“There is a bee swarm in downtown Camas, right by the antique store. Do you have time to go gather it? It is up high…” Debby’s voice was hopeful. She is our bee swarm coordinator, and spends her whole summer on the phone talking to people about bees.
“Hmmmm, up really high, huh?” I don’t mind heights. I simply don’t have a ladder that will reach up 20 feet.
“The fire department’s only a few blocks away. Just stop by, batt your eyes and swivel your hips and maybe they will bring their ladder,” she suggested…
Hello bee friends: Susan here, introducing our good bee friend James. James attended our recent log hive workshop and went crazy–in a good way! James has a vision of a highway of bee trees, and log hives. Is this a match made in Bee Heaven, or what?! Please feel free to join James in his mission, or contact him with questions and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Hi everyone! My name is James. I’m a former intern of Jacqueline’s who will soon by moving back to the area. I have a few years of experience doing agroforestry under my belt now and am hoping to make a return into natural beekeeping. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot about drought tolerant, Pacific Northwest based agroforestry. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’ve seen a lot of evidence that trees and shrubs are a really great way to grow bee forage efficiently in terms of water and labor… (more…)
Susan here: It is with great delight that I am sharing with you something of beauty, depth, and wonder from our good friend, Bee Guardian Corwin Bell. Corwin has taught many programs for us over the years. He is the prime innovator behind all the advances to top bar hives, and runs a bee education program at Backyardhive.com. His work is respectful, balancing science, intuition, and mystery. If you live near Colorado, take his classes. He is a master.
Corwin has a mystic’s eye, a mystic’s ear, and a mystic’s heart. Artist and visionary, Corwin put his talents to a remarkable recording of chants, music, and bee sounds to create a deep immersion into bee time. His DVD is called “The Light of Hum” and I encourage you to add it to your music library… (more…)
Susan here! I’m so pleased to be offering this post for our readers. I love to share what other bee-tenders are doing, and welcome articles about your hives and bees. Andrew has humg his own SunHive, and will be coming out to the Northwest (from Kansas) to take my skep hive weaving class in February. I hope this post encourages you to think out of the box with your own colonies!
This spring, Matthew Burke, a sculpture professor at the University of Kansas, generously gifted me a completed Sun Hive. He and his students, over 20 of them, built the hive over several semesters as part of an eco-art studio course. Rolf and I installed it on five acres of land farmed using organic methods, just outside city limits, building a platform and rain shelter for it in the process… (more…)
(Note from Susan: Bee Friends, Jahn Rise will be coming to Bee Club in February to talk about a project we may consider involving bees, mushrooms, and bee health. We hope that a group of club members will want to become part of this local experiment. The potential for bees is promising, and PBC certainly encourages innovation. Hopefully, this post will get you excited about the possibilities!)
A few years ago, Paul Stamets (the mushroom guru) discovered bees harvesting dew drops off of mushrooms in his yard. Fast forward: He is now in the process of working with the University of Washington to develop a mushroom solution that would help enhance the immune system of honeybees. This product is not on the market yet, but there is a great deal of interest in it. If you google Paul and the topic, there is much information to be found. (more…)
Susan here: It is during winter preparation in the bee garden that I realize just how far off the conventional center my beeing has wandered. Winter prep in my bee garden is a slow, sweet time. By late autumn, I’ve tilted all my skeps up just a bit and found them heavy with bees and honey. Soon, I’ll be plugging upper entrances on the hives and leaving their lower openings clear. And that—blessedly—is the whole of my winter prep. (more…)
When our bees need food, we provide it for them, in the form of honey: honey in combs, in bowls with sticks and straw to prevent the bees from drowning, or in a small chick-waterer with stones in the mote. We avoid feeding sugar because it is not a good, nourishing food for bees. It can cause gut problems, moisture problems in the hive, and is simply not bee food.
But there are times when an emergency strikes and there is no honey to be found. So, in cases of extreme need, we are sharing this sugar food recipe from the Natural Beekeeping Trust to get your bees through in a tight pinch: (more…)
“Can anything be done to help these bees?” The query came across my Face Book page, along with a photo of white honeycombs hanging from an exposed tree limb.
Sometimes, bees do not manage to find a safe nest, and they begin making a home wherever they have landed. Now, if the bees are in warm country, and have built out beneath a rock ledge, this works pretty well, but bees here in the Northwest will not survive the winter exposed to our long, cold rainy seasons.
Susan here. If you are a bee club member, you already know that PBC has been talking about hive insulation all this past year. How do we with wooden hives get these flimsy-walled things to be good for bees? Some of us can’t afford new hives whenever we learn of new innovations that are healthy for bees, so is there a way for us to “modify?”
We’ve been looking at this issue from the outside of the hive, mostly. There are foam and also bubble insulation wraps available, and all require basically encasing your hive box top to bottom with these panels.
Some of us are adding another layer of wood, tacked to the outside of the hive. we’ve discussed encasing our hives in straw bales, which Jacqueline tried—and discovered it is a great way for growing mushrooms between hive and straw.
Then, in Holland, I saw this: a Warre’ hive with a circular interior, packed with plaster, cork chips, and straw. Wowza! Insulate from the inside, instead and solve more problems than just warmth and cooling!