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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: honey bee hive

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Our honey bees are quiet right now. This pic was taken yesterday, which was rainy. Even if they were out and busy, they wouldn’t have bothered Barry unless he had poked his head up to entrance level.

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I was going to write some more about wintering honey bees, but I was pleasantly interrupted by our teenage son and delayed this blog until today, which turned into tonight.

He had wanted something interesting for dinner. This is the same child that loves to feast on Hot Pockets and Flavored Doritos.

To say the least, I jumped at the chance to make a few suggestions. And then that turned into us making a somewhat Mediterranean meal together. There was falafel mix in the cupboard and dry rice in the pantry.

We took advantage of a fresh red bell pepper that was leftover from Thanksgiving, a few grape tomatoes and a bag of fresh spinach I had acquired at the farmer’s market just that day. I had picked up one dragon fruit which he insisted on including in the meal, albeit a Central American fruit.

He topped dinner off with store bought hummus (another Thanksgiving add-on) and pretzel crackers (yes, another holiday purchase). He reveled in the fact that we made international cuisine that was also healthy. When did this junk food junkie change his attitude? Maybe just last night…

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On Saturday, one lone worker girl honey bee rests on the front side of the hive at 11:43 am. Fall has come full force to Southern North Carolina in the Greater Charlotte Region.

At 12:56 pm, the temperature had come up to 55 degrees. This Saturday, a sunny one, made it enough for our honey bees to venture out to take advantage of the mustard flowers and other fall bloom on the outskirts of our little farmette.

I didn’t realize until I viewed this short video that there were bees hanging onto the lid of the jar. When I saw that I took a look. And, yes, they were still there, so I let the whole jar drop to the ground.

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As you can see, the mason jar front entrance holder has honey bees in it. I’ll fill the jar with sugar syrup and give them boosts throughout the cold weather season. I’m adamant about keeping this hive going. At the least, pollination for the flowers and our spring gardens will be enhanced. But, hopefully, at the most, we’ll be able to harvest honey for our own use this coming summer 2019.

I’ll purchase another bee box in March to start a second hive. Between the bees and the poultry flock, I keep plenty busy, so this is our livestock limit plan for the near and distant future.

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We lost one of our two Swedish Flower roosters (Agador) during:

Hector, our remaining Swedish Flower Roo, fell victim to:

For three weeks, every day, I woke up to finding Hector surprisingly alive. His comb had changed from red to pale pink. He was coughing, sneezing and choking. His comb turned partially yellow. Hector miraculously survived, but he hasn’t crowed since. He has not attempted to mate with his hens either.

So I drove out yesterday, across the border into South Carolina, and purchased a second rooster. He is a;

White Yokohama.

“Yokohama chicken is an ornamental breed originated in Germany and came from the Japanese long tailed breeds. It was developed from two different Japanese Natural Monument breeds. One was the Onagadori and the principal ancestor was the Minohiki or Saddle Dragger.

Yokohama is not the place in Japan where the breed developed. It is the port from where the breed was first exported to Europe, where further breeding would create the Yokohama known today. Today Yokohama chicken is a long tailed breed kept as an ornamental breed and also used for exhibition.

The breed was admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of perfection in 1981. And the Yokohama chicken is globally endangered. Now it is listed as Critical on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.”

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Albeit they appear to be a “gamey” bird, this is not their temperament. They’re pretty chill. It’s the first thing that I asked about after “Is he still available”. We don’t keep any aggressive pets or livestock here and want to keep it that way.

He stayed overnight in a mesh-topped plastic crate in the garage. Then he was transferred to an open cage for the day. Tonight he gets to sleep with his new flock. I’ll confine him like this for a few days until he knows that this is where the food is, and that this is home. Then he can run around with his new friends at will.

Since I was unable to track down another Swedish Flower rooster, I went for an equally spectacular breed. I hope to find a hen of the same breed at some point.

