Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Stainless steel bee sculptures for sale

It's been just too busy to post blog entries lately.  I've had more than enough to write about but not the time to write.  Besides working with the bees and plants, I'm getting back into metal sculptures and have been making all sorts of honey bee sculptures of various sizes.  The largest so far is made of heavy stainless steel with a wingspan of over four feet.  I'll offer them for sale in different sizes in stainless steel or regular steel. 
Honey Bee metal sculptures for sale

And today was typical of how my days have been going with a full schedule of things that need to be done.  After an early arrival at the Florida Bee Farm, I noticed our two peach trees which were loaded with fruit were completely stripped of their fruit.  And not a single peach was on the ground which makes me think that possibly some animal made off with them.  Not sure.
53" stainless steel (wing span) Honey Bee Sculpture on bee shed overlooking apiary
28.5" wing span Steel Honey Bee Sculpture hanging out on a log overlooking the apiary

The next thing I noticed after opening the bee shed was a lot of buzzing going on inside the shed.  Turns out a swarm of bees decided to make a new home inside the shed !  So the morning was spent relocating the wayward bees into a proper home. I didn't have my bee vac hose with me so I had to hand carry most of the bees to their new home.  The funniest thing though was the bees were clumped up on all my bee tools that were haphazardly thrown on the bench.  And a little cardboard box that originally held my one handed queen catcher was completely full of bees.  My guess is the queen was in the box that said "one handed queen catcher" on the side of it.  How ironic.  So all the bees were coaxed into a nuc I had waiting over by the hives.  Quite a busy morning for sure.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bee Jail and a new Tree "nuc"

One problem with all these bees around is you're bound to occasionally get that over zealous guard bee who makes it her mission to drive you as far away from the hives as possible.  Once they start buzzing you and hitting you, it's just a matter of time before you get stung.  And there's not much you can do to talk her out of it.  I've tried using a spray container of soapy water which somewhat works and is a good way to get soapy water in your eyes when the wind is blowing.  Usually they keep coming though.  So several weeks ago we had visitors to the Bee farm - a couple beekeepers and gardeners.  One of the beekeepers had a really cool method of dealing with guard bees on a mission.  She said she puts them into "bee jail" and explained that she uses a butterfly net to catch the bee and then lays the net on the ground and tells the bee she's in bee jail until she calms down. 

A honey bee serving time in bee jail
So I bought a butterfly net and sure enough one day I had one of those pesky guard bees trying to bully me around my garden.  One swipe of the butterfly net and I caught her and was she mad.  I watched as she did contortions in the net for awhile and I was able to get nice and close to her and explain she needed to check the attitude and calm down.  Then I put the net on the floor of the shed and went about my business.  She was there for an hour or so and calmed right down.  Eventually she was able to get out of the net and fly back to her hive.  At that point I was wondering if she would be out for revenge or maybe she was rehabilitated and back to being a productive honey bee citizen.  And sure enough she learned her lesson and I haven't had an encounter with a guard bee since.  Even while doing some gardening around the hives.  It's a great idea and it actually works !

A few weeks ago I did a bee rescue from a large fallen tree in a local park and ended up keeping the chunk of tree with the entrance to the hive.
Nuc using a natural bee entrance in a tree

Last week it was turned into a nuc and added to the apiary. The piece on top with remnants of comb is covered smooth with propolis and looked too cool to discard. Ought to be interesting to see how the bees like it.

Nuc built into a tree