April Bee Club: Bait Hives!
I made bait hives this year with recycled paper plant pots. Clearly, they are a great hit!

April Bee Club: Bait Hives!

April Bee Club!

Mark your calendars for April 7. From 10am to noon, we’ll be gathering at the Camas Library at 625 NE 4th Ave. in Camas, in the upstairs meeting rooms. There will be a $10.00 materials fee, and you may make more than one, if you wish.

We’ll be having a “crafty” bee meeting, making bait hives for catching swarms this spring! We’ve purchased two cases of recycled paper plant pots that are light-weight and sturdy enough for a season of “hunting” for bees.

I’ll be bringing propolis water to spray the interiors with, plus lots of old comb for you to place inside (bees love to be where other bees have been before. I think they like the smell of old comb as much as we do…).

I’ll also bring my lemongrass essential oil, to mimic the queen smell. Oh, and zip ties to fasten the pots together. You’ll go home with a bait hive to hang, and we expect your reports on whether bees found them enticing over the next couple of months!… (more…)

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Late Summer in the Bee Yard
Obedient plant (false dragonhead) does not bloom long, but it spreads and fills in spaces quickly, and offers up some great late-summer forage. Nasturtiums like to climb up the spikes.

Late Summer in the Bee Yard

While my yard is beginning to show the withering effects of August heat, there is still good bee forage. I wanted to share some of my favorite bee plants with…

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Drumming the Bees

The swarm began like any other swarm. Just a big, roaring, exaltation of bees, 20,000 strong and taking to the sky in a glittering amber cloud. I couldn’t possibly know in those first exhilarating moments that by days end, the bees from RainTree hive would change my relationship with bees forever.

The morning started out warm and lush, and my attention was on all six of my hives. Four of them were telling me, through false starts and bees plastering themselves by the hundreds all over the faces of their hives, that they were in swarm prep mode.

In a bee swarm, a thriving hive of bees will send out their queen and half of the working force of the hive to “birth” a brand new colony someplace. The bees left behind will raise a new queen from the queen eggs that the old queen left behind. It’s how bees do “the birds and the bees.”… (more…)

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SWARM SPIRIT
Climbing down with my precious bundle...

SWARM SPIRIT

A long, skinny, bundle of hopeful bees

I had almost forgotten. But the second the sound reached my ears, memories flooded in: The sound and the controlled frenzy of thousands of bee bodies in the air, the sight of them moving like an amorphous amber cloud across the yard, then up high, high into the air and down again to settle in my neighbor’s maple tree just a few feet above my head.

The first swarm of the year is not just the bees’ rebirth but mine, too; that precise moment that I step out of a long, cold winter and into the promise of the sun and all that she bestows upon this good, green Earth. Standing before a swarm, my hands tingle, my breath quickens, my eyes flash a little bit of fire. (more…)

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Straw Hives: A New/Old Way to Bee

Primordial, manure-coated Sun Hive

It has been seven months since I brought my bright and beautiful Sun Hive home, and just six months since I escorted a small cast swarm up a wooden ramp and into its dark and enfolding interior. Small the swarm may have been, but the bees took to the woven hive like they had been born to it, building up their comb and their numbers in an explosion of creative energy… (more…)

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