Bone Lake Meadows Apiary Blog

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

Russians Don’t Care January 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized,winter stuff — dronedude @ 9:03 pm

The first below weather of the winter finally came to town here in Minnesota. The temperature dropped below zero last night for the first time this year. The temperature this morning in the “Lone Wolf” hive was 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 degree  Celsius) in their third box with the outside temperature at a minus 15 below zero Fahrenheit  (-26 degree Celsius). These bees, like the majority of our hives are clustered tightly in their second box out of sight, hopefully with an ample supply of honey and pollen. I mention pollen because of our unusually mild winter, the chances are very good that the queens in many of our hives have been laying some early brood that will consume some of their spring pollen supplies.

And then there are our first year Russian bees. The high temperature never got above zero degrees Fahrenheit today. Toward sundown, I detoured to one of our apiary yards that only has our Russian hives in it. I have read some articles that speak of how resourceful and resilient Russians bees are. But I had a hard time believing my eyes when at -5 degree Fahrenheit (-20.5 C) with a strong wind blowing off the frozen tundra, these incredible little bees were hanging out around their top entrance soaking in some of the weak January sunlight. I noticed they would rotate in and out of the top entrance at a slow leisurely pace. Not a care in the world, still checking things out, looking for spring. This cold wave is supposed to last for a week or so before it breaks. We will then  have to do an inventory to see how all our hives made out  during this current cold snap. Not worried about the Russian bees. They are going to be alright. Russians don’t care about freezing in their tracks. They had winter figured out long before we did.

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The Year in the Review January 3, 2012

Filed under: winter stuff — dronedude @ 10:15 pm

Happy New Years to all you Beeks out there.
2012 came bbbbursting in with a blast of white out weather to blow away the last remnants  of 2011.Last year saw us rear our own queens for the first time with giddy  success. Though early season honey production was down substantially, a fall explosion of goldenrod and asters supplied the bees with copious opportunities to fill their boxes and erased the nervous feeling of not having the bees make it through the winter on their own. With the pop of a cork and the drop of the ball, January 1st found all of our hives and nucleus colonies still alive.

2012 looks to provide us with more opportunities for letting bees be bees and hopefully expanding on our early successes of queen rearing. We have been approached by three more CSA farms in the St Croix River Valley that would like to have us place our bees on their organic fields. So great to have these options to chose from, seeing as how difficult it is becoming to find suitable land that bees can survive on.

Until the sun returns, pick up a bee book and kick back with a hot cup of coffee (with honey of course ). If I may offer a book suggestion, THE BEEKEEPER’S LAMENT, by Hannah Nordhaus, offers the reader a close up look at the plight and perils of migratory beekeeping in America. I found it sad and tragic. Enough said.

Early March will find us attending the North American Organic Beekeeper conference in Tucson, Arizona. Should be interesting. Many of the treatment free  beekeepers that were in the movie Queen of the Sun, will be presenting, like Roy Arbon from New Zealand.

Until then, need to shake off lazy bastard tendencies and address that  piles of lumber laying on the garage floor waiting for someone to pick up a hammer and saw and build those  two dozen new deep boxes  before spring settles in. Crank up the Neil Young and lets get busy in 2012.

“The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his  moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.”

MarkTwain