But, in the meantime, I’m looking forward to his morning (and all day) crowing. I miss it. I enjoy the soft crows that start around 5 am. I like the stronger ones with the dawn at 6. Then come the full on, cock-a-doodle-doos at sunrise, around 7 now, that continue into the sunlight.

This makes for a beautiful day. The birds and the bees. They all make my day brighter.

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Pics from November 10, 2018

It was a working weekend for me, and last Saturday evening’s activities revolved around the 17th wedding anniversary of my husband and I. I squeezed in a few photos and a last minute queen excluder topper project that day also. There was no time to edit pics or write a blog article.

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This is what was happening last Saturday around 2 pm at 55 degrees, sunny and crisp. One lone girl wandered out to greet my potential invasion. The rest of the honey bees had retreated back into the recesses of the hive.

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I popped the top off to check the added super box situation out around 6 pm, having discovered that the overnight temperature was going to drop below freezing. It was projected to be 28 degrees. I had forgotten all about insulating the empty space from the queen excluder, into the additional super, and up to the top cap.

So my poor husband had to wait for me to speed hack together a solution, before heading out for our celebratory dinner date.

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A used board and a new 1″ x 2″ pine strip was available in the garage.

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We have both a hobby sized table and miter saw. The board was chopped to size. The strip was cut for gap fill and a cup hook added for future removal. I was doing it on the fly – fast. I managed not to chop my fingers off.

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When I opened the top of the hive again, the honey bee workers decided to come storming up through the queen excluder.

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I put the make-shift excluder top on, took a photo, and placed two strips over those gaps. Then the bees came to get me, so there’s no pic of that step.

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But here’s one of my big, loose jacket. It’s the one I threw off as I ran away from the hive. A bee had gotten up the sleeve. I didn’t get stung. I’ve only gotten stung 4 or 5 times since starting the hive and never really wearing any gear.

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This pic is the only one from tonight, November 17th. It shows those stop gap wood strips. I’ll probably use the battery driven screwdriver to attach those to the main board with some type of braces. It does not now nor will it look pretty, but it’s doing its job. Our 55,000 honey bees are staying warm and toasty in their complex little world – all inside a bee box.

 

 

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It’s 52 degrees Fahrenheit out tonight. I took these pics within an hour of when I started compiling this article – around 9 pm. The front entrance was very quiet, due to the weather cooling down into fall. No worker bee guards came to chase me off. I had to put my phone camera lens right up to the ledge; in order to get a shot back into where the bees were congregated.

There was not much activity, so I was going to use an alternate plan to make a boring blog post better. But, I’ll save that for a rainy day, since things got more interesting after I opened up the top/cap.

Without all the bees coming to get me, I realized that I could, with my bare hands, place my lens anywhere I chose, without getting stung. This clip looks down the back width between the farthest comb and the back wall of the wooden hive.

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Then I re-positioned the lens, and got a view eyeballed down through the queen excluder mesh.

My big flood flashlight is being used to avoid blown out detail from the phone flash.

Then I took another video from that angle. All three clips caught busy bee sounds. And, I did not get attacked the whole time.

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The two photographs are still shots from my excursion out to the hive.

It was a short trip out to the right hand sugar maple tree. It shades our honey bee hive and gives it a little bit of wind break. Albeit right out the front door and across the yard, it was akin to Gulliver’s Travels.

It was a wondrous adventure into the world of tiny creatures living a massive hidden city.

 

 

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Honey Bee Hive Front Entrance

It’s 56 Degrees Fahrenheit @ 10 PM. Sunday night into Monday morning, we will get our first freezing temperature of the season. That is when I plan to start feeding the masses sugar water syrup again.

As you can see, even at this temperature, our honey bees are no longer overflowing the front of their hive. They are hanging inside, keeping themselves and their queen toasty and warm.

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As anticipated I was able to get some close-up photos this Saturday.

