Saturday, July 9, 2011


Today we extracted honey!
We rented the extractor from BioFuel Oasis, and we were ready to go with our glass jars.
Extracting honey always comes with some flutter of the heart....
"Is everything going to be ok in the hive?"
"Are we doing this right?"
"Will we leave enough food for the bees once we are finished?"
Thank goodness we had some help from the Shen-Tucker family!

 Preston Tucker suited up and took on the role of master beekeeper.
 Wrangling and Wrestling with the extractor. (nice socks. that is camel toe for sure.....)
 Everyone loves the Aileen Street honey!
A beautiful frame of capped honey........

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bee Calm.........

Another one of Scott's beekeeping ideas gone South.........

Frames need to be put in the right sized boxes.
This frame is a honey super frame (they are shorter) but we had placed a few in a deep box.
The bees created an extension of the frame to accommodate the space.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Swarm Season

On Thursday, June 9th, Scott arrived home and was welcomed by a swarm of bees.
A M A Z I N G.
Swarming is a natural division of the hive population. 
When the number of workers exceeds the capacity of the hive, the workers will raise a second queen and she will travel to a new location with half of the colonies worker bees and Drones. Generally this occurs in the Spring or Summer months .
A new location is picked by scout bees who are workers that are skilled in covert operations.Scout bees will actually search out the best place to successfully relocate the swarming colony. This is often an existing bee hive in a tree, house or other established location. Important things to the scouts include drafts, accessibility, guard ability, size and location. Often though, a new suitable location is not found before swarming is necessary and the swarm will find unusual places to temporarily stay. This can be on the bumper of a car, around a mailbox, or in the lower branches of a tree.
Our swarm decided to cosy up with the edge of our fence.
There are probably 40,000 bees creating that beautiful formation there....!!!
Intimidating for sure.
But Scott and I got it together and captured the colony.
We cut holes in the sides of a cardboard box to then insert 4 frames for the bees to cling onto.
Using the flap of another cardboard box, we swiftly swept the bees into the box
We began the sweep at the bottom of the swarm and gradually got them all into the box.
The box was vibrating with activity.

Once we captured the swarm we left the box near the fence so that all the bees could find their way into their temporary home.
Scott made a beautiful sign.
 Two days later, we decided it was time to merge the swarm bees with one of our hives that needed a boost.
We placed a piece of newspaper in between the bottom brood box and the new swarm box....the bees will eventually chew through the newspaper and this assists in a gradual integration and introduction.

We can see newspaper shavings on the bottom boards.
This experience has only increased our interest and devotion to bees.
They are mighty incredible.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Birthday SBW......

It is important to be at peace on the day of one's birth.
So..... for Scott's 42nd birthday, we ventured to Wilbur Hot Springs in Williams, CA.

Welcome to BLISS land.

We soaked.
We made yummy food.
And we woke up to the birdies talking and the sun shining.
We hiked and saw the most beautiful wildflowers popping everywhere.
And we celebrated the magnificent Scott B Ward.

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

Hello, Sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of tulips
and the nodding morning glories.
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety - 

best preacher that ever was,
dead star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light-
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Swollen Bee Stings

A honey bee that is away from the hive foraging for nectar or pollen will rarely sting, except when stepped on or roughly handled. BUT honey bees will actively seek out and sting when they perceive the hive to be threatened, often being alerted to this by the release of attack pheromones.

In the past few weeks we have gone through the hives several times, and each time Scott has been stung.

Once to the forehead. Look at that right eye. Like a bruiser he swung but missed - the bee won. He was super stoic with minor whines..

And again one more time to the ankle. Left ankle normal. Right ankle oddly enlarged. But Scott was still active on it...although pulling a sock over the width was tough so he stuck a pin in it...fsssssss

This is how it works:
The stinger is barbed so that it lodges in the victim's skin, tearing loose from the bee's abdomen and leading to its death in minutes.
The bee's sting is speculated to have evolved for inter-bee combat between members of different hives. 

The sting's injection of apitoxin into the victim is accompanied by the release of alarm pheromones, a process which is accelerated if the bee is fatally injured. Release of alarm pheromones near a hive or swarm may attract other bees to the location, where they will likewise exhibit defensive behaviors until there is no longer a threat.......MORE adventures in beekeeping to come.........

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day beekeeping adventure! bzzzzzzzz.........

Flowers and bees are a perfect match. Bees gather nectar and pollen enabling plants to reproduce. 
In turn, pollen feeds baby bees, and nectar is turned into honey to be enjoyed by the bees and everyone!

While many kinds of trees and shrubs are bees' prime source of pollen and nectar, a wide range of flowers contributes to bee development and a bumper crop of honey.

Did you know that many weeds actually are great bee plants, including the pesky dandelion, clover, goldenrod, and purple vetch?

 Each source of nectar has its own flavor. A combination of nectars produces great tasting honey.

AND bees love California Poppies!

Today we went through the hive.
It has been a month since we went through it, and hive A is humming along....hive B is another story....


Friday, April 15, 2011

O A K L A N D sighting

What is wrong with this picture....?