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Summer of Swarms

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Psalms from the Hive, by Jeannie Saum

Bees get crowded in summer days

And send out foragers looking for ways

To direct the colony to a new home.

They load their bodies with pollen  and honey

Queen and half the bees make a run for the money

Swarming off into the sky.

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

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

We’re not sure why the bees seem to be swarming more this summer, but it is really keeping us busy.  We get one to three calls a week from people who need help with a bee swarm in their

yard, or a sudden infestation of bees in some part of their house.  My husband Steve, and his side-kick, our son Nate, have become the BEEpothecary BEE Wranglers of Groveport and SE Columbus!

Steve

Nate

Why do they do it? Free bees!  When they go out to capture swarms or clear out bees from someone’s wall or garage or eaves, they bring back the bees and add them to a hive body in our bee apiary, and we have a new hive!  When a package of bees from the south costs $95, and a small starter nucleus hive costs $125, catching swarms is a great cost saving way to increase our hive numbers!  More bees means more honey, propolis, pollen and beeswax!

Steve getting behind a gutter to find the hive.

Swarm high up in our tree. We got this one!

Why do bee hives swarm?  It is a natural tendency of bee colonies. In a natural hive in a tree or log, the bee colony will swarm whenever it runs out of room.  This is the way bees increase their numbers and their colonies in nature.  The queen bee has been kept alive all winter by her worker females creating heat by shivering their bodies in a cluster around her.  In the spring when the weather warms up, the queen starts laying eggs again and the worker bees begin collecting pollen and nectar.  As the bee population in the hive increases, and more pollen and nectar are brought in, they start running out of room in the hive.  If a beekeeper isn’t inspecting their managed hives soon enough, and adding boxes with more space, the hive will do what it is ingrained to do – swarm.

Pheromones given off by the bees direct the colony to start making swarm cells for new queens. These chemical

This swarm flew right out of the nuc box and disappeared! Bummer!

signals cause the scout bees to go out to find a new home and the forager bees to load up their bodies with pollen and honey.  Then, one day the queen and half the bees, loaded down with food, leave the hive, create a big tornado like swirl of bees in the air, and eventually land in a tree or bush, usually fairly close at first.  They rest there, until the scout bees show them where to go next.  This is not good for the beekeeper because it means you have lost half the bees in that hive.  Fewer bees mean less honey, pollen and propolis!

If you’re lucky, you see the swarm resting on a tree or busy in your yard, and can go out and capture your own swarm and put them in a new hive set up. But often, they fly away and end up in someone else’s yard, tree or house!

Nate cutting a limb with a swarm

When Steve and Nate go out swarm catching this is how they do it.  If the swarm is in a tree or bush, it’s easy – as long as it is not too high up!  All they have to do is cut the limb and shake, or just bump the limb and shake it over a “nuc box”.  This is a small cardboard box that holds 5 frames of beeswax comb for a nucleus hiv

Sometimes, the queen somehow hangs onto the limb, while the other bees fall off and into the box.  When this happens, the bees in the box won’t stay.  They fly right back up to the queen on the  limb!  So sometimes the bumping of the limb as to be done a few times, or a bee brush used gently to try to get all  the bees and the queen off the limb and into the box.  Once they get the queen in the box, all the other bees will follow her in.  They look like a miniature army marching off to war, right into the box.

 

 

If the bees have found a little tiny hole to go through to get into the eaves or the wall of someones house, it becomes a more difficult job and usually there is a charge involved for doing the

Loose bricks in historic home – an invitation for bees to build a nest!

extraction.  This usually requires a ladder, tools and the removal of part of the house – fascia board,

Bee hive in the wall behind the bricks.

gutter, soffit or sometimes even cutting out wallboard inside the house.  And if the bees are inside the house, they have already started building beeswax comb and bringing in pollen and nectar. The queen is already laying eggs. So all this must be cut out.  A lot of work, but good for us, because Steve and Nate bring home not just the queen and the bees, but also the new comb and larvae already laid.  This goes into a new hive set up in our apiary.  We rubber band the  oddly shaped beeswax comb into the wooden frames in the hive box.

Most exterminators these days don’t want to mess with extracting bees.  First of all, they know the bees are important and need to be saved, not exterminated.  But secondly, killing the bees is only part of the job.  If you don’t remove the wax comb full of nectar and pollen and larvae, it will decay, and smell and eventually

Bee hive behind fascia board and gutter.

seep through the wall board into the house!  Exterminators don’t want to

Nate getting a bee hive way up high behind gutter.

deal with that!

