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Archive for the ‘pollen’ Category

The British Invasion queen

I am determined to write this before I hit the sack since we have a long day tomorrow. Remember that new approach to queen installation/introduction I mentioned? This was the hive that we got from Jester Bees in Florida but they had lost their Jester queen and had made their own, which we didn’t want. Mark put the Big Island queen in and did the heavy smoke and release approach. Well, Mark went back in today and it has only been three days…and there she was! Still alive and well AND laying eggs. Amazing! He was quite pleased and will continue to monitor her and the hive. He said he may also try a few more to see how it goes. Sure would save time and energy if it works consistently. We’ll keep you posted.

Rattlesnake hole

In other news, Smokey found (or ran across) a rattlesnake in the back area of our yard where the candles shop and our supplies and equipment are! Yikes. I didn’t have a zoom lens so that pic of the den is all you get. I was on watch while Mark went to find the gun and ammunition. The den is a little close to home. It appears the den is along the tree line and Smokey was between the snake and its den. Fortunately he got Mark’s attention somehow and did not move from the area until Mark came over (cautiously, for he heard that awful rattling sound). We are pretty proud of that cat of ours and we are glad he didn’t get hurt. I’m really glad Mark didn’t happen upon him unsuspectingly – it’s an area we venture into to look at what’s blooming in the field. Now we know to watch our step. I have never heard a rattlesnake before in real life and it is somewhat creepy. Mark’s right – you can’t really tell exactly where it’s at when you hear it! 😦

Danielle helping Mark make up some nucs

Back to bee news – that’s our friend and former student, Danielle, helping out at Big Oaks bee yard today. She and Mark prepared enough nucleus hives (nucs) for our students and customers tomorrow. It got a little warm and Danielle wasn’t feeling so great by the end of the day so we sure hope she feels better soon!

While I was working, Mark also sent this great shot of the bees carrying some beautiful pollen – we certainly love to see this!

That's some nice pollen they're carrying in today.

Okay, I had better say goodnight and see you tomorrow. Remember, Mark’s in class here. I’m downtown on the Seguin square for Seguin Trade Days (9-4p) and Lan will be celebrating her LAST DAY AT THE PEARL (!!) with Sonia and Danny. 😦 Be sure to swing by there and wish her well as she’s moving soon! We sure are going to miss one of our top sales guru. Thank you for all you’ve done for us Lan!

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Black Brush in Frio County

Well, it’s been busy! Before we go to bed, I wanted to do a little update. First and foremost on my mind – we got 1.25″ of rain!!! It sounded like a train ran over our metal roof and it was loud like I have never heard it but it was awesome! I was so tired from work and then market and an evening event that I registered the thunderstorm, gave thanks for it and then went right on back to my slumber. Poor Mark apparently was up most of the night and then next thing you know – we were up at 5a for market. I don’t care what the sprung forward clock said, it sure FELT like it was 5a. Painful the first night especially when you are already beat. Anyway, we were happy for the market and then rain and the friends who joined us to help. We appreciate it all!

Secondly, things are really starting to come out – from leafs to buds to blooms. The top picture is of Black Brush Mark saw while visiting the Youngbloods down in Frio County. Todd says the bees don’t go to this even though you’d think they would, right? I’ve never seen a plant such as this – bursting with blooms. Wish I could have show my mom all these blooms coming out now. She would have enjoyed it as she has an incredible green thumb. Now here’s another shot I loved because I want to see it in full bloom and to see the fruit would be fun – the Wild Persimmon! I have a fondness for Persimmons as it is so these hold a special appeal to my heart.

