Late-Summer Update


So, between May (our last post) and now, basically all the beekeeping happened. Undocumented, of course! That’s not to say that I didn’t take pictures; lots and lots of bee pics were taken, with lofty intentions for pithy posts.

There was the time we took our dear friend with us on a hot July day of backyard hive checks: Don’t worry: only 1 sting, and it was a bee that got squished against a calf!

There was all the zillions of enraptured photos I took of bees on other peoples artichoke plants. Did you know that the flower is what happens after the part we eat goes to seed?

   It’s hard to see here, but I counted 11 bees on one flower! One day I will succeed in growing a plant, seed to flower (you have to start the seeds in February in order to get flowers that year. I’ve grown a plant, but too late in the year, and then we move, during which the plant died. Which was a major bummer cuz I don’t even like eating artichokes. I just wanted the flowers).

There was that time during the recent, severe nectar dearth (due to drought in our region), that we had that crazy incident with robbing bees and our sticky truck. I won’t get into the details, but it involved our truck being in the vicinity of hundreds of marshalled hives (not ours, ready for moving), and our truck collecting so many bees that passersby were visibly dismayed.

Robbing bees= bees are really great at finding honey, especially when all the nectar has dried up.  They are also fantastic at communicating. So a foraging bee finds this amazing, truck shaped nectar source, goes back to the hive, and recruits, like, 100 other bees to go collect it before it’s gone! Multiply this by as many hives are in the area, and you get robbing. Bees can get pretty crazy when there is no nectar flow, and will completely raid whatever is in that spot they communicated about until it is gone, even other beehives.

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But that incident aside, this summer has been a good one for our bees.  Lots of great mating weather for our queens has made it a laid-back year for queen-rearing. Also, it’s exciting to be able to transport our bees using a truck rather than a hatchback, where you have the fun and enjoyment of all the bees inside the cabin with you! Yes, while our hatchback was a loyal steed, I definitely don’t miss that aspect of it!

So, I’ll sign off with one of my favorite bee plants, one that is still blooming right now: Phacelia. I love how it kind of looks like a sea creature, with curls and tendrils. It’s incredibly easy to grow, and bees love it!

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