Flat Stanley arrived courtesy of my niece Riya shortly after the holidays. Part of the instructions suggested “dressing” him to reflect either the season we were in or an activity he performed.
We took these instructions to heart and got Flat Stanley all suited up and ready to do a hive inspection complete with cowboy boots since we are in Texas after all.
We had a nice break from the cold weather this past week. It was perfect for a quick peek into the hive I requeened with the Hawaiian queen at the end of October 2012. The hope was the hive was still full of bees with plenty of honey to make it through spring. It would also be a plus if they didn’t try and kill me.
To calm the bees before the inspection, Flat Stanley first smoked the hive.
After smoking, we opened up the hive and started inspecting frames in the top most super. All 8 frames were all mostly drawn out combs of honey.
The next two supers after that were still all honey as well. The bees were also calm and only started getting a little annoyed towards the very end of the inspection. I didn’t go any further into hive because it was late in the day and the temps were starting to go down. If we have another warm weekend this week, I’ll do another inspection and go straight to the 2nd super now that I know the top three are all honey. I’ll hopefully see some activity of brood meaning the queen from Hawaii was accepted.
Luke Dixon is a London beekeeper whose new book Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities was just published.
In addition to giving the basics on starting a hive, he talked to 23 other beekeepers around the world about their experiences and added it to his book. I was one of the lucky ones he picked so if you buy a copy or see it in your local book store, open it up to page 148 to see my smiling face. I guess now I can just sit back and wait for the movie offers to come rolling in.
After my wife watched me go from an obscure beekeeping blog to an international success (seriously, I had three views from Indonesia this week), she obviously wanted in on this blogging action.
She has now started her own blog titled Game of Thorns where she chronicles her love of gardening with a special emphasis on antique roses. Her latest post made it easy to use in this shameless plug as it relates to native bees using our roses for their nesting materials.
Last evening, I got to participate in a review of a section of the City of Austin’s Beekeeping Ordinance. A resolution was passed last November basically stating Austin wanted to be more bee-friendly and prioritize removal and relocation of bees whenever possible over extermination.
The current language reads as follows under a section entitled DESTRUCTION OF WILD OR ABANDONED BEES:
Without notice and a hearing, the health authority may destroy:
(A) a colony not residing in a hive;
(B) a swarm of bees; or
(C) a colony residing in an abandoned standard or man-made hive.
The proposed language would add this language to the section:
Wherever reasonably possible, the City shall prioritize the removal and relocation of wild or abandoned bees over destruction.
It is not a large change, but at least Austin is attempting to update their codes in the recognition of the plight bees are facing in this day and age.
Perhaps the best change, in my opinion, is updating the contact list 311 uses when people call in with bee swarms or wild hives on their property. The list currently has extermination services first with bee removal services near the bottom. The new updated list will have removal services first with those that only provide extermination services at the bottom. Priority on the list will also be given to beekeepers and services that will come get swarms free of charge. The hope is to encourage people to use relocation services as opposed to killing the bees.
One of the local news stations was out covering the story that you can watch by clicking the link below.
KEYE TV :: News – Top Stories – Participants abuzz at meeting to decide how Austin can be bee friendly.
This article from Food Safety News have been making the rounds over the past few days, and has some concerning information for folks buying honey. Nearly 75% of honey sold in stores have been heated and filtered to a point where all the pollen has been removed. In fact, if the bottle says it has been ultra-filtered, the USDA doesn’t even consider it to be honey anymore.
Pollen in honey is like a human fingerprint. It allows analysis to determine the region where the honey was produced which is an important tool used to help stop the import of foreign honey produced using questionable practices.
So make friends with your friendly neighborhood beekeeper or buy locally produced honey at a farmer’s market. What you’ll be tasting is a honey unique to your city or town.
This Saturday the Austin Urban Beekeeping Group will be meeting at the North Village Branch of the Austin Public Library from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. We will be discussing fall tasks for the Central Texas Area as well as preparing for winter. I hope to see ya’ll out there.
Austin area beekeepers have two upcoming meetings. These gatherings are a great way to meet local beekeepers, exchange ideas, and get your questions answered.
September 10th from 10:00am to 12:00pm
Goodwill Resource Center
6505 Burleson Road, Austin, TX
October 15th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
North Village Branch Austin Public Library
2505 Steck Ave, Austin, TX
Here is a great link from a beekeeping exam about the bee waggle dance. I personally think the student should get full points for creativity.
This is short notice, but Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is having a webinar on Integrated Pest Management on August 4th at 7:30 pm EST. You need to register to attend, so if you are interested, Click Here.
Today I went out to Round Rock Honey to help teach an Intro to Beekeeping Class. I took the full class back in 2009 which really gave me the hands on experience I wanted to make sure beekeeping was for me. For folks interested in keeping bees, this one day class will run down the essentials of beekeeping as well as suiting up and visiting a hive. Round Rock Honey often runs a $39 special via Groupon so I recommend keeping an eye out for this deal.