In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, and anything else that happens to pop into my head. Sit back, relax for five minutes of a day, and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit of Coral Belle!

So, I'm a day late posting pictures of the camper.  And guess what, I am still not posting pictures of the camper...but I worked on it today and it is TOTAL CAMPER HOTNESS!!!  
I took a bunch of paint chips and this one seemed to match the color of the camper the best.
I went with the middle color for the doors and drawers on the inside of the camper.  This is after the first coat.  I gave them their second coat today.  I can not wait to show you!
And we found these in one of our hoarder drawers!
I bought this at a garage sale a couple of years ago.  we never had a use for it until now.  Just wait and see!!!!
I wish I could just work on the camper, but I've also been helping my Shug taking stuff from the garage to the pole barn.  And I've been working a tiny bit in My Bay.

And this cooler weather has made me want to do some baking.  (the pie is already gone)
And I took time to stop and smell the Jasmine!  I have it in a pot, and I'll take some time out to bring all of my tropical plants in this week.
And I started this poncho over for the third time.  Third time is a charm, right?
Chamomile tea and crocheting and hoping I sleep through the night.

Good night,
Cindy Bee

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Honeybee VS Yellow Jacket

This photo shows the difference between a yellow jacket and a honeybee. 

You can see many more pictures like this, by clicking HERE.  This photo is courtesy of that same website. 

This time of year it is impossible to eat or drink outside.  I can barely walk outside without being attacked by yellow jackets or wasps.
Here are a couple of differences between honeybees and yellow jackets, besides the way they look.  Many people confuse them, but as you might notice, yellow jackets are skinnier and honey bees are fuzzier or harrier.
Honeybees only want the nectar or pollen from a plant, and the occasional hummingbird sugar water.  Yellow jackets are carnivores.  They will eat meat, sweets, and whatever else you might be eating.  They will also eat honeybees.
Another difference is the sting.  Yellow jackets will sting over and over again and not die.  Honeybees will sting one time, and die.  So, this time of year when you are thinking of those pesky bees, more than likely they are not pesky bees at all.  But rather yellow jackets.
And to other honeybee stuff...
Yesterday my cousin, Vickie, came over and helped me work in the rest of my hives.  She has helped me a lot in the last couple of years with my beehives.  Who knows why?  She certainly doesn't!  But I appreciate it a lot!  We got into a lot of my "iffy" hives yesterday.  One needs a new queen, which is sad because it was the hive that made it through the winter.  Who knows what happened there?  A couple of them are questionable, but the rest SHOULD make it through the winter.  And I am feeding them all right now.

One thing we did find out for sure.
The hive I cut down from the outside of an apple tree a few weeks ago is still alive, however....
they did not go up into the frames I supplied for them.  They stayed like this.  Who knows if they will make it.  They had brood so I let them be.  If you have brood, that means you have a queen.

 And my cute tree hive

Totally dead and gone.  I pulled this comb out of it.  Empty

 Here's the thing....when you have an unprotected beehive, it invites all kinds of predators.  Yellow jackets, hornets, and wax moth.  And honey bees visit each others hives.  So when bringing something like this home, you need to be careful you don't bring home disease that you give to your other beehives.

Ok, after a somewhat stressful morning, I'm heading out to Coral Belle.  I cannot wait to show you some pictures of her!  Maybe tomorrow...

Cindy Bee

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Cute Beehive

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from a local tree company.  They were called to one of our parks to cut up a limb that had fallen from a tree.  They claimed there was a "swarm of bees" on the limb.  Then the parks department called me.  Of course, it was "huge, about the size of a basketball" which is very unusual for this time of year.  And for the record, honeybees that actually do swarm this time of year, rarely live through the winter.
 Although this probably looks like a swarm of bees to a non-beekeeper, it is NOT a swarm.  It is a hollow limb, that had a hive of honeybees living in it.  The limb fell from the tree.  I brushed these bees away to see what was going on, and there was just one layer of bees on the knot of the tree, which was their entrance.  However, the tree and park people did the right thing by getting a hold of a beekeeper.  And if you ever come across something like this, call your local Extension office.  They usually have names of several beekeepers they can call, right Jeannie!
 The thing is, I couldn't do anything with this.  It was way too long to get to the bees, the fall totally messed up their hive inside, and the tree guys would not cut the limb down to a smaller size!  Finally, one of the parks department guys suited up and cut the limb for me.  He would make a cut and I would look in and have him cut a little more.  We did this several times and got the limb down to a smaller manageable size.   BTW- the parks guy was suited up.  I always try to remember to bring an extra suit in case there is a brave person around and I need help.
 I asked what they thought it weighed and they said probably 100 pounds.  They loaded it in the truck with a bobcat that had a big teeth looking contraption on it.  (Sorry I have very few photos.  I couldn't take pictures and work)
I drove through town with this in the back of the truck!  A truck that has been wrecked and we do not drive very far off the farm.  I had intentions of giving the hive to a fellow beekeeper who lost his hives last winter.  He came over to get it, and him and My Shug could barely move it!  They estimated it weighed 300 pounds! So, after much thinking on what to do, My Shug got the tractor out (after mumbling something about Lucy and another fine mess I got us into!)
and we set the tree up end for end and I put a hive box on top of it, in hopes that the bees would work their way up into the hive body.  I told the other beekeeper if it lives, and it's strong next spring, I will split it with him.
 The bad thing was, when I first set it up, I didn't put anything between the hive body and the tree, which left the hive vulnerable to yellow jackets and hornets.  It was awful!  In my defense, I've never had a situation like this before and I was winging it every step of the way.  I slept on it, and the next day realized my mistake.
 So I took a piece of wood and screwed it to the opening of the tree, and I put an inner cover (hive cover that has a hole in the center of it) under the hive.  So now, the bees can make their way from the tree to the hive and they only have one entrance to guard.  I haven't seen any more yellow jackets or hornets hanging around.  For these bees to survive, they will need to be fed all winter long, and even then it will be iffy if they survive.
 So yes, it is a cute hive, but it is going to be a lot of work. 

I have several "needy" hives at the moment that will require extra work this winter.  So when I got a call on Sunday asking me to come and get some bees, I thanked them but declined.  I'm soft-hearted when it comes to trying to rescue them.  I want them all to live.  The reality is, they probably won't.  And I'm out of equipment at the moment.
My Shug had to take his truck into town and run it through a car wash because the bees and yellow jackets would not leave it alone....for several days after.....because they could still smell honey that had fallen out of the wild hive.

So there's the story of the "cute hive." 

Cindy Bee