The bees have returned! Yay! Here’s the whole story. And with them, responsibility. Do they have enough food? Nectar is suddenly scarce when the fruits are fruiting and the flowers are done blooming. The dreaded dearth can hit a hive harder than winter. What can you plant to ensure they make it through late summer? In this post, I list the main bee plants that we have growing right now, including the bees’ favorites.
It is, at long last, the Spring Equinox. I love this time of year when each new bud is a discovery.
Cornelian and Nanking cherries, forsythia, daffodils, nettles and purple deadnettles, the first dandelions…
It seems that only yesterday, it was still quite wintery, and on a blustery day, I was picking the sticky cottonwood buds from the nubbly branches that break off in the wind, littering the forest floor, just begging someone to come along and recognize their significance.
LOVE the “firsts” that happen in January! First crocus, alder catkins, croaking frogs! This warm weather has brought out the bees, and they are returning with pollen! And look! The garlic shoots are up! Farewell January. Bring on Spring!
This Bee Swarm Saga is, as some short stories are, rather long. If you want to skip to the lessons learned, go ahead to the bulleted items at the end. If, however, you want to grab a beverage of choice and hear a true tale of determination, courage, against-all-odds survival, instinct over reason, fate, and loyalty to the point of willing to give up one’s own life for the protection of one’s brethren, then this is the story for you.
Earth Day!Such an opportunity to do something positive for our planet! Whether you recycle, upcycle, bicycle, reduce your footprint, make a footprint, go for a simple walk, plant a tree – so much we can do to celebrate another day of living on this incredible planet that supports life as we know it.
Sometimes I just have to step back in amazement that any of this exists at all!
Do you keep a record of what is bloom throughout the year? Since we started providing homes for bees, I have become much more aware of what is blooming when – particularly during those months on either end of the warm season, when the weather is unsettled and food for them can be scarce.
It seems many of the first to bloom are some of our natives. Perhaps it is Nature’s way of taking care of her own.
When we ended that last blogpost, we were returning from the Bee Walk, excited about seeing honeybees up close (they’re very gentle, especially when they are foraging, you know), along with an assortment of other pollinators and numerous little green frogs. The sunshine helped!
“But where do all these critters usually live? And where will they spend the winter? Or will they just all d-i-e???” I saw a few sad faces in the crowd when I asked this question.
Bee Walk?What does that mean? I mean, bees don’t walk much. Some say they “march,” as in marching up into the hive. But they don’t really march, either. Rather, they follow, which is interesting, considering they have the option of flying.
A Bee Walk sounds like a Moon Walk, Michael Jackson style, with a slight buzz. Hmmm. I like that idea.
So I was kind of doing some creative moves in the Willow Room when my friend, Sid Anna, who runs Annie’s Flower Farm, called to ask me if I would like to do a “Bee Walk” through her gardens.
It was Mother’s Day. We were headed to our son’s house for a celebratory feast for a room full of mothers. As the matriarch of the group, or at least, the oldest, I had made a kick-A potato salad of grand proportions. I was considering a rhubarb-cooler-sort-of-drink and headed out to the garden to pick some stalks, when I couldn’t help but notice a LOUD buzzing. The air sure was full of a lot of bees! They were flying every which way. And I thought, Oh. My. Gosh. They are swarming AGAIN!
Ok. Mass chaos yesterday in catching the swarm that was wrapped around a steel fencepost & in installing them in a new Warre Hive, but at least they are in there. But what’s this? ANOTHER swarm in the garden? NOW what??
…The bee saga continues…. Where did the swarm on the cedar go – in the bait box in the tree or in the hive on the ground?
And what’s this? MORE excitement the morning after? Adventures in backyard beekeeping…
We noticed the little cedar tree over by the beehives looked a bit odd yesterday – and as we got closer, we realized, Holey Moley! a swarm of bees was almost completely covering it! Now for the hard part: how to persuade them to move into our hive!
Does anyone else out there see the utter impossibility of shaking 15,000 bees through a small hole in the center of a box DOWN into another box without them all just flying UP into your face??? There has to be a gentler way. In my attempt to avoid Shaken Bee Syndrome, I managed to completely botch this bee installation. Learn from me and avoid. Or follow. The choice is yours.
What? Looking for shadows to predict weather? I’d say the bees are better indicators! As well as the snow geese, the pussy willows, and the Cornelian cherry…not hard to find things that say Life is Good! Happy Groundhog Day!
Grass, to me, is Orchard Enemy #1. I talk about how to get rid of it, how to turn an orchard into a food forest, and what to do to get your orchard ready for winter, thanks to tips from Michael Phillips’ book, The Holistic Orchard.
A heroic effort on my part, as well as by the bees. We all had the same mission, really, to Save the Queen – we just had slightly different approaches, being as I was perceived as a smoke-breathing giant intent on raiding their hive!
A video and some close-up pictures on the Warre hives we built. If you are looking for something simple, inexpensive, and something that naturally lets the bees do what they instinctively do – this is it!
Happy Earth Day! In celebration, we are releasing somewhere around 20,000 bees into their new home, a Warre Hive situated on the back side of Barbolian Field. Here are a few videos to show you how we are getting ready for this big event (and conquering a few fears in the process!)