Monday, November 4, 2013

Voodoo Lily

Well its late fall here so there isn't much going on in my garden.   The bee's are for the most part staying in there hives except on really warm days.

This is go good time to start planing for next year.   I ran across this picture of Voodoo Lily 1 Bulb - Dracunculus vulgaris - Indoors/Out.   Now its not frost hardy past zone 6 so its something I will have to remember to take in for the winter.   But isn't it a lovely flower.

I have some some research on the Voodoo Lily,  it may be beautiful but there is a drawback.  When this plant blooms it gives off a horrid odor resembling that of dung or of a corpse as a means to attract flies which pollinate it.     I think I will be planting it at the far corner of the garden,  or maybe the near the mail box would be good keep the post man and his bills away.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall bulb planting tips

Well its that time of year again, time to start thinking about planting your bulbs for spring.  I found this grate picture that shows planting the depth for the most popular flower bulbs.    

A nice tip is to plant a few of them upside down.  They will still come up (unlike my grandmother always told me) but it will take them a few days longer to come up then the ones planted right side up.  Doing this will give you a few extra days of bloom.  

Another nice trick is to plant several types of bulbs on top of each other in the same pot.  Some bulbs come up later then others, this will extend the flowering life of your pot.  The ones that come up at the same time will give you a really pretty display, when they flower together.

If you plant them now all winter you can look at your pot and look forward to the spring. Now its time to go bulb shopping :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Epsom salt for greener plants.

Epsom salt or Magnesium sulfate is a cheep source of magnesium for your garden.  By mixing 1 Table spoon of Epsom salt into each hole before you add your plant, or if you have already planted it you can add a table spoon to the soil around the plant.  It will help it to grow larger, greener and leafier.   You can also dissolve 1  tablespoon into a gallon of water and use it to water your plants,  trees, fruit trees, roses, all types of flowering plants and veggies.

exact amounts are not all that important.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Hindbæresnitter are one of my favorite danish cookies.  They are very easy to make.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar plus 1 cup for glaze 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla sugar (optional) 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • 3/4 cup butter, soffened 
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • 1 cup raspberry jam or preserves 
  • 2-3 Tbsp. water 
  • decorating sprinkles 

Mix together flour, 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, vanilla sugar (if using), and baking powder.Add the butter into the flour mixture, and beaten egg to form a soft dough. Divide dough into two halves, cover each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour. (over night is best)

Preheat oven to 375º. Using a rolling pin roll out each half of the chilled dough into an 8" x 12" rectangle. Trim the edges to make them square, then carefully roll the dough around your pin and transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Divide your cookie sheet by 4 length wise and score each piece. This will make it easier to move the cookies after they have been baked. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  (Leave them on the baking sheet next step can get messy)

Spread raspberry jam on bottom layer and cover with top layer. Combine 1 cup confectioner's sugar with 2-3 Tbsp. water to form a thick glaze. Spread on top layer of cookie and sprinkle with sprinkles.   Once the glaze has "set" (about 10 minutes), cut into bars.

After baking you can see how they where scored and now can be moved easily.

Put raspberry jelly on 2 of your pieces.

Place unjellied pieces on top of the pieces with jelly to make little sandwich.

Warming up the confectioners sugar with a little water in a pan will make it easier to spread.

Pore the sugar glaze on top of your cookies.

Before the glaze cools add colored sprinkles.

Cut them into smaller pieces and enjoy

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hungry Bees

Well after my issues with new bee keepers make mistakes. I gave them each a little pancake of Fonda made by rolling out about a kilogram of Fonda between two pieces of wax paper.    I figured the wax paper was a good idea it makes it more manageable,  its much easier to place it on top of the frames and it keeps the sticky mess from getting all over the frames.    But I had no idea they would able to eat though that and about 2 liters of sugar syrup in 5 days.

Yesterday after work I went over to the hives and to fill up the feeders.  I had checked the day before and found that they where both empty so I went a head and made them some more sugar syrup.