Wild Persimmon

So pretty! That was in Frio County as well and I can’t wait to see if we get any in our own bees yards. With so many scattered across several counties, I’m hoping we’ll have a chance to see them so I can photograph some of them for myself. I love doing that. Next post, I will post some of the shots I snapped at Comanche Creek of blooms we are uncertain of so that perhaps you all can help identify them. πŸ™‚

For the coming week, we have a lot going on. In a nutshell and just so you know what’s going on with the bee part of our world, Mark’s schedule is about to get real tight again. It’s the feeding, nurturing and checking of the bees time of year. We have to make sure the bees are as ready as possible for things that are about to burst. We need them out there foraging as much as possible but in the meantime, he’ll spend a good part of this week feeding the bees and treating for mites. We have been happy with the state of the bees and we are encouraged about the coming honey season, especially with the rain we just received. It was widespread and long enough a storm cell to cover most all of our dozen or so bee yards. Just have to wait and see how it plays out. Just like farming sometimes. πŸ™‚ Even our nucs are doing well with their adjustment to Texas. We have them all pretty much spoken for and we look forward to our class and pick-up day on the 23rd of this month. It’s always exciting!

Later in the week, we prep for our markets as usual. We have a new employee we are training. Jessica (Or Little Jess as we affectionately nicknamed her – she’s shorty than I am. It’s true.) is our newest addition to the team since Lan will be leaving us soon. 😦 Won’t think about that right now. I realized we need to introduce y’all to our growing team (if somewhat fluctuating) so I will snap some shots of Stan, Jessica and Allison so you can say hi if you visit us at markets and other events. We don’t have a formal training program so a lot of what they learn is on-the-job. Hopefully they’ll not think we’re too crazy and will stay with us a looooooooong time. lol Seriously, though, we couldn’t do what we do (without really killing ourselves) if it wasn’t for our dear family and friends. They all really are amazing and we are blessed they believe in what we are doing enough to want to help us when they can.

Y’all have a great week ahead and enjoy the weather – it’s suppose to be a pretty week, warming up as we progress towards Friday. Yep. We keep up pretty well with forecasts since bee work is kicking into full gear. Good thing they have apps for weather tracking. Okay, goodnight. Sleep tight.

OOOH! PS – forgot to mention I am learning to be a candle-maker! πŸ™‚ Mark is going to be too busy with bee work for candle making so I offered to take over. We’ll let you know how it goes. hehe

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Bees bringing in pollen

What a lovely sight to see. As a matter of fact, I have several lovely pictures to share with you this week. The above shot is from Mark’s visit to the JW Marriott this morning – good job bees! Nothing looks nicer this time of year than to see bees coming back in with both pollen baskets full of beautiful pollen. It’s amazing what a boost that will be for them as they have already started building themselves up in preparation for the honey-making months to come.

We actually got a bit of rain last night and this morning – a quarter of an inch according to the rain gauge. We will take it. Every little bit helps. The bulk of the storm cell just missed us but as long as some of the areas around the yards got rain, then we’re happy.

Below is a picture of bee brush Mark snapped at the Elm Creek bee yard the other day. Gorgeous blue sky on a sunny, cool day. Can’t beat that in Texas this time of year. The bee brush is a lovely scent and blooming pretty much everywhere right now and the bees love it. Again, we are thankful to see the great food source in bloom for our the bees. Every little bit of protein they get means stronger, healthier, more robust hives.

Lovely blooming bee brush

Speaking of robust, look at this Big Oaks frame of brood! Incredible.

That's a lot of brood about to come out.

I couldn’t believe how packed it was and I was so happy to see it as it means the queen is gearing her colony up for spring and honey-making. While we are thrilled to see all of this, it’s a constant worry that the bees continually have enough protein out there to keep them going. We have also seen the Huisache in bloom as well as the wonderful wild mustard that got us through the 2011 drought, when nothing else was out there for them to eat.

In other news, we received a letter from the City saying we were officially annexed February 1. We continue to figure things out to try and move forward with building the Honey House. Mark continues to pour candles between doing everything else that needs to get done. By the way, we got new molds in for some colonial tapers – six inches of lovely wax. We decided to try it after talking with our brother-in-law about his Revolutionary War lantern replica. He uses the six inch taper and next thing you know, Mark ordered the molds and here we are. We are test burning four different wicks and so far so good. We love a dripless candle and soon, our testing will be done and the candles will be available for purchase.

