Tag Archives: Urban Bee Guardianship

Actress Ellen Page talks about the importance of honey bees!

Actress Ellen Page talks about the importance of honey bees.

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Journaling about your hive

Journaling about your hives is a great way to take note of how the hive is doing and a good way to keep track of things that need to be done with the hive as well as a fun way to refer back to what the hive was like during different stages and over several years.

For me, I always think that I’ll remember everything that goes on with the hives but when I don’t journal about it, I sometimes forget those little important details about the hive and then 3 months down the road I notice the hive is doing exceptionally well or maybe they’re not doing as well as they were the year before, than I can refer back to the journal as to weather patterns, what the hive is doing, how the bees seem, what I did with the hive in the past year, etc. It definitely comes in handy and is very informational to be able to refer to each time when going into your hive/s.

I also like to take pictures of the hive through the window before and after going into the hive as another way of observing the bees and overall hive view. Hive journals definitely become very fun and interesting scrapbooks years down the road as well!

Here is a list of some things to include in you bee journal:

~Date bees where placed in the hive (or year of the hive)                                                             ~Overall temperament of the hive and where the bees came from: local swarm, package of bees, nuc, etc. (Include as much information as possible about where the bees came from including hive type and age of hive)
~Date of first pollen coming in and the source if known
~Date of first dandelions blooming

More things to keep in mind and journal about each time visiting your hive:

~ Date, weather, temperature, time of the day, overall mood of bees, clenliness of landing board, drone population and any other observations you notice.

~If opening the hive, it’s helpful to also include reason for opening hive and your observations while working the hive, what you accomplished or hoped to accomplish, note anything that needs to be done in the hive, prospective date and check it off when completed. Any observations about your hive or the local environment and weather.

~ It’s always fun to take before and after pictures as well as photos through the window at different times of year and stages of the hive.

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Bearding Bees

As the days are getting hotter and the hives are all brooding up for the nectar flows, it’s the time of year that you’ll see large clumps of bees hanging on and around the entrance of the hive to keep cool and let more circulation of airflow into the hive. It’s totally normal and occurs when the hives are all brooded up in the spring and summer as the weather gets hotter both night and day.

During this time of year and into the hot summer months, be sure to check that there is adequate airflow around your hives, your hives are well shaded for a good portion of the day and be sure to keep replenishing the source of water for the bees as they can go through a lot of water on those hot summer days!

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Swarm Season 2011!

The smells of spring are wafting in, dandelions and trees are flowering, the days are getting longer and the bees are buzzing. The honeybee colonies that did well over the winter are flying about in search of early nectar and pollen while deciding that it’s time to spread some of their genes off into the world in the form of swarms. The old queen prepares to swarm just when things are barely getting going again in the spring and she lays an egg in a special cell designed for a future queen bee. The old queen takes off with part of the colony just when the new queen is about to come out of her cell. The rest of the colony stays in the hive with the new queen who shortly thereafter goes on a mating flight and begins her life as the new egg-layer while the old queen and group of workers head off in search of a new home. This process is called swarming and usually happens in the first few months of spring, roughly end of April- early June in Colorado.

When bees first swarm they usually collect on a branch or bush to recollect while sending out scouts to search for a new hive. This is a great time to hive a new colony because in addition to having a stronger genetic knowledge of the area (having overwintered in the local area) through the swarming process, they are also determined to find a new home and are on a mission to build up a new hive starting from scratch.

~~~ BackYardHive Offers Free Honeybee Swarm Removal~~

Swarm season is over for 2015

If you have bees in a structure
(soffit of your house, hollow pillar, attic,or anywhere else)
and you want these bees removed
we don’t do this service

If you see a swarm please call
Bee Swarm Hotline
720-443-2331

 

~~~

For more info follow this link to the BackYardHive website Read More….

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Vanishing of the Bees film showing in Boulder

Where: Boulder Public Library
1000 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, CO 80302

When: Oct 27th -Wednesday

Time: 6pm doors open,
Film Starts: 6:30pm promptly

Cost: $10 donation

Why: Because we LOVE the bees!

http://www.vanishingbees.com/trailer/

http://vanishingbees.co.uk/

All admission fees go directly back to
supporting the honeybees through a public outreach program
to bring awareness to pesticide spraying (residential
and commercial) that is adversely effecting the bees.