Sugar syrup recipe

  • 3 kilograms sugar
  • 2 liters of water. 
I bring it to a boil stirring it constantly.  I have read that if you burn it you cant feed it to the bees it changes something and its bad for them.  Once the solution starts to boil it turns clear and you know its done.

I was unable to lift out the feeder frames because there where still bees in them and I don't think I would be all that popular at home if I brought a bunch of frames in the house with bees.     So I filled up a couple of 2 liter soda bottles (After i rinsed out all the coke) with my sugar concoction, and brought that over to the hives to fill up.    I thought I would check on the Fonda pancakes while I was there and they where gone.  Not just a little gone I mean totally gone.  I looked on the grass in fount of the hives and there's wax paper every where.  LOL OK I guess they don't want that in there house,  wish I could get my teenage daughter to clean up her room like that.    

After filling up the feeder frames I went into the house to make up some more Fonda pancakes.  This time I decided to give them twice as much.   The larger of the two hives Heathrow always goes crazy when I give them sugar syrup I don't know why but they where flying all over the place.   I really should have taken this as a hint and put on my bee jacket and gloves ......... but no did I do that?  of course not!

As I lifted up the plastic to lay down there new Fonda pancake a bee fly's up lands on my hand and WAM!   Dam that hurt and it was in deep this time.  I guess that will teach me!  In the house I went leaving the hive open bees flying every where.  Put on my Bee Jacket and gloves went back out and sorted them out right.  I took the plastic all the way off laid the pancake down nice in the middle bees head butting me all the way.  Fixed the blankets I have laying over the plastic to keep things warm.  And closed them up.

From now on I'm not opening Heathrow for any reason with out having my bee Jacket and gloves on.  Probably smoke to they are just way to mean.  JFK is fine they don't care one bit when I go in there.  Maybe I should try and make a queen from JFK next year and replace Heathrow's,  there's another project to consider.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Little visitor.

Sunday we found this little bird on the ground in Hals.  His nest had fallen off of the wall and he was just siting there on the ground.    He was very tame I put him up in a near buy plant and waited.   After 4 hours he was still there and very hungry.   We feed him some bugs, but he wasn't inclined to fly off.    I could tell he was a juvenile common house martin he still had some of his baby fluff and not all of his feathers where out yet.   I decided to bring him home with me.  His nest was on the ground there was no sign of mom.   There wasn't much else I could do.

Saturday and Sunday we feed him up on crickets and bugs.  He wasn't interested in eating the caned dog food I normally feed baby birds.     Unless of course I added some legs and things to the food then he would eat it.  Silly bird,  it must be bugs.   It's a good thing the local pet store sells live crickets  he loved those.   He was very lively and started flying around on Sunday he kept going to the window so I knew he wanted to go out.

This morning before work I feed him as many bugs as he would take then I put the cage out on the porch.    He can fly off now and start to find his own bugs.   My garden is surrounded for the most part by high trees and there are no cats in the area.   I'm hoping he wont go far as he learns to fly and hunt for himself.  When I get home if I can find him I will feed him a few more crickets.     There is a little flock of house martins not far from where I live hope he will go find them in the next few days.   They tend to like to live in flocks so he needs friends.

Update: Little bird was gone when I got home last night.  He must be able to fly well because my garden is surrounded by high trees and a hedge that is about 2 meters high.  I couldn't find him, I left his little cage on the table.  I hope he has luck finding his own bugs.

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Bee Keepers Make mistakes

Last week I ordered 2 boxes of ApiFonda 15 kilograms each.     Now the guy I bought my bees from said he used this as well.  He even showed me how he puts the box right on top of the frames.    I didn't think anything of this because even the company's website I bought it from shows them putting the full box right on top of the frames.

As I was putting it on I was thinking to myself how the am I going to get this off again to check the hives.   I haven't tried ApiFonda before it seamed very gooey.   But I plopped it down anyway, probably killing a few bees in the process 15 kilograms is heavy.