That’s about it for now. Heading to bed and then we do what we do tomorrow. Hope you are all having a great week so far. It’s on the down slope now! πŸ™‚ Wait, as soon as I wrote that I realized that Friday is no longer what it used to be for me since Saturday and Sunday are our wake-up early, work-work-work days. lol I have to find a new Friday! Okay. Goodnight.

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Allison checks out the bees

Now that my belly is full thanks to the wonderful beekeeper, I am sitting here trying to wrap up the week while the Ravens and the 49ers try and wrap things up down on the bayou. Our niece should be happy as she’s been a Ravens fan for quite some time now. Mark and I don’t have much time any more for football though occasionally we enjoy a game on the tube, though not sure when we last watch a game in the entirety. BUT…we do try and catch our Spurs. πŸ™‚

This week was filled, as usual, but we got a little extra help! Our new intern came out and spent the morning getting to know the operations a bit with Mark and then she got to work. She learned how to mix some feed and that was a big help as it freed Mark up for more candle making, which we really needed since last weekend was so crazy at markets. Welcome to the family, Allison!

During the week, the weather warmed up enough so that Mark was able to open up some of the new hives so that he could check on them and feed as needed. Did you know feeding bees can be as messy as eating fried chicken with honey. And with your hands? πŸ™‚

Feeding the bees is messy work

Yep. I showed up at the yard after work that day to see how things were going and I saw this. Makes me love that man even more. lol The sky has been absolutely amazing as of late. The days are getting warmer but still aren’t yet hot and muggy. Great in my book but the beekeeper told me he likes hot and muggy. Sigh, such opposites but we work well together. Back to the weather, now the weatherman is saying there’s no rain in the forecast. Too bad. We need it so the bees can get a real boost before honey-making time. We are pleased, however, to see pollen now coming into the hives. Besides the wonderful Huisache blooming, we’re not sure what else the girls are into these days but we’re happy for whatever it is. Always fun to watch the entrance to see them flying on a beautiful, sunny day.

Speaking of Huisache, that reminds me that I wanted to let you know that if you want to get a fuller picture of our activities, think about following us on Facebook and/orTwitter. When I don’t have time to post as much as I would like, I use FB and the tweets to share pictures and tidbits of our daily activities. The blog is a nice place for an overview of how things are going. The other social media are immediate and daily. FYI.

We’ve also been working on receiving and processing bids on the slab and building of the new Honey House, though really we won’t start building a thing until all the paperwork is done with the city. Yes. It feels like things are moving at a snail’s pace but things will come along as they should and we certainly don’t want to rush into things.

Okay, are you ready to kick off the new week tomorrow? Not sure we are or not but I guess Monday’s coming so we all better get some rest. πŸ™‚ Goodnight, friends.

PS – Don’t forget that the big LOVE day is coming and soon! Chocolates are great but think about giving your honey some candles, maybe a beeswax heart (for the Scentsy perhaps), some good ole honey. mmmm…think about it. Okay. Goodnight.

I just love the hearts.

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Broom weed at Pizza Yard

First stop – Pizza Yard! It’s been a while since I accompanied Mark to bee yards for more than just a quick drop-off or pick up of queens or observation hive bees. And today was the perfect fall day to go with him to release the Heitkam queens in our two Gonzales bee yards. As you can see, things are sort of brown but there is still a good amount of broom weed and other yellow flowers that the bees are feasting upon right now. I saw some very bright pollen being carried into the hives when Mark opened them up. Though the day was lovely for us (in the 60s and bright and sunny with a nippy breeze), it was not too great for the bees I think. The cool breeze is not their favorite thing. Imagine trying to regulate your hive to a lovely 90 degrees only to have some beekeeper open it up to release a queen. Huh. And speaking of queens, an interesting thing happened to the one in Pizza yard – she was dead when Mark checked on her! It doesn’t happen often he says, but it does happen so he’ll have to go back with another queen. Then it was off to the original Gonzales bee yard to release four queens there. That was an exciting pit stop!

