What do you do when you have a wax moth infestation on some frames? Give them over to your friend’s chickens of course! Free meal worms and probiotics from the honey frames for our feathered workers, and we get rid of our worm and moth problem. It’s a win win.
What do you think she’s doing? Our guess is this girl is cleaning the outside of her house. We recently put two extra supers on top of the Jalapeño House for them to clean up and forage from. It appears she’s doing just that. Cleaning up from messy wax/honey using her strong ant-like mandibles (they are distant cousins), she will store the nectar in her stomach to be regurgitated and passed onto a “receiver bee” who will meet her at the entrance to the hive. Once this foraging is passed onto the capable hands of the “packaging bees,” she will return to her task of cleaning up the outside.
We caught ourselves. We nerded out in bees a little too much. To the point where we may have been talking to ourselves, after everyone in the room was gone (metaphorically, of course. We love you, don’t leave us!). What can we say, this stuff just gets our blood pumping and our passion fired up. It’s not our fault you opened the floodgates of beek nerds when you asked “so...how are the bees.” Well, since you asked. They are great! But that’s another post (coming soon!) We ultimately got on here because we realized that we have left a lot of folks in the dark, talking all our bee stuff like some drunken pirate from an island no one has ever been to, speaking a language we made up. So let us slow down. We. Got. Some. Frames. From (jk!) our amazing support @beeranchco !! Yay! However, to no fault of anyone, little critter got into the frames and made this place home. In our case, it’s moths. A healthy colony of bees will easily defend themselves against these intruders....but for some unknown reason, these colonies were weakened, which left the hive weaker and harder to defend. In the end, the moths, yellow-jackets, wasps won out leaving behind a pretty grim scene of destruction in their wake. So why the freezer? As you can see in the photos above, wax moths pupate and eat through the combs, as evidence by the literally bottoms being eating out. To combat this, you stick the frames in the freezer for 2-3 days to kill them. Then, you can either put the remnant honey frames onto the top of your hives to let the girls clean it out and pull the honey for themselves, or you can scrape off the wax from the frames, melt the wax, filter it, clean it, and then make candles or wood polishes out of it. We will probably do a little bit of both. We will not be using the wax from these frames for beauty products like lip balms or lotions cause that’s just nasty. But! Woodworkers and metal fabricators love dark wax for sealing wood or curing sheet metal! Plans are in the works for a solar wax melter out of some recycled glass and cooking sheets. We will then dabble in the fine art of wax products and crafts before things really take off next spring with our expansion the empire!
Sarah got to do some stuff in The Jalapeño House by herself today as bee papa’s new job doesn’t get him home until close to sunset this time of year. Replaced empty frames with drawn out frames to give them a head start (thanks for the hookup @beeranchco !), replaced the sugar water, added more thymol mite treatment and placed some new supers we got that have bits of honey in them (the bees will clean them out and store the honey down below)! All in a afternoon’s work. Enjoy the time lapse!
Friends. This is what it looks like when you make out like bandits when you are in the bee business. Again, the amazing generousity we have been showered with by @beeranchco has left us speechless. This supply of deep boxes and honey supers will be enough to support 3 new hives plus one of the hives currently taking up residence in the hood (probably the Jalapeño House). We are feeling encouraged, supported and financially ready to be well on our way to having our apiary in Keenesburg fully stocked and ready to rock come spring! Simply incapable of words when to even trying to comprehend the amount of connections, friendships, love and support that has been created through this venture into beekeeping! We have a pretty selflessly altruistic hive of people in our corner and for that, we give thanks!
There’s multiple things about this photo that are just....cool. The light coming through both the old and the new, whiter comb. The amount of wax comb production. The engineering of a foundation less frame that lets the bees build more naturally. The securing and “glueing” of the comb in place after we rescued it and loosely secured it with bands. The blending and melding of man and nature, working together to support each other. Then the camera and technology that allows us to spread our passion and knowledge to you all. Oh, and the pirate beard. That too of course.
We were pleasantly surprised to see the Party Hive pumping out honey to this level! Almost the entire two brood box completely packed...full frames...both sides. They have really picked up the pace in the last month. Now hopefully with the thymol treatment being done, they will finish up quickly!