Last night after work Ole came over he his a very nice man from my local bee school hes in his 70's and has had bees for over 18 years.   He came over to mark my queens for me,  I'm to worried about hurting the queen to do it myself next summer I'm going to practice on drones.

When he saw what I had done with the two boxes he was shocked.  He had never seen it done like that before.  He told me how they normally cut off a chunk that's around 1 kilogram and put that on top under some plastic.  It took us about 5 minutes to figure out how to get it off.  Ole was stung on the hands a few times he doesn't where gloves and the girls where not all that happy about the huge sticky box being removed.   Even the frames where stuck to this mess..... Yuck!

To make a long story short we managed to remove the boxes from both the hives.  We only found one of the queens but at least shes marked now.    He says I'm doing everything right (with the exception of boxes on the hives) that they are both very strong happy bee families.    Both queens are laying well and they still need more stores for the winter, he told me to feed them more sugar syrup and to put 1 kilogram of that stuff back on at a time.

Last night I took two sheets of wax paper and put the Fonda between them and rolled it out to about 2 cm thick.     I cut the wax paper to shape and put that on the hives.  The bees will be able to get to it though the sides of my little Fonda pancake,  and it will keep sticky gooey mess off the frames.  

So Live and Learn.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In the News - Drunken moose

Five drunken, threatening elk escaped from police after a party Tuesday night at Ingarö in the Stockholm Archipelago, reports

The moose had throughout the evening built a solid drunk by eating fermented fallen apples in a garden rural home.

When the owner arrived home late Tuesday night found moose not inclined to let him into his house, and the large animals appeared threatening.

So, police were called to help get rid of the intruders.

- The police who came to the scene to confront the moose, found that the moose had apparently been warned about the arrival of the police and therefore had taken the wise decision to leave the address, write information officers of the Stockholm Police, Albin Näverberg, on the police website.

They called the cops advised subsequent landowner to remove the fallen apples as not to tempt the moose to continue intoxication.

- They must find another tavern, writes Näverberg.

I guess it beets coming home to a bunch of drunken teenagers throwing a party in your house.   :o)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So after the garden stairs project I was left with a little mess / problem.   The hill the stairs went up was lower then the stairs themselves every time it rained dirt was washed down onto the stairs.   I have had a problem with this little hill for a while.  A few years ago I put bark down to deter the weeds which worked very well, but every time it rained the bark would be washed down the hill into the grass.  Looked terrible and had to be raked back into the bed before we could mow the grass.

I knew I needed to terrace the hill but I wasn't sure how.   I didn't want to have to buy stones to terrace it the hill is to long and I didn't want to have to lug so many stones though the garden.   I don't think my back could take that.  I found an alternative, these little willow fences are pre-made in meter lengths and don't cost that much either.   I know they will rot out at some point but i'm hoping for a few years at least.  

This is a weekends worth of work and several (at least 10) wheel barrows full of dirt was removed to terrace it right.    I'm not done that's probably only a third of the bed that needs to be terraced but boy does it look so much nicer.   I placed landscaping cloth behind each of the little fences to keep the dirt in when it rains, I tested that it worked by over watering a section and the dirt stays in.   Once the plants grow and fill everything in I think this is going to look wonderful.  I had a load of bark delivered yesterday and I'm going to put it down on each terrace to deter the weeds, this time they wont wash out.   My plan is to use river stones in the front of the last terrace and maybe plant some succulents in it, that way we can mow the grass right up to the line where the rocks start.  I wont have to get the weed whacker out to cut the grass in front the terraces.

Fun Things bees do....

Back in June a local bee keeper captured a swarm.  He installed her in a nice hive.   But after a time he couldn't understand out where she was.   He finally found this...

The queen had decided that she liked UNDER the hive much better then in the hive itself.

Oliver Maxwell  "We put the old base on to the top of the hive - then waited for the queen to go down to the main box. Next we put a queen excluder on so she wouldn't come back ... wait 3 weeks for all the eggs to hatch - then remove the old base. We also had to pack the whole thing in in cardboard to keep it dry and safe and to encourage all the bees to use the correct entrance."