HIpstamatic beekeeper 4

Looks lovely, doesn’t it? I used a phone app called Hipstamatic on that shot, by the way. Still one of my favorite yards, I always enjoy going with Mark. Didn’t see the horses this time but saw other interesting things. For example…

…a beautifully capped frame of fall honey. Nice! I shot a short video of the bees drinking up the honey so I’ll try and load it to YouTube before bed but no promises. It may wait till tomorrow at the rate I’m typing tonight. [Side note: how did it get to be past 11p??]

Frame of honey at Gonzales yard

…a really cool frame with multiple queen cells, all of which Mark got rid of since we don’t want them making their own queens. They’re feisty enough here in Texas.

Queen cells 2

And while there are no good pictures to share, there were a few exciting, intense moments for us as the last hive was quite agitated (and in need of requeening, it appears). Right before Mark told me I should get in the truck, I had a sinking feeling something was crawling on me. Under my jacket. 😦 Not good. Thank goodness for Mark! He’s ever so calm and patient. He went with me as I continued to pray the little bee wouldn’t sting me. I could feel her for sure now and I tried really hard to calmly take off my veil and jacket. Mark lifted my t-shirt sleeve just as I felt the beginnings of a sharp jab (for lack of a better descriptor) and she flew up. Right into my hair where she got a little tangled it sounded like. My sweet man caught her and killed her. I was so relieved. I really didn’t want to get all swollen and more than that, I really don’t like to be out of commission and miss out on any fun. Thank you, my love! Unfortunately, they got after Mark a bit and a few managed to get under his veil. He walked away once I saw and then he came back since you have to finish the job. He closed up the hive as I watched and marveled at the way the bees flew around him. You can definitely tell the difference in flight pattern and behavior if you watch our usually gentle bees versus this agitated hive. Nothing like bees smacking into my veil as a warning to get me into the truck. πŸ™‚ We are okay though poor Mark is quite swollen under one eye. It also seems to wear him out a bit more when stung on the face he says. I think I saw a sting on his neck also.

Luckily for us, we had a nice, relaxing social gathering to attend in order to get to know some of our new friends from the Pearl market. Had a lovely, lovely time and even enjoyed a cozy fire outside now that it is cool enough to enjoy it. Minus mosquitos. Score!

Lovely evening for a fire out

Thank you for a lovely day, honey bee! I love it when we get to spend an entire day together. This weekend was a busy one and we had to split up in order to cover two simultaneous events in Seguin and San Antonio. While we love working with Lan and Stan, we miss working together when we spilt. So here’s to next weekend when we’re both at the Pearl at the same time! πŸ™‚

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Fall honey and pollen

Today was a gorgeous day out there – nice day to work the bees, not too hot. While I was in an office listening to the breeze whip bush limbs against my window, Mark and Stan were busy, busy. Stan’s got a whole lot of our honey bottled and ready for markets, class and other events coming up. What a great help and a great space saver for us. I actually was able to move freely around the Honey House after work as I met a customer and then did some work there (although my flowing skirt kept catching on the bottling tank valves, hehe).

Anyway, that gorgeous frame at the top of the post is from the Pizza yard and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s a shot like that – of the perfect frame – that makes me wish I was there with him with my big camera. The colors are gorgeous. That’s brood in the center followed by a ring of pollen and then honey. The bees are doing very well at the Pizza yard and they made some fantastic honey that I got to taste this evening. Thanks, girls!

Now, below is a shot of two of the five mites Mark spotted on the poor little larva. 😦 This is why he’s treating with Mite Away. To put this in perspective for people during our bee classes, Mark tells students to imagine a tick the size of a FOOTBALL on your back – just sucking the life out of you. YUCK. Now imagine five of them. 😦 I am so sad just thinking about the poor bees. Let’s hope the Mite Away does its job well and helps them out a bit. So far, so good with the treatments.

