Cedar run

The Bee Crossing

So we continue to share our homestead with ticks, chiggers, fire ants, wasps, deer flies and lots of other unwelcome insects. Hundreds of bites later, you'd think we would have had enough of bugs. Nope.... We actually plan on purposefully adding more to The Run --Honey Bees!             

 

Bee Crossing

Visitors bee-ware!

All responsible beekeepers will warn visitors that an apiary (place where beehives are kept) is on site. You select a nice spot where the bees can be happy and healthy, but where inadvertent contact with humans is minimized. We selected such a site, but it needed a bit of taming...

 

 

Uncleared Apiary "A bit" is the understatement of the year. The to-be apiary was covered in cat-claw vine, trees, brush, lianas and plant debris. All of which had to be cleared. Out came Cindy loppers; the chainsaws, Jane-saw and her little sister, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane; chipper/shredder Chip; and irreplaceable Bessie, the tractor, with bush-hog. It took a couple of days (as well as a few more to fix the satellite dish cable which got lopped in two) but the area was cleared, still keeping a nice spread of trees for shade and to retain the forestry look. The area will be sparsely planted with flowering shrubs favored by honey bees, benches will be added for viewing the comings and going of the bees, as well as a storage shed or two. 

 

Cleared Apiary

 

When we got done, it was a clear and ready to install bee stands. Not bad for one weekend!

 

 

Training

 

As part of her class, Karen visited hives and practiced various tasks of hive maintenance.

 

 

HivesFinally finished, April 2008! Set up with the first 3 hives of bees installed, this area is now ready to watch the bees and plants grow. Look forward to Cedar Run's first batch of homegrown honey in 2009. We enjoy the increased pollination of fruits and vegetables now.

 

 

Honey Hut

In preparation for next year's honey harvest and to have a place to store beekeeping equipment near the hives, a honey-hut was needed. Several years ago we purchased some framing kits so when Karen's mom, MaryAnne, and her stepdad, Ernie, visited we went to work (June 2008).

 

Honey Hut

 

The outside turned out very well. With vents in the front and back, we can pull air through while keeping unwanted bugs out.

 

Honey Hut

 

We then wired, painted, and floored the inside. Then came lights and fans. The workbench in the back to hold all the equipment needed to extract honey. Brown honey supers are stacked up awaiting the 2009 honey flow. Most important was the ceremonial hanging of Karen's bee hat and veil.

 

Metal BeeFor Christmas 2008, Karen's mom and stepdad gifted us with a beautiful custom-made metal queen honeybee which now adorns the honey hut.

Unfortunately, that same month, we discovered that we had lost 1 hive, which earlier in the year had been severely weakened due to a wax month infestation. We're down to 2 hives, but both those are strong and healthy.

 

Hives

In January 2009, we completed preparations for swarming season with enough hive bodies to triple our existing hives (we are optimistic, aren't we).

The girls haven't read the book which says they are too cold to fly below 55° as they are seen winging around in the mid-40's, busily collecting pollen and relieving themselves (they won't poop in the hive and "hold it" until warm weather allows them to leave).

 

New Hive

 

In March 2009, Karen gets an email from a friend who attended 2008's beekeeping classes with her, asking for help installing bees into their first hive. March 22, 2009, Karen and Andy travel to Laura and Bob Brandesburg's home in Garner to mentor their initial beekeeping efforts. The installation goes well, and Laura and Bob are off to a good start with bees in their artfully decorated hive body.

 

Apiary Day

On November 8, 2009 we had a beautiful sunny day so Karen opened her hives to a new class of beginning beekeepers. Twelve people attended. Many had never seen inside a beehive before. Fortunately, the bees were on their best behavior.

 

We go into the winter of 2009 with five hives not quite tripling, but close, from the previous winter. In Spring 2010, we go into the honey flow with five hives. All survived the winter!

In June 2010, Ernie and Andy harvest 116 pounds (4 supers) of honey which Maryanne and Karen bottle the next few days. Wow!

In July 2010, we harvest 15 pounds of fall honey which we make into Cremed Honey with Cedar Run blueberries.