Well . . . not exactly. But mention moisture quilts to a beekeeper and his creativity takes flight. Although our “quilt show” wouldn’t feature bright cotton fabrics meticulously cut and sewn, I’m sure it would be equally inspiring. The post I wrote last year about making moisture quilts for a Langstroth hive garnered more comments […] Read more
The first thing I do in the morning is check my HBS e-mail for questions and comments. I love answering and often spend considerable time researching the details. But today my box was filled with “unanswerable” questions—questions (five of them!) where the answer depends on philosophy. One of these read: “Why are we feeding bees […] Read more
Yesterday I saw these two little guys on the fall-flowering clematis just as the sun was setting. They look like a type of fly, but that’s all I know. Their wings glinted gold in the slanting sun, and they went from flower to flower, apparently happy to have found something in bloom.
The syrup we feed bees in the fall is generally in the ratio of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, either by weight or volume. That means the mixture is about 66% sugar and 34% water. But before the bees cap syrup (or honey) they dry it to roughly 17-18% water. Using round numbers, […] Read more
The question usually goes something like this: “How long does it take for the bees to turn syrup into honey?” The answer is “they can’t.” Bees can never turn sugar syrup into honey. Harry Potter himself couldn’t do it. Syrup is made from granulated sugar (sucrose) dissolved in water. After the bees get done finagling […] Read more
Overwintering successfully requires four basic things: Plenty of healthy bees A strong queen Plenty of stored food Good ventilation If you lack one of these items, you won’t have a strong hive in spring whether you wrap or not. But if you live in a very cold climate, and you’ve met the four basic requirements, […] Read more
It’s hard to say why honey production is so unpredictable. One year you get oceans of the stuff—maybe 200 pounds or more of harvestable honey per hive. The next year you get nothing—not even enough for the bees. In truth, this variability is no different from any other crop, whether it be apples, tomatoes, corn, […] Read more