Monday, April 14, 2008

see our bees

i got into the bees today for the first time. it was a huge adrenaline rush. their buzzing was so captivating surrounding me that i could hear nothing else. it was kinda like fear and intrigue blended into a meditative curiosity.

i treated them with toms natural mite remedy.
the recipe for part one follows:
2 pounds of powdered sugar
5 jars of garlic powder 2.5 ounces each
mix completely with a whisk.
package and store in the fridge.
pour 1 cup of the mix over top of the bees in the hive and close it up.

part two is incorporated in the smokers tinder.
recipe for part two is:
dried sumac berry clumps
dried pine needles
build the smoker as follows. cover the bottom with a few clumps of sumac fill the center with pine needles and light to a hot flame shove another thick layer of sumac berries on top and get burning until the berries pop. cover the smoker and squeeze a few test puffs. smoke the bees as normal to get them to settle down. after all bee work is finished puff six or seven times into the closed hive and let them recover.


this is the lessor hive. i was amazed how many bees there were.


this is the more robust hive. bees were just pouring out of the thing.

here is a step by step slide show of the entire experience.


now that i have gotten over my initial fear--just a quick visit to medicate them. this weekend i will replace their bases with the new ones that i just purchased. the new bases have screened bottoms. this serves two purposes. if there are any mites they occasionally fall off. when they fall they fall through the screen and cannot crawl back to another bee. there is a catch tray that is easily pulled out from the back of the hive. this affords easy monitoring of any mite trouble. additionally having a screened bottom allows for better ventilation. during the extreme heat of missouri summers they spend tons of energy trying to cool the hive.

bees are such great fun. i am so glad that we got them.

11 comments:

Em said...

yay for bees!!! Does the garlic/sugar dusting affect the honey?

tansy said...

that is so exciting! i hope we are able to fill our hive this year.

what is the theory behind the powdered sugar/garlic mixture?

uncle matt said...

Dude! Cool suit! I gotta get one of those! BTW, get stung yet?

Woody said...

Karl...I was tickled when I saw your choice of "bee suit". I guess a hospital gown would work.

I have no idea what a healthy hive should look like but they seem to be thriving. I'm so glad your blogging about your bees. I would like to try my hand at keeping a couple of hives.

Did ya'll get bit by the frost? I'm hopeful that this was the last go-round for winter like temps.

peace

jayedee said...

very very cool. i'll be interested to find out how the mite remedy works. does the garlic affect the honey in any way?
we're just about ready to get into ours too! exciting times!

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

Reading of everyones bee's is such delight. I can't wait for our Bee man to bring 'em out!

Danielle said...

Oooh, I love it when other folks go first! ;)

I'm building my hives now—nucs should arrive mid-May. I used some Christmas money from my mother-in-law to splurge on a bee suit. I'll admit to being a bit apprehensive about the active hives as well, so I went for big protection, novice that I am.

I'm so impressed that you're working without gloves! I know folks talk about being more nimble without gloves, but I'm just not sure I can muster it at first. Maybe I'll ease into it. I loved your description of the sound.

Madeline said...

I am so glad that you and Danielle can help me with your specific hints. You both have suits? Nicolas only ordered me a hat and gloves. Hmmm. I will definitely try your natural mites remedy.

sasha said...

I'm jealous. I can't wait until we get our bees. Thanks for the step-by-step.

Robbyn said...

Totally loving your bees...congratulations! Can't wait to see how it progresses...really neat that you're using alternatives to the mainstream mite control

karl said...

em, i don't have any of the honey collection boxes (supers) on the hive yet. they can only affect the flavor of their own (brood) boxes.
tansey, the old timer beekeeper couldn't properly explain the reason that it worked but swears that it does. i believe him.
matt, no stings yet.
woody, i highly recommend it. it is so exciting. i can see why people keep it as a passionate hobby.
jayedee, i too am interested to see things develop.
tammy, i am excited for you also. i hope you blog about them extensively.
danielle, tom swore that i wouldn't need anything except a smoker this time of year. i believe him but would never do it.
madeline, like woody noticed that yellow outfit was just a free disposable hospital gown and a cheap, cheap hood--total cost $15.
sasha, thanks, bees are really fun especially for the kids to see.
robbyn, thank you we try to stay away from pesticides in every other area of our lives. so we'll pursue this course as far as possible without causing catastrophic results.

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