Monday, July 26, 2010

A Low Tech Extraction

We learned that it doesn't take long for wax moths to hatch when you store your comb in rubbermaid tubs, so I put a sticky trap in the tub with a moth pheramone, which works quite well. Or you could freeze your comb. I'm very proud of the little funnel I made above by cutting a mineral water bottle in half. This way you get the pollen in the honey.

Jean used her jelly bag, another ingenious way to filter the honey. You just have to be patient as it drips down and this is best done in the hot sticky weather we're having.

Here you can see some of the different colors of pollen after the wax has been scraped off the plastic frame. (Let it be known that we hate plastic frames.)

Here's some of the wax waiting to be melted down.

Hive Update: A New Nuc

Well, we've had quite the year so far with our queens. We tried two new queens for our large hive and the first one disappeared right away. The second one laid some drones and then she must have gone on her honeymoon and never come home. Furthermore, even though we didn't see mites in the hive, her drones were born with deformed wings, so we ended up putting the larvae in the freezer. We treated for mites right away and the next day we combined the hive with a healthy nuc. Fingers are crossed because this is our last chance to get the hive strong before winter. We took off the honey super so they'd make lots of honey for the winter. We had some frames with old wax in them with honey in the corners. The bees were not filling these frames and we feared the wax might contain pesticide build up, so we harvested the honey using the crush and drip method. The new bees have been in there for two weeks now and our fingers are crossed that they will flourish.

Bees on Yarrow

I realize the scale is a bit deceiving in these photos because I've enlarged the native bee below so it looks like it's the same size as the honey bee above. These are photos of yarrow blossoms in VanDusen gardens. I've read that butterflies and bees are attracted to yarrow but I've never really seen much "action" on the plants. Yesterday the nectar was flowing and there was a lot of aggressive competitive behavior among bees around the yarrow. There were several native bees in it and one amber honey bee.

This little girl had the charming habit of raising her abdomen high in the air so you could see the yellow pollen underneath.

In this photo above you can see the tiny florets and the pollen. The florets are shallow enough that the short-tongued bees have no problem accessing the nectar.

The sun was quite hot in this part of the garden and the yarrow had a sickly sweet smell that I never noticed before, but it was definitely attracting the bees and syrphid flies.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Queen Bee in the Evergreen Blog

Three of us who volunteer at my son's school were featured in the Evergreen blog. Fun!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Colony Farms, Year Two

Unfortunately the weather was cool and drizzly, but lucky for us, the tents kept us dry. This year I had people add their messages to a community bulletin board made of netting that they were encouraged to weave into.

A wonderful woman from the Honeybee Centre was selling lots of honey, and showing off the queen bee in the visible hive.

Isn't this a fabulous wasp nest? It's a wonderful sculptural object.

Colony Farm Community Gardens

Once again, I was invited to be a part of the fabulous Public Dreams event at Colony Farm. We arrived at 8 in the morning so I took the time to tour the allotments and do some bird watching. As you can see, the clematis, honeysuckle, bergamot, and foxgloves were in bloom, making the humming birds very happy.