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Winter Bees Foraging on Our Camellia Japonicas

I put my ear up to my hives today
and the hum was softer than  
what I am used to,  
but it was there..
 The bees are enjoying  
foraging on the 
camellias that are 
now blooming in the yard.
 The short cellphone video below is not stellar in terms of visuals..
 but the sound of my field bees foraging makes me very happy!

Field Bees on Toki-No-Hagasane Camellia Japonica

Field Bees on Toki-No-Hagasane Camellia Japonica
Field Bees on Toki-No-Hagasane Camellia Japonica
La Peppermint Camellia Japonica
Drama Girl Camellia Japonica
Debutante Camellia Japonica
La Peppermint Camellia Japonica
Toki-No-Hagasane Camellia Japonica



Status Of Pollinators In The U.S. 

Eastern Apicultural Society 

Xerces Society

Bees As Craftswomen Wax Positive Creators

I wonder how they kept the bees form filling the wax with honey, pollen or babies.. ?? hmmm..
quote from Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny via Dezeen:
I have been interested in contradicting the current consumer society (which is interested in slick design) by choosing to work with a seemingly very vulnerable and ephemeral material – beeswax. To give a form to this natural product it has occurred more than logical to choose a form of a vase as a cultural artifact. Beeswax comes from flowers and in the form of a vase ends up serving flowers on their last journey.
At this point I asked myself a question: “Can I make this product already at the place where the material originates?” My ambition to push things further led me to alienate the process by which bees make their almost mathematically precise honeycomb structures and direct it to create a fragile and valuable object – like a pearl. This takes time and time creates value.

Read more: Log In » | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building "



First Swarm Catch- Sweet Hope Moves Into Faith

Love and Grace, the Russian Queens are doing well in their hives and their field bees are collecting goldenrod and purple aster and other wildflower pollen like crazy right now in the last major blooms before the midwinter camellias blossoms.
 Left to right..
Love, Sweet Hope with her swarm,  Empty Faith and Grace.

 However, Sweet Hope, the Italian Queen, has proven to be less stable than the Russian Queens and shown her vulnerability, and evidently hive beetles forced her out.( ? )  She swarmed and left the hive. 
She left pollen and some honey and  some brood behind.  Also signs of hive beetles.. not alot.. but enough, and evidently too much for her to live with.

I found her unmistakable golden bee swarm hanging on a fallen red oak limb near my patch of lemon balm in my herb garden.
Sweet Hope's Swarm Hanging on
the Felled Red Oak Branch in my Herb Garden
 It was HUGE!
I put on my suit, crept up to the swarm, and placed an empty NUC under neath the swarm. I tapped the branch twice and the swarm dropped in beautifully. I closed the box and walked off with Sweet Hope to bring her back down to the hives. I cleaned out her old hive,  it was now beetle free.. as well as Faith's old hive,  which was certainly beetle free, and put new frames into  Faith's hive.  It turned out that the nuc had a hole in it.. so I prepared Faith's  hive and placed Sweet Hope  quickly into it.... and also placed  a sugar and crisco patty inside with some food and then placed an aster  spring into the entrance to keep it closed. 
 After a few minutes.. I checked inside.. Sweet Hope's  bees were quiet and calm inside Faith's Hive. tomorrow I will check them again, and remove the Aster.

I hope that she will stay in Faith's Hive, as she has a better chance of surviving the winter there. 

It was my first swarm catch, and although not a 'wild " swarm.. was an exceptionally amazing experience to drop that whole swarm into the Nuc like that.

Such is the primal , giving, beauty that is nature.  
Once again, the bees never cease to amaze me.. and teach me so much in the process.

 Left to right.. new placement
Love,   Hope's old Hive, and Sweet Hope Moved into Faith's Hive and Grace.


Blue and Green Honey???

Turns out  it was the wast from a nearby M &M Candies plant in France!


e360 digest


Beekeepers in northeastern France say they have produced batches of unusually colored honey in recent months as a result of bees carrying unknown substances from a nearby plant processing waste from an M&M’S candy factory. Since August, beekeepers in the region of Alsace say they have noticed bees returning to their apiaries with colorful substances that have altered the color of their honey, turning it blue and green. After conducting some research, they discovered that a nearby biogas plant has been processing waste from a Mars candy factory that produces colorful M&M’S. The beekeepers, who are already dealing with declining bee populations, are not amused by the batches of colorful honey. “For me, it’s not honey,” Alain Frieh, president of the apiculturists’ union, told Reuters. “It’s not sellable.” While Mars did not respond with a comment, a co-manager for the biogas plant said the company has cleaned its containers and will begin storing incoming waste in a covered facility. "
Yale Environment 360: Blue and Green Honey Is Linked to an M&M’S Factory in France


Article on Bees, Our Food supply, CCD and Bayer Pesticides

" This is the biggest general threat to our food supply" according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program."

Waiting on the Asters-Bone Knit and Fall Pollen..

