Greetings from Bello Uccello Honeybee Sanctuary where the warmth of the sun has finally found us. After being “winterized in their warmly wrapped hive for six months, we are happy to announce the joyful dance of the honeybee is now filling the air with joy and song. How they managed to survive the coldest and longest cold- weather retreat in eight years is still a bit of a miracle and mystery to us. One late swarm in the fall did not make it, but the 1,500 pounds of honey left in the hives definitely contributed to the bees surviving that long a winter. The biodynamic oat straw which we purchased from http://www.brfarm.com was put inside the cover of each hive last autumn and that was really effective in giving warm insulation and also in absorbing the moisture from the hive. One of the reasons honeybees die in the winter is from the condensation, caused from fluctuating temperatures, dripping on the bees in the hive.
So the circle of life begins anew and Klaus has reorganized all of the hives and welcomed the bees to Sun and Spring.
RECIPE : VITALITY SPRING TEA TONIC FOR THE HONEY BEE
Thanks to Gunther Hauk’s book,” Toward Saving the Honeybee” we are able to share with you a Tea Tonic Recipe for the vitality and health of the honey bee in Spring. It is made up of herbs that stimulate and heal the metabolic processes of the Queen and the workers.
Prepare a mild tea by pouring boiling water over a mixture of the following:
chamomile yarrow dandelion flowers peppermint leaves and stems rue hyssop
horsetail stinging nettle thyme
(remember if you are missing any of the ingredients please do still do as much as you can)
In a separate preparation soak oak bark overnight and make a very very mild tea, and the next day pour this solution into the herbal tonic tea mix you have already made.
Add a bit of the bee’s own honey to attract the bees to the tea. The milder this tea tonic is the better it will be for the honeybees and it is just one of those wonderful things about life – more is not always better. The bees just continue to teach us such good lessons!
Although we managed to collect some of the above-noted herbs and flowers last year, we did not have them all and we contacted the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Bio-Dynamics,Inc (http://jpibiodynamics.org to receive the oak bark and also the small amount of other biodynamic preps we require for our honey bee sanctuary.
CROWNING BIG BEE
As Klaus was attending to the hive at the out-apiary, a few bees crawled up inside of his helmut and he could hear them fanning. After awhile he stopped and took the helmut off and let the bees fly out, but what he did not know was that there was a double handful of bees that all decided to sit on the top of his head like a crown. He put the veiled helmut back on and he could still hear bees fanning but went back to work at the hive. He was very hot and the fanning continued. After a bit, his head seemed to cool off and the fanning stopped.These bees are very obliging! In closer investigation we found a crown of bees sitting on his head. They seemed to identify his head as part of the hive – how cool is this?! The bees continue to teach and demonstrate connectivity and gentleness to us – there is a Great Mystery with the Bees and it is an adventure to dance with them. In retelling this story to our daughter she decided that Klaus is a member of the hive with the name – “Big Bee”:-}
LANGPOHL TOP BAR HIVE
With a bit of tongue-in-cheek, the newly designed Top Bar Hive which Klaus has designed and built for the health and happiness of the honey bee, has been named the Langpohl Top Bar Hive. (Langstroth is the name of the normal horizontal hives) Last year we put two small splits and the Observation hive into this newly designed top bar hive. We are happy to report that the bees really thrived in that model and they are building up very quickly. By using full separation boards between each hive it can be divided into “row housing” for three small swarm hives for the winter months. The shared walls do give extra heat to the hives and we did not use the small light bulbs which we usually do for the Langstroth hives. Now that Spring is here, two of the
hives will be given their own Langpohl Top Bar Hive and one of the hives will remain in the original Top Bar Hive.
And so the adventure begins again and Bello Uccello Honeybee Sanctuary is alive and well.