Bone Lake Meadows Apiary Blog

making the planet a better place one hive at a time.

sweet sweet nectar April 30, 2010

Filed under: springtime happenings — queen frederica @ 10:33 pm

 

happy bee on an apple blossom

 

This is where the honey process begins. Bees go from flower to flower drinking nectar until their ‘honey stomachs’ are full. These special stomachs have enzymes to break down the nectar sugars into a simpler sugar.

With a full belly, they go back to the hive and pass along the sugars to other worker bees. These bees ingest the sugars to break them down even more and eventually put they honey into the honeycomb.

The honey is still pretty wet at this point and cannot be sealed up for storage or they run the risk of fermentation later on. The extra water in the honey must evaporate. Now is when I totally dork out and tell you how this is done: the bees fan their wings to create a draft in the hive.  When the bees think it’s right, they seal up the comb.

Pretty amazing process…

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Minnesota Grown, just like me. April 29, 2010

Filed under: team awesome — queen frederica @ 6:21 pm

 

“Tastes 2,000 Miles Fresher”

 

Much of today’s food is coming from (and being packaged/processed) all over the globe so it can be difficult to know where it’s actually from. Local farmers and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture teamed up to create the Minnesota Grown program. Now you know by the ‘MN Grown’ label on the products if it’s locally grown or not. Easypeasy!

 

How do you really know it is? I know, I question everything these days.. Farmers must register with the Department of Agriculture each year with details on what they are growing before  they are approved.

 

Bone Lake Meadows has been a member of Minnesota Grown for 4 years now. Look for the logo when you come visit us at markets : )

 

 

 

 

all hail the queen April 27, 2010

Filed under: bees — queen frederica @ 7:42 pm

Finding the queen is always exciting for me..but I’m really easy to please. Ha! We managed to get a decent picture of her this time. She is the larger bee surrounded by worker bees in the middle of the photo. 

Queens don’t rule the colony, just populate it.  She can lay up to 1500 eggs a day in spring to build the colony up for summer. If the workers don’t like the queen, they will get rid of her and produce another one. The power in all in the ‘hands’ of the workers. Oh man, if only politics worked like this! Take note, guys: Ladies really know how to get stuff done.

 

beeswax candles April 24, 2010

Filed under: the goods — queen frederica @ 10:18 am

Did you know that bees create their own wax?  This natural wax has been around for thousands of years and burns cleaner and longer than other candles you might buy in stores.

Many candles contain paraffin waxes. Paraffin is a petrochemical that is basically the sludge left over at the bottom of the oil barrel. It must be heavily processed and treated with 100% bleach before it can be used for candles or cosmetics. BARF! Imagine the toxins burning into the air (and your lungs!) when you light up one of those candles..

There are other environmentally friendly types of waxes you can choose over paraffin, like soy. However, I prefer beeswax because 1.) I’m a beekeeper and 2.) it’s naturally scented with all the nectars of flowers the bees pollinate. Ooooooh, Ahhhhhh : )

You can all sleep at night now knowing that we pour our own candles with wax straight from the hives here in Scandia. Fwew~

votive

skep

biggie


 

buzzzz April 21, 2010

Filed under: bees — queen frederica @ 3:10 pm

 

Up close and personal.

 

package-o-bees April 19, 2010

Filed under: springtime happenings — queen frederica @ 6:11 am

There are a few ways to get bees: don’t let your bees die over winter, get lucky and catch a swarm or buy packages in the spring. I first laughed when I learned that bees came in packages- and by the pound! But it makes sense now that I think about it. I have yet to meet a person who has the time or will to count bees any other way.

   
 These pictures can give you an idea of what it’s like to hive new bees. This first one is of Mike opening the package by taking out a can full of sweet, sugary bee food. See the bees in the bottom half of the box?

After opening the package-o-bees, you’ve got to introduce them to their new home. We do this by pouring them out into the hive. Most of them plop in there and get to work but you can see some flying around (little black dots in the air).

In this last picture you can see a small box in my hand; this is the queen. She gets her own little separate box within the package of bees. Why, you ask? Because she’s the queen, duh. How doth thou put her mixed in with mere worker bees!

Once the bees are in their new abode, we open that box to release the queen and hope they like her as much as I do. If they like her, the colony will continue to grow and bee happy. If not, we could be in a pickle : /

 

Branching Out April 14, 2010

Filed under: organic orchard — queen frederica @ 9:30 pm

Out of all the new and exciting things happening this spring, I’ve got to say that having the opportunity to work in an organic orchard is definitely up there. We are happy to say  we’ve added some hives Wild Fruit Farms up in Taylors Falls, MN.

I can’t decide what’s better; the fact that it’s family-run or certified organic. It’s like a mini vacation each time we go up there. Both the kids and the bees seem to be happily foraging around in the springtime bliss .