Busy Bees

About 18,000 new residents arrived on the farm Monday.

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They’re now buzzing happily in their new homes, busy building comb and tending to their queens.

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We’ve been busy too, getting ready for our Open House on Saturday.

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Every year I worry that no one is going to show up, and this year is no different. We’re keeping a nervous eye on the weather forecast. We’ve had great weather every year, but this year’s forecast is dicey. Hopefully we’ll have a dry afternoon.

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25 comments on “Busy Bees

  1. What a lovely spot for beehives. I always wonder why so many beekeepers line up their hives in the blazing sun (heat stress in the summer) away from trees (windbreak in winter). Wild bees choose more wisely.

    Lovely house for humans too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Laura. We’ve always kept our bees there. They face south so they get good sun all day, but there is good windbreak to the north in the winter. You’re right about the wild bees. You’d never find them creating a hive out in the middle of a field.

      The house has been in our family a long time. We start our farm tour from there and this year we’re going to be making it available for farm-stays, which is something new for us.

      Like

  2. Sue says:

    My bees won’t be coming for another month at least, but I always look forward to their arrival.
    Last year, my “beeman” was really late, and my few bumblebees had a bear of a time with all my blueberry bushes. They did a great job, though!

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    • Bill says:

      We have lots of natural pollinators here and I enjoy seeing them at work. Honeybees were actually brought over by European colonists and aren’t native to North America. I enjoy seeing them working in the gardens too, but it’s good to know (especially these days) that they aren’t alone.

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  3. Bill, I would love to have bees near my garden but just don’t want to take care of them. I’ve tried to find someone that would care for bee hives on Terra Nova Gardens but so far no takers. I know it would benefit the garden. I’m in the planning stage of trying to draw in other pollinators by planting flowers around the garden area. A couple years ago I found an article that explained several other pollinators that work just as well as bees. I’ve always heard that if there are no bees that nothing would get pollinated. True, bees do the heavy lifting of pollination but their are other insects and birds that pollinate as well. It appears that I’ll have to be satisfied with that approach.

    You have a very nice Virginia plantation looking house. I love houses with porches. The idea of a porch for a house is non existent in urban city. They are called decks and patios but have no covering over them like a porch. Porches are great places to start the day and end the day in my humble opinion. Wish I had one.

    Have a great busy bee day.

    Like

    • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

      Hi Dave, I think a little clarification is needed here… The only reason the alarm has been raised about declining (honey) bee populations is because they happen to be a managed species of pollinator. Insecticides and poor or declining habitat affects – not only one, but ALL species of pollinators AND all the

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Sorry (accidentally hit send): but, as I was saying, we only know about honey bees because of Beekeepers sounding the alarm after seeing the decline: the sick and dying bees in and around their hives.
        What has been called CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting more than just honey bees; indeed all species which feed off of any part (be it leaf, seed, nectar or pollen) of a plant which has been treated with NeoNicotinoids – which are systemic neurotoxins – will be affected and one can’t help but wonder about concentrations moving up the rest of the food chain.
        We must become aware, for the sake of all living creatures, of the repercussions of these insecticidal treatments; which are being used, not just as a coating on corn, soy seed, etc, but on the plants we buy from nurseries and garden centres.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      There are lots of natural pollinators. Plus honeybees can travel up to five miles. So your gardens should get pollinated whether you keep bees or not.

      Keeping bees doesn’t take a lot of work, but it does take a lot more than it used to. When we first started keeping bees there was nothing to it. We collected the honey once or twice a year, and that was basically it. It’s much harder to keep them alive now.

      We love our old house. It’s got a nice porch on the back too (with a porch swing). We use it as a guest house. Come see us sometime and you can enjoy some porch time here. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Farmgirl says:

    How wonderful that you got bees! They will love your farm. I wish I could attend your open house. May it be highly successful and be a day of meeting great people and be filled with laughter.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks for the kind words and thoughts. πŸ™‚ The weather is not looking favorable, but we’re hoping the forecast changes tomorrow so we don’t have to reschedule it.

