One of my nuc feeders sits on top of the hive with a floating platform for the bees, kind of like this one but smaller. The bees are a little annoyed when I open it up, probably because I am disturbing their home. They are pretty gentle, still, especially for late in the year.
I always take the floater out before so I can clean out any debris or dead bees before adding more syrup, and invariably find a few top bar beetles crawling around the inside.
For regular Langstroth hives, as well as other conventional box configurations, bee supply companies are happy to sell you a feeder that fits on top of the hive. I prefer ones that let you add syrup without disturbing the bees, like this one from Mann Lake Bee Supply.
For Top Bar Hives, most supply stores do not see a commercial feeder. So how do you feed the bees in a top bar? One way is to use a plastic waste bucket, cut to fit inside the hive. Fill it with floating material, such as pine needles, and you are set.
My darling wife and I spent last weekend in Washington, DC. We live in the area and we’ve never played tourist for a weekend. Among the fun activities was finding the Smithsonian Pollinator Garden near the Museum of Natural History. I was also surprised to find a number of blooming flowers, unusual for September in our area. Here are a few pictures from the garden.
With the fall in Virginia comes dry days with little or no rain. Honey bees are not native to Virginia (or the United States) and struggle to find food, especially nectar. Left on their own honey bees tend to eat what food stores they have, putting them at a severe disadvantage going into winter.
Last weekend I removed the Formic Pro I had placed on the hives on August 13. Formic acid is a naturally occurring chemical, most notably found in ants and some stingless bees. It is also present in honey bee colonies so bees have a natural resistance. It is not absorbed by wax and dissipates from the hive, so it can be used while the bees are also collecting honey.
What you see here is the strips after two weeks. Most of the acid is gone and what’s left is a bit like cardboard. I scraped them out with a hive tool and put them in the trash. The bees were surprisingly gentle, which made it a pleasant morning.
We made a visit to Block Island, Rhode Island in July, and I’ve been meaning to post these pictures. My grandfather kept honey bees on Block Island while I was growing up. He won the RI State Fair a few times (at least he said he did), so his honey was one of the best. Block Island is about 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, so there is hardly any insect migration from the mainland, and about a third of island is conserved so there are great floral resources for bees.
Here finally are some photos from EAS 2022 in Ithaca, NY. This shows (in order): the painted hives auction, fireworks at Kutik’s Everything Bees, the start of Mike Palmer’s talk, honey show (three photos, including the amazing wax sculpture that won best in show), an English Garden Hive (or WBC hive) at auction, My Tom Seeley autograph, pictures from the Cornell Botanical Garden tour (two photos), and pictures from the Cornell Beekeeping collection (two photos).
I had a great time at the EAS conference last week – I will try to post some pictures. In the meantime, I did a mite check in two of my hives this morning. We have a cooler weekend coming up where it will be possible to treat with Formic Pro, so I wanted to get a reading on my larger hives. I use a powdered sugar roll that has repeated done as well or better than an alcohol wash, so I am pretty confident in my results.
I am in Ithaca, NY for the Eastern Apicultural Society’s (EAS) 2022 Short Course & Conference. This morning I went the farmers market, which it one of the better markets in the country. Covered stalls, open Saturdays and Sundays, and includes farmers, food vendors, and artisans. All products sold must be produced within 30 miles of Ithaca, so you know it is local.
I’ve been meaning to share a couple pictures of bumble bees in one of our crookneck squash plants. The males especially find a nice place to settle down for the night (female bumble bees kick the males out).