Archive for the ‘Queen’Category

Beekeeper’s Calendar: September

Queen Bee Arthur's hive at Myrtle Village Green in Brooklyn

For the first time in months, I didn’t feel like I would keel over from heat stroke when I put on my gear last weekend. We had a brief snap of early fall weather in Brooklyn and the bees and I made the most of it.

September’s goldenrod and aster in bloom may mean you’ll get a nice fall honey flow. If you’ve been checking your mites regularly, you’ll have a good idea whether you should extract a fall crop or whether you should be treating for mites instead. You also won’t want to take off the honey if you’re actively feeding.

Speaking of feeding, how heavy is that hive? You’ve gotten your honey, but do the bees have enough for the winter? You want at least 60lbs of honey so there are ample stores over winter. If your boxes feel light, start feeding syup until the bees won’t take more.

You’ll notice your queen’s laying will slow down even more this month. The brood nest won’t be huge, but you should be able to spot fresh larva and eggs. Drones will also start to disappear in September.

If the brood nest looks bare, maybe fall requeening is for you. While many beekeepers requeen in the spring, there are some advantages to tackling it this time of year – like having a vivacious young queen to winter over with the hive and build up your population in the spring. Bees accept new queens best during a light nectar flow, which makes the early fall work well. Queens may also cost a little less in fall than in spring.

Do your best to make sure your colony is really queenless. If the queen is still alive, you’ll need to find and kill her before introducing the new queen. Also check for queen cells in the hive before introducing.

Did any Jewish beekeepers out there use their own fresh honey at Rosh Hashanah dinner this month? Share your sweetest new year recipes in the comments below.

In bloom: Goldenrod, aster, mint, thistle


09 2013

Remembering EB White

Life With Wings. 1 of 4 Panels. Copyright Mika Holtzinger 2008. Click to view more.

As you may know, EB White was the author of the much-beloved books “Charlotte’s Web,” “Stuart Little” and “The Elements of Style.” But did you also know he was a dedicated beekeeper?   With a dash of humor, E.B. White addressed queen rearing in this poem, which was published in The New Yorker December 15, 1945:

Song of the Queen Bee

The breeding of the bee,” says a United States Department of Agriculture bulletin on artificial insemination, “has always been handicapped by the fact that the queen mates in the air with whatever drone she encounters.”

When the air is wine and the wind is free
and the morning sits on the lovely leaf,
and sunlight ripples on every tree
Then love-in-air is the thing for me
I’m a bee,
I’m a ravishing, rollicking, young queen bee,
That’s me.
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07 2011

Remembering “The Life of the Bee,” Life Magazine 1952

LIFE Magazine Aug 11, 1952. The cover, a black-and-white closeup of Joan Rice, announced her as “Robin Hood’s New Girlfriend”.  Also on the cover, a headline  announcing, “Farewell to Eva Peron.”  But what is not alluded to on the cover is the edit piece that you and I probably would have gotten the most delight out of reading: an arresting full-color photo essay titled, The Life of the Bee. Paintings By Microscope Reveal the Busy World Inside The Hive.  Let’s have a look…

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03 2011