Everything is ahead here at the apiary this year. The hives are already 6 supers high and would be even higher if Klaus was not removing frames from them constantly. At the present time he is standing on platforms to get the top super back onto the hive after inspecting them. The bees are in constant overdrive because this is the High Season for them to make honey. Blossoms are presenting themselves all at once and in June we took 30 kg of new honey from one hive!
With all of this abundance of food there is also a growth of the hive – sort of like when the potato was introduced to Ireland – and it is usual for the hives to Swarm under such conditions. This is called the Rebirth of the Hive and it is a very special event to see happen. Some scout bees go investigating the possible location for the building of a new hive and then they meet back at the old “homestead hive” and have a vote on which location would be best. This happened at our house a couple of weeks ago. We arrived home in the late afternoon to find dozens of honeybees flying and landing on our barn and house and the honey house. We do not have bees at our house location anymore and we knew that these were not bees from our apiary. These were definitely Scouting bees looking for a new home and they were serious about it. They really liked the new vacuum tower we built just off of our woodworking shop and we turned the fan on to discourage their deciding this would be a nice place to call home. We decided to place a two story super onto the deck of the honey house and soon 50 or so bees were inside for a half an hour discussing of the Possibilities. This was actually longer than it took us to inspect and decide to buy a pre Loyalist 25 acre farm just up the road from where we live. Klaus announced that the bees had voted and soon a swarm would arrive – and as he sat in the lawn chair, beside the box, waiting to greet the new swarm, I made coffee and sandwiches to give a sense of celebration to the whole event. Well apparently these honeybees decided to not travel in the evening, but would wait for morning and “get a fresh start” then:-} At around 10 am the next morning the swarm arrived with the Old Queen and the young worker bees who were filled with honey and wax -( all the building supplies necessary for making a new hive in the location that the scouts had conveyed to the entire hive the evening before). It was a bright sunny day as the Queen of the Sun and thousands of worker bees blackened the sky with their arrival at the deck of the honey house. We were able to film 20 minutes of this all happening and you can view this on U Tube – it was amazing. The bees are doing fine, with the Queen laying eggs and all bees at work making honeycomb and bringing in pollen and honey. We will keep them separated from the rest of the apiary until we have full assurance they are disease free and happy-healthy bees.
If you are a beekeeper, we would suggest that you freeze some full frames of honey with pollen on them, as this is a very strange year with respect to the timing of the flowers blooming. We should not have ripe raspberries, St John’s Wort etc at this time and we wonder what the food supply will be like for the bees in late August, as they prepare for the winter. We always leave 100 lbs of honey in the hive anyway and frames which are well stored with pollen, but we DO NOT feed the bees sugar water or “pollen substitute”. The honey and pollen which we take from the hives are the surplus. The taking of the honey and pollen from the hives and feeding the bees “edible food products” such as GMO sugar, or worse fructose derived from inedible corn (watch King Corn for more info on this) and pollen substitute is another major cause of the bees having weakened immune systems and added stressors. It is with interest , we note ,how much the media reports about the plight of the honeybee and the Mite problem in the hive, and how little coverage is put into the explanation of the absolutely irresponsible farming practices which have evolved over the last 100 years, which have taken us to this point of the ridiculous, where the honeybee’s existence is in peril. ALL threats to the existence of the honeybee have been caused by mankind. The solution therefore also lies with us to “change ourselves” and learn how to live in harmony with the honeybee and Life on this Planet.
We will be at the Annapolis Farmers Market on July l4th with the seasons new honey. Hope to see you there.
We recently read that there are 200 registered beekeepers in Nova Scotia, including both commercial and hobbyists. If we can share what we learn with 20 people a year in our Natural Beekeeping Workshops based on Biodynamic Principles, slowly this small effort to support Life by the Individual will have an impact.