Parker Honey Bee Festival a Huge Success!!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2008

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first Parker Honey Bee Festival.  Valerie and I showed up to the Highland Bee Club waiting for us with volunteers, tables, and a bunch of educational materials.  We had amazing ice cream and volunteers from Hageen Dazs.  The most impressive part of the first Honey Bee Festival was the turnout – we had probably close to 300 people stop by if not more.  We had people that came from all over to just learn more about the plight of the honey bee.  We made sure we had everyone’s contact information.  Classes are coming up and this is a great time to begin learning and getting ready for next spring.  I will post the class schedule in the next few days.  Thank you again to all our wonderful volunteers and attendees.  Next year is guaranteed to be even more successful.

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The ANTS are back in town!

Tuesday, July 29, HOTTER THAN A HUMAN SHOULD DEAL WITH – NICE BREEZE, Rain in the evening

So the ants are back, and I have to do more research.  I think I might need more charcoal, since we have had some rain.  I have noticed that the ant numbers have increased over time, so maybe the charcoal settles enough that they are not affected.  I will repost if I decide to try something other than the charcoal.

We are getting into the hives tonight to see what is going on.  We were in a few weeks ago and the girls had not really moved forward.  Valerie, Samantha and I were all shocked, because we were expecting for the bottom frames to be filled and an expansion of the girls home to take place by adding another layer to both our boxes. 

We did talk about there not being a necter flow, which is why it is so important to make sure the bees are fed when they are first building their hive.  With the rain we have had and the late summer blooming flowers, I am hoping more will be accomplished when we get into the hive tonight. 

Someone (I am not naming names) did suggest that we may have lazy bees.  I think they are just perfectionists that take longer to get a job done than other bees.  Either way, I will keep my hopes up that the girls will make us proud. 

Last weekend, I saw something for the first time:  The bees were outside each hive and rapidly moving their wings to cool off.  I also saw the dance they do with their backends.  Everyone has told me about this, but I have never seen it.  Check out the two links below to see what I am talking about.  It is really interesting. 

The Waggle Dance

A Scientific Perspective on the Waggle Dance

Stay tuned – we are off to the hives. 

GO BEES!

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Keeping Ants Out of the Hive

Monday, July 14

We were having a huge issue with ants, when I started doing research.  We have two hives and had ants in each of the sugar water feeders, plus they were going up both hives.  The ants were having a wonderful buffet. 

I searched how to keep ants out of honey bee hives naturally without using pesticides.  I am going to be posting a link to what I found, which is really very interesting; but for now let me tell you what was recommended… 

I found a link that suggested using activated charcoal around the hives.  I ran home, shoveled out the charcoal/embers from my two firepits and brought back to the hives.  The fun part was when we took a mallet to the bags to break the charcoal into smaller pieces.  After the prep work was done, we took the charcoal out to both the hives and placed it around both hives.  (I will post a photo at a later date). 

I must say I was shocked when we walked the next day to check the hives and there were only a few ants on each hive.  I did clean out the sugar water, but when I went to refill it after the charcoal was placed — there were no ants.  Last week, I did notice a few ants on the hive, but I think that is because we have a spot where the charcoal is a little light.  And since placing the charcoal, we do not have a problem with ants anymore. 

I always love it when something so simple works.  Especially something that is not harmful to our fuzzy babees.  🙂

Have a great day everyone.

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Checking in…

Wednesday, June 18, High 92, Sunny with rain in the evening

Today was a pretty boring day as far as bees go.  I went out back with some water for the bird bath, and Erika and I were planning on introducing ourselves to the girls we did not meet a few days ago.  They were busy working, so we decided not to bother them. 

Erika added water to the bird bath, and I was off to make more sugar water.  The hives were very quiet with just a few live bees on the bottom outside edge of each of the boxes.  They must have been out and about working.  We carry a little bee whip with us, so we can yell, “Make that honey!” and just wave it around.  Of course, I am joking.  We are very respectful of our bees and the job the do for us. 

After making the sugar water and cooling it off, I headed to the hives.  I removed the tops to find out they were low on the water, but not completely out yet.  One hive only had about ten bees feeding on the water, while the other had the middle of the feeder full.  There were no dead bees in the feeders, so I was happy. 

In true boring bee fashion, I put the tops on and headed back to work.  The girls were busy working, so I thought it might be a good idea for me to do the same.  I should note that this was all done without any protective covering.  The bees have a job to do; we don’t plan on bothering them much; so I don’t worry about them bother me.  Stay tuned…

Go BEES!

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The girls have arrived!!

Monday, June16, Temp 74, Cloudy

Our first two hives arrrived Monday evening at 6:30 p.m.  Our friend Valerie, who is really the brainchild behind this initiative, and her husband Steve arrived with the hives in the back of their truck.  The bees came from Sedalia to find a new home in Parker.  As Valerie instructed, we found a perfect southeast location for them, made the sugar water (5lbs of sugar to a gallon of water – boil water, then add sugar, cool water) and laid down the pallet. 

Within ten minutes of Valerie and Steve placing the hives on the pallets, the forager bees were already doing the bee dance to show the other bees in the hive where to find the perfect flowers. 

One super had a few bees outside the box, and the other was eerily silent.  Valerie and I both thought that was a little odd, so we opened up the box where the bees were silent.  Well, lo and behold, they were working up a storm.  The honey and honeycomb already produced was crazy and very thick.  It will only be a week or two before we will be adding the next level. 

The box that had bees outside the box was the one where the bees were already dancing and out in the field working.  They had a job to do and were determined to do it. 

As instructed, we placed a small birdbath very close to the boxes, added some rocks, so the bees would not drown, and filled it up with water.  The rocks allow the bees something to walk on, so they do not drown in the water. 

Valerie helped us clean out the feeders, which are located on the top of the boxes (I will post a photo later) where the sugar water is located, and we added our homemade sugar water.  We were instructed to check the water in the birdbath daily and check the sugar water about every other day.

What is so interesting is that we were in Valerie’s hives last week, and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be.  The first time we went into the hives, I had a hat on, but Erika did not have anything.  I looked at Erika and told her that the reason we get along so well is that we are both a little nuts.  She agreed.  Now, a week later, we have our own hives and are learning as much as we can about bees.  Keep learning.  Bees are very misunderstood.  🙂

Go BEES!

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Welcome!

This blog will begin a conversation for the Parker, Colorado, Backyard Beekeepers.  I look forward to reading some wonderful stories, seeing some great photos and maybe tasting some award winning honey.  Either way, let’s just dive in and get started.  Feel free to post comments and or suggestions.  Go BEES!

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