Bees · Gardening

Bee Successful

That’s a message I try to communicate to my students all year, but this morning I am congratulating hubby and I on our success with bees this year.

Comb with nectar


The bees we rescued last week are doing quite well, as are a few of their buddies.   When we took the comb out of the floor cavity, we separated comb with brood from comb with just honey, so we ended up with quite a bit of honey and nectar in the brood-tote.   Sunday evening, we put the brood tote in the greenhouse so that we could open the lid to let the bees out without having bees drown once it started raining.  Even after 4 full days, there is still a lot of nectar in that comb.   The bees are mobbing this buffet of ready-made food!

Comb to be cleaned up

I took the comb from the top, which has been almost completely cleaned up, and put in on our garden cart.   (Ignore the date on the picture — we had to resort back to our old camera and I forget the set the date!)   The bees now have access from above and below and can continue pulling honey and nectar out to store in their own hives.   There are still some cleaning up the tote in the greenhouse — as long as nothing starts to smell bad, we’ll let them retrieve what they can and then melt the wax down.

The hives we created from the rescued bees are also doing well.   I still didn’t see the queen this morning, but we had one NUC from a previous split that had 12 queen cells!   We were able to put a frame of brood with a queen cell into two of the rescue NUCs and still leave 8 cells in their “home” NUC.   I’d love to cut some of those cells out and create more splits, but we need to move some NUCs to out yards or the farm first.   The third NUC from the rescue is a little weak, so we’ll hold off on putting a queen cell in there.  They may move to one of the other, more viable, hives.  If not, we’ll help them along with some more brood from elsewhere next weekend.

All other recent splits have evidence of a queen (new brood), but I didn’t see a queen in any of them.   I was moving quickly through them and may have missed the queens or the queens may be out mating again.   These are queens that have hatched within the last week, so we’re very happy to see brood.  I guess I’ll have to set up new hive benches at the farm as well as check those bees so that we have somewhere to put them all!   A neighbor wants us to place some hives in his sunflower plot, so maybe I’ll wait until hubby makes it down to the farm to set up bee benches!

Something else that made me happy this morning was the sight of my asparagus plants!   I have no idea where I’m going to plant them at the farm yet, but I think I may just drop them in between the sprinklers.  We know we won’t be tilling the soil there and I don’t know that we’ll get the actual garden set up this summer with everything else we need to do.    We won’t be able to harvest asparagus for at least two years, so I want to get them in the ground somewhere this year!

asparagus from seed


Who knew that asparagus looks like little pine trees when it’s not in the grocery store?   Apparently the plants can end up 5 feet tall!   Maybe I’ll plant them behind the lavender and use them as a screen to block the view from the road!

City Life

Thankful students

It’s so easy to get bogged down with grading and challenging students throughout the school year, but this is the time of year we can step back and look at the forest instead of the trees — or is it look at the trees instead of the forest in this metaphor?



Thank you card

This is the time of year we receive thank you notes from students — those who do not surprise us with notes because they have shown appreciation all year long, and those who do surprise us because teenagers do not always show on the outside what they feel on the inside!

Another reminder is our senior assembly which we started doing because graduation takes place during the school day most years and not all teachers and students are able to attend.   It’s a wonderful time of hearing about the wide-array of accomplishments of individuals and groups.   I am in awe of the young people who sometimes frustrate me so much in the classroom, but who are so very talented!

Then today the school blog included a picture of one of my students playing a violin he had printed on the 3-D printer in his CAD class.   I remember when he showed me his first 3-D printed project and never dreamed he would graduate to printing violins in less than a year!

So…. my students say thank you and this time of year makes me stop and say thank you to all the people and events that led me down the twisty-turning path I took to becoming a teacher.   It really is a rewarding profession once you step back and look at the forest, or the trees, or whatever it is you need to focus on to see the beauty in the moment!

Bee Rescue/Removal · Bees · Lazer Creek Apiary

Bee Rescue Part 2

Last week, when we opened the first (smaller) panel, this was what we saw — lots of what we would normally consider beautiful honey were it not sitting on top of the sheet rock ceiling of a dining room.

Honey and bees beneath the floorboards
First look at the hive

Now that it’s in jars, we think it’s beautiful again, but extracting honey from natural comb takes a lot more work and clean-up than extracting it from frames.   The removal process left us with more bees in the tote than we are used to, making extracting just a little more “fun” and sweaty in a bee suit!

One of the things that the client had told us about the previous removal was that lots of honey ended up tracked into carpets and down stairs.  We therefore starting by putting Kleen Kover Carpet Film  down to protect everything.    It is a very durable product that survived countless trips up and down the stairs and was easily removable when the job was done.    It took both of us working together to put it down because it’s a lot like a 24 inch wide roll of packing tape.  I’m now thinking about using it in the back of my car because the dog managed to bypass the Weathertech floor mat on our last trip and barf in my speaker and on the 2 inches of carpet that was still visible!

Plastic protection around the hive
Kleen Kover Carpet Film around the opening

As I also explained in the last blog, we installed window screen over the opening into the bay between the floor joists to block entry and then covered that with plywood and insulation.   It took us a day or two to find the camera, so this picture didn’t make it into the first blog.   Most of the pictures on my phone were completely out of focus — it’s hard to take pictures while wearing honey-coated bee gloves!

Window screen to block entry

We also placed screen over the fascia board on the outside.   Despite all that hubby read, watched, and talked to other bee-keepers about, the foragers did not just leave that evening like they were supposed to!  We brought two full NUCs of bees home with us and left another NUC with brood on site, but only a few of the foragers moved into the NUC – the rest huddled in a confused ball on the side of the house!   It took us another 3 days to get them to leave!  We’ll look through the NUCs tomorrow morning to see just where the queen is.   The non-stubborn bees were mainly pagenting into the same NUC, so I’ll start there.

Summer break is off to a good start with new bees and a new and successful experience.  I’ll go check on the country-bees next week and sit outside and watch the stars come out in the evenings.