June 9, 2010

Strange Ideas

May and June have been good to the bees here on Cape Cod. For the first time in many years we actually had “spring”.

Right:  Two of the packages of bees we installed in May

Typically here the temperatures stay cold (because we are surrounded by water on three sides), until the end of may. Then suddenly it is HOT….. Until September.

This lengthened spring with nice weather has allowed the bees to take full advantage of the honey flow. I guess it is the least mother nature could do for us after last spring.

Left:  Empty packages on top of the newly created colonies.  In three weeks the bees have drawn all the comb in the first boxes.  The second deep brood chambers were added to these hives last week

Both Kona queens were accepted by their colonies, and have been diligently laying a thousand eggs each day for the past two weeks. Their patterns are beautiful. They are laying a solid worker cell pattern. I am pleased. The queens are only limited by the ability of the workers to produce new comb, and the amount of honey an pollen being stored.

I also managed to obtain a Minnesota Hygienic Queen two weeks ago. I recently discovered that this particular strain of honey bee has their roots in the old “starline” strain of bees. The Starline breed was sold by Dadant and Sons many years ago. They were the first bees I kept in my early years of beekeeping. My uncle and grandfather, who got me started in beekeeping, swore by them.

I remember that I did not know much at that time about beekeeping, and made many mistakes. Those starline bees lasted for years without any help from me. Year after year they would product honey, capped with the whitest wax I have ever seen. Alas they are no longer produced.

We will see how their great great great cousins do!

Right:  Honey supers (top thin boxes) have been added to the strong colonies.  The hive on the far left was the hive that had the two queens last month.  Mother and daughter existed side by side for over a month.

The Kona queens are installed in the two far right colonies

The one queen I kept from my queen rearing project last summer is doing outstanding. Honey supers have been added and the bees are busy filling the empty comb with honey.

Honey supers were added to the colonies last week. Within 24 hours the bees were working the comb, storing nectar, which will be turned into honey over the next two months.

I have the habit of obsessing about ideas that pop into my head. An idea will come to me, and I will spend much of my free time thinking about it, sketching it, drawing it, planning it.

This past winter I had two such apparitions, or perhaps I should call them obsessions.

I am about 80% complete with the fabrication of the second. I share here.

Left:  My latest bee endeavor....  Any guesses?

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Can you guess what it is?

Yes… It does have to do with beekeeping.

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