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I popped the top off the hive and looked down onto the queen excluder mesh. This worker girl showed me her holster, ready to sting me at a moments notice.

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The extra super above this mesh, about a half of a regular hive high, is empty. I have not decided how to address this issue yet. I may build a drop-in top lid to keep the hive warm for winter, since the super is now glued edge to edge with the main hive; meaning that I can’t really take it off.

It is glued with whatever that orange-red substance is that the bees filled gaps with. I think it is nectar. Whatever it is, it sure acts like cement.

Short Clip – Inside Top View

That’s all until next Saturday! Have a great upcoming week!

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The crisp fall weather has arrived here in the Charlotte, NC region, and our honey bees are tucked into their hive; with a few guards wandering out to the ledge of the hive entrance.

The following photos are not breathtaking by any means. I am saving up for a Digital SLR Camera (My SLR is a late 1980’s Pentax Film Camera). These are taken with just an iPhone. And, my menace of a big, young dog (Barry) was pulling on his leash while I was trying to get a good shot.

But here is what I was able to manage within those parameters.

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Maybe next week Barry will be sleeping and I can get an even closer close-up pic of a honey bee or two. I should probably pull out my old reliable Pentax, use that “through the lens” viewpoint and have some old school film developing done. I think I have some good Fuji 35mm spools around here somewhere…

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NCmapFlorenceFlorence started off as a hurricane with far-reaching effects, especially on North and South Carolina. It metamorphosized into a tropical storm. We got the tropical storm part of it first, and are now experiencing the tropical depression phase.

There have been 35-ish MPH winds, and some gusts that seemed to be in the high 40s. And then there is all this rain.

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This is a small section of the run-off gully for our back-slanted property. It can fill in up the sides when there are heavy downpours. The cement pipe can barely be seen within the overgrowth. But it is not covered with water, which is a good thing.

The loss of power so far has been a less than 24 hour period. That’s pretty good for us. Being out on the country roads with a smaller population, our power restoration just does not have the priority of the cities full of teaming masses.

I left the suburbs of NJ, just across the Betsy Ross bridge from Philadelphia, when I was 18 years old. Then it was big cities for 25 years (Atlanta/GA, Frankfurt/Germany, Burbank/CA, Wilmington,/DE, etc.

Our first home purchase was one side of a duplex row house with .10 acre(s). When my husband got a job transfer offer of the greater Charlotte, NC area, we jumped on the opportunity to get acreage. It was less than 1/2 the price of the NE/USA area.

So, now we are out here. Big storms never bothered me much in the suburban or city locations. I actually love rain and storms, especially thunderstorms. But with them, out here on the country roads, preparation is a necessity. Not knowing just how strong the winds would be, we cleared the grounds on Wednesday; roofing material, wood, cages, poultry feeder/drinkers, etc.

When power is out, our water is out – due to the well system. Last night, when I should have been writing this article, I was filling up buckets and washing dishes; after the power came back on.

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We had planned to move the honey bee hive, first into the crawl space underneath the house, and then the nook right to the side of the front stoop. After further consideration, it was left in place.

I put the screen block on the hive entrance. The bees were overflowing when I was putting it on, at 5 am, so I left it at an angle. They can still get out, but it did slow them down.

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While adding the screened frame, I also strapped down the top, which is the most common recommendation for honey bee hives during hurricanes.

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This pic was taken early this morning. There are puddles gathering behind our hive.

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It seems to be time to take the screen off and let the honey bees out to weather the wet, stormy weather themselves.

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The arrow shows a big, dead beetle that dared to enter the hive. 

The bees seem to be happy to be out and about, although they are not storming out into the blustery rain.

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Florence should make its way past us today. Will more trees come down via over-saturated soil? Will we lose electricity again? I’m not sure at this point. But, albeit this weather event really wasn’t very bad for us, I’m really glad that we prepared well. Now that the yard is tidy and the household well-stocked, I may just get the chance to get back to that book reading I’ve been neglecting.

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