the hive and intervene,  I was going have to sweat it out.

August 4, 2013...I see lots of bee activity and pollen going in.  Is it possible my fears were unfounded?

August 4, 2013…I see lots of bee activity and pollen going in. Is it possible my fears were unfounded?

Bee Beard Log Hive is an experiment in what happens with no intervention.  I don’t medicate, miticide, or treat the bees with anything.  That includes essential oils and powdered sugar.  I don’t take any honey.  These bees came from a myrtlewood tree last June.  They’ve never even been smoked.  We grow many bee-loving flowers, but I know that bees also go elsewhere for foraging.  Is it possible the Varroa mite and deformed wing virus are still around?  Of course…but as long as the bees can adapt, that’s as much as anyone can want.  I guess I’ll know more by next spring, but right now they look good.

Bee Beard looked a little sharper last year when it finally got some bees.

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Bee-atrice is looking good.

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 upper corner of log.

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’ve always wanted to note the temperature of the hive.

I'm surprised this 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.

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

Bee-atrice gets a bonnet

The start of the project

Bee-atrice…the Carving

Preparing Bee-atrice Log Hive for Prime Time

Hal started it all

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Brian brought his own tent awning to use.

Brian brought his own tent awning to use.

When I talked about carving another face on a log hive, I wasn’t sure what I wanted.  I had looked at hundreds of google images, wood carvings, even some Northwest totems, but I didn’t see anything that ‘jumped out’ at me.  I told Brian and Zada Vorwaller they had done such a great job with Bee Beard that I wanted something along the same lines, but slightly different.  Brian suggested a female companion.  He said he’d been thinking about how he could accomplish it and was up to the task.  I thought for a minute how Bee Beard was one of a kind, but in that role, there was a certain loneliness.  It might be good to have a companion…and yes, a female one at that.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Brian rolled into my driveway about 10:30 am on a windy, rainy day.  He’d brought a tent awning which he set up in the woods not seeming to mind the dead trees swaying above him.  We propped up the log and he started feeling out the wood.  I held my breath.

After about 15-20 minutes he says “I’m beginning to see her.”  I had given him a real challenge.  The big chainsaws had dug deep into the wood.

These deep grooves must be smoothed out.  Bees don't like sharp edges.
These deep grooves must be smoothed out. Bees don’t like sharp edges.

When I used my Sa-burr wood grinder to smooth out the chainsaw grooves, it became apparent the wood was ‘thin’ at some points.  So I was much relieved that he could visualize the image.  He starts to work.

Not being an artist myself, I can't see how anyone can visualize something by 'taking away' instead of adding to.

The lines are drawn…it has begun!

Not being an artist, it's hard for me to

Not being an artist, it’s hard for me to understand how a person can visualize an image and then make it appear by sawing parts away.

Slowly taking shape

Slowly taking shape

Carving mouth

Carving the mouth

Artist and subject, eye to eye

Artist and subject, eye to eye

Sanding the cheeks...give her good cheek bones, Brian!

Sanding the cheeks…give her good cheek bones, Brian!

Sanding the mouth

Sanding the mouth

For eight hours he works, taking a short lunch break, but mostly sawing and sanding, sanding and shaping.  A true artist absorbed in his work.  Gradually she comes to life, but still has a blank look on her face…

A blank look on her face

A blank look on her face

then he adds the eye brows and eye lashes and voila…she appears!

He's done!

The artist is done!

The Artist…

Brian Vorwaller of Artist Extreme, poses in front of his shark carving.  It was all carved from one chunk of wood.

Brian Vorwaller of Artist Extreme, poses in front of his shark carving. It was all carved from one chunk of wood.

The beginning of the log hive.

Preparing Bee-atrice for prime time

Meet Bee-atrice…A Female Companion for Bee Beard

Who is Bee Beard?

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She was but a gleam in her father's eyes.

She was but a gleam in her father’s eyes.

When Shigeo found out I wanted to build another log hive, he offered me a myrtlewood log.  Myrtlewood is a hardwood that excels all other hardwoods in variety of color and beauty of grain.  I was excited by the prospect because bees live in myrtlewood trees.  In fact, my other log hive, Bee Beard,  is occupied by feral  bees from a Myrtlewood tree.

Off to a good start.  Log is carved out about 18" from both ends

Off to a good start. Log is carved out about 18″ from both ends

Shigeo brings his 'big dog' to help out

Shigeo brings his ‘big dog’ to help out

Shigeo gets to work on lengthening the cavity

Shigeo gets to work on lengthening the cavity

This is so familiar...when the chain saw cuts don't meet in the middle, we've got to do it the hard way.

This is so familiar…when the chain saw cuts don’t meet in the middle, we’ve got to do it the hard way.

Progress...Shigeo pulls out some wood.

Progress…Shigeo pulls out some wood.

Hollow all the way through, finally.

Hollow all the way through, finally.

Shigeo cuts the top to use as a possible quilt box

Cut the top to use as a possible quilt box

Starting the cut on the observation window

Starting the cut on the observation window

This was a lot of work.  I'm glad my son did most of it.

My son brought his Sawz-all to the task

Observation cut-out for window is completed.  This was a lot of work...I'm glad my son was able to do most of it.