Big news in Homestead in the Hood! We are the new beekeepers for a farmer near Keenesburg! Went to check out the property and hives with @beeranchco! We knew the bees didn’t make it through last winter but it turned out that the hives were being robbed by bees, wasps and yellow jackets of all kinds and totally infested with wax moths. It was so fun to work with Theresa (our first time doing anything with an experienced bee keeper!) It was inspiring to just watch her dig in with confidence and decisiveness! She was able to just look at everything so quickly and make informed decisions! Also, super interesting to smoke the robbing bees! We knew we were seeing something different when they flew out of the hive when we smoked them rather than them going deeper into the hive like our ladies do who own their space. We tore down the equipment and brought it home for evaluation and cleanup and will re-build the apiary next spring! Excited to get this new branch of Homestead in the Hood buzzing next year! (See what we did there?)
Update on the Jalapeño House. As you can see by the near white comb, our street girls are building new comb like crazy! All in a week’s time. All the bits and pieces of the combs we were able to rescue have been secured to one or more points on the frame, making them rigid. We are hoping to soon be cutting out the rubber bands because they won’t be needed. We went ahead and “checker-boarded” these wonky frames with foundation frames, hoping they will transition over to the foundations after they complete these build outs they have started. This hive will be half self-made, and half on the new foundations. Hopefully. Feeding continues with a large amount of 2:1 sugar water in the drop feeders to assist them in building out the comb (it takes three times as much nectar to build comb versus make honey). We took our sweet time trying to locate the queen (name drop coming as soon as we can visually spot her), to no avail. After having the hive open for a little too long past our comfort, we decided to close it up after spotting eggs which had been laid within the last three days (this is a great sign that the queen is in the house and doing well!) We will come back tomorrow maybe and do another quick sweep! Otherwise, things are looking great. They really will have until mid-November to keep pushing through and hopefully be strong enough to make it on their own through winter.
Smoke em if ya got em. Here is the guy behind the lens who takes all the darn pictures of the bees. Sorry not sorry. ****************************************************** #beehindthecamera #challengeaccepted #photography #beepapa #smokeemifyougotem #beekeeper #denverbeekeepers
Friends! We have stickers! So happy with how these turned out! It’s just awesome to think of all the collaboration from our voters, designers and printers. It’s cool to think of all the ways our bees bring people from all walks of life together. So....Want some? You know you do! A dollar a sticker! Help support Homestead in the Hood! Your purchase will help offset the prices for hives, equipment, treatments etc. If you’ve ever wondered how to “help the bees”....well this is one small, very fashionable way to do just that. Show your support of bees, on a water bottle, computer, car window, your forehead, your bee hives, your friends computer, your notebook, your journal (so many ideas! You’re welcome) and get the conversation started about bee conservation and education! Thanks to @stickermule for the hook up and the awesome prints! Shout out to our dear friend @jennapiorskidesign @jennapiorski for the design and all the hard work she put in!
Live a humble life and work with your hands but remember that all is vanity that is under the sun.
