Friday, October 23, 2009

for all you TECHY beekeepers

I've "discovered" the world of PODCASTING. Podcasting is AUDIO (and sometimes VIDEO as well) files you can essentially download from the internet to your COMPUTER or your IPOD, IPHONE, or BLACKBERRY or other handheld internet connected device.

These audio services - once "subscribed" to (FREE) - can be set to automatically download when a new "chapter" is available - THUS KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE ON ALL KINDS OF FREE INFORMATION!!!!

In my podcast search I came across a BEEKEEPING PODCAST! Turns out - it's also a blog. I'll put the link here and also add it into the sidebar for future reference. Check him you - this is a beekeeper from Kentucky.

Mason Bee/Orchard Bee House

Here's a little house I purchased for our NATIVE pollinators! Great Idea - they've used BAMBOO to provide some variety in hole size.

I will hang it among the apple trees in the spring.

It is available through - search for Mason Bee House - about $15.

Book Review

"Sweetness and Light", "Bees in America", "Increase Essentials"

These three titles were my "homework" over vacation.

"Sweetness and Light" and "Bees in America" - generally follow the movement of bees from the time of colonization. The American habitat suited the spread of bees. America was covered with FOREST with OLD hollowed out trees. Bees that escaped from domestic hives easily found new homes. Interestingly, both books mention that the swarms of bees were harbingers to the Native Americans that "whiteman is coming". Evolution of beekeeping practices and new understanding/science of the bee is presented in both books. Unfortunately, you can also see the history of continual loss of bee habitat from the beginning. (Mankind cuts down the OLD trees/forest for his home, for his warmth and for his fields.) Another tidbit that I found interesting was the impact of war on bees - as hives were abandoned by their keepers (men marched off) and RATIONS! Some commercial keepers lost hives because they could not convince the government to give them extra rations for SUGAR to feed their bees. You can also appreciate the ongoing "struggle" between the popularity of sugar vs. honey in the household.

"Increase Essentials" - the title says it all. Again, the beginning of the book starts with a timeline analysis of continual LOSS of bee habitat (suburbia moves onto the pastureland, farmers plant crops that do nothing for bees - corn, soybeans, wheat, and urban areas BAN bees from their borders) and the LOSS OF BEEKEEPERS. The conclusion to this beginning chapter is that: BACKYARD/HOBBY BEEKEEPERS ARE VITAL to re-establish bee population & strength. This book has some interesting ideas and INSTRUCTION regarding ways to SPLIT hives, create NUCS, make queens....and OVERWINTERING nucs/weak colonies - so that you're ready to GO in the spring.

Sweetness and Light

"We have chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light." - Johnathan Swift (1667-1745)

Monday, October 12, 2009

an old-wive's tale?

Let's hope this one doesn't come true. Mom shared "a saying" with me today - that I'd not heard before. "It's said that a paper wasp will only build it's nest as high as the coming snow."

She'd called to find out "what to do" about a big paper wasp nest in a tree in their fenceline. To which, I asked - "is it bothering you? in the fenceline?" (well away from the house). Her answer from me was, "you don't have to do anything - they're still an important part of nature."

Then she shared this saying - stating that last years nest was 3 feet off the ground. THIS YEARS NEST IS 10 FEET OFF THE GROUND!