Observation cut-out for window is completed. This was a lot of work…I’m glad my son was able to do most of it…I was able to visit with my grandson.

Good…I think we’re ready for Brian Vorwaller, the professional chainsaw artist who will be in town next week on April 4th.   I wonder what kind of face he will want to carve.

The carving…

Getting Bee-atrice ready for prime time

Meet Bee-atrice…a Female Companion for Bee Beard

 

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On a hot day in late March, the bees step out for some fresh air and dancing.

On a hot day in late March, the bees step out for some fresh air and dancing.

It's a hot day for us on the Oregon Coast in late March.

It’s unusably warm on the Oregon Coast today.

The lower bee has been fanning for awhile.  While I was photographing, this other bee came out and fed her?  I don't know if that's what it is, but from here, that's what it looked like.

The lower bee has been fanning for awhile. While I was photographing, this other bee came out and fed her? I don’t know if that’s what it is, but from here, that’s what it looked like.

Pat's next log hive progresses...much work still to be done before ready for bees.

Pat’s next log hive progresses…much work still to be done before ready for bees.

Some bees are still outside the hive, at 10 pm. and 49 deg. F (9.4C)

Some bees are still outside the hive, at 10 pm. and 49 deg. F (9.4C)

This hive swarmed the next day.  I missed the prime swarm but got the second swarm into a back-up Warre.

Swarm number 4 went into a tree hive.

Swarm #3 got mixed into swarm #5 that went into Bee-atrice log hive.

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As a newbie beekeeper I thought the bees just kept within the hive during the winter, leaving the hive infrequently.  I know things are different on the coast because we rarely get snow, but we get loads of cold winds and driving rains.  So it’s to my surprise that the bees are so active.  They are actually bringing in pollen during January and early February.  I’m hoping the yellow pollen is gorse, because everyone around here hates gorse so much (with good reason…it’s blamed for burning the town down in 1936), I’d like to know gorse is good for something, especially since it usually blooms early February.

I’m concerned about the Warre hive. The top video shows the front of the hive with the bees bringing in yellow and orange pollen and through the observation window in back.   I’d like some advice from more knowledgeable beekeepers about what to do.  I almost nadired another box underneath, had planned for the forecasted hottest part of the day at 55 deg.F (12 deg.C) but then the temperature turned cool.  Should I add another box so they can grow into it before they swarm or should I wait for a few more weeks because the winter weather will return the latter part of February and into March?  Another box means they have to heat it.  I’ve got a dry sugar pad above the box as a just in case food source.

The log hive below looks very strong, lots of activity whenever the sun comes out and the temps are in the 50’s (10 C) bringing in pollen during January and February.  Those bees came from a feral tree hive.  I’m leaving them alone to fend for themselves.  I’m hoping the hive will act as an undisturbed ecosystem…bees adapting to survive mites and other pests.

Hope to have another log hive in place before they swarm.

Hollowing out the log  Carving the log

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A long time beekeeper in the bee association warned me to expect 50% winter losses.   I thought to myself which hive am I going to lose, the one I’m reluctantly feeding or the log hive?

I realize this is only the beginning of winter, but both hives have already come through hurricane-force winds, weeks of steady rain, and a few recent frosty mornings.  The sun finally came out this weekend and to my happy surprise, both hives are still flying, even though the temperature was a mere 50 deg. F (10 deg. C)  The log hive is still bringing in a surprising amount of pollen.

I was able to shoot the 2nd part of this video with my new camera that sports a 50x zoom.  I don’t have to get as close to the hive now. 🙂

Hollowing out the log     Constructing the base     Bee Beard Gets Bees

Here’s a photo of the bottom board taken the next day…Some more experienced beekeepers say you can tell what’s inside the hive by reading the bottom board.  I see flakes of wax, but I’m not sure about the rest of it…

Warre Hive Floor Board...Learning how to read the floor board.

Warre Hive Floor Board…Learning how to read the floor board.  The layout of the bars are parallel with the bottom of this board.  What do you see?

When it's cold the bees hang out in the lower left of hive.

When it’s cold the bees hang out in the lower left of hive.

Status of bee hives one year later.

Here is Bernhard Zaunreiter’s assessment of my little Warre Hive…

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:09 am    Post subject:

It is a very small colony. But since they made it until now, they most probably make it through winter and until Spring. It will be a difficult time in Spring, when the old winter bees die off and have to be replaced with young bees just in time. Just make sure you protect them from robbing in Spring. A big colony will surely assault such a small colony and wipe them out of life. So reduce and watch the entrance.Such a moldy floor only can be found in small colonies. The black stuff on the right of the picture is mold. It won’t harm the bees for now. So no worries. The black dirt ist bug poo, I think the hive has quite some wax moths. The common woodlice are wintering within the hive, but won’t harm the bees much. You could clean the floor board regularily, so you can notice the differences over the time. Once the first stripes and pollen appear on the board, they started brooding. Wipe the mold off with some vinegar, washing and drying it afterwards with a hair dryer.Plenty of stores, so no worries about that. Maybe you scrape open some honey cells from above in Spring, so the honey draws moisture and can be eaten up more quickly, leaving empty cells to lay eggs into. Just some combs at a time. The most critical thingin Spring are empty cells.

You can see his example of a  more healthy bottom board here…http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=88786#88786 (as well as follow the thread)

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