Mites on bee larva

Let’s end on a good note, shall we? Mark also visited the Marriott again and was pleased with his check of the treatment he applied earlier. Then he sent me this shot and again I marveled at the beauty of the bees’ work. Gorgeous frame of pollen and bees. It takes so many little pouches of pollen to fill each one of those cells…can you imagine how many foraging trips it took the bees to fill one cell? And then all the cells on one frame? And then the other frames in one bee box? And then the other boxes stacked on the colony? That’s a lot of work.

Bees & Pollen

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Installations of the Heitkam queens from Cali

Today Mark finally had a chance to start installing a few of the fifty queens he recently received from Heitkam Honey Bees out of California. In between administrative work, errands and candle making, he headed out to Big Oaks where the queen bank is located. He said that one of the hives was very strong but also on the aggressive side. A great reason to requeen, I’d say. He only got stung a few times but none after donning the Ultra Breeze. The challenges of working with a suit on include not being able to easily have a water break without opening up the suit and it’s hot. But we’re in Texas, so it’s pretty much hot in any suit (in my opinion). The UB does help because it has great ventilation (though I sort of prefer the soft cotton suits because they are lighter).

In the picture above, you see one of the queens in her cage. Mark has taped the opening end and will leave the cage in the newly divided hive for two days so that the bees may begin getting used to the new queen’s scent. He will then return to that yard and remove the tape on those hives he did today. Within seven days, the bees and the queen will eat through the sugar cork that is in the end of the cage. Once they eat through that cork, the queen will be able to move out of the cage – by that time, hopefully everyone’s been seduced by their new queen’s scent and they will simply go about doing their bee assignments. That’s ultimately what you hope for when you install queens. Mark told me that he once had to requeen a hive five times before the bees accepted their queen. That’s a lot of poor queens that the bees did away with for some reason. At about $20 a pop, it sounds like a lot of money but when you start thinking about how critical the queen is to the well-being of a hive, then it puts it in perspective, right? $20 for an awesome queen with a healthy, strong, abundantly populated hive sounds like a great deal. I wonder if queen breeders ever have a BOGO deal. Wouldn’t that be funny? πŸ™‚ BOGO stands for buy-one, get-one in case you didn’t know. I didn’t have a clue the first few times I saw it. There’s your retail trivia for the day.

Wonder what tracks these are...

I always love hearing what Mark did during his day with the bees and the bee business. I never know what he’ll tell me or what picture he’ll show me. When I saw this one of the tracks, I asked if it was the longhorns out at Deadman Creek on the Lazy U Ranch. No, he said. They’re probably tracks of the CHUPACABRA. In case you don’t know what that animal is, take a minute to Google it since I don’t have an actual picture of the rarely-seen, questionably-real creature. That beekeeper of mine is funny.

And here’s a lovely shot he got of one of the bees working the Broomweed, which is now blooming all about the area. This makes a bitter honey that we leave on the hives for the bees to winter on and perhaps we won’t have to feed them until next spring. With the rain we’ve been getting, it’s been wonderful for the bees. We hope there will continue to be enough out there for our newly divided hives to strengthen themselves on in preparation for the South Texas winter.

Bee in the broomweed

Finally, we want to thank our friends and family who have helped us move over to the new Bee Ranch. We are officially moved in though things are of course not yet in all their right spots. The Honey House on Krezdorn is still in use as we don’t have a new HH yet so if you see a vehicle over there, feel free to stop in as we always love visitors. Wish us luck in cleaning things up and getting some little fixes completed on our sweet little original Bee Ranch. That home was a good home to us and we hope the next owners will love it as much as we loved it. It’s just time for us to move on. Speaking of which, my sweet little baby Smokey is out and about exploring his new territory. We haven’t seen him back in about 24 hours so I’m an anxious momma. I hope that crazy cat comes home soon. Mark said he LOVED class last Saturday and I can’t imagine class without him. Send him home if you see him please! Goodnight.

