Bears and Bees: Not the story you’re expecting

I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A few weeks ago, a family of pandas moved to our city. They are staying at the zoo. If you live anywhere within a thousand kilometres, drop by and meet the bears. If they are awake, they’ll enjoy seeing you. I know because I took some of my family to the Calgary Zoo last week and the pandas could bearly conceal their enthusiasm when they spotted me. I’m sure you’ll get a similar reception.

It a great zoo. The lemurs have a huge walk-in enclosure (don’t let them have your wallet) and we’ve got zebras, a T-rex, wolves, hippies, hippos, Amur tigers, grizzlies, cackleberries, peccaries, and people selling ice cream (don’t let them have your wallet).

Something new at the zoo is a native bees garden. It’s a great reminder that our bees need your help. People come for the pandas, leave with bee facts. (The bees are near the panda exhibit.) A sign tells visitors that Calgary is a Bee City and the “Calgary Zoo has been certified as Alberta’s first Bee City Business and proudly protects habitats for native pollinators like bees, butterflies, birds and beetles.”

This is followed by an explanation of the importance of pollinators in producing our food:

The most popular display among the bees, though, is the bees’ Beatles collection. (“Why is it called the bees’ Beatles collection?” asks almost no one. Second question, “Why do those kids look so much like me?”)

‘Tis I with some kids I met at the zoo!

Posted in Culture, or lack thereof, Outreach, Pollination, Save the Bees | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Bee ID Expert

How well do you know bees? Not just honey bees, but all the other ones – masons, carpenters, diggers, sweat, cutters, bumblers, and the other many thousands of species. If you are like most of us, not so well. There’s a system to identifying the various species. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it might take years to get really good at doing a bee ID.

Oregon State University’s Pollination Podcast interviewed a real bee-ID expert. That’s Sam Droege. I’ve him mentioned before in this blog because of Sam Droege’s amazing bee photography. If you haven’t seen his work, check out his USDA Flickr page, where you can enjoy spectacular photos such as this one of a Chilean bumblebee:

Last week, my friend Andony Melathopoulos interviewed Mr Droege for the Pollination Podcast. They didn’t discuss Sam’s photography but instead focused on the way various species of bees can be identified.

Bee identification is more important than many honey bee fans realize. Beekeepers are having a miserable time keeping honey bee colonies alive (pesticides, urbanization, monoculture, pests, diseases, climate change). Nevertheless, beekeepers have been medicating, feeding, helping, and replacing colonies so that the numbers of hives have actually increased. Honey bees are being maintained, but few people are helping the other 20,000 species of bees. Some of their numbers are dwindling. If we understand which bee species are disappearing (and why), we might find ways to help them. In turn, that can help honey bees survive better.  Bee counts give us information on how well (or poorly) all the bees are doing.

A lot of communities are enlisting citizen scientists to identify and count bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. Andony Melathopoulos’s podcast interview of Sam Droege gives us some good ideas about how such surveys and  species recognition can be conducted.

Sam Droege says that some work can be done by volunteers in the field using butterfly binoculars and nets, but he does not recommend it. Observer bias is the problem. Observers don’t see everything. They are distracted. They don’t all work the same – some observers may catch and release a dozen bugs in their block while another observer manages to catch only two. This might be due to insect density – or it might be due to the volunteer’s abilities. Humans simply can not consistently spot everything the same way, time after time.

That’s why traps are used. Traps remove human bias and get a more accurate count of the relative populations of insects in an environment. Although traps kill insects, the number of trapped individuals is extremely tiny (perhaps a few hundred out of a few million) for any particular area. Trapping is harsh, but it provides the best way of knowing how to help the unsampled millions.

So, insects are trapped. Then they are sorted and identified. Sam Droege suggests that the ID process should begin with the volunteer sorting out the most easily distinguished bugs first and leaving the troubling ones for later. Do this instead of picking up each and every specimen one after another and trying to figure out each before moving on to the next.

You might instantly recognize honey bees, bumblebees, leafcutters, flies, particular moths or butterflies, and so on. Count them and separate them first. Save the ones you can not quickly get for further examination later. When you come back to the difficult creatures, don’t spend more than five minutes on each. Droege points out that your time will exponentially increase the longer you take so give it a rest at five minutes. In time, with experience and outside help, you’ll get better at the task.

The podcast wasn’t limited to bee identification. Discussion included pollinator protection and gardening ideas that can help keep pollinators in your yard, the environment healthy, and your ecology balanced. For that conversation, and so much more, go to the podcast. As always, the Pollination Podcast is a good listen.

Would you have recognized the Diphaglossa gayi? (Photo by Sam Droege, USGS)

Posted in Bee Biology, Outreach, Save the Bees, Science | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Expecting the unexpected

For the past two days, I described how we might predict a future honey flow. I mentioned how difficult soothsaying can be yet I went on to say that experience and a tool like a scale hive can help us plan for the season.  We have to prepare for the extremes, not just the average.

If your bees could make a hundred pounds in an exceptional season, but you own just two shallow supers because the average crop is fifty pounds, you will never make the big crop. (If you have a long strong flow, you might extract two or three times, but extra supers are still a good idea.)

These bees probably need more supers.

On the other hand, you might not make any honey some years, even though the long-term average is good. Drought, frost, rain, plant pests, floods, or hail can cancel your plans. More things can go wrong than go right – crop failures are pretty common in beekeeping. So, keep your bank account and credit record topped up. And buy sugar when it’s on sale even if you are sure you’ll never need to do any emergency feeding.

Here’s something unexpected that happened to me late yesterday afternoon. It had been a warm beautiful morning and sunshine was in the day’s forecast. I was driving a few kilometres inside the city of Calgary.  To the north it was sunny and hot and stayed that way all day. Further south, near my home, I drove through a ferocious rainstorm followed by ‘golf-ball-sized’ hail. It littered the ground with ice.

