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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

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This Saturday, I found time, around 8 PM, to wander out to the honey bee hive.

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My sidekick, Mr. Barry White, accompanied me. Since I needed both of my hands free, he was temporarily hooked to the tree that overshadows our hive.

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Looking in once again at the empty top “honey” super, I thought about how fast time goes and how winter is coming. That open space is not insulated; and it needs to be.

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So, I took the measurements of the inner walls of the super.

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14″ Wide by 17.75″ Deep. I’ll cut a flat board that size and attach a handle to one side. Then, I’ll carefully place it on top of the queen excluder mesh/screen (handle side up).

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I was thinking about filling the empty space with straw. I’ll have to think more on that. The top cap will still go on as usual. The main hive should stay warm enough, especially with the massive amount of honey bees and winter food storage down there.

That rusty reddish color is curious. I pulled the following from this article;

How to read the frames

Capped honey
There should be a reserve of capped honey at the very top of the frame, this often extends around the corners. If there isn’t, then the bees are running extremely low on food reserves and you will need to feed them. This can happen at any time of year, even in summer if the bees haven’t been able to fly for a week because of bad weather.

Nectar
In the rows of cells immediately underneath the capped honey, there should be stores of nectar. This is a snack food for bees, the equivalent of having a bowl of nuts on your desk, which you can dip into as you work. The bees consume this and feed it to the larvae.

Pollen
Next will be pollen, this may not be so clearly defined but you should see cells packed with pollen, often different shades ranging from bright orange and red to almost black. Pollen is the protein, which bees eat, if there is none it would probably coincide with a prolonged period of bad weather.

Maybe it’s pollen? I’ll have to read up or ask around…

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CLOSE

While I had the top cap off, I went ahead and took a few close-up photographs.

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CLOSER

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CLOSEST

The only insect that tried to bite me tonight was a mosquito. To date, since getting the honey bee package in March 2018, I have been stung 4 times. That’s not bad, considering that I’ve only worn a mask and gloves a few times. I prefer risk with a clear view.

If you haven’t already, please follow Farmette 1769’s blog (choices below).
At the least, you’ll get Sweet Saturday Bees.
Sting you next week!

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This first photo is of the front entrance at about 10:30 PM. They were all very calm, so I had the opportunity to get really close.

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This honey bee is not alone by far; but, for some reason, no one else showed up in this particular pic.

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There are some of her fellow co-workers moving out to investigate a potential intruder – aka – me, myself and I.

Videos seem to auto-zoom on my iPhone SE. That’s a good thing for this hive front entrance video.

Lastly, I opened up the cover to look into the top super. That plastic mesh is the queen excluder material that helps keep the queen out of the space that was added just for honey.

I’m sure our queen bee is laying eggs galore in the bottom main hive area in order to create more workers. She has to keep this going to replace the ones that die off.

The workers wander into the the additional super a little, but for this first year with a top bar natural maze-like comb structure, the honey bees are focusing on the base hive area for their honey storage.

We’ll have to be patient. I’m thinking that the inevitable up-close-and-personal honey harvesting will be worth the wait.

 

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Our Honey Bees (All fifty-some thousand of them) are doing well. Today they were in and out, in and out, in and out… gathering nectar for the present, and also as stored rations for the upcoming winter.

The status of our hive is stable. They are sticking to the main hive for their activities. According to some beekeeping co-workers of my husband, the reason our honey bees are not using the top additional, queen excluding, honey-access-only super is due to the fact that they are filling up all the space in the main hive.

They will likely not use the upper super until next year. I made indirect contact with a beekeeper today – one that keeps bees as a business – with 600 hives. I have his business card and was offered access to call with questions; about how to get them to produce honey outside of the brood/honey maze that is now the main hive contents.

It is fun just to have them. We’ll probably buy another boxed package of bees next spring; and have another hive set up in a slightly different configuration. It will be a set-up that encourages a “Honey for Humans” section.

Since this is a somewhat short article, I wanted to add something extra.

