Do We Know What We Are Doing?

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Brood Pattern? Lava?

Capped honey? and bee bread?

Lots of new words to learn

That’s what they said.

And not just the words

Gotta know what we’re seein’

All this while the bees are

Buzzin’ and stingin’

This first year of beekeeping, we really feel like we are in over our heads.  We’re uncomfortable around the bees a little, even decked out in all our gear. Having all those irritated bees buzzing around your face is a bit scary!   This means, we don’t inspect as often as we should.  When we do  inspect, we don’t feel like we know what we are doing.  We know how to find workers, drones, and the queen, but boy is she hard to find!  But identifying a “good” brood pattern is still Greek to us.  So is identifying the potential for swarming, or when to feed.

Not sure what we're seeing!
Not sure what we’re seeing!

The Dotsons felt the same way.  But we did try to encourage each other and share our findings.  Having buddies in this process helped, even though we were all newbies.  If we found out Pete and Laurie had inspected their hives, then we were pushed to do the same.  Guess this is going to be a learning process!  We just have to hope that these girls can live through our ignorance!

1 Timothy 1

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Choices, Choices

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

To go, or not to go?

That is the question.

Class in the Bee Yard tonight.

But grading and lessons are

Pressing down on me

Think I’ll stay home and fight

The piles.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

Yep, bees are interesting, but I can’t show too much enthusiasm, lest I get sucked into helping in this endeavor of Steve’s.  He’s going to a meeting of COBA in the OSU Bee Yard tonight with Pete and Laurie.  They’ll watch as Master Beekeepers instruct in the inspection and care of the hives.  And, he’s talked daughter Sarah (30) and son Nate (26) into going, too.   I suppose they’ll all go out to dinner afterward and have lots of fun.  Oh, well, guess I’ll have to sacrifice this for my job and to protect myself from too much involvement!

Maybe, when I’m done with grading and planning, I could look up some things about honey and bees, online. .   .  .

Honey Bee Facts

information provided courtesy of ABF member Lance Sundberg, American Beekeeping Federation – http://www.abfnet.org

      About the Honey Bee

  • Approximately one third of all the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination.  Some crops pollinated are cucumbers, almonds, carrot seed, melons, apricots, cherries, pears, apples, prunes, plums, pluots, seed alfalfa, cantaloupe, seed onions, avocados, kiwi, blueberries, cranberries, etc.
  • There are three members of a honey bee colony:
    • Queen – mother to all the bees in the colony; she is a fertile female.queen in hive
    • Worker – an infertile female that performs the labor tasks of the colony, including feed preparation, guarding the hive, feeding the queens, drones and brood, and heating and cooling the hive.
    • Drone – the male that starts out as an unfertilized egg.  Its only purpose in the colony is to mate with a virgin queen.  They live to mate with the queen, but not more than one in a thousand get the opportunity to mate.drone bee 2
  • On average, a worker bee in the summer lasts six to eight weeks.  Their most common cause of death is wearing their wings out.  During that six to eight-week period, their average honey production is 1/12 of a teaspoon.  In that short lifetime, they fly the equivalent of 1 1/2 times the circumference of the earth.
  • The peak population of a colony of honeybees is usually at mid-summer (after spring buildup) and results in 60,000 to 80,000 bees per colony.  A good, prolific queen can lay up to 3,000 eggs per day.
  • Drones fly on United Airlines.  This is a corny joke amongst beekeepers because of the way queens and drones mate.  When a queen is five to six days old, she is ready to mate. She puts out a pheromone scent to attract the males and takes off in the air.  The males from miles around smell the scent and instantly volunteer in the mating chase, which is performed in the air.

    Basic Beekeeping

  • Basic beekeeping simplified is having:
    • New, viable queensbeehive open
    • Feed (natural or artificial)
    • Good, sound equipment
    • Disease-free hives (good medication program or integrated pest management)
  • When processing honey from a beehive, a good rule of thumb is for every 60 pounds of honey produced one (1) pound of beeswax will be made (1 to 60 ratio).
  • In order to manipulate population dynamics, the timing of hive management is critical, such as the splitting of hives just prior to swarming season.  Also, feeding syrup and pollen supplement at least 21 days prior to a pollination inspection or honey flow induces the queen to lay eggs.

Psalm 25

4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.