Saturday, February 20, 2010

Check it out - email subscription!!

So I am pretty new to the whole blogging thing - still trying to figure things out. I just recently added a "Subscribe via Email" link on the side - look to the right - there it is! This should make it easier for some folks to subscribe to the blog and follow it. So, what are you waiting for - click on that link!!! That way you won't miss a moment of the non-stop excitement in Beeland!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

More snow...

Well, blizzard #2 has come and gone (though still lots of snow on the ground) and the bees have survived. Philadelphia has broken it's record for the most snow in a single season - 72.1" this year so far - average is 12.7" by this time of the year. We're far ahead of Portland, ME, Concord, MA and Albany, NY - all of which are usually pretty snowy places.

Here is the home hive -

I finally had a chance to check on the garden hive - I hadn't been there in about 6 weeks or so. I was worried that they had kicked the bucket, but to my surprise, there was a small cluster of bees still alive and buzzing. I fed them more honey while I was in the hive. Here's what it looked like - I had to shovel off the top of the shed because there was about 2 feet of snow on top of it -

In other exciting news, our fledgling beekeepers group is growing up. We have an official name - The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild and a new website -

There are some great events and classes upcoming too - they are listed on the website.

And, my plans to set up a new apiary in my neighborhood (technically called Francisville) are coming together. I have 3 new hives ordered for the spring and I have an awesome place to put them. They will be located on a vacant lot that is set to be transformed into an urban farm this year. I am very excited about it and it should be a great situation for the bees and for me. More to come on that...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter in Beeland

It has been ages since I blogged - it's quiet time for the bees so I guess I was taking a break too. Also, there is not much observable activity going on with the hives during winter. But, there is activity going on in the hive - here is a great little article explaining some of what happens in the hive during winter.

On sunny, warmish days the bees will leave the hive to do "cleansing flights" (yes, they won't defecate in the hive so they hold in their poop until a nice warm day comes and then they take a little trip to do their business). They will also clean house on warm sunny winter days - they will drag out the dead bees that accumulate on the bottom of the hive. This is natural and actually a good sign that the bees are keeping their home tidy.

My home hive seems to be doing well - I have seen them flying on warmer days and they have done lots of housecleaning. This has been a record season for snow in Philadelphia but so far it hasn't seemed to bother the bees -

In fact, we are getting another blizzard as I type - I will have to take new pictures when the snow is done. I am not sure how the other hive at the garden is doing. I have been feeding them honey and the last time I checked on them, about a month ago, they were doing fine. I will check on them again on the next semi-warm, sunny day.

Otherwise, I have been planning for the spring. I am hoping to get three more hives this spring. I have them on order and I think I have a place in my neighborhood to house them on but it's not 100% guaranteed yet. Once I figure it out for sure I will write about the new apiary site. I have been getting my 3.5 year-old daughter excited about helping me with the bees this year - we did a little project together - we have the best looking bee boxes this side of Paris -

Next post I will talk about my first venture into bee-sting therapy! Fun Fun Fun...