      We’d love to have you visit. I know it’s a little too far for now. Maybe someday…

      Like

      • Farmgirl says:

        A little far and I have planting to do! Doug and I have a crazy plan though that in a few years we will take a break, get an RV, and go visit blog friends and family across the country! We’ll see you then!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. avwalters says:

    Congratulations on your bees! I’m right behind you on that (except the bees won’t come until May) But I’m greatly excited to finally walk my talk on helping our industrious pollinators. Keep us posted on your bee successes. (And just what is in those feeding jars?)

    Like

    • Bill says:

      We’ve had bees in the past, but lost our last hive over the winter last year, for reasons I still don’t understand. Hoping for better luck with these. I do enjoy having them around and I’m sure you will too.

      The feeders have sugar water in them. It’s to help them out as they’re trying to get established. We’ll keep offering it until they stop taking it (which shouldn’t take long).

      Like

  6. Wishing you a wildly successful Open House!
    Love your home and now have some serious porch envy – or is that considered a veranda? Either way, wish I were there sipping a mint julep!

    Like

  7. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Are these your beehives, or have you brought some in for pollination?
    What direction are they facing, getting the morning sun? So many questions (also wondering what’s in the syrup) but I’ll wait for your answers first.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      They’re our hives. We just installed a package of bees in each of them. The hives face south (this picture was taken at dawn). The feeders have sugar water (sugar dissolved in water) in them. When a package is installed it’s a good idea to offer them the sugar water to help them out. They’re starting out with frames of foundation only (we didn’t have any good frames with drawn comb) so they’ve got to build comb before the queen can start laying. We offer them the sugar water until they stop taking it, which shouldn’t take long this time of year once they have their beelegs under them.

      Like

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        By not having any “good” frames of drawn comb, do you mean totally ruined, right down to the foundation? Given the chance, the girls can fix a lot and would definitely prefer it to starting from scratch… Something I’ve ways wondered, can you see my email address from comments, or is it blocked? If you can see it, then you’ll know why I’m asking (particularly today; )
        But, after losing your hive from an unknown reason last year, you may find this YouTube bit interesting. It’s a link from the latest OBA (Ontario Beekeepers’ Association) Newsletter.
        (http://youtu.be/8BKiNnBASWU)
        Good luck with the weather and a successful Open House: )

        Like

  8. Love the porch on your house. Still new to your blog. Interested to see how your open house goes and all those bees!!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      When I was a boy I wasn’t allowed to go out onto the upstairs porch (it was in poor condition at the time). When we were restoring the place one of the first things I wanted to do was go stand on the upstairs porch–something I’d always wanted to do when I was a boy. πŸ™‚

      I’ll post about the open house once it’s over (and hopefully a success). And I’m sure I’ll have more to say about the bees this summer. πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. shoreacres says:

    Speaking of old-fashioned and country terms, an all-purpose way of fending off unwanted questions when I was a kid was to say, “None of your beeswax!”

    I honestly don’t remember if I ever showed you this photo of a swarm on the move in a local marina. They had decided to rest on the bimini of a sailboat, and were kind enough to wait until the local beekeeper came to fetch them.

    I thought of you this afternoon when something else started buzzing: that NY Times article about Rosatom, Uranium One, Putin and the whole lot of them in DC who had to be involved in the deal. As soon as I heard “Canada” and “uranium,” I began to wonder if it was the same crew that was behind the venture in your neck of the woods. I’d suspect so. Links, anyhow.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Every year I hope for a lucky swarm to come my way. Sometime I’ll have to post the picture of the swarm I caught on a young apple tree one year. It couldn’t have been easier.

      I’ll be putting out swarm traps soon. The saying here is “A swarm in May is worth a bale of hay. A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon. A swarm in July ain’t worth a fly.”

      Like

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Lol! We have the same saying here… Thinking it may have come over with the bees; )
        Good luck with that swarm catching: )

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Good luck with the open house. I hope you have nice weather.
    Your house looks lovely. You’ve obviously put a lot of TLC into the restoration. πŸ™‚

    Like

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