This Just In!

Today I went out into the chicken/goose yard and surprise! 

A small colony of bees have moved into my previously dead and completely empty hive. 

Cleaning-houseThis is a very bad shot, but the best I could get considering how ultra busy they were.  I didn’t want to get stung!

I had watched with sadness last month, after finding all my bees in a pile on the ground in front of the hive, as robber bees came and completely cleaned out the honey stores.  I checked later and they left nothing.

So imagine my surprise today when I saw all these bees flying about the yard, and these girls busily cleaning house! 

I did a bit of research on swarming in August, and found that it is actually called absconding.  Apparently it happens when the hive is not happy in its current conditions.  After looking about for a suitable new home, they take all their honey, store it in their bodies and GO! 

Of course, I am not 100% certain that this is what is going on but I will be keeping a close watch on my little hive to see what happens over the next few days.  If they are truly staying, then I will take more pictures in the morning when it is cooler and they are more relaxed.

In the meantime, here are some interesting words on the difference between swarming and absconding  —>  HERE

Are any other WordPress users less than enchanted with the changes to composing a new post?

My main complaint is this:  That if you try to preview the post you end up right back at the draft page and the POST BUTTON IS REPLACED WITH THE UPDATE BUTTON.   

The only save I could find was to copy the entire post, go to generate another ‘New Post’ and plunk it down in the window, re-title, and lordluvaduck do not touch that preview button!  Grrr…

If you know a better way, would you please leave me a comment with instructions or point me to a page with complete instructions? 


Friday Fictioneers: for immediate release

Once again I have been bitten by the 100 word flash fiction bug and Rochelle’s picture prompt for the Friday Fictioneers entry on August 3rd.    It gets a little bit easier each time I try!  Thanks, Rochelle!

A special “Thank you” to Jennifer Pendergast for the use of her photograph!


Copyright – Jennifer Pendergast

The bees, having become tired of the chemical assault that was destroying their colonies, began in secret to produce a Super Queen.


As you are aware, work  on the Eximius Reginam (ER-1) prototype has been a success.   The ER-1 has been found impervious to any chemical assault known to man.   Working in secret she has produced an army of warrior class bees capable of being sprayed and still functioning.   The warriors are trained eaters of the agricultural machinery that have been poisoning earth and killing our working class bees worldwide…


The bees are finding it hard to sleep tonight.


Words:  100

*Excerpted from an Apis Memo dated 7/31/2013


NOTE:  As a child I was an avid fan of the 1950s genre known as:

the B-Movies


Just pictures ;)

I have been taking advantage of all the almost perfect weather (it’s been a bit windy) to do  a bit  A LOT of gardening.  Suddenly I realized that it has been two weeks since my last post!

So, without further adieu,

I share my progress with you!

In no particular order…

Want the weeds to go away?  Leave the oak leaves in place!  Herbs, roses, and old-fashioned posies all vie for my affection.

I have forgotten this little girls name, but I love her simple pink petaled face.

The geese chewed this one down to the ground, and look!  You’d never guess!

Even my chicken yard is sporting roses!  They make a nice foil for the ugly storage shack in the neighbor’s yard, don’t you agree?

The native bees were finding these delightful in the morning

Look at all those buds!  The Mermaid is going to be stunning for the first time since I planted her!  Covered in big, yellow, seven-inch blooms everywhere!  She has wicked red thorns…

But the chickens find her shade inviting!

Well, it’s chicken and goose thirty and I need to get busy!  I will post more tomorrow…


What’s growing in your garden this spring?

Erratic Bee Keeping: what not to do

I have a little Top Bar bee hive (TBH) out back.  It has been there for just over a year now.  I have not been into it since mid summer for two reasons.   Partly because it has a window on the side for viewing and, this is the important part, I only had a hood to wear and not a full bee suit.  Too many bee stings made me gun-shy.

That has all changed.  If you own bees you have to get into the hive and check them out during the warmer weather.   So, I spent the money and got the bee suit.

Amazing!  It gave me the confidence to do what was needed.

Happy beekeeper wearing the season’s latest fashion in Beekeeping attire!

I learned how to get my smoker to smoke too!

I’m not certain, but I almost thought I could hear them coughing… or maybe what I was hearing was the sound of thousands of angry screams?  (I hate using the smoker.)

Once inside however, I found that although my bees were very healthy they were over crowded with honey.  Further, the little bur comb that I had found earlier last summer and removed… well, they had built it back.  But worse than that, they had replicated it onto about 8 bars.  This essentially attached and locked them into place!!!


Notice the cut at the top?  This is where the comb was built with a spur connector over to the next bar.  This was replicated for eight bars through the center of the hive.  It was a mess to say the least.

Not happy.

Trying to loosen the bars worked, but I had to cut into the comb to separate it.  This weakened its structure at the top of the mass and the weight caused a couple of them to break off and fall into the hive.  One of the broken combs was a perfect pattern brood comb and I could not locate the queen.  (Can you feel me panicking?)

After I cleaned out the carnage and finished separating the rest of the connected bars, and I inserted some new bars into the Top Bar Hive placing them in between the remaining brood comb.  It is my hope that the bees will appreciate the new real estate and begin building new comb that the queen will find lovely for egg laying… This assumes of course that she is still there after all the bungling on my part.

What I did with the broken brood comb

Trying to salvage the mess I had made, I then took the broken comb and tied it into a foundationless Langstroth frame with cotton kitchen twine.  Next, I took two of the removed bars of honey, taken from the TBH, and inserted them into the Lang hive with the brood comb.  The Lang hive now has brood and honey with room to grow…

IF the bees will make a queen in time!  But here is the problem.  I was never able to locate the queen!  So, I have either one or none of my hives with a queen inside.  If they are quick, and make some queen cells they may be OK.  Or not.  Only time will tell.

Amazingly, the very next day the bees I moved to the Lang hive were defending the entrance fiercely from the bees from the TBH!  This I did not expect!  Seeing that, I turned the reducer to allow the smallest entrance in hopes that in their weakened state, it would help them to more easily defend their new home.  I have observed no further fighting over the past two days.

So now I wait.  It seems a bit of all or nothing at this point.


I noticed as I worked, that even with the problems I’d had, I was much calmer.  Towards the end I observed that this seemed to keep the bees happier than using the smoke… The slower and calmer I became the slower and calmer the bees became.  Next time I try the new approach, working without the smoker, and it goes without saying I will be wearing my suit.


If you keep bees then please feel free to comment on what I did, or give your opinions about what went wrong.   I could use some good coaching for the future.  Thanks!