Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven: 2013-10-09

I had the great opportunity to visit the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven pollinator garden while I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law in California.  It is a part of University of California Davis in Sacramento.  Yes, it is the same company that makes the yummy ice cream and they have put up a lot of money for honeybee research and this garden!

The garden is kind of on the outskirts of the campus, down a tree lined road seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  I almost thought the GPS was lying to us until we turned down "Bee Biology Road"

The garden has a lot of cool artwork designs all with a bee theme of course! 


All the plants that were in bloom were covered in bees.  I don't know if my wife, daughter or son-in-law were enjoying the constant "buzz" in the air, but I sure was!  As you walk around the outside path, you can see some of the hives set up at the neighboring Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Research Facility honeybee research center.  It was all I could do not to go over and just walk into the place to look around.  Good thing I don't live in California because I saw a volunteers wanted sign on my way out!!  The only thing missing was a gift shop selling some Häagen-Dazs ice cream!

It is great to see that some companies know the importance of the honey bee in our food supply and are putting their money where their mouth is!  If you happen to be in the neighborhood, swing by and take a look!

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Honey Harvest: 09-21-2013

Well, despite having only one hive this year and having that hive loose its queen sometime in early June, I managed to get a modest harvest this year.  I think most of the honey was carry over from the previous year or honey they had stored up in early Spring.  Most of the cappings were darker (the bees had walked over the cappings for a longer time and they were older).  Newer cappings of fresh wax are a brighter white color.  There were also a number of pollen cells intermixed with the honey which makes the honey a slightly darker golden color and not transparent like last year's honey was.

White Cappings
Dark Cappings
My friend Keith's hand made extractor worked like a charm again this year.  Until I am extracting 60+ frames I probably will not have a need for a commercial extractor.

Once extracted, a course filter is all I use.

I let the honey settle for a few days and bottled.

All in all it looks like I have approximately 1/3 of what I extracted last year.  I would say just over 1 gallon in total.  Not too bad and the honey tastes fantastic!!

I did find one thing I have not seen yet in my hives.......a small hive beetle. 

I saw a total of two of them.  This one was trotting over an undrawn frame.  And here I thought since I was this far North in Michigan I didn't have to worry about these pests.  I know they are a huge problem in most of the Southern states.  One more thing I get to worry about!

Once I was done extracting, I put the wet super back on the hive above the inner cover.  The bees should clean them up pretty quickly.  Next inspection I'll be focusing in on Winter prep.  Checking for more hive beetles and seeing how much honey they have stored in the deeps.

Until then, thanks for reading!