So, if you see a swarm, or you end up with an infestation in your home, don’t hesitate to call the BEEpothecary BEE Wranglers! 614-450-2339.

 

 

 

 

 

Steve digging out another fascia board infestation.

Getting the bees in the nuc box.

Making sure he’s got them all.

 

 

Psalm 104:

27 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are terrified;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—

32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

Fall in the BEE Yard

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Psalms from the Hive, by Jeannie Saum

 

Cooler nights and shorter days, 

Bring out jeans and sweaters

And change our ways.

The honey bees,

Make changes too.

Bringing in nectar,

Making lots of goo!

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

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

Fall is officially here and the nights are getting cooler but the daytime temperatures are unpredictable! The temperature can range from high 80’s to somewhere in the 50’s. We never know what to expect! But the bees’ activities this time of year, are always the same. It is time for them to get ready for the coming winter. In the fall, the bees work hard to get a last load of flower nectar into their hive, to make their honey-food for winter. The nectar comes mainly from goldenrod and asters this time of year, giving the fall honey a darker color and bolder taste, For some of us, it is the favorite of all!

20150531_144157If there is an abundance of nectar flowing and not too much rain, the bees will be able to fill up lots of frames of nectar, which they will fan with their tiny wings, to evaporate it down to sweet, dark, flavorful honey. And if they make more than what they need for winter (typically about 100 pounds), they we get to pull some honey frames off for us!! We can’t wait! The bees also collect lots of resin from the trees and use it to make extra propolis in the fall. They will use this sticky goo to seal the hive for winter, filling all the cracks and crevices with globs of propolis and covering all the surfaces with a thin layer. Propolis also kills bacteria, viruses and molds that might be present in the hive, keeping it sanitary and healthy as they hsteve-at-toyead into winter.

We made a trip out to our bee yards this week, to check on our bees and see if there was any fall honey for us.  We found some hives thriving and some sort of struggling along.  We took notes and made plans to check again in a few weeks whenjeannie-scraping the goldenrod and aster nectar flow is over.  Then, we might need to feed some of the smaller hives, to help them build up their stores for winter.  We noted some smaller hives  that may have difficulty making it through the winter.  We are thinking about trying the 2 queen method where you  place a weaker hive atop a stronger hive with 2 queen excluders and a box of honey between them.  Combining them this way allows the worker bees  from both hives to pass through the excluders to get around both hives to move take care of larvae, move honey stores around and help take care of both queens.  We will get out into our apiaries at the beginning of November to decide this, and to prepare our hives for winter.

We also found about 5 boxes of honey we can pull in a few weeks, once it is capped. We are excited about having sweet dark fall honey!   The boxes we pull off are in addition to the honey we will leave for the bees. They will need between 80 and 100 pound to eat during th
e winter so they have energy to shiver their flight muscles, generating heat to keep the queen at 93 degrees all winter!

And our best discovery working in our bee yards was finding several hives that are making tons of propolis. On one hive it was dripping down the sides!   7-oz-propolis-one-hiveWe got 7 ounces  – mostly from one hive – that was in our way and had to be removed.  Most beekeepers would be cursing it and tossing
it over their shoulder into the grass after scraping it off.  But we celebrate because we know how precious it is as a natural health substance.  It’s like gold, to us.  Our gift from the bees.  We have read propolis-isnlidscores and scores of research on propolis and know it has shown to be antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.  We will use our propolis to make dietary supplements, skin care, shaving products, soaps, and lip balms, all fortified with propolis, because we want everyone to know about propolis and be able to have access to it.

Powered by BEES!

 

TO ALL BEEKEEPERS:

What are you doing with your propolis?  Don’t throw it away!  

Since you have to clean your hives anyway, why not make some money doing it!

We buy propolis by the pound. Save it in baggies as you clean up your equipment.  

Store it in the freezer and call us when you have a pound or more.

We will email you the instructions on how to clean it and give you a price.

We also buy: Beeswax, Honey and Pollen!

Email us:BEEpothecary@gmail.com

1 Peter 1:6-8

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Honey and all it’s goodness

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The Land of Milk and Honey

Cooking with Honey

by Laurie Dotson 

Superpowers? Honey, who knew?

It was brought to my attention last week that September is in fact National Honey Month. Honey gets an entire month all to itself?  Why yes, it certainly does.  We celebrate it at the Lithopolis Honeyfest, in Lithopolis Ohio!

BEEpothecary will have a booth with all our fabulous products!

!!!!!Planning ahead!!!!!

