Warm outside and the bees happy to be out. For the first time this year the bees have found pollen and are bringing it in ... this video is from a plate of pollen substitute that I had put out for them.
Too cute! Whoop!
It's January and the willows aren't blooming yet .. expect that to be soon ... they are the first pollen source for my bees each year ... so while they're waiting, I set out a plate of dry pollen substitute and they went nuts. They harvested ALL of it.
3D printing a mating nuc. Not sure it is cost effective - maybe if I make them as small as the commercial mating nucs ... these are larger though, holding more comb than one medium frame (commercial mini mating nucs hold a lot less comb). I do like the idea of simply printing a new part as I need it.
Winter is coming!
Checked the bees this last weekend. Joined two colonies together, a couple others look small but acceptable - the rest of them look super good! 13 hives going through winter. If they make it through winter, then I'll beee smiling!
Not much to write lately. The bees are well fed and snug in their bed (boxes) for a long winter's nap (not really, they don't nap like that ..more like huddle together). It was a great year for learning. Learned a lot raising a few queens. In addition, I was able to grow from 3 hives to 13 hives.
I don't know why but the bees didn't make much honey this year. I was able to only sell 24 lbs at the market this year.
Lisa Phillips of Round Tuit Farms sold all of that at the far...mers market. I was so hoping to have more honey so that Red's Boutique in downtown Oak Harbor could also sell some - but the bees just never finished the honey they were working on. I kept giving them "a couple more weeks" ..but each time I went back, it just wasn't ready. Never did harvest any more. It was my worst year, honey-wise and it was like that all along the west side of the Cascades. You would find pockets of people doing well but so many beekeepers just didn't produce much of a honey crop.
Since I was able to make increases in bees, next year should be better. Bees and weather permitting!
I want to thank all of you who purchased what little my honey bees produced. I want to thank my wonderful hive hosts for putting up with all of my comings and goings. I want to thank Lisa of Round Tuit for selling my honey at the farmers market - AND a big "sorry" to Lonnie at the fabulous Red's Boutique (you gotta visit her store!) for not having any honey for her to sell. It was just wonderful being a beekeeper this year. Thank you all!
Got these new 'rapid' feeders from Europe and I'm really digging them (been so long since I've used that word). Sitting on top of the inner cover, the bees come up and over to feed. You can add more syrup without fussing with the bees and best of all, the bees don't drown!!
The video shows it all.
Supposedly in order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey and an average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
Well, I just have to let everyone know that it takes 59.8 miles to make 1 trip to the store. $24.57 for everything I need. A total of 254 feet of walking in order to combine 10752 teaspoons of sugar and 1664 tablespoons of water just to make 10 gal...lons of syrup for the bees when they aren't able to feed themselves -- and I'm just one person!
So please grow more nectar producing plants and stop trying to kill all those blackberry bushes!
Save the beekeepers!
Last year I started pulling honey on July5th. This year is quite different.
Only a 15 1lb jars of honey this year so far. Lisa has been selling that at the Coupeville and Oak Harbor farmers markets. Tough year. Not nearly the harvest like last year but I do think more honey is coming! I'll be checking this weekend .. just waiting for the bees to finish things up and cap the honey they've been making! Stay tuned!