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This spectacular Yellow Garden Spider had a nice web amongst the branched leaves of our Yucca Plant. I am pretty pleased with this SE iPhone photograph. It was enhanced a little in clarity, color and richness, and I retouched these weird shadows along the tree line, but other than that, this pic is true to life.

If you see any of these spiders, please let them be. They are not poisonous, are great for pest control and help to keep a good natural balance for your outdoor space.

They are a bit intimidating, since the body alone is over an inch long, but they won’t hurt you. The insects in the web aren’t so lucky!

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Since there really hasn’t been any change since last week, I decided to write a combo article.

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Here are a few bees at the entrance of the hive… The End

Just kidding. The really big news is that we finally released our homing pigeons. Actually, it is just a pigeon – singular.

I had purchased a pair, to train as wedding/memorial doves (yes, those are actually white homing pigeons, not real peace doves).

But, there was a small gap in the cage door. A snake got in and tried to eat the male pigeon. He could not, since the pigeon was too big, but in the process of getting to the impassable shoulders, he smothered the bird to death.

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This is the inside of the female pigeon’s new digs. I was in the process of building this when the snake got into the old cage.

It is designed specifically for homing pigeons. The photo shows “Petunia” inside, from the viewpoint of looking in from the newly opened gate entrance.

She had gotten settled in for about 2 weeks. This is long enough for homing pigeons to think of a new space as home.

My husband took a pic of me taking a pic of Petunia. She made it to the landing pad.

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Then our sole homing pigeon hopped up to the top of her house. It is attached to the main chicken/duck coop.

Petunia tried to hang out with the chickens on the ground. One of them got territorial and chased her, so she flew up to the coop’s roof.

26E8E98D-2A68-46D2-832F-1C03A6118267This photograph shows our one and only wedding rental, enjoying the top of her personal home. This image is from the day after her maiden voyage out into the world.

We’ll take our girl farther and farther away from our house, until she knows the home base location well; and can then be used for events.

I’m hoping that the people that sold me the pair are at Carolina Chickenstock poultry sale again in September (It is held twice per year in Taylorsville, NC.).

It would be wonderful to get a few more that are this smaller-sized pigeon (They tend to run larger.), so that she has some matching buddies.

Happy Weekend! Have a great one!!!

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FE309020-7561-48A3-8BE8-445B1E72EEA3.jpegWe’re on the road, driving from the Greater Charlotte Area to the Greater Atlanta area. Before we hit the road, I took a few quick pics.

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We just passed the big Gaffney, Georgia peach water tower. That’s always weirdly fun to see.

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But back to this Saturday morning’s honey bee update. I popped the top off of the added super. There are some bees above the main hive in there, but yet again, they have not started using the top bars to hang honey comb from.

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There is no intense drama going on in there right now. But, no matter what change or lack thereof is happening in our honey bee hive, it never ceases to fascinate me. I hope that all of you enjoy this peak into the world of Farmette 1769’s Honey Bees!

 

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It has been raining a lot. The sun has come out today and will remain for most of the day. Our honey bees are taking their time getting out and about. In a few short hours they will be out full force.

In the meantime, here is a video from today to start your day… Saturday.

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I’ve really got to get my act together. But maybe I just need to give in and swap Friday nights for Saturday mornings. Saturday morning seems to be working out better. I wake up rested. It has been cool in the am. It’s a nice way to start the day. Hmm…

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I popped the top off the super today, and since the bees had not really started up full force yet, I managed to grab that feeder out without getting chased away and/or stung.

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I also pulled all but a couple of top bars out so that I could see better in there. They’re not using them so far, so why not? If and when they choose to start using the two left behind, I can just add one at a time back into the mix.

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Here’s a closer view of the little bit of activity above the main hive box.

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Around front, they were just starting to wake up to the sun. It is shining on them from the south, which is how one should place a hive. This gives them a morning warm up and also backs up to the northern wind (they need protection from it in the winter).

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The day is shaping up to be nice outside, although it will get somewhat hot at a high that will reach 88 degrees here in the middle, far south in NC near Charlotte.

Lastly, an up close and personal look at Farmette 1769’s honey bees.
See you next week!

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