Mark your calendar  September 11-12, 2015

LithopThe Lithopolis Honeyfest will be going on the FRIDAY & SATURDAY AFTER LABOR DAY
FREE ADMISSION, FREE SHUTTLE & FREE PARKING CALL FOR DETAILS 614-837-2013

Lithopolis HoneyFest

Turns out that Americans consume 1.5 pounds of honey per person annually, and there are more than 300 types of honey in the United States alone. That’s impressive, and we figured that if honey gets to be honored all month long, the least we could do is give you 20 different uses for it. Enjoy!

1. Put it on your lipshoney on lips

Did you know that making your own lip balm is as easy as tracking down some almond oil, beeswax and honey? Sure is. Makes you feel a little guilty about that $10 version you picked up at the health food store yesterday, doesn’t it?  Lip Honey made by BEEpothecary

2. Make your own honey moisturizer

If you’ve got a handful of sweet smelling herbs — think lavender — laying around and ready to be used, why not use them for your own homemade honey lotion? Warm honey over a saucepan until it gets to a liquid consistency. Pour honey over herbs and cap tightly; the ratio you want to use is 1 tablespoon of herbs per 8 ounces of honey. Let sit for a week and then mix 1 teaspoon of liquid into an 8 ounce bottle of unscented lotion.

3. Eat it with goat cheesehoney and goats cheese

In need of a classy hors d’oeuvre but lacking in the time department? Try this: put a round of goat cheese in a ramekin, sprinkle honey and chopped walnuts on top and place in oven at 350F until honey and cheese are both soft. Serve with baguette or crackers and you’ll be the life of the party.

4. Prepare for the end of the world

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.49.11 PM

You never know what’s going to happen, so stock it. Now.

5. Drink it

We all know a drop of honey in tea is good for a sore throat, but you can add it to most drinks for an extra energy boost. And simply because it’s a whole lot better than tossing in a few Sweet ‘N Lows.

6. Make a saladScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.52.35 PM

One of my favorite and easiest fruit salads uses just a touch of honey to enhance the sugars in the fruit, and it’s a perfect late summer dessert.
1 cantaloupe, chopped
3 nectarines, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons honey
Mix together and enjoy!

7. Give yourself a facialScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.56.06 PM

Honey is a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties, which means your skin will be happy when you give it some sweet honey love. Try a basic honey wash by mixing a dollop of honey and two tablespoons of warm water and massaging the mixture into your skin. Or you can go all out and try the Cucumber Honey Facial.

8. Go the extra milebeebread no bakes

Forget energy bars and shots, just pop a tablespoon of honey before your next workout. Seriously, it has been proven to boost athletic performance.

9. Remove parasites20141024_114058

Got a post-Southeast Asia backpacking trip bug that just won’t leave you alone? Mix up a good blend of honey, water and vinegar and you’ll quickly be on your way to being parasite free.

10. Clean your cuts and scrapesScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.01.32 PM

Honey can actually be used as an antiseptic, like a natural Neosporin. Because of its many antimicrobial properties, it can be used to treat wounds and even burns.

11. Get rid of your hangoverScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.02.53 PM

Forget a morning of popping ibuprofen, spread some honey on your toast or add some to your tea. Because honey is loaded with fructose, it will help speed up the metabolism of alcohol.

12. Clear up your dry elbowsBEEpothecary Wildflower Honey

Nothing’s worse than scratchy elbows (no really) so next time, after you’ve washed and scrubbed, rub some honey on to soften the skin. Leave on for 30 minutes then wash off.

13. Soften your skin

Honey is an excellent exfoliant. You can pair it with ground almonds or bee pollen and lemon juice for a killer homemade facial scrub.

14. Mix a drinkScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.05.45 PM

After you’ve been busy reaping all the health benefits that honey has to offer, it’s time to celebrate, and what better way than with a good ole cocktail. Honey Gin Cocktail? Bring it.

15. Eat the honeycomb. No really, just do it.

Yes, it can be done! One of our fave food bloggers Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini, put the ingredient to her readers and got some fun responses. The best sounding one? Mix it with crunchy peanut butter on toast.

16. Get an energy boostScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.10.00 PM

Feeling a tad lethargic? Skip the coffee and go for the honey instead. Mix a tablespoon into a cup of tea and you’ll be feeling better in no time.

17. Beautify your hairScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.15.37 PM

In the shower, after you wash your, coat the ends with a bit of honey. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out and you’ll find that your hair is less frizzy and extra conditioned. Or make your hair shiny and bright by adding one teaspoon honey to one quart of water, and after washing your hair, pouring the mixture over your head. Let dry and enjoy your new-found shiny do.

