Hivelights

Hivelights June 2017

Posted by on Jun 3, 2017 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights June 2017

May was a great month to be nurturing our New Zealand honey bee packages and young nucleus hives. The warm weather and plentiful dandelion crop has given them a big boost. The abundant food and heat encourages the newly installed queens to lay eggs prolifically. Many people don’t realize that bees also need a good source of water. Since their bodies are mostly water (like us) they need to drink routinely. Also the nurse bees which produce gelatinous ‘royal jelly’ use water to partially dilute it for easier consumption. In the summer water is also used by fanning worker bees...

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Hivelights May 2017

Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights May 2017

  May has got to be one of the busiest months in the Chinook Honey world. The bees need extra food and unwrapping, in addition to preparing for and receiving new packaged bees and the dividing of bursting hives to create new colonies. Throw in Alberta’s unpredictable weather and it can be mayhem! Also, next weekend we’re celebrating Vikings with Horde at the Hive May 13th and 14th. Here’s some of the new features you’ll be sure to enjoy: Calum Lykam is a Scottish story teller who will be camped in the Viking Village and sallying forth with tales of Viking lore....

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Hivelights April 2017

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights April 2017

It would seem spring is here to stay and we’ve had a chance to do our preliminary hive inspections. Although the bee activity around our Honey House has seemed normal, such was not the case at our hives further afield. We have experienced higher than normal honey bee losses this spring and so far we are still trying to pin down the reason. There are indications that we’re not alone – other Alberta beekeepers are also facing severe winter losses this year- we’ll hopefully know more by next month. Our surviving bees have been dining on their custom made pollen patties and are...

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Hivelights March 2017

Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights March 2017

After a weather roller coaster in February we’re just hoping that March has more consistency. What do those wild temperature fluctuations do to the bees? If it’s only for a few days in a row, warm days near 10C are helpful – the bees get out for a cleansing flight and some fresh air. However too many warm days (three or more) will trigger them to start foraging. As we know – there’s no flowers, nectar or pollen in Alberta in February or March so valuable honey supplies are used up in the search with no reward. Secondly if the temperature plummets quickly some...

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Hivelights February 2017

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights February 2017

Winter seems to be the time when humans want to cleanse – their homes, their bodies – anything with accumulated muck or clutter. Honey bees are no different. Since they don’t hibernate, the warm temperatures we had a few weeks ago got them in the mood to cleanse. The most obvious cleaning is to rid the hive of debris – wax, dead bees – anytime the temperatures near 10°C the housecleaning bees start pushing garbage out the door. At the same time their sisters are continuously streaming outside for a ‘cleansing flight’ – not to clean out their...

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Hivelights Jan 2017

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights Jan 2017

Our outdoor hives are buried in snow, nicely insulated from our recent extreme cold. Inside those hives the bees are tightly clustered to keep warm. However, our store observation hive is behaving quite differently. We’ve been feeding them supplemental honey regularly and it seems this has inspired the queen. The day before Christmas we spotted her laying eggs; shortly after there were capped brood and now we have young new bees throughout the hive. This is not normal, but it’s a welcome boost to the hive population as we get closer to spring! Saturday January 14th we’re in...

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