Sunday, June 19, 2011

We checked six of our ten hives today

This morning Rick and I checked six of our hives. We put a queen cell into two separate hives on June 5th, and I am happy to report each has a new prolific queen. I was so happy to see my attempts at re queening was successful. All the hives were doing well and making honey.

I have several honey supers ready to be extracted. I guess I should be extracting this week.

I have an old Dadant stainless steel honey extractor. It was a gift from an old family friend whose husband had bees some thirty years ago. It is a four frame, hand crank model. I do fantasize about the twelve frame radial ...Mac Daddy model sometimes. . .but I am very grateful I have an old family heirloom.

It was really hot this morning with all of our protective gear on. We could only check six of the ten hives. With temperatures climbing to 98 degrees today, I was lucky to get six inspected.

We sell our honey at Wild Birds Unlimited on Washington Road, in Augusta, GA. I delivered the larger, pound and half jars of honey on Friday and they ask me to bring in some of my lotion bars and lip balm. Our products are made with all natural botanical oils, Shea, mango or cocoa butters and 100% pure beeswax. We use no chemicals, preservatives or petroleum in any of our products.

I will be happy and very fortunate if Wild Birds decides to carry Sasserfrass Hill lotion bars also.

The hot temperates are hard on us and our tiny pollinators. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep a clean supply of water for the birds and the bees. They need our help and will appreciate our efforts.

Stay Cool,

Ms Deb

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Hot, Hot, Hot on Sasserfrass Hill...

The weather forecast is 98 - 102 degrees every day this coming week. My hives are in the brutal afternoon sun. I put up the bees umbrella's this week... It has been so hot in the afternoon and evenings many of the bees sit out on their front porch.... much too hot to go inside. I am going to try to give them more shade with plantings and I want to use the bamboo from my backyard to build an arbor or pergola, some type of shade.
I have been doing a little research.
I hope to come up with an attrictive, inexpensive and clever way to give the bees a little afternoon shade.

We had a powerful storm Wednesday evening. Several huge old oaks fell and hit a transformer, the entire neighborhood lost electricity. Our power went out about 9pm Wednesday evening and did not come back on until 6am on Friday. I must admit, it was miserable Thursday night. Rick bought a generator and we had a few fans stirring the hot air around, it did help a little. It made me very grateful for air conditioning, ice cold water and all the modern conviences we take of granted.... I hate to admit it but I think I was a tiny bit whinny.... sorry but it was really was 85 degrees inside my house.

Rick and I are going to go through the hives, frame by frame, in the morning (weather permitting) to pull queen cells, check on the queen cells we put in on June 5th., and check to see if it is time to extract some honey.

We had rain three day in a row, the plants are singing and the grass looks green and happy. We are grateful.

Bee Well,

Ms Deb

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Checked and Pulled Queen Cells

Hello Everyone,

Rick and I went through all ten hives Saturday and pulled lots of queen cells. I would have had swarms next week if we had not done our chores. It is a lot of work, you must look carefully at every frame making sure you don't miss a single cell or you will be looking at your bees in the top of a tree. That amonts to a loss of lots of bees, honey and $$$$ !!!

We got a call today from a man saying he had honeybees in a tree in his yard. He said the bees have been in the tree for at least three years. I went over to check and saw a very gentle healthy colony of bees. I am going to do a trap out and try to bring these girls to Sasserfrass Hill Bee Farm. What is a trap out you ask??? You place an adapted funnel over the opening of the tree, using wire and duct tape. You must make sure the bees can get out, but can not get back into the tree. The funnel has wire at the end of the spout, to prevent the bees from returning home with their pay loads, of nectar, pollen or water. I will place an empty hive full of frames just outside the tree. So all the forging bees can not return to the tree, so hopefully they will find the new hive an acceptable new home.

I must find a queen to put into the hive. Hopefully the bees will accepted her and she will become the new queen of the colony. It will take several weeks for this transfer to happen... I will be patient and wait and see.

It is nasty hot with no rain in sight. Plants are drying up faster than normal... I am worried what August will bring to hot dry Georgia . . . Keep your bird bath full of cool clean water for the birds and the bees. They will appreciate it.

In this photograph the bees are outside trying to stay cool. The temperature inside the hive is currently too hot for the girls to be comfortable.

Stay Cool,