Us girls like to pick where we build our homes we don't need men telling us where we should bring up our families.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stung for the first time.

I just got stung on the middle finger of my left hand, its the first time I have been stung by my home bees. If it swells up it should be funny. I really need to get a frame puller and / or where my gloves. It was my own fault when I put the frame back in and tried to push it into place i squished a bee between my finger and the frame. Wasn't her fault. But i gave her sisters 15 kilograms of fondant they should be happy for a while.

Update: It didn't swell up, I don't think the stinger went in far enough and i got it out with in 10 seconds.

Oxalic acid drip - varroa mite

There seem to be as many different ways of combating Varroa as there are bee keepers.    I found this one mentioned on Denmark bee keeper societies website.    I like it because it doesn't destroy the brood because of the fact that you do the treatment in the winter time, when there is no brood.    Does anyone have any experience with using this?  Being that it is found in nature and in honey naturally it seams to be a little less drastic then some of the other methods i have read about.  

Oxalic acid drip is extremely efficient, inexpensive and easy to use in that brood free period.

Oxalic acid is an organic acid, which is commonly found in nature. For example.  the sour taste of rhubarb and sorrel derived from Oxalic acidOxalic acid is also naturally occurring in honey.

For combating varroa oxalic acid is used in a very weak solution (3.2%). This solution is only very slightly corrosive. However, one must be extremely careful in contact with the skin as oxalic acid can be absorbed through the skin. Oxalic acid can also be dangerous if  breathing or ingested. Therefore it is not advisable to administer an Oxalic acid drip with a spray bottle.

The drip method gives you control of the oxalic acid.  It is how ever also recommended you use acid-resistant rubber gloves when administered the solution.   When mixing, use gloves, goggles and respirator (dust mask).

An increase in Oxalic acid concentration can be seen in the food stores, but this falls back to normal levels within 8 weeks after treatment.  There are currently no identified increased residues in honey season after application of Oxalic acid the previous winter.

There are to date not identified resistance to oxalic acid.  Why Oxalic acid works is not fully known. However, the spread oxalic acid is by body to body contact of the bees in a winter cluster.

Oxalic acid drip does not work on sealed brood, so the treatment must be carried out during periods of as little brood as possible. That is in the "Brood free" period in November / December.  In other countries, there has been a tradition to treat much later. However, one should treat as early as possible so that the damage done by the mites present is minimized.  In the past the best results where found in colonies who had at least one flight day after treatment. However, there are no studies that suggest that this is necessary.

To Oxalic acid treatment purchased oxalic acid dehydrate, which is a white powder. Oxalic acid di-hydrate is normally sold as oxalic acid.
Oxalic acid Treatment recipe

  • 1 liter of water 
  • 1 kg sugar: 
  • 75 grams of oxalic acid dihydrate. 
This is enough for 55 colonies.  Be careful not to mix small quantities, for example. For just two colonies,  weighing on ordinary kitchen scales can give an incorrect mixture due Kitchen Scales agree inaccuracy.

Swiss studies have shown that  Oxalic acid treatment can be stored in a basement (under 15 degrees), for up to 6 months.  If the mixture is kept at a higher temperature, the solution will become toxic to bees. We therefore it is recommend using fresh mixes. One should keep the solution in a child-resistant container.

Oxalic acid treatment should be lukewarm. Use a 50 ml syringe. Add it slowly  3-3.5 ml per minute, on the bees between the frames. This gives approx. 35 ml per minute. bee colony. This is a very small quantity, so it may be a good idea to first practice with water. It is important not to drip ​​directly on the bees and not just on the top of the frames where the bees will leave it alone.

Danish and foreign studies have shown that treatment to a bee colony more than once per. Bi-generation, there may be damage to the bees and thus reduction in hive strength. It is therefore recommended to treat a hive only once per. season. However, it is OK to treat again as long as there are several months between treatments. We have beekeepers who treat both fall and spring with oxalic acid.