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Cathy & Lan helped me out today

This morning feels like it happened last week – haha it feels as if our wake up call at 6a for market happened so long ago! Mark and I had concurrent events today so we had to split up and we missed working together. He helped me get the tent set up in San Antonio (what a guy!) and then booked it back to Seguin to prep for our first fall class. I had a great team with me – Lan and Cathy and we alternated between the front table sales and the side table observation hive duty. Very fun but I did miss my honey bee and I didn’t even get a crepe. Just not the same without the biggest crepe fan alive. Sorry, CrepeLandia – next week, my friends. πŸ™‚

Resuming bee class in fall 2012

Today Mark had nine students in class and we were super pleased with the attendance. He said he had a very nice class and of course his assistant, Smokey, made himself quite the social butterfly. Apparently he made friends with pretty much everyone in class and was pampered with attention. What a ham. He must have really missed classes! We are very happy to have had so many students in class now that we’ve picked back up with it with fall coming on now. Much nicer to get in bee suits when it’s not near 100 degrees. We will be on a monthly schedule now so if you’re interesting in class, our next one will be October 20.

After we unloaded the truck and grabbed a bite and balanced the books and did a little packing, we thought about a nap. But then we thought there’s too much to do so it’ll have to wait. Instead we trekked out to Deadman Creek bee yard out at the Lazy U Ranch – love that ranch. Still too wet from the recent rains (5+ inches!) for driving, we parked the truck and walked in rain boots down to the hives. It was a humid but not unpleasant walk. I got to see the broom weed starting to come out and the bees will make their winter honey off this pretty, dainty little yellow flower. I’ll try and get a good shot with the big camera soon. The iPhone did not do it justice. I also got to see lovely yellow butterflies fluttering about near the ground. Next to them were tiny pale purple butterflies. I loved it! It was like seeing something magical. I only wish I cold have captured it for you to see also. Sorry! It was just too bright to capture on the phone. The sight made me think of my sister Thuy and I wished she could have seen it with us. πŸ™‚

Gathering pollen from the traps 3

Then we hit the evening time and we pushed ourselves hard. With the help of our sweet friend Sonia, we packed up our office and convoyed three vehicles of stuff over to the new house. Tomorrow is the big day and we wanted to be prepared as much as possible. Thank you for all the help we’ve received already and for all the help to come tomorrow and beyond as we transition to our new home. We really appreciate you all very much!!!

Packing it up

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Greetings from lovely Florida where we are with my entire family – a huge reunion to send my mother off on her next journey. Thank you for the support and kind words that you have sent us. While we are sad that mom is no longer here with us, we are happy that she had a peaceful home-going and that she no longer has to worry about aches and pains. In her honor, I want to write about two things – a recent interest (bees) and a lifelong love (flowers).

Mom loved hearing how we and the bees were doing each time I talked with her or when we visited. She would ask how what Mark was doing with them and if they were making honey. Last year, we talked about how hard it was for them to survive during the drought and how hard it was for the flowers to survive as well. This year, we visited her a couple of times and we were able to tell her that things looked better with the rains we received over the winter months and then also into spring. I wish I could have shown her our wildflowers because she would have loved the colors out here. My mom could make any plant robust, even if I had taken it to the point of death. πŸ™‚ She was AMAZING! She would have loved the Horsemint from this season, which was abundant and fragrant, too.

Horsemint at Big Oaks with butterfly

Here’s a shot to remind you what the Horsemint from 2011 looked like with so little rain. See how brown it was? See how brown the background was as well?