My girls are very busy in their hives..   it was 60'F at night last night, and old man Winter is a comin' in....  Time  to watch the hives for robbing and watch the hives to make sure that they have enough to make it through to the Spring Nectar flow.We are waiting on the Asters, Bone Knit and Fall Pollen.
The cooler weather is a little earlier this year.. much as our Spring was earlier.
 For South East Louisiana, that doesn't mean snow .. it means cooler night temperatures and breezes from the North and West to rustle the hickory and tallow leaves off the branches.
It means the camellia buds  are preparing to bloom...
It means cooler rains that chill you to the bone.
In the meantime, October comes and brings relief from the heat .
October and March are the most  fantastic months for weather.
It is time for Fall Fairs and Fundraisers and outdoor concerts and Festivals.
Time to turn off the Air conditioning and listen to the world around you without the modern man made Hummm.. and watch nature's Hummers.. the delightful Hummingbirds.. migrate through.

The hummingbird feeders are usually a good indication of  the availability of bee food sources.
If there is no nectar or pollen, then the honeybees hit the hummingbird feeders pretty hard and are accompanied by the Bumble bees and wasps and others. watch this video from last year's dearth and drought.. which produced frenetic dances between the hummingbirds and the bees

  If there are adequate or abundant food sources for the bees??
There are no bees on the feeders at all
 - pure hummingbird heaven.


Waxing Poetic

Fresh Wax Comb in Grace's Hive
 There  are so many uses for Fresh Beeswax, 
besides candles,hand cream and lip gloss and furniture polish. I
 met an artist today  that uses wax for encaustic paintings. 
Oh the busy work of a honeybee!


Directing Sunbeams

"The keeping of bees.....

is like directing the sunbeams."

Henry David Thoreau

Corn Loving Bees

Honeybees in the Cracked Corn  Feed for the Geese
I wonder how they would feel about Grits???

Passionflowers & Love Bugs

Detail -Pollen collector on Passionflower next to Love Bugs

Passionflower Blossom
Right now the main blossoms in the yard are Passionflowers, with a few  clematis, and some occasional roses and gardenias.  The passionflowers and love bugs are everywhere.  Take a look at the pollen on the kneees of  one of our Italian Bees. Delicious!


What Our Bees Do in a Hurricane

Honeybees cover the entrance during Hurricane Issac

Wind kicking up.. leaves blowing around- photo with flash...


A Photograph of a Honeybee

Today I had lunch with my physics instructor, and fellow alumni from high school.
He is also is a pilot, and someone who is interested in time travel.
He brought me a beautifully stunning photograph of a honeybee
about to land on pristine blossoms of a seguaro cactus.
It is spectacular in its imagery and even more so in its thoughfulness.
I gave him some honeycomb that I  had gathered this Spring from Faith's Hive.
We talked about  Art and Fear, and also about how we are owned by our pets.
and also about the spontaneous nature of the best creative works, as he is a writer.
I am grateful for his friendship and insight... I have been staring at the photo all day and night.
I cannot stop thinking about what cactus blossom honey tastes like!

Honeybee Inspired work by Michael Rogers of RIT

Michael Rogers' beautiful work titled 
"Honey Flow" 
from the exhibition 
A Visual Conversation 
curated by Jane Bruce at River House Arts, Perrysburg, Ohio, 


Bee Boles !

Bee Boles are rows of recesses in stone walls often facing the south of the morning sun. Made for the benefit of protecting the bees from the elements, while facing the morning sun.
 Each recess is large enough to hold one skep ( hive) The Scots word "bole" means recess in a wall.
Be Boles at Ballingarry Castle  evidently only  about  a dozen of these 16th century structures are recorded.

 If you are from New Orleans, these might look familiar!
  but their use is entirely different.

Imagine that! This is  a photo from St. Louis #1 and yes- they are facing the East. )

Bee Boles - Tolquhan Castle
Bee Boles in Tolquhan Castle

 All About Bee Boles from the Garden History Society
Bee boles that were originally part of the large walled kitchen garden belonging to Remnantz, Bucks. Photo by Geoff Wood
Bee boles that were originally part of the large walled kitchen garden belonging to Remnantz, Bucks. Photo by Geoff Wood

Sturdy stone bee boles in Fife, Scotland. Photo by Penelope Walker
Sturdy stone bee boles in Fife, Scotland. Photo by Penelope Walker

 and from the 

"Records of bee boles and other beekeeping structures built in the past. Started by Dr Eva Crane in 1952, the Register now contains paper records for 1522 sites, and photographic prints and/or transparencies for most of them. To improve accessibility to the records and to encourage conservation and further recording, the Register was put into a database and made available online in 2005. The work was organized by Penelope Walker, with the help of those mentioned inAcknowledgements.
This database was last updated on 23 July 2012."

Many Thanks to Our Audience

Our Stats page shows that even though we have a large 
following in the USA, We truly have a Global audience!
Many thanks for following along on our beekeeping journey. 
More posts coming soon!


The Art of Wolfgang Laib

Beeswax covered room in the mountains created by 
German Artist Wolfgang Laib, 
who also works with pollen that he gathers himself.

