B r e a k f a s t W i t h T h e B e e s

A sharing on the Birth, and Life

of a Honey Bee Colony at Grass Lake Sanctuary, grasslakesanctuary.org

Manchester, Michigan

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Summer Retreat Audio Presentation

Hello, and colorful fall greetings to everyone!

Below is an audio recording of a talk I gave as part of  
"The Sanctuary Experience" 
 2012 Summer Retreat 
held at Grass Lake Sanctuary in Manchester, Michigan.

As part of the talk, two videos (from previous blog posts)
are shown and 
can be viewed again here anytime:
First video of 1st swarm June 2011 :
Second Video of 2nd swarm May 2012: 

There are some exercises during the talk that you may wish to participate in, with pen and paper at hand..
May you enjoy the content,
as well as a warm summer day - the background for this presentation  

Sitting with the Bees...  
... Relaxing into the Rhythm of Nature

If you enjoy the presentation, please consider supporting the bees at GLS by making a donation, in any amount.  Visit http://grasslakesanctuary.org and click on the Donate button.

Thank you for your interest!

Drone Bellies - Check It Out!

Hello, and summer greetings to you !

Below is a most interesting site - many drones hanging out along the observation window.  Drones do not forage for food, or clean house or help with the young... they cannot sting either.  They rely on the workers to feed them. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen, just once, and then they die. Quite a role to take!  They feel humble, strong and serving. Thank you drones.

Five weeks after housing the 2nd swarm, June 21, 2012

Hello, and warm greetings...

Below are two videos - one from the "mother hive" - the original 2011 hive, and one of the second hive, the barrel of bees - about five weeks after the big swam on Mother's day.  

There seems to be a notable deference in the entrance activity of the two colonies  

Fallen honey comb serves a great purpose

Hello, and greetings...

in the videos below I am holding up a piece of honey comb.  The piece had fallen within their hive - not being secure to the top because of the guide strips originally placed within the top bars not staying fastened in their respective grooves and not able to withstand the weight of comb and beginning nectar storage.  Typically the bees will reinforce all attachments of the comb, but I guess this one slipped by...

It was laying on the floor of the hive for a week or so and I was just going to leave it - not wishing to disturb them.  Then, on this day it became "clear" that it was okay  for me to go in and remove it.

You may notice that the cells are a little squished... not perfect hexagons, as I had to scrape and squish it a bit to get it unstuck from the floor.  The dark yellow spots seen within some of the cells is uncapped nectar that appears to have solidified.  This is not what it looks like in the hanging comb.

This piece will serve a great purpose in attracting the scout bees to a future home we wish to provide.  It can be melted very gently and then the melted wax mixed with remnants of honey-nectar can be painted onto the top bars of the next home we build for them.  It will give off a lovely attractive fragrance, and help the bees feel even more comfortable and  "at home"  in their new home :  )

the "squeaking, creaking" noise you may hear in the background is from two overhead tree limbs rubbing together in the breeze ...

Drinking from the Pond's edge

A cool site to see...
honey bee girls drinking from the sanctuary pond.
They take water back to the hive and use it to fan and cool their home during the hot days of summer.

Beauty, and The Mite Detected, May 29, 2012

Hello, and greetings,

about midway into this video you will see a lovely bee girl moving from upper left to lower right parts of the screen.  She has a mite on her left shoulder.  It looks to be the size of a pin head and is light brown in color.

At first I felt a sense of panic... "oh no, mites!"  ... like one may react to any first sign of dis-ease.  I did not include the site of the mite in my video narration - as I did not wish to create alarm.  It is not pleasant watching someone you care about being "parasitised" by another.  Mites in the hive can become problematic, and many bee keepers will use chemicals to treat them.  But the chemicals themselves have their drawbacks, just as in the treatment of human diseases.  And just as with human dis-eases, one of the best treatment approaches is with diet and building the immune system.  In addition, low levels of mites, bugs etc in the system may be normal.  It is when the system, or body becomes out of balance that the bugs can start to wreck havoc.

I chose to watch the colony closely for any more mites.  My thought was that the bees have plenty of healthy food to forage upon at the Sanctuary and hopefully this was just a stray mite, not anything to worry about.  If I did continue to see more mites I would consider feeding them some bee tea recipe (idea from Spikenard Farm) with honey, and herbs to help boost their immune system.

I watched throughout the summer, and in all that time only saw two other bees with mites...Not that I viewed them all... with perhaps 10,000 in the house (!) but it felt as though they were doing well, flourishing, building comb, storing pollen and nectar.

This is one of my favorite videos -
not because of the mite detected of course, but because of all the activity going on, 
yet with a relaxed "rhythm" of working with, and amongst each other.  
Also I appreciated the sunshine streaming in - reminding us of its presence in the life of the bees, the glistening and highlighting of the flower nectar in the wax cells - opens in me - a sense of awe and wonder