Poor Horse Mint

In the picture at the beginning of this post, did you notice the bees with yellow pollen on their backs? They get that from the horsemint because of the way the flower is shaped. As you watch them work the Horsemint, you can see how their backs rub up against the flower in a way that gets pollen all over them. Here’s a closeup of some of them –

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And here is a shot of one of the girls working the Horsemint –

Bee in Horsemint

Amazing what a year makes. Here’s to you mom. You’re gone in body but you’ll always, always, always be in our hearts. We love you and we know you’re now going to be able to visit all our bee yards with us. πŸ™‚

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Full shot of the newer hives at the Farm

After about a week of dreary weather, the sun shined brightly today and it turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day in the neighborhood so you know what that means – bee work! The picture above is the second of two locations of hives we have at My Father’s Farm on Highway 123. We usually just call it The Farm bee yard now for short. Mark and David picked this location for the fifty or so hives they brought back from East Texas last year. Then they move hives to other yards as they are ready. Hard to believe how different everything is this year compared to last year. They actually made up twenty new hives last week out of this yard. Very nice. We’re going to need more bees to make honey with all the beautiful flowers we have popping up everywhere!

I saw some really wonderful things today and I can post all the shots I would like to so I’m going to point you to the Flickr set for The Farm bee yard. You can see what I saw today. πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, let me hit the highlights for you here. The Bluebonnets are here! The Bluebonnets are here! Now, they are only just starting to come out, but it’s lovely to see them sprinkled here and here. I especially love that the bees are getting after the pollen on the blooms. I think that pollen is the red we see them carrying in. Speaking of which, they are carrying in a great amount of pollen – it’s so nice to see our bees gearing up for spring! Things are really just about to burst around here. Last year, Mark reminded me it was already about 90 degrees this time of the year. I’m so glad this year has brought us abundant rain to catch up from the drought and the temperatures have been very pleasant. No complaints here!

Bee on Bluebonnet 3

For a while, I watched Mark introduce his Big Island queens from Hawaii – he had about eighteen to do I believe. The caged queens have been in there two days now and so Mark took out the cork and put in a candy stopper for each queen. Now she and her assistants will eat their way out just as the hive bees will also eat their way in to release her. It’s so neat to learn the whole queen introduction process Mark goes through each time with each queen. You really have to be patient so that you don’t rush the introduction and in that way, the bees will have time to adjust to and accept their new queen. There was one incident of taking eyes away from the cage for a second or two to switch out the stoppers and then poof – she disappeared on Mark! Poor thing. We couldn’t find her but fortunately he had an extra queen.

Taking out the cork on the queen cage 4

Have you ever seen a bee come out of it’s cell for the first time? It’s really neat to watch and you have to be super patient (gee, beekeeping = patience I guess) because it just takes time to watch the frame of bees. I saw this for the first time at one of our past events where we had the observation hive. It was so fun to watch it happen with the folks who stopped by to visit our booth. I was amazed to learn that they know, as soon as they “hatch out” of their cells, that they are to turn right around and clean it out to prepare it for use again. My goodness – couldn’t ask for a better tenant and worker, right? Anyway, I got a real treat today! I got to see not one, not two…but THREE bees coming out of their cells at the same time. And drones at that – those big boys made me laugh and I felt like a proud parent cheering them on. Sort of reminded me of that scene from Jurassic Park (first one) where the park creator watched baby dinosaurs hatching out of their eggs. πŸ™‚ Anyway, here are the triplet drones. They are in the center of the picture and their heads are sticking up – versus most other bees you see working a frame, their heads are often sticking down into the cell as they clean, store pollen, etc.

Drones emerging from cells

We had a wonderful weekend even though the rains meant we actually canceled our bee class for the first time ever. But the rain did not keep everyone away – we still had several visitors to the honey house and we really enjoyed meeting our new friends and future students (yes, they’re all coming back!). We also had some time to prepare some materials for our hive sponsors. We have to get things ready for sharing with the two schools sponsoring hives. We’re excited to take this journey with all the staff and students! Okay I should probably stop here or else this post could just go on too long. You all have a great week and we’ll keep you posted on all the things we are doing to gear up for what could be a great season!

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