Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Bee-ful Christmas

 Santa Claus was very kind to the Beekeeper In The Dale, starting off with a beekeeper nutcracker and a good read, The Queen Must Die,

The Wee Beekeeper checking out both hives.  It was sunny earlier and the bees were hard at work.  I elected to not bother them with the Nutcracker as long as they were in a working mood so there is only a glimmer of.sun in these shots.  By 4PM on the Left Coast the bees are mostly inside.

The next present was a very nice Beekeepers Tool Box from Brushy Mountain.  It is very well designed to hold most of the tools plus it can serve as an emergency nuc.   It will hold five frames.  The side holder above is supposed to hole the bee brush but I have a zip tie loop on mine and it does not fit that space.  But it works very nicely to hold my comb knife.   On the picture to the right you will notice the white frame perch ( included from Santa).  There are two slots to the perch can be carried along in the present position and not get in the way.  You can also turn the perch around, use the same slots and put frames on the perch.  The toolbox is heavy enough and quite stable, it will not tip over.  It does not show up well but on the back of the tool box is slot made to hold a hive tool. Two of them fit in easily.
There is plenty of room inside for most of my tools, gloves etc.  When the lid is closed and the frame perch removed, the toolbox can serve as a stool also (if you have better knees than I do.)

When the smoker bellows is depressed, the smoker can be easily  mounted on the lip in the front of the tool box and carried that way.   There is another space created on the left side  that is made to hold a frame removal tool.   I do  not have one of those so I will find another use for it.  ( I will take another picture later to show that space.. not blocked by my hose reel.)

The Beekeeper Nutcracker inside on its perch, across from the vintage trailer birdhouse.  (Another hobby, vintage trailers, not birdhouses.)

Santa also included a Brushy Mountain baseball cap and some very nice glass jars with lids that will make great gifts and labels for them too.   With the Winter Solstice the days are slowly getting longer.  The bees are out at every opportunity.  Honey will be happening very soon and I will make good use of the jars.

Thanks Santa for the fine bee stuff and a bunch more too.


Monday, December 6, 2010

One Sunny Day

The weather in the LA area has been all over the place lately.  There have been days of rain and nights colder than usual.   It has been a hard season for the bees.  I generally go out and glance at the hives most days, just a quick shot never opening the hives.   From what I hear the bees are less than friendly when the weather is not to their liking.
I have noticed that for the last three - four weeks the number of bees going in and out is much lower and they may be active only for a few select hours a day.  During the cold snap they would be out if the sun was shining but as soon as the temperature dropped any at all they were quickly back inside.

Today I was out around 9AM and the sun was up nicely.  I had recently cut the fronds off the palm tree that shaded the Twitchy Hive.   The bees seem to have approved of that.

The bees were pouring out of every nook and cranny.  When I had put the opening restriction in place I was not garbed and there was a guard bee that kept buzzing me so I did not tarry .  It is obvious I failed to snug it up to the hive and bees can get in and out along the length of it.   I will slip out later tonight and make it a tighter fit.  (I just took care of that.)
Look closely and you will see some pollen coming in.  It is not in Spring or Summer quantities but there is enough to show we have flower most of the year in the Southern California temperate zone along the coast.  There is a dearth but nothing like they have in most of the country during the Winter.
By four PM the bees were all back inside and keeping the hive ball at 90 degrees or so.

Merry Christmas, keep your personal hive snug and warm.  Plus consider The Gift Of Bees in the previous post.