Bone Lake Meadows Apiary Blog

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

Route 66 Arizona March 12, 2012

Filed under: springtime happenings — dronedude @ 8:59 pm

The first week of March, I swarmed down to Oracle, Arizona (an hour north of Tucson), for an organic beekeepers convention. It was fun and interesting to meet and compare notes from treatment free beekeepers from all over America, Canada, England, Mexico and New Zealand. The most interesting part of the three-day conference was not so much the formal presenters (okay , they were good too) but the water cooler chats that sprang up during breaks and hanging out by the fire at night. It was then that I had time to compare notes on how the heck you can keep bees in 120 degree F. weather in the deserts of Mexico. Or can bees really survive along the coastline in British Columbia where they get close to 150 inches of rain in a year? Of course, everyone would ask how do Minnesota bees make it when temperatures get down to -40 F and snow is piled up to the second floor windows of your house. Like the people who live in all these climates, the bees adapt or die.

It was a time to share and compare with people that have been treatment free a lot longer than the three years we have. Though the conference numbered under a hundred people, there was a lot of support and solidarity to avoid going back to the dark side of chemicals and corn syrup beekeeping.

An interesting fact was announced on the last day. Everyone in attendance was asked to report their annual hive loss and the conference would then come up with an average loss  for the group. The group as a whole had just under a 10 percent loss ratio out of over 1,500 clean hives. That is dramatically lower than the 31 percent loss that was reported a month earlier at the American Honey Convention held in Las Vegas where the big commercial beekeepers and pollinators congregated. Numbers don’t lie. We have to risk failure to achieve success!!!

Wow, leave the state of Minnesota for a few days and come back and find spring waiting for you on the back steps. Saw the first robin of the year yesterday – a full week ahead of last years first sighting. Canadian Geese are back a full ten days earlier than last year returning from their Gulf of Mexico states. Temperatures were setting records all weekend up here in the northern plains.

I had a chance to peek under the hoods of most of the hives. Out of the eighteen hives I inspected in five different locations, only one did not make it. That particular hive had superseded its queen in early fall and it appeared it did not have ample time to build up its colony strength so I was not  shocked to see the hive lifeless this spring.

The rest of the hives were flying around and all seemed to have capped honey stores in reserve to hold them over until the buds break and pollen forms in another week or so. Lone wolf hive was in good shape with bees on five of nine frames in the top box  and a small area of capped over brood to keep population stable until natural food sources explode in the wilderness.

The majority of these hives are coming out of their first winter being totally chemical treatment free and sugar syrup supplement free. There are a few of these hives coming out of their second winter with two year old queens that look just as strong and healthy. The future looks bright so far in this little parcel of earth. Bees being bees at the 49 degree latitude with an all natural attitude.

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spring is a coming March 1, 2012

Filed under: kelseybee!,springtime happenings — queen frederica @ 5:35 pm

“The more you investigate these creatures and the manner in which they live, the more you will come to the conclusion that there is great wisdom in how they work and what they accomplish.”
-Rudolf Steiner

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Last Thursday the first cycle of brood hatched here at the Biodynamic Agriculture College. It was a beautiful sunny day and all of us students were sitting barefoot in the gardens soaking up the sun’s energy. It was the first taste of spring as we all felt that connection with the sun. Bees are definite creatures of the sun and are far more tuned into it than us humans. I can imagine they were waiting for it more than I..

Since ancient times here in Western Europe on February 2nd people have been celebrating Candlemas (or Feast of Lights before Christianity). It marks the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox and is considered the beginning of spring by many. It is a time when the earth starts awakening and farmers prepare for the coming season. The promises of the return of the light and the renewal of life which were made at the winter solstice are becoming evident. The bees, too, sensed this awakening because it was the day the queen laid her first eggs of the year. Exactly 21 days (time of a worker bee to develop) after Candlemas new bees emerged from the hive. Each day more and more pollen is coming in.. oh the things to come.

Happy March!