Our weather has been unusually warm this fall. Last weekend we hit 80 F (26 C) and we have yet to experience a frost in our little piece of Virginia. We might see one this weekend, with temperatures expected to drop 30 F this Halloween night.
This being January, it is time for my prior year report card. This has been a good tradition to assess how I did against my goals, and it gets me thinking about what I might improve in the coming year. On my 2017 report card More than honey I gave myself a B, so time to see how we fared in 2018. Continue reading
March was colder than February here in Virginia. Our favorite weatherman said tonight that this is only the second year this has happened. The first time was last year, when we had a very warm February and a cold March. This year we had a cool February and a cooler March.
Needless to say, the flowers are off to a slow start this year, with the bees alternating between huddling for warmth and flying for joy. It seems a short post to welcome some spring and flowers into our world is in order. Continue reading
In 1519, Spanish forces arrived in Mexico with weapons both seen and unseen. Between 1545 and 1550, up to 80 percent of the native Aztec population is believed to have been wiped out by disease, possibly a deadly form of salmonella.
In 1987, the varroa mite arrived in the United States with weapons both seen and unseen. In the most recent beekeeping season from 2015 to 2016, beekeepers lost an estimated 44 percent of their bees.
Coincidence? Maybe not. Some thoughts on the evolution of honey bees and varroa mites. Continue reading
Ah well, I’ve been saying for weeks that Mars is very weak. It turns out I’ve been mixing up my hives and it was Jupiter all along. I found no debris on the bottom board before work yesterday, and at the end of the rather warm day the hive was already being robbed out. A cluster of dead bees on the comb and a few others on the bottom. Continue reading
A quick post about a small project this past weekend. If you are following along, you know I am interested in making some nucleus colonies this spring, or nucs for short. Our local beekeeping club (PWRBA) coordinates sales for new beekeepers and this should be a good way to help prevent swarming in my existing hives.
One problem for me is that the standard wax cardboard nuc box is only available for deep frames, while I am trying to move to medium frames. So I kind of want to fit medium frames into a deep nuc box. I found a solution this weekend. Continue reading
It is time for the much-anticipated annual post on my plans for the coming year. I did one for 2016, so this will be my second such post.
There is a difference between knowing something and experiencing something, perhaps theory versus practice. Agriculture, including livestock, is seasonal. There is a time for planting, a time to feed the cows hay, a time to keep the horses in the barn overnight, and a time for all the other activities that happen around a farm. We know this. Continue reading
Continuing with the winter theme, another recent read was Ron Miksha’s book Bad Beekeeping. Miksha maintains a blog of a similar name for sharing his thoughts on the world of bees and beekeeping. He mentioned the book in a post so I thought I would pick up a copy in support of his ongoing efforts. Here is a short review.