Blackberry Mead

2013 Cherry Mead

2013 Cherry Mead

It is time to talk about another use for honey. In this case it’s a use for uncured nectar that would be unstable on a shelf. As many already know if honey isn’t cured to proper moisture content it will ferment. I have seen the results of high-moisture honey in bottles and it gets messy with all the bubbling, bursting, seeping, and sticky stuff everywhere. Common rule-of-thumb is that honey needs to be less than approximately 18% moisture to prevent fermentation.  There are methods of drying it down and at a later date I may go over that, but I’ve got other plans for this stuff.  Continue reading

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Science in Beekeeping?

Blog L L Langstroth

Langstroth

I grimace every time I see something on Facebook touting how Scientists and The USDA are working on Saving the Bees. I hope it doesn’t take the government as long to figure out Bee problems as it has to end poverty or wage the War on Drugs. As a beekeeper with a finite lifetime I cannot put my faith in that. Putting faith in someone else to make my bees survive doesn’t make sense to me. Is it not every beekeeper’s duty to scientifically contribute to beekeeping? I have seen many examples in forums and on Facebook Groups of self proclaimed “Scientific Beekeepers” making statements that Treatment-Free Beekeepers aren’t using Science.

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From Bees to Beets

Making spice mixture.

Making spice mixture.

Last weekend Holly and I canned some beets. ”What the heck does this have to do with bees?!?”

Well first off I LOVE PICKLED BEETS! It has everything to do with bees, because several years ago my wife converted from sugar to HONEY for beet canning and it improved the product immensely. I try to limit refined sugar intake as a part of my diet because I think it is every bit as bad for humans as it is for bees.  Continue reading

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Chump Crickets part 2

Field Cricket

Field Cricket

If you haven’t read Chump Crickets part 1 from last week yet that would be a good place to start. For the rest of ya here IS WHY I AM SO EXCITED about these crickets! This is promising news for people keeping treatment-free bees if they can stay the course, be patient, and allow bees and mother nature to do their work..

If this form of resistance just happened once I might be inclined to think that it was a fluke and bees couldn’t be as adaptive and resilient as a single lucky population of crickets with a single mutation. BUT IT is  WAY BETTER THAN THAT!!! The first time that this was documented was in 2006. The article from couple of months ago was NEW and reported that mute crickets had been found on yet ANOTHER Hawaiian Island 100km away from the first. Both populations of crickets have reportedly developed MUTE males THROUGH TOTALLY DIFFERENT mutations resulting in mute male crickets….. to combat the same parasite via a different mechanism…. This is an amazing example of convergent evolution. This is the main difference between humans and nature. We look for “A” cure for things while nature continues to explore for any and all methods of survival. Continue reading

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Fall Clean Up

Corn Crib Lean-To

Bees clean things first.

Like always post honey harvest equipment was in needed of attention. The first order of business was to get everything wet with honey / nectar residue dry. I freeze and store my extracted supers every year. This has presented a problem in the past because they must be dry before placing them into a plastic bag. The results of not doing so are moldy, fermented, stinking mess.  The drawn comb in honey supers is very valuable.  I like to have equipment close enough to monitor, yet far enough away from my hives that it doesn’t set off robbing Armageddon. Continue reading

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Honey and Walnuts

Materials

Materials

It hit me the other day, I’ve never talked about things I do with honey….. I gave a little bee talk a couple weeks ago to the Bath, Indiana Gardener’s Club. I got to talking about one of the ways I love to eat honey and have had a request for for the “Recipe”. If I’m going to type it out anyway I might as well post it. This is something I like to mix up from time to time. I have no formal culinary training, but I know this makes a great desert, snack, or breakfast. Continue reading

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Chump Crickets

Field Cricket

Field Cricket

It’s been a while, but it’s FRIDAY!!!!

There are those who think that without Science, Money, and Humans the varroa mite, a parasite and vector of infection, along with some other pests and conditions will be the end of the HoneyBee. Those people could learn a lesson from some Chump Crickets – A NON-theoretical tale of how species deal with new parasites and selective pressures without Money OR Humans. This story tells me that hope should be placed in hardy organisms with a desire to survive and prosper rather than in Science, Money, and Humans. Putting faith in anything that involves both money and humans is a recipe for ridiculousness. Continue reading

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Concerns

Mouse evidence.

Mouse evidence.

The other day (2/18/13) at Hive Site 5 I noticed something that has me more than a little nervous. 1110 showed evidence of an unwanted tenant. I don’t know what happened over the course of the winter but 1110’s mouse guard moved out of position. There were tell-tale signs of mouse activity on the outside of the guard and the hive body. It is likely that a mouse has taken up residence in there. Continue reading

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Report from Last Friday

Growing pile of fixed traps.

Growing pile of fixed traps.

For anyone looking for an update on overwintering from last Friday I have NO news.  The temperature just didn’t get high enough for bees to fly.  The main focus of the day became fixing swarm traps followed by making up a bunch of frames.

See that crack?

See that crack?

The majority of the traps had small issues.  Most are made from old ratty equipment.  Some were home-made and therefore weren’t built using the standard Langstroth hive dimensions.  As a result these traps allowed bees to get out of the traps when the door was closed.  Why is that a problem???? Continue reading

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Records and Trends

Look at all of that.

Look at all of it. (1203)

You are are probably thinking, “what is with the POO posts!?!” Bear with me here… Even though I have another month before I can stop worrying, I am surprised at how many hives are still in the running to make it through this hellish winter.

Out in the middle of nowhere.

Out in the middle of nowhere.

After work on Tuesday 2/18 I stopped at Hive Site 5. This location has almost NO protection from weather. The hives are located in the middle of a pasture with only a little snow fence protecting them from the North and West winds. 1110, 1306, and 1203 are located at this site. Of the three 1203 seems to have been the hive most full of it. Of the recently visited hives it has shown the greatest degree of marking. This hive did not produce all that much honey last year as some others, but it did well and is still alive. Continue reading

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