18. Preserve fruitScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.17.36 PM

Jam is so five years ago; show you’re truly cutting edge by preserving your fruits in a honey sauce. All it takes is one part honey to ten parts water and then covering your berries. Pretty much the closest you’re ever going to get to bottling up a little bit of summer.

19. Relax in the tubScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.19.12 PM

Add a few tablespoons of honey to your bath, for sweeter smelling, softer feeling water. Pure bliss.

20. Lose weightScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.20.55 PM

Well, what were you expecting? With a list this long it had to be pretty apparent that honey is in fact a wonder food, and as it turns out, you can even make it part of your next weight loss plan. Honey is an excellent substitute for sugar and it also helps speed up metabolism. Just remember: all things in moderation.

https://squareup.com/market/beepothecary

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-brones/20-unusual-uses-for-honey_b_949475.html

1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Our Hives are Hoppin’!

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Psalms from the HiveIMG_5023

by Jeannie Saum

How many hives can the  honey bees make

If the bees make it through the winter?

Five hives?   Ten hives?  Fifteen? Twenty?

We’re up to twenty-one!

Swarms caught, splits made, nuc boxes full

And five boxes of honey to pull!

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

It’s been IMG_3311quite a spring with our bees, and we feel like we are finally  getting the hang of things after 5 years of beginning beekeeping and many conferences and beekeeper meetings  where we get tons of helpful information.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

 

 

 

At the Dotson Apiary, they had four  hives make it through the winter an20150522_104446d these were thriving and multiplying in early spring.  In the Saum Apiary, we had three make it, but they started the spring out kind of small and weak.  We were happy with the survival rate, compared to last year.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

1413393049315

At the Saum Apiary, we had  a small disaster in the last snow and wind storm in February.  Our tarp wind break broke loose at one end and whipped around in the wind, knocking off the covers of three hives.  We didn’t find this out for several hours, so those bees probably succumbed to the cold and lack of protection.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

swarm

 

We’ve been out in our hives every two weeks, installed four new nuc (5 frame starter hives from an experienced beekeeper with overwintered bees and queens), caught a swarm from one of our hives, captured a swarm after a call from a neighbor, and made five hive splits from the Dotson’s booming hives and started 3 nucs with queen cells we found.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

beeframes DR

 

beeframesbuilding

We’ve also been building massive amounts of  extra equipment – boxes and frames – so we have extra boxes to put on our hives as they grow and make honey during the summer and fall.  Our daughter said our dining room looks like a bee supply company threw up in it!

 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 

And next week, we will have five boxes of spring honey to harvest!  We’ll keep you posted as to when that is ready!

 

IMG_3905

 

And remember, BEEpothecary is back open for business, with a 15% off coupon code  reopen15.  Get to our online market with the tab at the top of the page “Our Products”

Jeremiah 31

10“Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faithfulness – a Blessing to BEEpothecary

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Faithfulness, a quality sought

In  family, customers, friends.

They stick around during the hard times

Encouragement, they send.Delawaremay14

They keep us going

When we want to give up

Standing by, holding us up.

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Faithful Customers, family and friends , you kept us going!  All during the few months we have received DAILY calls from you, our faithful customers, believers in all things BEE!  While we hated telling you that we did not have products for you at that time, we have to tell you that it is your phone calls that have kept us encouraged and pursuing getting up and running quickly!

Your calls and stories of health successes with bee propolis, continued to remind us of why we were doing this.  More than creating a small business that might provide us with a little extra income for retirement, our number-one desire is to passionately promote these incredible bee resources to help others discover and experience the many health benefits from hive products.

It is so exciting to hear your stories and build relationships with you all.  We thank you for support and encouragement over the last

Jeannie and Steve Saum, Peter and Laurie Dotson

Jeannie and Steve Saum, Peter and Laurie Dotson

few months!  We look forward to serving you with these incredible products, getting to know you better, and hearing your stories of

success – keep them coming!

Bless you,

Jeannie, Steve, Laurie, and Peter

 

P. S. My daughter turned me on to this suggestion that is going around on Facebook.  If you want to know what a true and faithful friend is, try putting a friend’s name in this verse, in the place of the word LOVE and its pronouns.  See if it rings true for that person in your life.

 When we consider you all, it does!

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Grand Re-Opening – BEEpothecary is Back!

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ANNOUNCING THE GRAND RE-OPENING OF

BEEpothecarybeepothecary products

Health, Skin and HairCare Products

with the amazing BEE PROPOLIS

and other hive resources, are available at

     www.mkt.com/beepothecary – online – mail order

or at BEEppothecary’s home office

 3320 Toy Road, Groveport, Ohio

call ahead for appointment – 1-614-450-2339


Coming Soon!