By common Scandinavian trials and experiments in international cooperation "European Group for Integrated Varroa Control," which DBF has participated, achieved efficiency of over 90% in several studies.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bee Cams

I just ran across these two live cams of bees. What a wonderful idea you can sit at home and watch the bees do there thing.   The one from inside the have is grate you can see what they are doing.    I find it very relaxing to watch the bees going in and out of the hive.  They seam very busy today.            

Live streaming video by Ustream

Live streaming video by Ustream

Soap Box - Pesticide

Pardon me while I step up on my soap box now.

Garden Centers Sell Bee-Attractant Plants with Pesticide Residues toxic to bees

OK I'm going to ramble a bit here.   Why do we have to spray everything?  I assumed having my bees in my yard they would be safe.  A lot safer then the bees out in the country where the farmers spray there crops with everything under the sun.   But there not!

It just came in the news here in Denmark that farmers are spraying the crops up to two weeks before they harvest them with roundup.  Why?  To kill the weeds?  No, its to make the crop ready for harvest faster.   What a waste why do we need to spray stuff just because we can spray stuff.   Why not just wait the extra week or two for the crops to be ready.  

Do we really need to spray the plants that go into peoples gardens?   I can except a little spraying.    A lot of these plants sold in garden centers are grown in huge green houses,  if pests get in there they will run rampant and kill all the plants and the grower will loose money.   But if you say a plant is bee friendly then you need to except that you can't then spray toxic agents to kill bugs.  Just because it doesn't say it is harmful to bees maybe you should stop and think for yourself.    If the pesticide are using is designed  kills bugs maybe it will kill bees to.   Bees are after all bugs.

OK I will now step off my soap box now.  Have a nice day.

Update: Well it looks like maybe someone is listening.  EPA finally comes to defense of honey bees.

August Planting

August is gate time to plant seeds for a second harvest it can be productive as your early spring plantings. Late summer is a good time to plant these vegetables.

Start planting both bush and pole beans now.   Try for a continual 7-10 day sowing of different varieties. This will give you continual bean crops and not one large harvest with more then your family can eat. Early August is the best time to sow them.

Beets are also a good thing to sow in August they can be ready to harvest in the fall and if left in the ground you can be eating them most of the winter.

Flower Bulbs
August is a good time to plant those fall flower bulbs. There are many varieties that can be planted this fall and start blooming early spring.

Planting kale around the middle of July to the middle of August and you will get an excellent harvest in the fall and winter.

Sow lettuce in August for a fall crop. Try growing early harvest varieties that will produce a harvest before cold weather rolls in.

Green peas, sugar peas and snow pees are good to plant in August, and will produce a moderate fall harvest.

An easy vegetable to grow. Plant now and you can have them ready in 30 days.

Spinach likes the cool weather vegetable and is great to grow in August.


I have two different compost bins in my garden. One for leaves, grass and trimmings from the hedge. The other is for kitchen waste.

Leaf mold

Leaf mold a grate commodity to have in your garden. Its good for around roses in the winter to keep them warm. It can be mixed around any plant really.

In the fall we use the lawn mower with the bag attachment on. You mow right over the leaves it chops them up in to nice little pieces, and sucks them up into the bag. We do the same when we trim the hedge.   I always check that we didn't trim off any large stems before we run them over with the lawn mower.   It makes a terrible nose if it runs over anything large, probably isn't good for it either.    All this nice chopped up stuff goes right into my compost bin in the far corner of back yard.     Last winter it was full by spring it had compacted and rotted down to a third of its former size.  

Kitchen compost.

Almost anything that was once alive can go into this.   I leave cooked veggies and bread out though.   Some people say it doesn't matter that you can add cooked veggies but I find it attracts more bugs.     Some fun things to add that you might not have considered.
  • Egg Cartons
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • news paper
  • bills :)
  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds
  • wood ash (not to much go easy with this one)
Note: As long as there's no color ink on the paper it can go in.   

