For anyone who didn’t get the memo, I’m on vacation from the intertubes until sometime in the fall. I’m thinking about turning Mud Songs into an off-season website, anyway, something I poke around with during the winter when I have more time on my hands. About 95% of the daily visitors to Mud Songs read items I published more than six months ago. That means most of the useful content is not time-sensitive. So it can wait. I’ll swing by again sometime in September, October, maybe November, to report on my summer of beekeeping. I’ll still be around to read and respond to comments. I just won’t be posting anything new for a while. Have a good summer.
Uuuuuuuuh. I have a serious case of beekeeping burnout. One of our hives swarmed about seven weeks ago; one of our neighbours had a bad experience with our bees; we subsequently trucked our hives out to a farm thirty minutes outside the city; we’ve had to borrow a vehicle once a week to attend to the bees for the past four weekends; we caught a swarm out on the farm (okay, that wasn’t too bad); we’ve had to take swarm prevention measures with monster hives growing out of control every weekend for the past month (okay, that was pretty bad); and yesterday we had to requeen a hive and tear down some monster hives to make splits. Uuuuuuuh. This is my favourite photo from yesterday because it accurately captures my state of mind:
Yesterday wasn’t horrible, but it was a long, long day. I am so tired.
We have to check out the bees next weekend and they better damn well be great. We plan to load them up with more honey supers and leave them alone for two weeks after that while the honey flows are shifting into high gear, and then we’ll come back from our vacation from the bees and steal their honey. And don’t anyone try to tell me, “You shouldn’t leave the hives alone during a honey flow because the queens could get honeybound…” — blah, blah blah. I don’t want to hear it.
I set up our camera close a hive entrance a couple days ago with the intention of playing back the video and counting how many bees entered and exited the hive in 60 seconds. Futility is the word for that. But here’s some of the footage I used, some of it in slow-motion and cropped in close (so it’s not the highest resolution). It’s just a video test, only for purists.
I’m trying to find a file type that doesn’t produce the ghostly after-image of the bees flying. It may look kind of cool, but it looks better in the original HD without the after-image. If anyone has any tips on how to encode a video file for upload so it doesn’t do that, I’m listening. Thanks.
It went up to 11°C today. Is it safe to say winter is over yet? I don’t know.
The colony in the above photo was slow to wake up from winter. The foundationless hive that went into winter with a small cluster has been the most active in the past few weeks. That colony may have more Carniolan genes helping its population bounce back early. The slower-to-wake-up colony my have a greater Italian lineage, high on honey production but slow to build up in the spring. But who really knows? Either way, all four colonies seem to be doing well now. They went mad with orientation and cleansing flights today.
Read on . . . »
Here are four and a half minutes of photos from our first 567 days of beekeeping. It’s not a “best of” collection, but it’s the best I could put together in 20 minutes (there are more photos of bees than beekeeping per se). It should look half-decent played back in full screen at the highest resolution. Recommended only for purists. There’s no music, but I originally had some Geoffrey Oryema on the soundtrack and it was good. You’ve probably never heard of Geoffrey Oryema, but he tends to make quiet night music with lots of echo. Or maybe Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass is more your thing. Whatever floats your boat.
480p, 720p AND 1080p PLAYBACK ARE AVAILABLE. FULL SCREEN MODE IS THE BEST.
2011 wasn’t a good year for beekeepers on the east coast of Newfoundland. We had a late wet spring, a short cold summer, and we (i.e., the royal we, as in I’m talking about yours truly) made plenty of mistakes along the way. But we managed to harvest about 20kg of honey from our two established hives and it was all worth it.
Here are some photos from 2011 (about 100 photos, approximately 5 minutes):
Read on . . . »
I don’t know how many honey bees can live in a typical Langstroth hive. I’ve had experienced beekeepers tell me that 25,000 to 30,000 bees can live in a single deep super. Assuming that a typical Langstroth hive consists of two deep supers, that’s 50,000 to 60,000 bee per hive. I’ve heard those numbers thrown around more than once. But who was the first person to count the number of bees in a hive? How were those numbers confirmed? I have no idea.
This topic came up in a conversation I had with a someone on Google Plus today. I threw out the 50,000-bees-per-hive number I’ve been told many times, and then I immediately questioned it and decided to take some measurements and crunch my own numbers. This is what I came up with:
Read on . . . »