The Hogwarts of Beekeeping. Our insta-hive just got a little more “real.” Had a great evening meeting more Denver beekeepers at the Mile Hive Bee Club (to which we are now official members) and learning about the relationship between bees, elephants and people. Thanks @butterflypavilion for the presentation on the bee fences in Tanzania! Absolutely fascinating how Dr. Luck King used one social species to control and ultimately protect another while providing income, livelihood and an economy services by non other than African honeybees. Now to take home all this information and to pack it into our brains and make it applicable to our methods and mission of beekeeping. ******************************************************
“How do you get bees into the new hive?” We got this question a lot the last few days. There’s a few ways. Finding the queen is the easiest. Get her put into the box by taking the comb she’s on and securing it, and her workers will pick up on her smell and literally follow her anywhere. Cutting the comb out and simply securing it in the new frames, effectively relocated them by moving their house indoors....and then this way(☝🏼). For all the stragglers who haven’t quite figured it out. By the end of the evening, we had 99% of the girls locked and loaded and ready to ship back to our homestead. ****************************************************** #hiverescue #honeybeerescue #beepapa #bumpemifyougotem #lovetap #relocation #gettowork #newdigs #streetbees #savethebees🐝 #denverbeekeepers
Update on the Jalapeño House and the newly acquired girls of (insert Mexican queen name): We are giving these girls are much help as we can. Secured another deep brood box, built the frames and foundations so they don’t have to free build the comb around the mess we made of their existing comb we cut out...while encouraging them to build on these frames using some simple syrup to draw their attention. Because honeybees build from the top down, and not the bottom up, we put their rescued hive and rubber-banded-comb on the upper brood box, while putting the empty frames to be drawn out on the lower. Also gave them plenty of feed (2:1 simple syrup with honeybeehealthy) so they can hopefully build rapidly without having to leave the hive to forager for nectar, saving time and energy. Half-strength thymol treatment is underway as well because we really have no idea how badly these girls are infected with varroa mites. Half-strength was advised because they are a small colony. Instead of doing a mite monitor assessment and killing 300+ with the alcohol wash, we are just going to assume they need it. No harm in doing it if they are fine. No harm, no foul. So we won’t risk it. The Jalapeño House is in triage mode right now. Tackling all the obstacles as best we can while we have them in the bee ICU...or the BCU. Hoping they will kick back stronger than ever and be happy, healthy and thriving soon! ************************************* #beerescue #honeybeerescue #hiverescue #honeybees #beekeepinginthecity #urbanbeekeeper #savethebees #beesofinstagram #beepapa #beetriage #beecu #beehospital #jalapenohouse #mexican
Friends! We did something exciting today that most likely was a rite of passage that we just stumble on. Thanks to a tip from @im.raw.humanity we were able to locate and rescue a hive of honeybees! We found these poor girls surviving in a trash heap in what we can only guess was a result of them being discovered in the ceiling of an abandoned camper and then someone ignorantly tried to kill them all by throwing rocks on them. When we got to them, they had taken shelter in a seat cushion, under a piece of plywood. Needless to say, their colony was infested with mice droppings, robbing yellow jackets and grasshoppers galore! But underneath it all, they had a large stock of honey, brood (capped and uncapped!), and so much drawn out comb. These girls were definitely making the best run at it and were thinking long term. Most likely they would have succumbed to the weather as it will soon turn cold here in Colorado. We were able to cut out their comb, place it into foundationless frames, secured by rubber bands (thanks for the tip @christineoutdoors !!). They are currently tucked away for the evening and their entrance will be opened a check for them in the AM. The shock level is real...so this gives them some time to recalibrate to their new situation and surroundings. Going forward we know a few things. 1) it’s super late in the season to take on a new colony. So we will feed them generously, give them space and frames to hopefully draw out comb and additional honey for their winter stock and hope for the best in overwintering. Or 2) we will take the extra bees from this rescue, and add them to the ladies of the Party Hive using the newspaper technique and boost the number of workers for Queen Latifah. Regardless, we hope the girls are finally able to feel safe, protected and clean with a new hive, only one entrance. For a species that prides itself on its hygenics....this new space has to be like taking a bath after not bathing for an entire summer. Getting them out of that trash heap must be a dream come true for these girls. Let the cleaning begin! In the meantime, any pro-tips, advice or suggestions on how to beat support our new girls would be great!
Love. It’s the why behind the what. The buzz behind the bees. We just love learning and teaching the young and the old(er) about honeybees and other different things. We love each other and other people. And we love how all of this works together beautifully. We love our family and our friends, old and new. And we love our bees and all the things they touch. ****************************************************** #love #learningandteaching #friendsandfamily #oldandnew #findyourpassion #newfriends #beesandthings #honeybees #coloradobees #coloradobeekeepers #denverbeekeepers
“A good beekeeper is a good mite manager.” These were wise words from our first beekeeping class where we got a baptism by fire into the world of beekeeping before we started on this crazy-awesome bee journey! This is a photo of Varroa Mite counting on the Hivery Tower. 323 count after 4 days of thymol. We are one step closer to giving our ladies a fighting chance for survival this coming winter. Keeping the mites at a manageable level is step key. Fellow beekeepers...how do you manage mites? Do you treat, or not? Share your thoughts and philosophies. ******************************************************#mites #varroamite #thymoltreatmentagainstvarroa #blackandwhite #beeeducation #savethebees🐝 #beesofinstagram #denverbeekeepers #urbanbeekeeping