Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bees on Vacation

This past summer, like every summer for past decade plus, we go to Maine for a vacation. My father in law loans us his cabin in the woods for two weeks and we head off grid. It is an amazing experience.

Over the years I've kayaked the entire lake and a portion of the rivers it is connected to - both coming in and going out. For a few years in one corner of the pond, there were honeybees working the flowers. I didn't see them last year or this year.

But I did see bees! I saw two kinds of bumble bee, red bees, and mason bees.Balancing a camera and a kayak in moving water is a bit much for me so I got a lot of blurry pictures except for this one.

One the way home, we often visit Swan Honey in Albion Maine. I love how much it has grown and changed over the years. They are such wonderful people. They have over 9,000 hives with a bunch living in the field across from their shop. They paint their hives what ever color is on hand. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Paying it forward...

Since moving to New Hampshire we've experienced a lot of new things, one of which is growing roses. The folks who owned this house before us grew lovely red and reddish pink roses aplenty and now we do. I know little to nothing about growing roses but always game to learn new things, I was sad to find that Japanese Beetles like my roses even more than I do. I set out to get rid of them and my first thought was one of those bag traps.

Some of the chemicals lure are used to lure bees to traps used by bee researchers - thank goodness I did my research first. In this quest to learn more about all these essential oils and bee versus beetle lures, I reached out to a mentor of mine.

I LOVE having mentors. I was a very high maintenance newbee - I was always asking questions and visiting with ideas. That behavior slowed down a lot until this past year. I'm back asking a whole new level of question.

And I am on the other end of mentoring now. There are some newbees who need a mentor and I know a speck more than they do so I've been in hives, answering questions, and demonstrating techniques.

My mentees are the BEST!! They ask great questions, are willing to try new things, and don't mind me saying when I don't know the answer. We've dealt with queenlessness, honey extraction, and wood versus plastic issues.

I will ALWAY need my mentors - being a beekeeper means saying curious, learning new things, and being willing to try something new. Having other experienced beekeepers to talk out ideas with is a great resource.

And I love my new role too. It is my honor and privilege to be that mentor back to new beekeepers.