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Summer has finally arrived, and for those of us involved with beekeeping, a very busy time. We’ve moved bees around -some from our yard to a friend’s back yard (near so many raspberry bushes), and to the cranberry farm too. The basswood has not bloomed yet, but the bees are busy gathering pollen and nectar and yes, even making honey.
Here’s hoping the summer is going well for you too with lots of sunny days; lots of rainy days and a few rainbows too.Read More
What do Bees do All Winter?
“The bee, from her industry in the summer, eats honey all the winter.-Proverb
Some people think that honey bees hibernate all winter, but really, they remain active, even in our cold Wisconsin climate. Their ability to survive depends on the food supply available to them. Mostly it consists of honey left in the hive, which they have stored during the warm months. The bees form a cluster around the queen and brood, and this cluster of bees is what keeps them warm. As temperatures drop, the cluster tightens. During warmer spells the bees feed on the honey stores and go back into their cluster when the weather turns colder.
At this time of the year, northern beekeepers are anxious to know if their bees have made it through the long cold winter. Waiting for warm days is difficult, but surely a 40 degree day will urge the beekeeper to check hives, add food if needed and enjoy a happy dance to find the hives alive, buzzing and well.
This is a busy time of the year in the apiary, as the beekeeper prepares needed additional beehives, orders packages of bees and performs general cleanup of all the equipment.
Winter in Wisconsin is long and cold. Although we spend a considerable time outdoors enjoying the season, sweet flowers blooming, bees buzzing and gardens growing often enter our thoughts. And, beekeeping is a spring/summer thing, keeping us busy throughout. But wait….seems we really have not quit thinking about the bees. There are occasional warm day check-ins on the bees; lists of “things to do” for spring; equipment upkeep and building; and of course -reading all those articles and books with information on how to do it all better.
So far this year, we think our bees are doing well. A couple of weeks ago, on a warm day, Sonny checked on them and found that all 17 hives were good, with 2 hives just a bit weak. This was good news, and we are optimistic for a good start to spring, 2015. (However today the temperature has been in the minus column after dropping to 20 below last night…..These freezing temps have us worried.)
We’ve been studying the benefits of honey lately and the distressing news that so much honey is not pure, but contaminated with additives. According to a recent article in the Mother Earth News, ” Knowing that all well-raised, chemical-free, raw honey has medicinal benefits can free you up to be choosy and splurge on an imported honey, or simply convince you to buy from your local beekeeper instead.” The same article lists effective ways to use honey to heal the body from allergies and colds to minor burns. This information certainly confirms that honey and it’s healing properties are a true miracle of nature.
A great recipe for honey ginger tea:
1 large, fresh, organic ginger root, cut into 1 inch chunks; 5 cups water – simmer these ingredients for about 40 minutes. Strain into mugs and add at 1 T. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 to 1 t. honey, 1/2 t. cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Stir well and sip to enjoy this delicious brew.
It required a full day of work, (and the help of a couple of friends), but the move was made without much trouble.
Now I will only need to get the other bees in my yard into the prepared space, get a windbreak up, continue to feed them, and look forward to a successful winter season.Read More
You have three choices when it comes to getting a honey bee box: buy a complete box for a lot of money, buy separate parts and put them together for less money, or build all your parts from scratch and save over 50% of your money. Regardless of which option you choose, you should always purchase your supplies from an esteemed bee seller. Buying cheap supplies not only will not last very long, it may also cause damage to your bees (and your honey!).
- Always use untreated wood – typically pine or cedar.
- None of the boxes/supers have bottoms, so you’ll only need to purchase enough wood to create the outer edges for you multiple supers.
- Some supplies – like your frames and the outer lid – can’t be made easily, and you’ll have to buckle down and purchase them.