Monday, July 8, 2013
Well I'll Bee
I opened up my hives for the first time since I installed the new colonies. They both are doing great. In my previous post on bees I mentioned one of the hives was lost. After seeing no activity in the hive for days, I saw bees coming and going a week after I thought they were gone.
I don't know if a new swarm came in and set up shop or if the original queen managed to keep the hive going and I just didn't notice it. The hive in question is the one that had the dead queen in it when I installed them.
You need to make sure your bees have enough room in the hive or they will go into swarm mentality. In a top bar hive set up you have what are called follower boards. These can be moved left and right in the hive to make the center bigger or smaller. When I opened up the hives they were both almost full of comb.
The new top bar design I am using this year seems to be way better than the old style. The bees are drawing comb on the triangular edging I added to the bars. I did not see any cross combing. I recommend this style of comb guide over the flat bar with a line of wax in a groove.
Here are some bees on our oregano flowers. I am not sure if these are our bees but the odds are really good.
This is our wormwood. This picture was taken after Dara gave it a pretty good pruning. This perennial is very hardy and does well in our climate. Wormwood is a insect deterrent and can be used to make a tea that is effective against aphids, caterpillars, flea beetles and moths. Don't use wormwood tea on edible plants.
One of the best flowers you can plant for bees is Borage. Borage is a continuously flowering plant. The flowers are a beautiful blue and are quite delicious in a salad.
Borage is an annual but once you plant it it will come back every year from the seeds it drops. It is a good companion plant for tomatoes. The leaves are edible with a cucumber like flavor. They contain a very small amount of alkaloids that can be harmful in large quantities.
I let a lot of alluim (onion, leeks) plants go to flower throughout the garden. Bees absolutely love the flowers, who am I to argue with bees.