I am still excited about Bees and Beekeeping!
Its been a while since my last post. When first starting this blog I checked out other ones with similar interests and noticed that most fell off and stopped posting after a few years. There was always the question of had they stopped beekeeping? or just stopped writing about it? It takes a lot of commitment to keep things updated and it seems for myself there is more commitment to beekeeping than writing about beekeeping. I am going to try and give it a go again as it was, and still is fun to share the stoke about bees.
The fall winter of 2013/14 took a toll on the hives and only 1 of the 2 at the home apiary survived. 1 hive was found to be queen-less and had laying workers way to late in the season by the time it had been discovered there was so many cells with multiple eggs in it that i decided to let it go and start fresh in 2014. Below is a fuzzy pic of a cell with a lot of eggs in it.
Another hive at our community garden did not make it from a late season swarm that took most of the hive. The population then dwindled not creating a mated queen quick enough to bring the colony back for winter. I did a paper combine before a laying worker started in that hive. There is a reason that 2014 was not good for the bees. Early in Sept while putting away camping gear I slipped on a step and although there was no serious fall, my leg hyper-extended and after not being able to walk without pain the doctors told me the meniscus in my knee was damaged (from many years of abuse) and surgery was in my future. 7 months on crutches before my surgery in March was not good for the bees as I was limited on what could be done in the bee yard. Below is an image of inside my knee just before surgery. The shredded white stuff should be smooth, yikes
The honey harvest was good for 2013 with the hives at home providing us with about 90 pounds of delicious dark golden liquid and the garden coming in with about the same qty.
Here is a little video my son made.
I caught a swarm in the summer of 2014 but it did not stay in the hive that it was placed in. I now know that the entrance needs to be blocked for a day or 2 so they will be more likely to stay. It was a big swarm and barely fit in the 5 frame. It was more than likely from the hive in the garden that didn't make it. I did find it near the garden so its a good bet it was.
I did a beekeeping workshop at Still Creek Community Garden with a group of new refugees to Canada from the central highlands of Vietnam known as the Degar or Montagnard, which translates to "mountain people" in French. The Degar are the indigenous peoples of the area and have been persecuted by many of the ruling governments in that region for a very long time. There is a foundation set up to help the new refugees settle here and they have regular meetings at a meeting room in the Park across from the community garden. When they were told that the garden has bees that are kept there, and in boxes, they all laughed hysterically and said " Sure,and they come home every night, you are just joking with us" I was then contacted and asked to show them all about the bees. The best was when i was showing them a frame with brood on it and they were more interested in the larvae as a snack rather than the honey ! A few of them also shared with me their story's of climbing trees and retrieving wild honey in the forest. I wish I had some photos from that day but for some reason they are not on my phone. I did a few other workshops that year as well. I love to share the knowledge!
I took a queen rearing cross the summer of 2013 as well. I was very busy so you can tell why it was hard to keep up with this blog. Learning how to scoop out fresh larvae from a frame pulled out of a hive and then transfer them to queen cups was definitively the highlight of the course. I wont bore you with details but if you get a chance take a course and learn about it even if you dont think you will ever actually do it. I know it is in the plans for me in 2015. Below are a few pics from the interweb showing the grafting tool and the queen cell frame.
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