Category Archives: Beekeeping

Hibiscus Tea loaded with vitamin C

Last evening, I made a big pot of hibiscus tea. I purchase dried organic (whole) hibiscus flowers to use in a variety of ways, but the main way is to prepare tea. I normally make enough to put into one of the large glass pitchers that you see here. In doing so, there’s enough to last throughout the day.

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Hibiscus Tea

I wish you could see the reddish color of the tea, I wasn’t able to capture it in the above post. My daughter tell me the color reminds her of fruit punch. We love the lovely floral scent of the hibiscus flower, but it’s more than a lovely flower… hibiscus is a great source of antioxidants and it’s extremely high in vitamin C.

With the above tea I also added cinnamon bark, ginger and soursop leaves and while this would be perfectly fine on its own I did add a bit of organic sugar to the blend. I’ll carry some of this with me to work today, a portion will be added to my daughters thermos and the remaining will be placed in the refrigerator to be consumed when we return home today.

Adventures in Beekeeping: Busy as a Bee

 

 

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Adventures in Beekeeping; Time to upgrade

Around 6:00 a.m. this morning, I was hanging out with my honeybees.

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Close up of some of the honeybees crawling outside the hive. There probably were a few hundred.

I noticed with two hives that the honeybees were congregating at the base of the hive.

 

Since the mornings are cooler, I assumed they might be running out of bee space. I quickly went inside the house, put on my bee suit and went back to inspect the hives.

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A shot from my Warre hives observation window.

Opening the hives I discovered that the bees definitely need more space. I added a hive box to one of the hives and will add the rest tomorrow morning.

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Mint fresh from the garden

Additionally, tomorrow morning, I’ll be replanting some of my mint near the hive. Why? Mosquitoes don’t like it at all and I love how mint smells.

Adventures in Beekeeping: Successful hive installation?

As promised, I’m including pictures from yesterdays hive installation.

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Two honeybee packages. I’m guessing this is about 20 – 24,000 honeybees?

 

Yesterday morning, at 8:00 a.m., I picked my package honeybees up from a local beekeeper.

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The queen surrounded by her entourage

The installation was flawless. Check out the queen and her entourage! Honeybee queens live about two to four years. During the warmer months, the worker bees live about six weeks.  Do you know something interesting? The worker honeybees don’t sleep. They literally work themselves to death. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always been fascinated by a variety of things found in nature, including insects. As a child, I would watch ants and honeybees for hours. They impressed me because they were constantly working.

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Shaking the honeybees into their new home

 

If you were to stop by, and I was near the beehives, I would not be wearing a bee suit. I’m right up at the hive. The honeybees buzz about me, some have bumped into me but they continue on about their bee activities. I’ve not been stung yet; however,  during a new hive installation I ALWAYS take the precautionary measures and suit up.  I’m not taking any chances. I did observe (while shaking the honeybees into the hive) that their temperament was calm so I know I’ll be able to walk up to them without a bee suit. I like that!

When it’s warm, you’ll find me around them a lot. I enjoy watching them flying to and from the hive. The gatherer bees are greeted at the entrance by the guard bees, who check to see if they actually belong to the hive. Once they’ve been given the approval they enter the hive and continue about their duties. If they’ve collected nectar, this will be passed off to another honeybee by regurgitating the liquid into another bees mouth.

Yesterday, throughout the day, I made a point to go back and check on the honeybees to see how they were doing. All seems to be fine.  I love beekeeping!

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Early this morning, I walked back to check on them again and they appear to be settling into their new home. Just like the other package honeybees these are very calm. I was able to walk amongst them without an issue. Later today, my daughter and I will go out there and hang out with them a bit. I’ll be sure to bring my Native American Flute in the key of G.

Adventures in Beekeeping: Successful hive installation

My last two orders of package honeybees arrived this morning and everything went smoothly. No time to post the few pictures that my daughter took but perhaps I’ll get a chance within the next few days.

Throughout the day, I popped by to check on them and I must say that they seem to be settling into their home quite nicely. This afternoon, we had rain showers for a few hours which made most of the honeybees go inside their new home. There were a few stragglers that refused to go inside though. It wasn’t a hard rain. After the rain had stopped, I noticed some of the honeybees doing widening circles as they oriented themselves to their new location and later some ventured out to find nectar sources. 🙂

Adventures in Beekeeping; Picking up my package honeybees

This morning, at 8:00 a.m.

 

Getting the honeybees

 

I was at Miller Bees, picking  up my package honeybees.

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Do you see that? It’s an actual beehive!

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There were 300 package honeybees set out in a large garage; Italians and Russians. I picked up my two orders of package honeybees and off we went. There were about 10 honeybees on the outside of the wire cage, but I told my daughter we’d be fine. They weren’t aggressive and they were trying to surround the queen.

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There’s the queen. This is a recycled photo from last years honeybee installation

The queen is new to these bees and so she’s in a tiny cage within the crate. If you want to read the story behind the above photo, go here, in that post I write about last years installation of my the package bees that were installed into a Warre hive. Last year, I was a first time beekeeper.

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See the honeybees on the outside of the little cage? They weren’t concerned with us at all and they were busy trying to get inside the cage and stay warm.

It was a chilly morning, so these bees weren’t quietly moving about like the bees last year. They were in a tight huddle.

Checking out my Honeybees

Getting a closer look at our honeybees. On average you receive about 12,000 – 15,000 per honeybee package. These honeybees are calm, hopefully they’ll continue to be this way.

This morning, I believe it’s too chilly to move them into their new home. I’ll wait until early evening to move them into their new home. Here’s hoping they stay!

Adventures in Beekeeping: Nurse honeybees feeding young bees

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon this video and thought I’d share it here.

It’s similar to what I’d seen when observing hive activity inside my Warre hive.