Monthly Archives: January 2010

Yellow pollen on bee pictures…

Fuzzy and I had lunch today so I asked him what the likely source was for the yellow pollen the bees were carrying in by the pound. He said he didn’t know for certain but thought it might be from Acacia trees. (Interestingly enough – at least to me – I had exactly the same response to that as I did to Scott when he said he wanted to play the oboe: HUH? What’s an Acacia / oboe look like? Yep, as more than one wife has told me, I was clueless.)

Anyway, on our way home after lunch we stopped by his house to check out the bee activity on his large almond tree. One of my questions to him was, “How much nectar does an almond tree produce?” Didn’t know. (who would, anyway?) So then I said, “What color is it’s pollen?” and we both leaned in to discover the pollen on the ends of the pollen-thingies was (drum roll, please!) bright yellow.

Ah, perhaps that’s what the TwoBigCats Bee Teams have been bringing in.

In writing this post, I looked up a bit on almond tree pollen and found this interesting article:

As spring approaches and bee-related activities pick up, I can’t help but marvel a bit at the interesting journey in to self-education that beekeeping provides. (I know Alan and Jimmy Dale will chuckle at this – as they shake their heads in complete agreement – but I was never a “science guy”… I was damn lucky to escape with a C. But these little side-trips in to science / nature / math that come with being a beek are really interesting. Ok, self-discovery segment is over now 😉

That’s it for today. When it warms up tomorrow, I’ll head out to the hives for a little maintenance and installation of the first honey supers.


Beek’s Log: January 29th

We had a break in the heavy rain, wind and cold yesterday so I ambled out to check hive activity in the sunniest and warmest part of the day. LOTS going on – tons of bees flying in and out of each hive and each of their syrup feeders had been emptied… they’re draining them faster now (a good indicator that they’ve not been heading outside much due to the rain… and that they’re alive and doing well.)

As you can see from these pics, they were very, very busy picking up huge amount of bright yellow pollen… in fact, there were a couple with their legs FAT with pollen that I watched return to the hive. In returning, they landed on the dirt area in front of the hive and then attempted to lift off and fly in to the hive entrance. Both of them were so overloaded with pollen that they couldn’t really get off the ground high enough to make the entrance, so they flew smaller, less aggressive way point flights to land, catch their breath / energy, then fly to the next one – eventually, they ended up on the brick outside the entrance and, having climbed UP the brick, they flew off and (sort of) glided down to the entrance.

Here are the pics (remember to click on them for REAL DETAILS):

Both of these pics are from Ray… Fuzzy’s bees are bringing in pollen, but not nearly as much as Ray’s are – I suspect Ray has 2-3x the number of bees that Fuzzy does.

Yesterday I pulled out the first medium supers for both hives and when it warms up later today, I’ll inspect each hive, then install their medium / honey supers and see how things go from there.

A reminder to check out all of the blossoming trees / flowers / other plants around you… it’s that time of year – LOTS going on! (Should you see a swarm someplace, gimmeacall 🙂

Beeks Log: I’ll tell you a secret that beeks know…

(At least in our local area) If you look around / carefully enough, you’ll see that almond trees have started blossoming. On a warm day – or at least, not cold / windy / rainy as it has been lately – you’ll find bees in the almond blossoms gathering nectar. (Btw, Master Gardeners are aware of and pay attention to the almond trees, too, as almonds are typically the first trees to blossom in late winter – Get Your Growing Going! er, Gentleman Gardeners, Start Your Blossoms… dang, that really doesn’t work, either. I’ll keep working on it.)

In most cases, in no more than three weeks from blossoms we beeks will need to put an extra super on our hives because of the combination of the new “blossom bees” (eggs that were laid post-winter equinox to fill the hive w/honey) will be in full emergence mode and will need some place to put their nectar for the survival of the colony. (In case you’re interested, we beeks have been in the late winter maintenance / spring readying mode for the past month… it’s our time now! 🙂

If you’re reading this local to Campbell, should you see a swarm of bees on a tree / bush / etc, please give me a call and I’ll bring them home… I’ve got just the place for them.

