Like a bee in a candy store

Happy Thanksgiving weekend from the United States, when families and friends come together to eat a lot of food, watch sports, and give thanks for the good things in life. The official holiday was started by none other than our first president George Washington, who proclaimed November 26, 1789 “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” (at least, according to Wikipedia).

I found some time to both appreciate and tend my bees this weekend, and made some candy boards for them to snack on during our cold (cool?) winter nights. We had temperatures around 60 F (15 C) all weekend, so it was a good time to finish my winter preparations.

Candy Boards

Three finished candy boards for my Langstroth hives. ©Erik Brown

Continue reading

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

The Virginia State Beekeeper’s Association (VSBA) held its 2017 Fall Meeting on November 4, 2017. This one-day meeting is held each fall at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. As this is a two hour drive from my house, it makes for a nice day trip. I also received my Apprentice Beekeeper certificate as part of the event. Continue reading

Endless bees most beautiful and most wonderful

Native bees have piqued my interest this year. There are so many varieties sharing the flowers with our honey bees. We had Sam Droege of the U.S. Geological Survey speak at a recent club meeting, and he advocated the benefits of bee watching as an alternative to butterfly or bird watching. There are more bee species than butterflies and birds combined, and bees are much more stationary than most birds. Perhaps this will become a pastime.

So I have been studying the biological taxonomic hierarchy of bees lately. It is all rather confusing, so this write-up will perhaps clarify this for myself as well as a couple readers.

I gathered much of the material here from Wikipedia, and also verified some information with other sources. You may complain that Wikipedia is not the best original source if you wish.

My honey bees (a hybrid of Apis mellifera carnica) at the entrance to my hive Saturn on October 28, 2017.

Continue reading

Hives that go bump in the mite

It is the time of year when beekeepers start thinking about winter, and whether the hives are strong enough to make it into spring. One key factor is the number of pesky mites in the hive, something I have been tracking since the end of July. This post chronicles my ongoing efforts to keep the little beasties under control.

We also dropped our youngest daughter at University in Massachusetts recently. I was on the lookout for bees, of course. ©Erik Brown

Continue reading