Monday, November 14, 2011

Line: Mad Urban Beekeepers

Here is a new bee business in Madison, WI: Mad Urban Beekeepers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fox Blocks As Hive Insulation

For the last few years I've been searching for a convenient, yet effective way to winterize my hives in the cold Minnesota environment I live in. Hay bales were effective but tended to attract vermin, and presented me with a problem after winter: I could not find enough people who wanted to utilized these bales after their winter use. We tried pink insulation foam last season but they were not insulating enough it seems. This year we will try insulating the hives with Fox Blocks, insulating concrete forms. This insulation should be as effective as hay bales, yet reusable and easily stored.

Monta designed and built these structures using her skills as a sculptor. Pink insulation foam was used to close off and fill in the gaps.

We will see how this works.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting Metpropolis Ready for Fall/Winter

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon moving bars of honey around in the top bar hive, Metpropolis. The hive surprised me. I'd been thinking that, while watching from the outside the last few days, it was rather weak. This was not the case. It is thriving with much capped honey, a healthy looking queen, and a solid population. I cannot say the same with the other top bar hive, Plan Bee... . I looks like it was weakened and robbed in some way. It is essentially dead! This was a surprise as well because in August it looked like the strongest hive I had. I fed sugar syrup and pollen patties to the other hives. They seem to be doing well just like Metpropolis.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Article: Beekeeping "Gangs of New York"

This is a very interesting article which shows just how far beekeeping has come in the American imagination.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Playing Catch Up On the Blog

I've neglected to write in this blog for a few weeks, all for good reasons. This entry is meant to catch everyone up on "doins" in Beelandia..

  • I have reluctantly finished  4 of the hives treatnent with Api-Var.  While I would like to treat the bees "naturally", I recognize that my bees do not live and forage in a "natural" world, but a world of globalization,   monoculture, urban development, neighbors with pesticides and herbicides, and a nearby golf courses. Given the high mite counts, I made a decision to treat with the safest, most sustainable miticide. Nothing is ever fixed in my mind, so we will see how this works.
  • I combined Bee Glad... with the nuc I had started earlier this spring. The nuc was too far behind while Bee Glad... went queenless.
  • Lake No-Bee-Gone is now fishless. A local leopard frog got in the pond and ate all the fish while I was in the hospital. I will rethink the pond arrangement for watering  the bees.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mite Counts

The mite counts have been high, so a tough decision needs to be made. I've read and heard all sides in the "treat-don't treat" debate. I am committed to sustainable beekeeping but also cannot buy and build up packages each year. More later but I will probably choose the compromise of Api-Var.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Photo: Visitor To Beelandia

Click here to see a photo of a beautiful butterfly (swallowtail?) foraging in Beelandia Sunday morning. The butterfly seemed to hangout all morning. The photo was taken by the mosaic artist Monta May.