Honey bees seem to like onions going to seed, so let’s add onions to the list of honey bee friendly flowers in Newfoundland.
I came up with a new way of numbering my hives: Blank plastic key tags ($25 for a pack of 100).
I bought one of these one-handed queen catchers last year and had no problems marking my queens with it.
Almost everything to do with queens this year has been wonky. I’ll talk about that some other time. For now, check out this video where I explain why I had to create an artificial swarm — on August the bloody 25th. Give me a break. I’ll fill in the details tomorrow or the next day.
It wasn’t a perfect artificial swarm set up, but I was working alone and I had 20 minutes to get it done, and sometimes, especially backyard beekeepers who have day jobs, you just gotta get it done, even if it isn’t pretty.
How do you eat honey?
Nectar is pretty much like water when the bees bring it into the hive. They have to evaporate it down to at least 18% moisture before it becomes the magical thing we call honey — because that’s the point at which it won’t ferment. (Technically, honey be can 20% moisture, but 18% is in the safe zone.)
A refractometer is sort of a portable microscope we use to determine the moisture content of the honey after we’ve stolen it from the bees — essentially checking to see if all the nectar has dried up.Continue reading
Am I the only one in Newfoundland who thinks this has been an unusual and even slightly weird summer for beekeeping? Here are the hive inspections that got me thinking about this.
These screenshots are probably my favourite bits of the last post I wrote about making a walkaway split. The first photo shows the new queen about 4 days after she emerged from her cell. The second photo shows her about two weeks later, after she had mated and was laying well. What a difference.Continue reading
I created a walkaway split this summer and it worked. I got a second colony out of it.
I divided a well-populated, strong honey bee colony — one that was on the verge of swarming — into halves, each half with an identical assortment of frames: Frames of honey; pollen; capped brood; frames of open brood packed with nurse bees; empty drawn comb; and maybe a frame or two of bare foundation. Open brood between 1 and 4 days old was the crucial part.
One of the halves stayed in the original location of the hive. The other half was set up probably about 10 feet away from the hive, but the exact location in the beeyard didn’t make any difference. Continue reading
I’m on the internet!
As far as I know, I’m the only person on planet earth who thoroughly documents what it takes get into backyard beekeeping on the island of Newfoundland. My Guide to Beekeeping might be a good place to start for absolute beginners.