Thursday, March 31, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, on 26 March 2011, everyone is encouraged to turn out their lights.
And it's just for one hour... like the time it takes to have a nap or to have quality time with the kids. And you help save the planet at the same time.
The bees will like that.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. In 2010, over 10 million Canadians turned out the lights for Earth Hour in over 300 cities and towns across Canada.
Participating in Earth Hour is a simple way to show your support for climate change solutions and sends a powerful message that together we can make a difference.
For more information visit the World Wildlife Fund website: http://wwf.ca/earthhour/
... now stop reading this and go get your candles ready!
I'll see you again when the power is back on :)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
But I did think to change my footwear before heading out of the house, but in the shuffle I forgot.
The weather warmed up to between 2 to 10+ degrees and the last of the snow melted, adding more water to the mostly frozen ground.
As I write this it has snowed once again, typical for a Canadian spring. Everything is covered in a blanket of white. Oh well. It too shall melt one day.
It was about -3 and so I moved quickly so again, no photos showing the inside of the hive. But here's the report:
For all four hives, the bees had finished their sugar baggies--this probably in the three or four warmer days. There were many of them clustered over the pollen patties, happily eating them.
I gave them all fresh baggies and more patties, putting them into every space on the frames. I knew the weather would be colder again so I wanted to take advantage of this day to top them up. Then if the weather warmed again or the cluster moved over they could take advantage of the feed.
I picked up a few stray bees that fell and warmed them with my hands. Their tongues were quick to lick my skin because it was covered with sticky syrup. They are hungry!
The mud was bad and was sucking my running shoes right off my feet as I tried to work. I got so frustrated I put a piece of plastic/cardboard down to stand on. Note to self: Put some sand around the hives to fill in the low spots where water collects.
I thank God the bees are alive, despite the mistakes I had made. I consider myself fortunate and don't credit it to any great beekeeping skill on my part. I have learned though and will apply all the knowledge I've gained as I work with the bees.
Now let's just hope the snow will melt and we'll have a warm spring.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The beetle has been causing problems for bees throughout the USA and now it's arrived in Canada--in Ontario. Here's a link to an article from Chatham This Week about the quarantine.
The official notice of the quarantine is posted on the OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs) web site at: Notice Of Quarantine Area or you can read it below:
For BeesAuthor: Food Inspection Branch OMAFRA
Creation Date: 07 March 2011
Last Reviewed: 07 March 2011
Preventing The Spread Of Small Hive Beetle In Essex County And Chatham-Kent
March 7, 2011
A quarantine area has been established for bees in Essex County and part of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to prevent the spread of small hive beetle to other areas of the province and to protect the integrity of Ontario's beekeeping industry.
On March 7, 2011, the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario issued a declaration under the Bees Act establishing the quarantine area and outlining responsibilities for all beekeepers or persons with beekeeping equipment within the quarantine area. As a result of the declaration, these persons must:
* not move their bee colonies or equipment within or out of the quarantine area without the prior written approval of the Provincial Apiarist
* report any previously unreported findings of small hive beetle to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
* participate in surveillance and treatment as directed by the Provincial Apiarist
* follow specific biosecurity measures listed in the declaration (e.g., cleansing of footwear and disinfection of utensils)
In September 2010, small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, was confirmed in Essex County beekeeping operations and OMAFRA responded immediately with quarantines on individual yards where small hive beetle was observed. OMAFRA continues to work with the beekeeping industry and other stakeholders to manage this new pest of honey bee colonies..
Establishing a quarantine area at this time, prior to the start of the beekeeping season provides the best opportunity to control movement of bees and prevent the inadvertent spread of small hive beetle from any yard where it might be present but not yet detected.
Small hive beetle does not affect food safety or human health.
Small hive beetle is an emerging and invasive pest of the European honey bee that has established in most regions of the United States. There have been confirmed findings in southern Quebec and western Canada. However, to date, it is not known whether small hive beetle has established a resident population anywhere in Ontario beyond the quarantine area.
Small hive beetle is a significant risk to honey bee colony health and can damage beekeeping equipment and spoil honey. It can be spread through the movement of honey bee colonies and equipment, and beekeeper activities.
In the fall of 2010, quarantines were placed on 16 beekeeping yards and one processing facility in Essex County under the Animal Health Act, 2009. In January 2011, small hive beetle was added under the regulations of the Ontario Bees Act as a named pest. The establishment of a quarantine area under the Bees Act complements these measures to further control the risk of spread to other areas of the province.
The specific boundaries of the quarantine are all of Essex County and the part of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent lying south-westward of a line made up of a Town Line Road, Pump Road and Merlin Road (also known as County Road 7), as if these roadways extended continuously from points of intersection with the shorelines of Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie (see map).
Susan Murray, Communications, 519-826-3145
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047
Monday, March 14, 2011
This is a heads up to get your beeswax candles made in time for Earth Hour on 26 March 2011.
At 8:30 p.m. EST everyone around the globe is asked to participate for one hour, turning off all their lights.
This would be a perfect time for a candle lit hour. Consider a late romantic dinner by candlelight or just enjoy the peace in the glow of a candle flame.
