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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Hivelights November 2016

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights November 2016

Even though we wrap our bees for the winter, they have an additional way of keeping warm. As the weather gets colder, the honey bees will huddle together while ‘heater bees‘ work as tiny furnaces. These heater bees will either vibrate their abdomens or wing muscles in order to build up heat for their sisters. In fact, approximately 2/3 of the honey used over winter is just for keeping the heater bees well fed. The bees will cuddle and occasionally rotate so that everyone stays warm. The queen will always be in the warmest spot, but the workers are fine with sharing. In late...

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Hivelights October 2016

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights October 2016

Honey extracting is done and lately we’ve been making sure the bees are well fed and healthy before going into winter. Wrapping the hives will start within the next few weeks. The bees have fewer warm days now (they lose the ability to fly when temperatures drop below 10c) so without much else to do they huddle together to stay warm. With fall the regular Farmers Markets come to a close so be sure to visit the Millarville Thanksgiving Market this coming Saturday. It’s the best time to stock up on essential winter vegetables, local meat for the freezer not to mention honey and...

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Hivelights September 2016

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Hivelights | Comments Off on Hivelights September 2016

If you’ve visited the store recently you may have noticed that the observation hive is full to the brim with bees. They certainly were thinking about swarming – preliminary ‘queen cups’ were spotted and the queen was getting very restless, but the ugly weather we had in late August likely changed their minds! Now they’re taking advantage of any warm weather to stockpile honey and pollen for winter. Soon the drones will be evicted as well – we plan to save a few and see how long we can keep them going. The queens egg laying continues but at a slower rate,...

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