Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Beeman Cometh

It's really fall now in Philadelphia, high's maybe in the low 80's mostly in 70's, humidity not so much, so cool nights have come, (big sigh of relief) and so we have to start worrying about the bee's future. They are still producing a bit of honey - there will be one last harvest. Most of it needs to be left for the bees so that they will make it through the winter. 
Matt came today to check on the "girls" (yes, honey bees are all female). Since he was here - I thought I'd finally take some photos. I got stung twice in the process. Once a bee flew in my sleeve and while it hurt a bit it went away quickly. But then one got caught in my hair and I couldn't get it out. She stung me but good - it has hurt all afternoon. Even so - having the hive in my yard has been really cool this year. I hope they make it through the winter.
The Bee Man:
Removing the frames:  
Matt gave me a bit of Propolis - a kind of resinus adhesive the bees make from tree sap to seal the hive. It is very sticky - but has a lot of healing properties. It is a natural anti-biotic and can be ingested in tea or ? I sort of sucked on it like a lozenge and had enough after about 10 minutes. It's got a funny taste. It's like cheap chewing gum that is good for the first 5 minutes - and then quickly looses it's charm.
 A frame full of honey:
 A frame not full of honey:
A frame with larva:  
Reassembling the hive:
Making the hive mouse proof: 
Making a hive mouse proof doesn't mean what you think. Yes mice are attracted to the honey but that's not the problem. The problem is that the mice are killed by the bees and then covered with propolis. Then in the spring the bee keeper finds mice-mummies. Eew.
Jacques was, at first, very excited about a visitor and then realized he should stay the heck out of the way.  Here he is watching things from the back door.
At one point a bee chased me pretty seriously - so I ran to the front of the yard and saw this butterfly noshing on an echinacea flower: 

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