Here's a link to a previous blog post on: How to Make Beeswax Candles using a rubber mould.
I have my wax in a crock pot, set on low heat so it can melt slowly. Always remember that wax can ignite if it's on a high temperature.
This time I did it right where the cord is pulled up from the bottom of the mould. The bottom ends up being the top of the candle when it's done.
When the candle is pulled out, the cord is still threaded and ready for the next candle to be poured.
I discovered by accident that the candles will come out without using a spray release.. but only a few times...oops!
This year I'm making candles for my family and for friends as gifts that they can use for Earth Hour.
Here's a link to the World Wildlife Fund's website with more info about Earth Hour.
Friday, March 11, 2011
[Photo - Last night's snow's all tramped down but the sun is shining warmly. No photos of open hives because I was working quickly].
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
[The hives are farther back between two trees and on higher ground].
I made up my sugar syrup and put it in Ziploc baggies. I had ordered pollen patties so I had them on hand too.
We were scheduled for rain on Sat but I was hoping it would clear for an hour or so. The temp was predicted to be +8C. At home it was spitting rain lightly so I packed up the truck and headed out.
But four miles away at the bee yard it was raining too heavily. Sun was predicted to be cooler but with Sunshine so I stowed my plans for that day and instead observed the hives and took photos.
Lifting up the bottom of the plastic hive wrap I could see a small pile of dead bees. A chickadee was very active flying down and grabbing the dead bodies to eat.
At least nature doesn't waste an opportunity for a meal.
I took the last of our honey in mid Sept. This was much too late I later realized. The temperatures in Sept grow cold too quickly and when I gave the bees their Fumigilin B treatment for Nosema one hive (Hive #2) didn't eat it. The result you can see in this photo below.
It looks like a really bad case of Nosema--bee diarrhea outside the upper entrance of Hive #2.
This hive was a concern with heavy mite loads all summer that treatments couldn't seem to get rid off.
There were bees hatching with deformed wings too, from mite damage.
Then they wouldn't take their syrup. The blame for this is my own inexperience.
Next year we'll take the last of our honey the end of August, leaving more time for the bees to restock their supplies. I'll take less from them too until I gain more experience with this.
Hive #2's entrance was covered in snow, and I didn't see any dead bodies out front - bees going on cleansing flights and hitting the snow and dying.
I think this is not a good sign and that this hive might have died. I've been kicking my butt all winter over this mistake but it's time to let it go and write it down as a learning experience.
The other three hives look good, with bees coming out on cleansing flights.
It'll snow Sat night but Sunday will be sunny and 0 degrees. I plan to open the hives quickly and add feed.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
This is a fearsome question to ask a beekeeper. If you ask three of them, you'll get four answers--or more! And each answer will tell you something different.
[This photo is from a month ago].
So far I've gleaned this advice:One beekeeper said it's okay to open the hive now for a quick peak (-1 degrees C) but no pulling frames. Go ahead and feed them (rim spacer with sugar water baggie on top bars) if I'm concerned if the bees have enough stores, otherwise it's a little bit early yet. A way to tell if they don't have enough food is if they're all at the top of the hive under the inner cover. If they're down in the frames, they're fine.
Another beekeeper agreed with feeding now repeating the advice above, but only if I was really concerned that they were starving because it is still a little bit early (southwestern Ontario - with snow still on the ground).
There's been emails about this too on the Yahoo groups beekeeper list.
Advice varied from, don't break the propolis seal by opening now as it'll let in cold drafts versus it's okay to crack the lid and drafts don't matter.
(Refer to paragraph two... Ask 3 beekeepers a question... yes I'm sure you understand it now).
Of course Where you are makes a huge difference, along with the temperatures in your area.
I'm concerned that our four hives went into winter on the light side and I want to start feeding as soon as possible.
These guidelines for opening a hive were posted on the Yahoo Beekeepers group and was subject to debate about whether it was good advice or not. (I remember reading these guidelines before so I know it came from a beekeeping book).
Below 30 degrees F
Open the hive only in emergency, such as to feed or remove chemicals. If feeding is necessary below 30 degrees F, we must use dry sugar so the feed won't freeze
Below 40 degrees F
Open the hive only in emergency, such as to feed or remove chemicals. Bees cannot get far from the warmth of the cluster at below 40 degrees F so feed must be placed directly above the cluster.
Below 50 degrees F
At 50 degrees F, the bees are loosely clustered. The hive can be opened but brood combs should NOT be removed. Side combs can be removed to look at brood combs, but must be replaced quickly to avoid letter the brood get chilled.
55 degrees F
Bees begin to fly at 55 degrees F, especially for cleansing flights. Honey bees will not defecate inside the hive unless they have Nosema – Honey Bee diarrhea. They will also begin flying to collect nectar and pollen if it is available. Hives can be opened, but care must be taken to avoid chilling the brood.
60 degrees F
Complete hive inspection can be made, but brood combs should be returned to the hive quickly.
70 degrees F
70 degrees F is warm enough to completely disassemble the hive and farms for a thorough inspection.
And just in case you're looking for lots of conflicting advice, here's a list of beekeeping newsgroups to keep you busy Yahoo.com.
What are you doing? Are you feeding yet?