You need to layer your Kitchen compost.  If you put in to much wet stuff you may start to attract fly's.  If this happens just toss some soil over it or if your Leaf compost isn't to wet you can add a layer of this to it also.   

I like to cover my compost with a blanket of sorts basically its more or less some landscaping cloth I had left over. You could also use an old tarp anything works really.   The reason for this is it keeps the heat in and the fly's out so they cant lay eggs.   Again its not a requirement but I like to do it.

Once and a while I water my compost to make sure its nice and wet.  Not to wet but it should be moist, this will help the matter break down.   

Note:  You need to get the heat up in your compost.  Mine wasn't quite high enough everything rotted down but it didn't kill the seeds.  This summer I had little tomato plants growing all over my garden from the compost I had put down in the flower beds.   Not to mention the potato plants I have growing "IN" the compost bin.

Garden waste

You can add your garden waste to either of these piles.  I wouldn't recommend adding weeds unless you are sure your compost bin gets hot enough to kill the seeds.  You may  end up with lots of weeds in your garden when you use your compost.   This is worse then lots of little tomato plants all over the garden.  :)

My Kitchen compost bin with potato's growing out of the sides. 

My leaf compost

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Feeding Time / Honey Tasting.


I was at my local bee keeper club meeting last night.  It was feeding time.  We removed the last of the honey supers last week so now its time to feed them up for the winter.  

I didn't know it before hand but we had a honey tasting.  Everyone brought in there best honey and we passed them around the table to taste it.   One of the local honey tasting judges was there and spoke about how our sense of taste works that it is in fact mostly smell.   This was the first time I have been to a honey tasting, I never released before now how different honey can taste.  It depends a lot on the time of year and what flowers where in bloom when the bees made the honey.  

It almost makes me want to steel a little of my girls honey just to see what there honey tastes like.  They are way to small there is no way I can harvest any honey from this year... but maybe a taste.  But how to know if the honey I taste is from the sugar syrup I have been feeding them the last two weeks or from flowers?   I guess I will just have to wait until next year.

Eggs In the garden.

Plant en egg.

Place one raw egg in the bottom of the pot before you add your plant.  As the egg decomposes, it will serve as a natural fertilizer adding calcium to the soil.

Save those shells

Every time you use an egg, don't discard the egg shells, put them in a container in your fridge.  When the container  is full, crush up your shells into small bits and spread them all around the base of your plants. The sharp edges of the egg shells may stop some slugs, snails, and other bugs from nibbling on your plants and will add a touch of calcium to the soil.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2014 Bee keeping Calender - Contest

I just entered that picture in a contest.  If I win the picture will be in the "2014 Bee keeping Calender".  The picture was taken in may at my local bee keeping clubs apiary during one of my first inspections of a hive.   I love the picture because if you zoom in you can see several stages of uncapped brood.    

Wish me luck :)

Greenland Beekeepers

Greenland Beekeepers' Association in Narsarsuaq has received half a million bees.  The purpose of the bees is to make honey for the whole country. It is a consignment of healthy Nordic brown bees from Sweden, says an optimistic beekeeper-chairman.

Southern Greenland has tried beekeeping for 5-10 years. But now, Greenland Beekeepers Association, which was founded last year, has moved up a gear, as spokesman for Greenland Beekeepers' Association,

Ole Guldager says:

- The bees will be used for the production of honey. We have done so for some years, but we would like to produce something more.

It has been attempted twice before putting bees in South Greenland. The first time for approx. 12 years ago, where the bees were fewer and fewer, in the end there was only a few left.

Ole Guldager thinks its had something to do with the Queen. When a queen dies in other countries, you call you to the nearest queen breeder and then you get a new queen in the mail the next day.

It can't be done up here. The beekeepers themselves make the colonies, and if it can not be done, then the families dies.  adds Ole Guldager.