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Lemon balm hive transfer nuc swarm is doing well

The lemon balm swarm hive (transfer nuc) is doing really well and they’ve already built pearly white comb on several of the bars toward the front of the hive! I’m hoping that they’ll be ready for the Linden tree bloom coming up here. There is a beautiful linden tree about 100′ from this hive and every year the bees go wild with excitement over this mid summer treat.

Mmmhmmm….. I can’t wait to taste the lovely linden flower honey this year! Yummy!!

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Harvesting Honey with Karen

The other day Karen and I got up bright and early and met at 8:00 am in Eldo. to harvest honey from a totally full and very large custom built hive. We met early  to beat the heat but at 8:00 am it was already 75°. Whew! We could tell it was going to be a hot one that day!  As we opened the hive we realized they had built all the way to the back of the hive and were actually attaching to the false-back of the hive. We came just in the nick of time. What a vibrant colony of bees!!

As we worked through the hive, the bees stayed pretty mellow despite the heat.  While working in an efficient yet calm manner, we were able to successfully harvest a few bars of honeycomb with very little stress or agitation to the bees.

We had a large clean metal pot with a lid to place the clean comb into that we wanted to harvest, a crate for resting bars with bees on them to give us extra space while working in the hive (we would put these combs back into the hive when we closed it up) and a few empty bars and spacers. After herding the bees off of the false-back with the hive tool (slowly moving the flat side of the hive tool over the comb and into the hive), we cut off the attachment comb into our metal pot making sure to scrape off any pattern they  created from the comb on it so they won’t have an incentive to build comb on the false-back in future. Then, we went through the hive as if going through a filing cabinet, detaching the brace comb and inspecting the honeycombs for harvesting.

After setting the first few (smaller) combs in the crate to give us space to work in the hive, we got to the first fully built comb with about 80% capped honey. We decided to leave this one in the hive and go back to it later if we decided to harvest it. It was such a perfect comb that we thought it might be good to leave for the bees because of how straight it was. This turned out to be a good call because as we suspected from looking in the window of the hive, the combs started to get a bit wonky and not necessarily straight on the bar. This hive has the older style top bars with only a small notch in the wood as a guide for the bees to build their comb and many of the hives with these bars (rather than the triangle bars) didn’t stick to the part of the bars we would have like for them to build on. They built their combs across several bars making it harder for us to work in the hive without braking any comb as we worked. The triangle bars solve this problem by giving the bees a very clear indicator as to where the best place would be to build their comb. We worked our way through a few more bars bit by bit and chunks at a time to prevent any of the crossed comb falling into the hive. The comb was getting a bit melty at that point because of the heat. We knew we should finish up fairly quickly.

As we continued to work through the hive, we ended up harvesting quite a few of these little honeycomb sections, making sure to scrape off the old (crooked) pattern on the bars. When we started to see brood and the temperature kept climbing, we decided it was time to close up the hive and to put the combs we didn’t harvest back into the hive making sure to keep the combs in the correct order they were in the hive and the same orientation (front-back facing) they were in before we took them out. We harvested the equivalent of 4 top bars from a custom size hive similar to the golden mean hive but longer.

As we closed up the hive, we replaced the 4 bars we harvested with 3 empty tri-angle bars near the outskirts of the brood nest and 1 in the very back leaving all the other comb with bees on them near the same place they were in the hive originally. We also added spacers in between all of the honeycomb bars in the hive to help them keep in line with their natural “bee space” (1.38ths for brood and 1.58ths for honey).

Hopefully these bees will start building straight comb on the new triangle bars and have a great rest of the summer season.

Karen and I brought up the pot filled with honeycomb and crushed what we weren’t using for comb honey with our clean hands feeling a bit like wine makers as the comb and honey squished through our sticky fingers (what a treat licking our hands was afterword. Yummy!). We then poured the mashed up honeycomb into a strainer secured over the top of another stainless steel pot with the lid over it so the honey could strain down into the pot without attracting more bees.

We were both totally sweaty and hot by that time as it was nearing 11:00 am and with a mutual unspoken need to get cool, we jumped in the river (ah, the cool relief) before venturing forth to the next honeybee endeavour of the day!

(Written and photos by Claire Anderson)

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