Reverie - n. a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream or fantasy; a visionary or impractical idea

"To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.

The revery alone will do
If bees are few." - Emily Dickinson

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You.

I checked in with my backyard hive the other day, expecting to find them busily working on drawing new foundation and storing nectar. They were doing that (see above), but...

...apparently they are working on some side projects as well.  Dang!  This is the fancy pants Russian hygienic queen I bought last year.  Multiple capped and uncapped swarm cells in the middle brood box (I use all 8 frame westerns).  

Here is a queen larvae swimming in a bath of royal jelly.  And WOW, my gloves are dirty!

Here is another surprise for me.  Look closely...

Multiple varroa mites in a single drone cell.  I check the mite board on this hive regularly, and I have counted maybe one mite in the last few weeks.  But scrape open the drone cells and it's a different story.  This highlights the importance of monitoring and testing for varroa beyond just visual inspections of a mite board.  

It's not all doom and gloom though.  The bees and brood look good and they are bringing in loads of nectar and pollen.  Swarm season is upon us! I hope this queen stays.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Today in the Apiary...

...I marveled at how many bees there were (and how much I love my gloves)...

...scolded myself for letting the syrup run out of the top feeder...

...reluctantly treated another hive for mites....

...checked to see that my new local queen was released and happy...

...and she was...

...and wondered how in the world this particular hive continues to build wax in the wrong place.

Overall, a good day.

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's spring in Oregon!

Lots of emerging bees and lots of mites can only mean one thing - spring is here!  This was after a formic acid treatment.  It's pretty cool to see where the brood cluster is concentrated - all without opening the hive.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

{ this moment }

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
- from Amanda Soule
. . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Are your bees doing this right now?  Mine can't seem to get enough. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

There Are Two Queens In My Hive

This weekend my bees discovered the joys of reading Dan Savage.  I can't argue with them, I love the guy too.  But let's back up a bit...

I recently acquired the space to start a new apiary in South Corvallis.  I moved two hives from other places here last week.  This is going to be an interesting place to have bees - they grow lots of chinese medicinal herbs here, in addition to blackberries, blueberries, and tons of vegetables.  

The bees in Green (H1) have been going nuts lately.  So much so that I needed to reduce their population in the feeble hope of reducing the likelihood of swarming.  

Look how covered this one is with pollen!  

I grabbed a variety of frames from Green and put them in a new box on top of Blue, which had a smaller population (and only two brood boxes).  When equalizing hives you try to transfer as many nurse bees as you can, spray them a bit with sugar syrup, and separate this box of strangers from their new colony with a layer of newspaper.  By the time they chew through the paper they should be fairly acclimated to the smells and order of their new hive.

Hence Mr. Savage is in my hive, probably having his face chewed on by hundreds of bees as we speak.  He has probably written about bee fetishes, don't you think?

Green and Blue have cute apiary buddies now, too...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eye candy.

Here is one from yesterday in the Goodnight hive. More luscious than I can describe, and why Italians will always have a place in my apiaries. I swear she was marked though...

And again...

Here's another one, I'm just so excited!  The bees are getting really active, especially the Italians, who have depleted their winter honey reserves but otherwise look fabulous.  Here they are eating leftovers of last year's cappings. Emergency feeding!

Oh, well that was easy!

So I'm a little late to the game, but I just figured out how to post photos straight from my phone (duh). Many more blog posts to come, as I can now do them from the bee yards!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Little Something for the Ladies

...if you're a wood/wax/leather/stinging insects kind of lady, which I know you are.  You're welcome.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Luscious queens and micro-colonies

My Old Sol queen arrived today, so what better time to try out our new western nucs?  The majority of my hives are all westerns, meaning I use western hive boxes for both brood and honey supers.  The problem with this system (only ONE of many according to deep fans) is that standard deep nucs are useless if we want to make splits or keep a queen on reserve. 

First I made triple-sure the queen wasn't on a frame I was taking from the existing colony.  Look at that Italian queen.  Large and slow and sexy (isn't beekeeping great?).  You wait right here, ma'am.

I pulled a few frames of solid capped brood covered with nurse bees, shook a couple frames of extra bees in for good measure, added a frame of honey and pollen, and placed the queen cage. 

The western nuc!  And just like that, one colony becomes two, and I have a premium queen on reserve if I need her. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

They're Smoking More Than Bees

Read that product description above.  So hilarious I can't stand it.  I've used a smoker many times in my hives, and I can honestly say I have never felt smog entering my alert posture.  If you have, please comment - I'd love to know how that feels.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Been Caught Stealin'...

It is a sweet day when beekeeping errors can be transformed into oral ecstasy.  Chewy, squeaky, drippy, hint-of-meadowfoam oral ecstasy.