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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: honey bees

Our honey bees were having a great Saturday out and about. And, they let me stand at the front entrance to take photos without trying to sting me.

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These were taken after one of my favorite Saturday outings – The Farmer’s Market. Whenever I go, I usually spend every last penny in my pocket. Everything is fresh and a lot of it is homegrown. You can get meat right from the livestock farmers.

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There are plenty of fruits and vegetables,

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flowers,

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and seasonal items; like this weird pumpkin that is now gracing our front stoop with it’s awesome presence.

It was a nice cloudy day with threatening dark clouds that never produced rain. I got out walking in the humid, yet fresh, air. It was a busy work week and the markets allow me to stretch out some of the aches and pains that I get from hunching over my computer all day.

There is a farmer’s market in our town down the road that I like a lot, but it’s slim pickings after Labor Day when it becomes a tailgate market. I also like the Dallas, NC Flea Market that is not too far from here. There are a few Hispanic run produce hubs at that one that I just adore.

But today it was The Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market. Their website fails to show just how great it is. They have four, huge, covered, open-ended buildings with a few cooked food vendors outside too. If you live in the area, it is a must visit for the Greater Charlotte Area.

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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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I’ve been letting “our” honey bees fend for themselves a lot. They’ve likely been visiting our gardens, our wild flower patches (aka bunches of weeds), and our neighbors gardens, and the ones down the road…

This pic and the following video (from this past Wednesday), show the lack of mason jar in the sugar-water drinker base at the hive entrance. Rain is coming, so I’ll likely add supplemental food back into the mix in the upcoming 10+ days of thunderstormed weather forecast.

 

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I opened up the top of the additional space super to the main hive just now. Retrieving that mini drinker incentive is a no go tonight. The bees were less than pleased with me peaking in, even though my expectation was that they would be calm in the darkness. I may be able to sneak it out when the rain comes in soon. They’re usually pretty chill during wet weather.

What I am very pleased with is that the bees have started to move up into the super. They have not made any comb on the top bars (not shown), but at least they know the extra space is there. Maybe they’ll make some honey-focused comb soon.

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But in the meantime,

Good night moon,

Good night honey bees,

Good night everyone!

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Above our (obviously not manicured) front yard, was the threat of a thunderstorm this past Thursday night. Although I could hear it in the distance, it did not end up passing over us here on Farmette 1769.

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This was what our honey bees were doing at the time. It was about 8pm, so they were coming in for the night. It was hot and they were hanging out on their porch again.

This morning, I took the entrance feeder mason jar off its base. What I normally do is grab the base of the jar and throw it into the grass; since there are always a few bees hanging on. Then I just retrieve and fill it with sugar water.

This video is a quick up close view of the entrance, from within the path that our honey bees take in and out – Front Left. I could not stay there long, since they guard it well.

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Lastly, this is a peak inside the bluebird house on the way back inside. The babies are almost ready to head out into the big world!

Please join us next week for another addition of Friday Night Bee. It may be delayed until Saturday morning. I’ve been really tired on Friday night for weeks now. If that continues, I will have to change the name from FNB to SMB.

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The first shot is of the front of our honey bee hive. The next is of the back. The back is where you want to check on the hive – since the worker bee guards focus on the front entrance.

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I need to add some sugar water to the mason jars. At this point in the game, the hive is stable, but I still like to give them a food supplement boost, especially when it is raining. But, as you will see the first video, they are out and about on this cool-ish, misty morning.

The following pic shows what happens to invaders of the hive. That big bee is stone cold dead. I saw them wrangle a black carpenter ant down into the depths of the hive, but I didn’t get my video going in time to catch that epic battle. There are big red ants scurrying about, taking advantage of the sugar water drinker. The bees seemingly ignore them. I wonder if it is due to the coloring being somewhat like that of a honey bee?

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I added an internal feeder to help encourage the bees to come up into the super. I’m not sure if this is a normal tactic. I really want them up there building comb and storing honey without brood, so that we can sneak some honey out late summer/early fall. I’m thinking I should read up on this a bit. Ours is not a conventional hive setup, so getting the correct information may take a bit of digging.

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It took a lot of back and forth from the hive to get the video footage from today. It was me jogging off when a guard started buzzing near my face or hands, and then meandering back to try again. In the following video, I actually dropped my phone into the honey super. If you stay with it, you’ll get a pretty close view of the bees at a horizontal angle as I flip the phone up. It ends with my grab and retrieve action.

And lastly, a clip of what is going on in that top super. Not too much is actually happening, but hopefully I will figure out how to make more happen in there.

 

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I never know what I’ll find when checking in on the honey bee hive. Sometimes there is only one lone worker girl at the entrance on guard by herself at night.

On this still hot evening, that was prefaced with low 90s today, honey bees are overflowing onto the entrance way. Maybe it’s the equivalent of sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, drinking lemonade, to take the heat out of the summer.

Well, I barely made it. Yet, as I had hoped for, this week’s edition of FNB is being published on Friday night.

Time: 11:39 PM

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