 I applaude his working with such beautiful materials
 and calling attention to their beauty..
but do you feel that  he calls attention to the bees as well?

 I admire his work, and that of  Anish Kapoor and others 
who work in  installation and with site specific materials.
 I just wish that somehow that honeybees were more involved.

 and more from 
Art Daily:

"The artist began working in beeswax in 1988 and, using removable wax plates, created wax rooms for exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1988), Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany (1989), De Pont Museum, Tilburg, The Netherlands (1990), and Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (1992). All four wax rooms entered the museums’ collections and remain on display in Stuttgart and Tilburg. Laib went on to create beeswax chambers in nature, fulfilling a lifelong dream. His first, La chambre des Certitudes (2000), is situated in a granite cave of the French Pyrenees, accessible only by footpath. His most recent, on his own property in southern Germany, is an insulated shaft of golden beeswax that extends 13 meters into the earth. For these outdoor rooms, Laib initiated the process of heating wax and applying it to the walls with an iron that he will use at the Phillips. Over four decades, Laib has used organic substances associated with life-giving sustenance—milk, pollen, beeswax, rice—to create art of extreme simplicity and meditative power. In 1975, he created his first Milkstone, an ongoing series in which the slight concavity of a polished white marble slab is filled daily with fresh milk. Phillips Curator at Large Klaus Ottmann (who organized Laib’s international retrospective that originated at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 2000) performed the ritual every morning during a brief installation at the Phillips last year. Laib’s pollen pieces are also highly ritualistic—in spring and summer the artist collects dandelion, hazelnut, pine, buttercup, and moss pollens from fields surrounding his home and then displays the delicate material in simple jars or sifted directly onto the gallery floor. His largest pollen piece to date at roughly 18 x 21 feet, Wolfgang Laib: Pollen from Hazelnut, will be installed by the artist in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in early 2013. "

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Beeswax Demonstration for My Bee Club

I gave a demonstration to my bee club
 ( ) this month on how
to use beeswax to make lipgloss and handcream.  
It was great and anyone who wanted to could 
make a little bit of their own to take home. 
Many beekeepers just throw it away..(!) 

Future Beekeepers

This past Sunday I had
the pleasure of spending
the day as a volunteer  at the 
Audubon Insectarium for their 
Red, White and Butterfly event. 
I was stationed in the "Bait shop" 
next to a three frame display of
 live honeybees and was there
 to inform the public about Honeybees. 

It was so fantastic to see 
so many people curious  
and interested about honeybees 
and their well being.
 I answered many questions 
and gave a few 
brave young future beekeepers 
their first taste of a beekeeping 
suit and helmet and 
taught them the importance 
of  respecting and 
supporting the bees 
as important pollinators, 
as well as honey producers.
However, I think that they were most  impressed  
with the fact that bees have five eyes and can taste with their feet!


Night Light - Light Show

I installed solar lights in the nearby tree
to light up the path to the hives
 It was an unexpected delight for the
 lightning bugs or "fireflies"
 who gave us a wonderful light show in response.


Isabella Rosselini -Short Film on the Queen Bee

Isabella Rosselli 's Short films on Honeybees

Short Film on the Drone bee..
Viewer warning..  mature material  and audience only -honey bee sexual content and imagery

Our Bees are Washboarding!

basically, Washboarding means that they are licking the hive clean.. that s what their back and forth, up and down movement is.. they are literally licking their landing board and hive exterior clean. This is a hygienic display.

Our Honeybees on Our Passionflower Blossoms

Incoming! Honeybees foraging on our Passiflora Vine Blossom.
Close-up of the Honeybee landing
 Do you think this is an Italian?
 or  a Russian honeybee??

Honeybees vs. Yellow Jackets

This is a Honey Bee.
It  lives in a hive and is a female field Bee.
It  gatheres netcar and pollen form plants
and brings them back to the hive
 to assist in making honey.
It can only sting once and then it will die.

This is a Yellow Jacket.
 It is not a honey bee- it is a predatory WASP 
Vespula squalmosa
It also Stings.. and can sting REPEATEDLY!!!
but does not live in a hive , but in a nest, often on the ground.
They feed on fruits,  flower nectar, tree sap,  
and also other insects such as bees
 or even meats and fish! As such , 
they are the enemies of the honeybee.


Honey and Honeycomb Harvest

Freshly jarred Honey from our Hives 
Freshly gathered honeycomb from our hives
The comb is cut into sections from the frames
 Our recent harvest from the hive


Hive Check and Honey Harvest

Comb laid out on foundation

Grace's new comb -no foundation-
larger and wider than the comb built on foundation.
This was all built  since my last visit to her hive!

Honey already being made on this frame

Capped Honeycomb from Luba's Hive

Rich and golden side view of the comb from Luba's Hive.

Scores from where the crimped wire was removed
from the foundation before boxing the comb.

 All in all I have gathered about 40 lbs of honey on comb
in the last week from two hives.
 I have shared most with friends and family already.
 I know too many honey-bears!