Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Day!

In New England we have a lot of snow right now. I mean a LOT of snow - over three feet on the ground and where to put the snow is becoming a critical issue. The snow is quite the issue for the bees too - their hives are quite covered with snow. It acts as a good insulator as long as the entrance is open.

You can see where I've had to go in and shovel out the bees. I like to keep the lower entrances open even though they also have an upper entrance. This keeps the flow of air going in the hive and keeps the bees from freezing if they happen to get damp.

I just had abdominal surgery at the beginning of the year and this was the first spot I shoveled. While my incisions are healed, my stomach muscles assured me they had not fully knitted back together. Nice to know that there is still plenty of snow coming this week so I can continue to build back strength in my belly!

And while it breaks my heart to find dead bees at the entrance to each hive, I am content to know that this is an indication of live bees on the inside. So for the moment, all three hives are alive. I can only hope that the next few storms - because it is still January - will go gently on the bees.

Think warm thoughts!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Crystalized Honey

Does that little bit of honey at the bottom of the jar have crystals in it? Did your jar turn solid in your cupboard?

No worries! Your honey has not gone bad. In fact honey doesn't spoil. Honey was found in jars in Egyptian tombs and was still delicious.

You can do one of two things:
1. Nothing - crystallized honey can be used in any way liquid honey is used.
2. Re-liquefy it - just put the jar or plastic bottle in warm water from the tap. Let it sit until the honey is liquid or the water cools. Repeat until liquid.

Microwave? I don't recommend microwaving the honey more than 5-10 seconds TOTAL. The pollen and delicate flavors can be destroyed by very high temperatures.

Go honey!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

It is a happy New Year in the bee yard. All three hives had girls flying yesterday.
Ruby's hive looked amazing! There were crowds of bees at the entrance and the were really stretching their wings.
Sun's hive also looked great. These bees prefer to use every entrance other than their front door - they are such New Englanders! They were coming and going with great purpose.
Joy's hive looked quite sad in comparison. There were bees coming and going but the traffic was significantly less. There is nothing I can do about it right now other than cross my fingers and hope they make it thru the next few months.
I am going to give the bees some "bee candy" which is a sugar patty they can eat if they cannot get honey. Each of the hives should have plenty of honey, but the sugar patty is just insurance. It is like having a fridge full of good food and the take out menu under a magnet - just in case!
Here are my bee-related goals for the year:
1. Keep three hives going all year (and overwintered)
2. Continue to build up the local peer-network of beekeepers (so if you know a beekeeper in Millbury MA -send them my way)
3. Finish my book on aggressive bees
Go Bees!