- We simply need have a few more hives in order to build the foundations stock.  We have also distributed the bees to several locations, both in Narsarsuaq  and Arsuk areas.

Therefore, there is now half a million extra bees in Narsarsuaq in total10 families. Ole Guldager hopes to have the number up to 20 in the fall.

The new consignment of bees Nordic brown bees from northern Sweden, is different than the bees that were put out 5 years ago.

- There some pretty good bees for us in Greenland,  they are adapted to a cold climate and should thrive in Greenland.

But because they are a little different than the bees we have at present,  we are in the process of replacing all of our existing queens so that we get the same basic stock of Nordic brown bees.

And there is not much that can go wrong with the new bees, predicts Ole Guldager.  These bees are  disease-free so can not spread anything naturally when they need hollow trees if they are to make hives.

- There are in control.

Ole Guldager hopes that more of Greenlanders will be interested in beekeeping. He believes that you can practice beekeeping virtually the entire west coast up to Disko Bay.

Translated from Hundredetusindvis af bier skal sikre honning til hele landet

JFK the little hive that could....

defend itself with out bee keeper involvement.

JFK was very busy yesterday when I got home.  I had the entrance set to one bee to help them defend the hive after Saturdays robbing incident.  I though this was a sign of robbing again.  After consulting with some people on Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum Facebook page they though the problem was congestion at the entrance.  I opened it up and a huge mass of bees flew out.   

To me this looks like they are fighting but again the people on Facebook said that with the entrance set to 1 inch or 2 centimeters the bees can defend the hive just fine so its normal to see them fighting a little.   Can't we just get along?

It was almost dark before they started to calm down and all go back inside.  I have feeders in both of the hives and i just ordered some fondant from the bee keeping suppliers.    I ordered 2 boxes 15 kilograms each this should give them enough stores for the winter.  I also heard from my Facebook friends that as long as they both have plenty of food in the hives they wont bother robbing each other.

But I'm still not sure that what i was seeing was robbing.  Apparently with full scale robbing in action there will be hundreds of bees involved.    Maybe I'm just the over worried bee keeper.  

Monday, August 19, 2013


Having roses in my garden is a must for me.   You can find roses of so many different shapes and colors.    I love walking out on the terrace and being assaulted by the smell.  A lot of people find roses hard to care for but really they are one of the eases plants to have in your garden.


I know that you can buy special soil for planting roses for the most part i haven't bothered with this.  I normally just plant them in the ground and watch them grow.     I read some where that if you put a bone (beef bone) in the bottom of the hole you plant the rose in this will help.  The reasons for this is roses like Phosphate by planting a bone with the rose you ensure that it has enough for quite a long time.  Another option is to put a hand full of Bone meal in the bottom of the hole with your rose.


In late winter or  early spring you need to prune your roses you need to wait until after the last frost.   Begin pruning out and removing any dead canes.  Dead canes can be determined by their shriveled, blackened appearance. In contrast, a healthy cane has a nice green outside and a cream or green color in the center of the cane. If only part of the cane is damaged, try to prune as close to the base or bud union as possible.

Next we can focus on the remaining healthy canes. If any of the canes are to long or not in the shape or place you want them you can remove them also.  Try to prune as close to the base or bud union as possible.

Dead heading

As your roses start to die remove them as soon as you can this will encourage the plant to flower again.   Even early flowering roses can some times be encouraged to flower again later in the year by doing this.


Aphid are the worst creatures known to roses lovers.  If allowed to stay on your roses they will suck the very life out of them.   I keep a spray bottle filled with water and a tea spoon of dish washing liquid and a little vinegar ready for this.  Spray the hole plant where you see the Aphids and  they will die and for a little wile not come back.   Another option is to get a lot of bird feeders.  I have a full flock of small birds that frequent my garden they love to hang off the roses eating the Aphids for me.   

