Little more than a month away until the bees arrive! The above picture is from the class I took last summer, and I soon hope to have a hive filled with happy honey making bees.
Monthly Archives: February 2010
The Home Stretch
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I watched Bees: Tales from the Hive: Nova (2000) via Netflix last night. I got into a little trouble because I did not tell my wife I was taking up a valuable space in our Netflix queue with this DVD, but luckily it is only 54 minutes long, and I was able to watch and return it in a day.
It is a good documentary as it explores the inner workings of the hive and the entire bee life cycle. It is not an educational video on how to become a beekeeper, but simply takes you through an entire 4 seasons of a beehive. The camerawork is amazing, and I still wonder how they got some of the shots inside the hive. It also appeared to be shot somewhere in Europe and the type of hive they showed was not the usual Langstroth hive as it opened from the side and not the top. I’m going to do some research to see if I can find anything about this hive setup.
Bee Fuel Efficiency
Bees are incredible creatures able to fly miles in search of good food sources, but I never realized how efficient they were until my wife told me about a story she heard on NPR this morning. According to research done on a bee’s ability to convert honey into energy, a bee actually gets 4,704,280 miles per gallon of honey. To put that into perspective, the average distance from the earth to the moon is around 240,000 miles.
Good or bad?
The New York Times has an interesting article on how bees can recognize faces. This may lead to two different scenarios:
- Hey girls! It’s the nice man who gave us this nice home to live in! Leave that guy alone!
- Hey girls! It’s that mean man who steals all our honey! Get him!
Perhaps I need to start collecting fakes noses and moustaches…
The Inevitable Sting
In my entire 35 years of life, I have yet to be stung by a bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, etc. I did have a nasty run in with fire ants at an early age even after my mother warned me not to poke at the pile (I did anyway for the first and last time), but so far, no flying insect stings.
I don’t think there is a single beekeeper in the history of the world that has never been stung so I know it is not a matter of if but when. I think the anticipation of that fateful day will end up being worse than the actual sting itself. As I beekeeper, I guess I need to add getting stung to the list that includes death and taxes as the only sure things in life.
Bees in winter
With all the crazy winter weather around the country, I thought a post on how bees handle the cold weather would be appropriate. A good beekeeper will always leave enough honey in the hive to see the bees through the winter months when nothing is in bloom. The bees will mass together over the comb honey in a large ball with the queen at the center. By flexing their wings they can maintain the temperature in the hive so they will not freeze.
An interesting fact is that bees will not “go poopie in the potty” while in the hive. They will wait for a break in the cold weather to take a cleansing flight as well as remove any dead bees from the hive.
No, I’m not talking about bee sex, but the fact that I’m now getting all these beekeeping catalogs showing off the latest and greatest in beekeeping equipment. Like any endeavor that requires specialized equipment, there exists a whole industry dedicated to supplying it in new and updated ways.
It is sometimes hard not to get sucked into all the latest beekeeping tools and gadgets, and I haven’t even started yet. But maybe I do need that 5 frame medium NUC….
I attended a refresher course last November, and it just so happened that a writer from the Austin American Statesman was there to take the class and write an article. The photos she took are located here. While none of my quotes ended up in the write up, it is still a good read.
The folks over at Sunset started the One Block Diet blog to chronicle their adventures in producing their own veggies, eggs, honey, etc.
The blog is a useful resource for anyone looking at trying their hand at beekeeping as well a variety of other fun projects.