BEEpothecary will be available at our partner Store Fronts within the next few weeks! Stay tuned for the announcement!

 

State and Third Boutiques – Shoppes at Capitol Square

Urban Emporium – Main St.,  Bexley

Simply Vague – Polaris & Tuttle Malls

River’s Edge Cutlery – Hilliard

Garden Herb Shop – Canal Winchester

Blystone Farm Market – Oregon Rd., Canal Winchester

The Well, Lancaster

Joshua 6

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.

March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.

Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.

When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout;then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.

16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!

17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[a] to the Lord.

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord.

Tucking in our Bees for Winter

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Should we or should we notmuskoka trip day3 374

Insulate the hive and top?

Feed them syrup?

Block the wind?

What’s the best way 

For us to tend?

Clover, Bee, and Revery

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

Last year ago in the fall, we argued back and forth about what to do to our bees to prepare for winter.  Just as every beekeeper you talk to has different ideas about how to prepare hives for winter, so, too, Steve and I had differing opinions.  We had lost 2 out of 4 the previous winter, and I thought we should do something proactive to the hives.  Steve, on the other hand, felt that if bees can survive in nature, in a tree, through the winter, that the less done to them the better.  Round and round we went over this.  Our county bee inspector came in the fall, and he felt the hives looked good, and that even the small hive might make it, since they would need less honey stores.  He made a few recommendations about how many boxes to reduce down to and how many frames of honey they would need.  In the end, Steve’s way won out.  We did nothing except leave honey in the hives and feed them some sugar syrup in the fall.

Winter came with a vengeance last winter, as you all may remember.  We had long periods of time with temperatures well below freezing, many days of below zero weather, lots of wind and snow.  Then suddenly, for a day or two, it would warm up to the 50’s and then – Wham! – back to below zero.  This weather played havoc on trees, shrubs, perennials and the bees.  

Bees stay warm in the winter by forming a tightly packed cluster around the queen.  By quivering their flight muscles to generate heat, they keep their cluster and the queen in the middle at close to a toasty 90º!  The bees in the outer layer stay between 48º to 57º.  The bees on the outer layer eat honey from the frames for energy, then move toward the center to get warmer, while the bees in the core move toward the outside to get honey.  But if the body temperature grows colder than 48º, they can’t move their flight muscles, and fall off the cluster and die.

Last winter, with the wildly fluctuating temperatures and the periods of bitter cold, our bees did not fair well.  When the weather warms up to 50º, the bees break cluster and go out for a cleansing flight (they do not defecate in the hive).  Then when the temperature drops rapidly to below freezing, as it did last winter, the bees often can not get the cluster formed and warmed quickly enough.  We lost all but one hive at both the Saum’s  and the Dotson’s apiaries.  We were bummed!  At $95 for a package of bees, beekeeping is an expensive endeavor, especially when they die every winter.

So, this year, Jeannie will get her way.  Doing nothing last winter resulted in a 92% loss, so th20140615_135218is year, we’re doing it my way!!  I wanted to try several things we have heard about at beekeeping conference we’ve been to this past year.  Steve and I made hive blankets on day on my lovely dining room table!  These are shallow boxes with a screen bottom and filled with wood chips.  They go on the top of the hive to catch condensation dripping from the lid.  This condensation  forms in the winter when the heated air from the cluster rises and hits the cold lid of the hive.  If this moisture drips on the bees, they die.  So we are hoping this blanket of wood chips will absorb the moisture and keep the bees dry.

One day in early November, Laurie and I went out and wrapped hives in black roofing tar paper, while Steve cooked more  sugar syrup for the bees.  The black paper helps the hive stay warm through solar gain from the sun on the black paper.  We had intended to staple the tar paper on with our pneumatic stapler, but found it went right through the paper.  So we ended up tying it on with string around the hive.   We added buckets of more syrup to feed until the temperature dropped below freezing, and then moved on to Laurie and Pete’s apiary to do the same.

A few weeks later, we added Styrofoam sheets inside the lids, to further insulate, and drilled a top entrance hole in each hive to help with ventilation – to further control the moisture.  Steve and I also added a T-post and tarp wind break about 3 feet behind the hives, on the west side.

I’ve heard a beekeeper say that the bees are dying  a “death by a thousand cuts” – meaning that there are so many factors that hurt the bees from pollution to pesticides to weather, to lack of forage to viruses and mites, ,.   Hopefully, we have reduced the “cuts” a bit by preparing our hives with these winterizing tactics and are giving our bees a little better chance.

And now we wait…

 

 Deuteronomy 30

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.

16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,

18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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