Monday, August 23, 2010

Lord willing the creek won't rise...

The French writer Stendhal said it best when he commented, "The man of genius is he and he alone who finds such joy in his art that he work at it come hell or high water. " Well, we've at least been tested through high water this week, and hope is all we have to keep hell at bay for now.

Last week our area got about 8 inches of rain in just a couple of hours. Check out some pictures here. As most of our apiaries scattered around town are well above flood-prone areas, the bees were safe. However, Greg did have to wade through swift flood waters to rescue our entire marketing division (a hand-painted "Honey For Sale" super placed down beside the road!). We of course were luckier than some to escape the damage this heavy rainfall has ravaged upon our state this summer.

In other news, we wanted to update everyone on the results of our latest queen grafting. About 50% of the grafts took and then about 50% of those mater and are now laying. They are looking great so far!

Greg is also working on a new experiment. He took one of the nucs that was unsuccessful at creating a laying queen and other one that we had moved the old queen out for re-queening and took them to a couple of nucs with eggs and larva. He grafted some of the larva in the correct stage of development and placed them in plastic cups and inserted them in the queen-less nucs. Three days later, one was beginning to build out the queen cell and the other had failed. You can see the queen cell in the picture below.

Upon closer inspection, Greg had over-looked a queen earlier, who have just begun laying. This of course was good news. Inspired by good news of early success in both nucs, Greg decided to do two more nucs the same way to see if this method will produce quality queens. We can neither promote or refuse this method at this time because of its unconventional nature; however, this was a good opportunity to get some more grafting experience without too much of a commitment.

Some of the hives are already receiving sugar sugar to help build up their supplies for the winter. We prefer not to feed, but we MORE prefer the bees not to starve. We can all agree that would be a terrible way to go.

Updates on the status of the water cannon experiment... it's not good. The few survivors have since been moved to another hive, which effectively ends that chapter. Speaking of terrible ways to go....death by water cannon is not at the top of my list.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School...Back to School....

In light of schools starting everywhere, we wanted to share a neat article shared with us by Alan Wood. The article is entitled "10 Valuable Life & Business Lessons You Can Learn from Bees". It highlights many of the enviable characteristics of bee and bee society. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blue Eyed Queen

Just a few minor updates for the week:

We are anxiously awaiting the results of our mating nucs we mentioned in the grafting post. Greg has already had a peek of one and the prognosis is not good. This is the one with just a few bees. We are optimistic about the others, but time will tell (time should tell us on Saturday).

Greg and James have cooked up more adventure. A small swarm dared to venture out of the bee man's reach, much to their own detriment. After repeated warnings to stay OUT of the trees, Greg proceeded to attempt to spray them out of the tree with the water hose. A bait hive was placed on the ground as their new home and the Bee Squad went on the offense with the hose. On the fourth down (fourth time knocking them down and them going right back up to the tree that is), Greg decided to drop back and punt, waiting to see what plays the swarm had up their sleeve. The swarm, severely tired out by the watery pounding decided home wasn't such a bad place to be. They retreated to the safety of the bait hive and settled in for the night. While Greg and James emerged victorious, there was little basking in the glow of their victory, as few of the small swarm were strong swimmers (read: survivors of Hurricane Greg). Greg strongly urges our readers NOT to try this at home for obvious reasons. We are feeding what is left of the swarm, but have not located the queen (who was most likely a victim of the watery assault).

Similarly, as you know Greg attended the Apicultural Society Conference at TTU. One of the classes he took was a Finding/Marking Queens class taught by Bill and Nancy Troup. This was a wonderful class and has helped Greg very much in finding and marking his queens. The first queen he found, he marked has blue eyes, one blue wing, and a blue mark on her abdomen. She should be easy to find again, as long as the rest of the hive does not tune into TLC's "What Not to Wear" and kill her for being too flashy.

The honey harvest is pretty much over for the summer. We are now getting ready for winter and selling our honey. It is sure is going fast. We have many loyal customers who were waiting anxiously and have stocked up again until next summer.