(In case you’re interested – my recent hive observations / inspections show the bees hard @ work bringing in lots of pollen, so there is plenty of brood in both boxes. When I check the inner cover opening, there are tons of bees hard at work. Woo Hoo – Honey’s on the way 🙂

The Sensitive Man

(from the Men are such pigs files)

A woman meets a man in a bar.
They talk; they connect; they end
up leaving together.
They get back to his place,
and as he shows her around his apartment..
She notices that one wall of his
bedroom is completely filled with soft,
sweet, cuddly teddy bears.
There are three shelves in the
bedroom, with hundreds and
hundreds of cute, cuddly teddy bears
carefully placed in rows, covering the entire wall!
It was obvious that he had taken
quite some time to lovingly arrange them
and she was immediately touched
by the amount of thought he had
put into organizing the display.

There were small bears all along
the bottom shelf, medium-sized bears
covering the length of the middle shelf,
and huge, enormous bears running
all the way along the top shelf.

She found it strange for an
obviously masculine guy to have
such a large collection of Teddy Bears.

She is quite impressed by his
sensitive side but doesn’t mention this to him.

They share a bottle of wine and
continue talking and after awhile
she finds herself thinking
“Oh my God!” Maybe this guy
could be the one!
Maybe he could be the future
father of my children?

She turns to him and kisses him
lightly on the lips. He responds warmly.
They continue to kiss, the passion builds,
and he romantically lifts her in
his arms and carries her into his bedroom
where they rip off each other’s
clothes and make hot steamy love.

She is so overwhelmed that she
responds with more passion,
more creativity, more heat than she
has ever known. After an intense explosive
night of raw passion with this sensitive guy,
they are lying there together in the afterglow.
The woman rolls over, gently
strokes his chest and asks coyly,
“Well,how was it?”

The guy gently smiles at her,
strokes her cheek,
looks deeply into her eyes,
and says:

“Help yourself to any prize from the middle shelf.”

Beek’s Log: January 19, 2010

Again, it’s been a full week since my last post. Mea culpa. (But I brought pics so don’t get too cranky.)

We’ve had all sorts of weather the past week – fog, light / heavy rain, hail… and intermittent sunshine. Here’s a pic of the fog laying over Vasona last week:

Last week when the weather was good, I inspected the hives and things were looking pretty good inside… although when I popped Fuzzy’s outer cover, there were some light colored “sugar” ants motating across the top of the inner cover. When I removed the inner cover I gave it a hard whack and sent them flying – flying ants? Nah, they’d need wings for that – these are just the famous Gliding Ants of Campbell 😉

I inspected both hives and they appeared to be doing reasonably well – fresh and capped brood, what appear to be drone brood (gotta get the men-folk up and ready for spring mating rituals ;), a fair amount of honey and pollen stores in their upper brood boxes. It seems pretty clear to me that Freddie-Ray is much stronger / well populated than Fuzzy is @ this point in time, so depending on how the weather treats us over the next week or two, I may swap a full brood frame (or two) from Freddie-Ray to supplement Fuzzy’s colony; otoh, if I do that, perhaps I’m dooming some of Freddie-Ray’s brood to life with knuckle-dragging, bottom dwelling bees… man, what’s a beek to do. I put a quart of fresh syrup on them last week to feed them during inclement weather – let’s remember that the almonds should begin blossoming in a couple of weeks and the bees will need comb to place their nectar in so either they eat their stored honey or my syrup for stimulating their wax glands. (Call me a fool if you like) Since I like their honey much more than my syrup, I’m giving them syrup to keep the process moving. (Hey, did you ever think that it’s *always* dark inside the hive – they work non-stop, day or night, rain or shine. Woof!)

