First propolis harvest with a purpose

7-12-2017 A pile of propolis collected, crumbled, and ready for use.

As more people learn we work with bees, the more I’m asked about propolis.  Bee keepers often call this ‘bee glue’ as they use it to seal, coat, cover, stick, gum up, and generally make a mess of everything with it.  Propolis is a latin word meaning ‘Defense of the City’ as the bees use it to effectively seal the hive from intrusion by other bugs, infections, weather, or otherwise.  They can even use it to mummify a mouse that has entered the hive and died to prevent its body from decomposing and introducing disease..  Propolis varies from hive to hive in both color and composition.  In lab tests, propolis has been found to generally contain more than 50 unique compounds, which the bees dutifully collect from Continue reading “First propolis harvest with a purpose”

Candle making

I’ve decided to make candles with the wax from our bees and it turns out I love it. I’ve gotten pretty good at the pillars. The honey scent is so nice. I tried experimenting with different scents and smells. Those are a bit tricky. Now I have a new mold for an owl and I love it. I’m working on perfecting it. More pics coming soon.

Pillar candles

Still finding food

7-1-2017 Bee on Mountain Mint (pycnanthemum virginianum)

This time of year can be hard on bees.  When the ground dries out, so do the flowers.  Luckily this Mountain Mint is providing some nice nectar for the bees today.

Butterfly Weed is in bloom!

The Butterfly Weed is now in bloom, and the bees have found it.  Asclepias tuberosa L. is a relative of Milkweed as can bee seen comparing the flowers of the two shown below.

Hive monitoring

6-5-17 Hive monitor

I’ve finally gotten my hive monitoring system built and installed to a hive here at home.  It allows me to see trends in hive weight  from bees coming and going, gaining weight from nectar, losing weight as they evaporate water out while drying the honey, temperature and humidity inside the hive and out, and more.  The monitor is Continue reading “Hive monitoring”

Home hives are building up

5-8-17 Home hives

The hives at home are building up nicely.  The hives with a 4th box are already producing excess honey.  We’ve had good weather this spring and are hoping to get a good harvest from a few of these.  Others will be used to supplement the building hives at the farm.