Here is a full list of rose Pests and diseases 


This is an old tip from my grandmother.  Roses love coffee.  Save your coffee grounds and put them directly on the ground around your roses.     The picture at the head of this article is from a rose bush that was in the garden of the house I bought 3 years ago.    The first summer there was 1 rose,  the second summer there was 3, this summer there are 15+.   All I have done to this rose bush is give it coffee and prune it every year. Now it gives me the most beautiful red roses that last more then 2 weeks on the bush each. 


Robbing is a term used in beekeeping. Bees from one beehive will try to rob honey from another hive. Robbing behavior is especially strong when there is little nectar in the field. Strong colonies with the largest stores are the most apt to prey upon weaker colonies. Some robbing is carried out so secretly that it escapes notice. Most of the time, when robbing is going on, one can see bees from the opposing hives fight. The fights can lead to significant losses of bees. Robbing may go on between hives in one apiary or hives of different apiaries.

Here we go again.   Sunday morning i added some new sugar syrup to the little hive (JFK).  They are still about a third of the size of the larger hive (Heathrow).  I have been trying to feed them extra to help them build up.   The last time I had robbing problems was when I had the feeders out side the hives.  This time I put the feeder directly inside JFK.   Three hours later all hell broke loose, I guess they could smell it.

There where bees all over the out side of the hive.  I wasn't to worried in the beginning until I saw all the dead little bee body's in the grass in front of JFK.    I opened up the hive and out few a few hundred bees.  They are supposed to be back there, I could also see little bee body's on the bottom of the hive.   I quickly ran in the house grabbed my bee jacket and gloves ran back out again and removed the sugar syrup feeders and reduced the size of the opening to one bee.    I also put a little smoke to the front of the hive seamed to clear them off fast enough.

Dam why do they keep picking on JFK.   Can't they just leave them alone to grow.  Last night I made up two liters of sugar syrup I'm going to put a feeder in each hive this time.   Then maybe Heathrow wont feel so jealous and stay in there own hive.    

I bought 2 new feeders just for this purpose last week.  But when i tested it in JFK I found dead (drowned) bees so I was worried.  I am going to put it back again maybe they just need to learn how to use this type of feeder.   It's the same type they use over at the local bee school so they must be OK.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Over the weekend i found the bees in the larger of the two hives dragging these things out.   When i smashed it up it looked exactly like chalk.   After Google around i'm convinced its calk brood but what do i do about it?   

I have only been a bee keeper for 2 weeks and already I'm having problems.   Poor girls I need to help them ... some how.

I just spoke with the man in charge of my bee keeping class.  He says because it was only two (so far) that i shouldn't worry to much about it.   What it could be is that the bees are just cleaning house and I should leave them bee to do just that.   Apparently this late in the year the bees will clean out the comb and remove any brood that may be sick or contain drones (!!!).  Poor guys don't even get permission to finish developing this late in the year before they get tossed out.

OK then I'm not going to panic I am going to let the bees be and be bees.    (Sorry for the pun but I couldn't help myself )

Update:  22-8-2013 found another one.  Bee guru's say that its not a problem unless you find like 50 of them but i should probably change out the queen.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life Cycle of the Honey Bee.

 The queen honey bee lays about 1500 eggs a day.   This is a little explanation of what goes on in the 19 1/2 days after the egg is laid.

Day 1 - 3  the egg
The honey bee worker exists as an egg for the first 3 days of its life.

day 3 the egg hatches into a small larvae.   The honey bee exists as a larvae though 7 1/2 days.

Workers begin feeding the larvae royal jelly you can see it in the bottom of the picture as a puddle.

Larvae ready to be capped. 
Workers begin to cap the cell with in 15 hours of this stage.
Capping has started
Fully capped brood sell.
Within 24 hours of being caped the Larvae spins a cocoon sheds its Larvae skin and becomes a pre-pupa stage.
day 12
day 13
day 14

day 15
day 16 (movement of legs can be seen)
day 17 or 18 movement of mouth parts
19 1/2 days worker honey bee begins to chew its way out.

Here is a a link to a video explains it all along with some info on the Varroa mite:  here

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