Saturday, January 30, 2010

Frozen River Film Festival-- "Canaries in a Coal Mine" Film set

Winona Minnesota's annual Frozen River Film Festival is this week and I will be introducing a "film set" I have labeled Canaries in a Coal Mine films. Each of the three films concerns the plight of a living creature, its role in the ecological system, and the possible consequences its plight has for the ecological and socio-economic environments.

The first movie is Skylight (David Baas). This animated film concerns the ecological of penguins in the Antarctic and what their plight might mean human beings.

The second movie, End of the Line (Rupert Murray), is about the devastating effect that overfishing our oceans and the total disregard our politicians and famous restaurateurs seem to have for this problem. The movie predicts the end of most seafood by 2048.

As a beekeeper, I will be most interested in the last film: Jason Kushner's American Colonies- Collapse of the Bee. The film examines the place of the honeybee in our economy and biophysical environment and the threat Colony Collapse Disorder might pose to both. The film also presents possible solutions to this threat.

The three films will be shown at 3:30 at the Science Laboratory Center Lecture Hall (SLC 120) at Winona State University.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Place for a Mating Nuc, and a Hive.

I got my first confirmation for a place to put a mating nuc or two. All I need is for my hives to actually survive.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Winter/Spring Management Process as a CMAP

I attended a short lunch-time seminar last week on CMAP, a mind mapping software program available free online. I've been playing with the software ever since, exploring what I might actually do with it. I've always liked brainstorming software but have never found one that was worth the bother. I think CMAP might change that.

CMAP is easy to learn, and offers many tools for collaborating with others across the internet. I still haven't grasped all the ways I might use it, however. As you can see above, I am already thinking of ways I might use CMAP in connection with this blog.

Thanks Joe, Trisha, and Chad for introducing me to the software.

Winter Feeding Quickly

I have had a hunch that the bees are at the end of their winter stores of honey for that last week or two. The late summer was not good for nectar, and while they took in a significant amount of sugar syrup and dry sugar in the fall, I was not confident that the bees had enough to get them through winter. I prepared myself for the first high 30s to 40 degree day by slicing some fondant and sandwiching them between two pieces of waxed paper and waited. Today's temperature is around 38 degrees, so I decided to feed the bees quickly.

The first hive I worked with is Nuc To Be Named Later. I took both the telescoping cover and the quilt box off, and sure enough I saw a good two dozen bees festooning out of the opening of the inner cover. Yes, they were in the top box and probably had little honey left. I placed a fondant "sandwich" near the bees at the opening and closed up quickly. In all, the operation took no more than two minutes. I went on and finished the other langstroths the same way. There were only a few honeybees at the top of Lib-BEE=taria (which contains carniolans) which I suspect have been a little more thrifty than the Italians in Nuc To Be Name Later. However, in Bee Glad..., the bees were in the same state as Nuc...,gathering about the opening in the inner cover. Like Nuc..., Bee Glad... is inhabited by Italians.

I also fed the two top bar hives. I opened up one of the secondary entrances in both hives and inserted a "tube" of fondant surrounded by sliced wax paper.

The whole operation took me little time and produced little stress on the bees.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Bee Hunting" by John R. Lockhart (An Online Flip Book Version)

A friend gave me this old copy of John R. Lockhart's 1909 book Bee Hunting which Monta scanned and formatted into an online "flip book." Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photos From Beelandia in January

I was fooling around a bit with the camera in my new phone and took some photos in Beelandia today. The temperature was in the upper 30s and the bees were active.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Visit To Snowy Beelandia

I got home early from work yesterday and thought I'd go out and see how Beelandia was doing. We've had a bit of snow this January, so the checking of hive entrances seemed called for. What I found varied from hive to hive.

Both Nuc To Be Named Later and Bee Glad... had some activity at their upper entrances. Nuc... also had a noticiable amount of dead bees strewn around its perimeter. Both of the top bar hives had a couple of dozen dead bees each in front of their entrances though I saw no activity from live bees. (Not that I expected much, it was 25 degrees F.)

What I saw in front of Lib-BEE-taria concerned me. Just too many dead bees in front of the bottom entrance for my liking. I swept the deceased away and went in the house to record my notes.

Beelandia has one other active inhabitant; a rabbit is feasting on the hay bales and leaving tracks throughout the apiary.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meadery of the Rockies

Monta and I just returned from our annual Christmas trip to Las Vegas to celebrate the Holidays with our family living there. As usual, we drove down and, this year, we stopped along the way and visited our friends Harold and Deb in Grand Junction, Colorado. Before leaving the area, we stopped by the Meadery of the Rockies which is located in nearby Palisades, right in Colorado wine country. We spent an enjoyable 45 minutes talking to one the employees, looking at their set up, and sampling a number of the meads brewed on the premises. We even bought a bottle of their excellent dry mead Lancelot.

While the meadery doesn't brew mead from local honey, they do have three or four hives on the premises which are managed by a local-area beekeeper. (They use honey from bees managed in the Florida citrus orchards.)

Our visit gave Monta some ideas and inspiration as she explores ways to expand her own interest in mead-making.