Sunday, September 02, 2012

A sweet time of year!

Sorry for the dearth of blog posts. I've been busy with things like this...


I'm taking the rest of honey off the hives today!




Here are the girls near the hive entrance. For those who think honeybees are aggressive, let me just say I was crouched next to the hive with my macro lens a couple of inches away from the bees, and nobody said "boo!"



The bees were very busy yesterday bringing in lots of pollen from the goldenrod and asters and who knows what else.



I like sitting and watching the comings and goings at the hive entrance. There's always something going on there. Yesterday Gordon and I had to stop taking off honey supers halfway through, because they girls were starting to get themselves whipped up into a robbing frenzy. At this time of year, they are very eager to steal honey from other bees, and in a worst-case scenario, bees from a strong hive can enter a weak hive and strip it of all its honey stores. This we do not want! 

Yesterday they were getting excited because I had hives open while taking off the honey boxes (supers), and they could smell that honey and were telling all their friends. When I saw them getting too excited, we closed up the hives, took away what we had, and I put entrance reducers on the hives for a few hours. This is a bar of wood with a small entrance cut out of it that goes in front of the regular hive entrance. It makes it harder for bees to get in and out (they have to slow down and take turns) and also give the guard bees at the entrance less space to have to defend. 

Everybody simmered down pretty quickly. I'm going to finish taking off the honey today.


At this time of year, the nectar flow has stopped and the bees are just finding whatever they can to fill up their stores before winter. One of the things they LOVE in fall is sedum. I have many sedum plants and they are routinely covered with honeybees and bumblebees in the fall.



And back in butterfly land...


This poor, tattered White Admiral butterfly was enjoying a yellow coneflower!


A honeybee's wings get like this at the end of her lifespan too. Workers bees  just wear themselves out, often dropping dead while out foraging, wings tattered. 

Fall is definitely in the air. Hope you are all enjoying the Labour/Labor Day weekend!

26 comments:

  1. It's all your fault that I've fallen in love with bees!

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    1. My work here is done. And I am so happy to hear that!

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  2. Oh how I wish I'd taken up bee keeping when I was younger. I had the chance via a neighbour, but always found other things to do. Silly me!

    Beautiful photos again.

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  3. Those orange stains at the entrace of the hives ... was that honey, wax, or bee poop?

    I'm glad you're getting great honey. It looks lovely.

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    1. Mostly propolis, and a little bee poop and wax. Three of my hives have gone NUTS with the propolis (tree resin they use to seal up everything inside the hive) this year. One has two great pools of it over the screened bottom board that I will chip off when the weather cools (when it's warm, the propolis is incredibly soft and sticky. In the cold, it's brittle.)

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  4. I had not idea bees were fond of Sedum and I'll be sure to plant more of it. I'm getting quite and education here! ~ Maureen

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    1. Sedum is great for them. They really need all the flowers they can get in fall! Bumblebees and other bees love sedum too.

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  5. Oh thank you. I'd just stopped twitching from the sight of bees, bees and bees and here you go starting me off all over again.

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    Replies
    1. Lie back and think of honey!

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  6. What a way to go...They're dying with their boots on! Dear sweet bees, I love them with all my heart.

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    1. I do too. I never thought I would love an insect so much!

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  7. Another fascinating look into the world of beekeepers. I love it!

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    1. There is so much to learn. FOur years on I still feel inadequate! :)

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  8. I have learned so much about bees from you. It's all fascinating. Love the photos. And that honey must taste amazing on toast.

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    1. It's awfully tasty. Whenever I do get to meet you, I will be sure to bring you some!

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  9. And here I thought making honey was simple and easy. just put the hives out and collect.
    I've learned so much about bees and honey from your blog. It's a very interesting topic.

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    1. It used to be easier before varroa mites and all the other issues bees have been having! :)

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  10. The world of bees is most interesting and I love learning about it from you. Sweet little creatures. And that macro lense is just awesome!

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    1. THe more I work with them, the more I love them and want to protect them. I could watch them for hours. They are endlessly fascinating!

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  11. Another fascinating post, and the photos are superb!

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  12. I. Am. Drooling!

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    1. THe comb honey I'm cutting right now is TO DIE FOR. Honestly, I may have to eat it all myself!!

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  13. Such beautiful photographs and bees. This is just so interesting to have this closeup view of the hives and the bees.

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    1. I could watch them for hours!

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!