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6.28.2011

What is Blooming Now to Feed the Hives?

IN addition to always keeping fresh water in the yard to keep your bees and other creatures from thirst in the summer heat, one of the things that changes when you start keeping bees, is that you become keenly aware of almost anything that is blooming as a possible food for your hives. 
 One of Luba's honey bees on capped honey
Right now, despite the drought, Magnolias are still blooming and  the bright colors of Crepe Myrtles have never looked so sweet in my life before. Tallow trees are also blooming along with a few grasses and clovers.

Crepe Myrtle Blossoms
The buckwheat that we planted a few weeks ago is still growing, despite the heat, and although small, is starting to blossom along our drive. That should give them a little something to snack on as well.

Anya's Progress- late June

 Anya's Honey Bees

Cooling off in the heat on the edge of the hive

Honey in the brood comb

Anya's Brood Comb, much lighter in color
and texture than Luba's Brood Comb
Sharing Nectar

One of Anya's Honeybees walking the newly contructed honey comb
Bees gathering
New honey comb construction


Anya's older capped brood comb

Anya's nursery-fresh brood comb with new brood

Honey bees on frames in Anya's hive

More honey bees on Anya's hive frames 




Luba's Progress- late June

Honeybees on newly created honey comb
Building out new comb
Honey production
Honey making backlit by the Sun
Adding the cap to the cured honey
Honey bee at work
Honey in process and capped comb on the right
Luba's Nursery.. Capped brood honey,
then bright new baby brood on the left
 and capped comb on the right with some bee bread

6.17.2011

Bee Products; Honey, Propolis, Beeswax, and Bee Pollen

While there is no greater feeling than sharing
Fresh Honey with a friend,
there are also other things that the bees produce;
Propolis, Beeswax and Bee Pollen or Bee "Bread"
Bee Pollen or Bee "Bread"( top) 
Beeswax (top left)
Propolis ( bottom left) and Honey ( right)
 all gathered from Anya's Hive

Freshly gathered Bee 'Bread" or Bee Pollen from Anya's Hive
Notice the the different layers and colors of pollen?

 Pollen grains have a minute negative charge and "Forager" bees have a minute positive charge which helps them to collect all those pollen granules on their  thousands of hairs and carry them back to the hive in their  corbiculae or Pollen baskets,  just outside their hind legs.

Pollen is the source of protein, starch, fat, vitamins and minerals for the Queen's entire Colony.  Pollen has more protein than beef in weight and this makes it the perfect food to help feed the young bees to maturity. Forager Bees pack the pollen tightly in cells  and coat it with honey to store it for future use.

Outside of the hive, surfers,  runners, long distance skiers, and many other athletes and health enthusiasts have long  supplemented their diets with bee pollen as it it loaded with energy and high nutritional value.
 It has a sweet and bitter flavor that reflects the flowers that the bees have been foraging.
 Some beekeepers harvest pollen using pollen traps.
Notice the different colors of  the
Beeswax on the left and Propolis on the right.

 Beeswax is created by the worker bees to create their combs to store their honey, which is their carbohydrate.  It is used  outside of the hive to produce candles, cosmetics and even encaustic paints.

Propolis is an enigmatic mixture made by the bees from collected saps and resins from the buds and wounds on trees and plants. The bees mix these saps with enzymes and they use it to seal cracks in the hive, mix into the comb, for strength, and close or reduce entrances to the hive. It is believed to have antibiotic properties and is used outside the hive as an ingredient in toothpastes, sore throat and scratch remedies and can be  harvested by beekeepers with a propolis trap.

Bees really are amazing!

6.14.2011

What do Bees Do on a Hot Night?

Luba's Hive
Close up of Landing Board with Bee Activity
Anya's Hive- not as full or as active as Luba's- but still with Bees Just inside the  landing Board


First Jars of Anya's Honey with Comb

Anya's Hive 

Anya's Honey with Comb from 2 Shallow Frames

Anya's Fresh Comb!
Anya's Honey Bees on Capped Comb
Anya's Capped Comb from the Front

Anya's Capped Comb backlit by the Sun!

Anya's Bee Bread makers on the old Queen's Comb
View in between the Frames of Anya's Hive







6.10.2011

First Jars of Luba's Honey with Comb


Luba's Honey Comb


Luba's Comb Laden with Honey

Closer View of Luba's Honey Comb

Comb Frame showing comb structure
Fresh comb is very soft
Propolis on top of Luba's frame- different in color, texture, taste and use than wax comb
5 1/2 Jars of Luba's Honey with comb  from just one shallow frame.



Life Outside the Hives


The Bees are always working.
The Bees move all their trash into a pile outside the Hive
The Bee Landing Board is a very busy place.
Luba's Bees on the Landing Board

See the Pollen on the back of the Bees Knees?
100'F Today! -Luba's Bees gather outside in the cool dusk air
The smoke sends them back in to defend their Hive.
View from the Hive of the Hobbyist Beekeeper.