Here are a few pics I took of Freddie-Ray yesterday during a break in the weather (remember to click the pic for the close ups.):

Notice how some of them have legs / pollen baskets that are yellow? That’s pollen they’re bringing in for the brood the nursery bees are taking care of.

Here’s looking at you, kid 🙂

And finally, my friend, Bob, enjoying some sunshine this afternoon in the birch tree. Good looking guy, er, gal, er… Bob 🙂

Catching up a bit…

Springfield Al and I were having lunch today when he reminded me that it’s been a week since I’d put anything up here on the blog.

Shuh(!), where’d that time go? Oh, I know… I’ve been working feverishly – ok, enough to generate some warmth – on the materials we’re trying to release. Boy… LOTS of details in the final stuff. Anyway, here are a few recent pics you may enjoy seeing (and remember to CLICK THE PIC for full details – they’re all worth seeing):

I spotted these ducks on the local ponds ~10 days ago:

And this kingfisher on the same ride, different pond / conditions:

Here’s Owen with the recently-detailed 160 @ his condo:

And here’s Liv with the scooter, too:

I think it’s worth noting that, while the 160 was in decent shape when it left here over Thanksgiving, it’s pretty clear that he and Olivia have spent hours washing, rubbing out, steel wool polishing and waxing every centimeter of the bike.

Owen called yesterday morning to report that on Sunday he took the bike for a long ride with some of his pals to a local motorcycle hangout… where a certain celebrity usually rides to so he can hang out with other bike people. (Owe reports he’s the same great guy that you see on tv) When Owe took the 160 to the place, he said he entertained questions and listened to memories from people who’d grown up riding the same type of bike for a half hour plus… finally needing to excuse himself so he could get a cup of coffee. Every where he rode it, people stopped and pointed or came up to him to talk and reminisce, ask questions, etc.

Owe said the bike performed well and he had a great time on his first serious venture out. We discussed how different the 160 is than his big Honda / crotch rocket or my Gold Wing… the 160 almost feels like a motorized bicycle, but with that comes a certain sense of freedom and relaxation that you can’t have pushing around 600-900 lbs.

I’ve got more to write and pics to post over the next few days, so thx for checking in.

Beeks Log: January 4, 2010

With the warm weather of the past few days and having observed a *bunch* of pollen-carrying traffic in to both hives yesterday, this afternoon’s sunny afternoon seemed like the perfect time to check out the hives. Suited up in my Michelin Man-meets Stay Puft Marshmallow Man outfit, fired up the smoker, grabbed my hive tools and cruised on out to the TwoBigCats Apiary to see what’s-what.

Checked in on Ray (nee, Freddie / Ray) first. A bit of smoke out front, then lifted the outer cover to put a bit in to the top area. Not a lot of “Who’s the ugly guy with smokey hands” coming from inside, but out front they were beginning to tune up a bit. At least it was only 62ish so they couldn’t see – or smell! – me sweat. Lots of activity looking in to the upper brood from the top, so I removed a couple of center frames and yep, they’re very full of fresh and capped larvae, pollen and honey stores. Given the obvious activity up top, I didn’t feel the need to go in to the lower brood and it’s unlikely I will for some time to come… if at all. Covered Freddie / Ray, said my good bye’s and moved over to Fuzzy.

Got in to Fuzzy’s upper brood via the top. Looking down, not nearly as active or strong as Freddie / Ray, but then Fuzzy’s a single colony. A fair amount of honey – and bits of pollen – in the upper brood frames, but no larvae that I could see. A number of bare frames on each end of the brood box. With their high level of activity, my sense is the lower brood is very active and full of larvae, etc, so considering the relatively cool afternoon we’re having, I decided to leave the lower box alone. Closed Fuzzy back up and called it a day.

All the while, Molly sang to me from the various birch trees. What a bird, that Molly 🙂

I’ve taken a few outdoor photos the past few days and hope to get them up here sooner rather than later.