Storms usually track from west to east on our continent. Beekeepers figured this out years ago. As a cheap insurance policy, most commercial beekeepers stretch their yards from north to south, not from west to east. Then, if a hail storm destroys an alfalfa field along one narrow strip, a short drive north, the fields are likely spared.  Similarly, one west-east band may be hit by drought while just a short distance south there might have been a refreshing mid-summer rain reviving a dwindling nectar flow. Placing yards north to south mitigates the risk.

As it turned out, yesterday’s hail storm reminded me yet again of the vulnerability of beekeeping and its inherent unpredictability. The storm erupted and ended as suddenly as a light switch turns light to dark to light again. Flowers were flattened, but the hail was accompanied by heavy rain – usually welcomed in my area in the summer.

Meanwhile, I wondered about the bees in my hives. Bees, as you know, are sensitive to vibrations. It’s part of their communication system. Migratory beekeepers know that the regular vibration of the road and truck engine calms their bees during long trips. So, what do bees do when fifteen minutes of hail stones pound their hives’ lids during a storm? I can imagine a lot of confusion. But the bees inside the hives are the lucky bees. Bees caught outside when a sudden hail storm strikes are not nearly so lucky. Here’s what my backyard hives looked like in the late afternoon. Later, I’ll peak inside and ask if everyone is OK.

Posted in Bee Yards, Beekeeping, Climate, Commercial Beekeeping | Tagged , | 14 Comments

How to predict the honey flow

Our friend Jacques, inspecting our hives a few years ago.

This post will be disappointing to anyone hoping for a quick and easy way to predict what the honey flow will bring. There is no substitute for experience. It may take years to gain the knowledge you’ll need because every season is different. You will eventually learn to read the tea leaves – but even then, the tea will often be murky.

Nevertheless, we have to be able to make plans. What’s an ‘average’ honey crop? How many supers do we need? When do we remove the last boxes before fall/winter? Although there can be wild fluctuations around the average, we gain some sense for what to expect. You don’t need to rely only on your own experiences- beekeepers are notoriously helpful and willing to share what they know. I’ve had commercial honey farms in six different areas over the years (Appalachian Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, grasslands southern Saskatchewan, parkland central Saskatchewan, mountain foothills in Alberta) and I am very grateful for the advice which smarter and older beekeepers have given me. I would have never lived long enough to learn beekeeping in six vastly disparate geographies. I needed the help of locals.

However, for predicting the future, I’ve found a useful and unexpected tool. A hive scale. An average hive, sitting on an old fashioned platform scale, can tell you a lot. If you keep records of the daily change in weight, you will have real-time data to guide you. If you keep those records for a few years, you can spot trends which will help you predict your crops.

The scale hive can give you some interesting and useful information. What’s the most honey your colony might make in one day? In our area, it’s 35 pounds. That’s if you have enough boxes piled on the hive. When is the peak flow? For us, on average, it’s late July. What’s the longest dearth period in the summer? In Alberta, a mid-summer dearth is rare but we’ve had up to ten days of cold windy rainy weather when (according to the scale hive) the bees lost a pound a day. What’s the earliest date the bees had a substantial flow (gaining over ten pounds a day)? Here, it was June 22nd. What’s the most honey your hive might store in a year (my scale hive gained 441 pounds one year) and the least (13 pounds – a year with a severe drought). Those last two numbers help you know how many supers you’ll need and how much money to put away for a bad year.  Individual results may vary. That’s why you should consider setting up your own scale hive.

Last week, I wrote a short piece for the United Beekeepers of Alberta Council. (If you are an Alberta beekeeper – commercial, sideline, hobby – you may participate in this new organization!)  I am repeating my original article below. It will be most useful to beekeepers on the North American plains and prairies, but it illustrates how scale hive results can be useful for long-term planning and crop predictions.  Here’s the story from the UBAC Newsletter:

What to expect in August in Alberta, Canada

By late-July, you’ve harvested some honey. But you’re hoping for more. The first cut of hay has been baled, canola is fading, but you still expect more honey. It’s not yet August, so you’re probably right. How optimistic can you be?

Over the years, I’ve kept a few hives on scales, weighing colonies each evening for nine years. That was in the southern prairies. Meanwhile, a close friend kept a scale hive going in the parklands, at the northern edge of farming, for seventeen years. These are quite different areas, but there are some similarities in production. During June and September, the scale hives usually gained a little weight – on average, about 20 pounds in June; 10 in September. July was almost always the best month, but occasionally, in both locations, August produced the biggest part of the crop. Here’s a chart with the actual numbers, averaged over the years:

From these data, you might expect between two-thirds and three-quarters of your crop to arrive in July. Between the two locations, north and south, I have 26 years of records. Only three times was a bigger part of the crop gathered during August. You might extract most of your honey in August, but a lot of that was produced during July. Using a scale hive, you can actually tell when the bees gathered it – mostly, in July.

How you use this information depends on your management goals. If you don’t like to feed bees for winter, then you must start to reduce the number of honey boxes significantly in early August, forcing more honey into the brood nest and leaving more stores for winter. If you are concerned about wintering your hives on canola and/or fall honey and want to maximize your crop, then keep the supers piled on.

Of course, there’s only one place to put honey supers if you want the bees to fill them – and that’s not in a corner of the shed. If the flow ends on August 10th, as sometimes happens, it doesn’t take much energy to haul empties back to the shop. If the flow continues strongly, the extra space helps keep the brood nest open for the queen to lay late-summer eggs. That brood will become the bees you’ll see next April. Many Alberta beekeepers remember September 2007 when second-bloom alfalfa, good moisture, and hot weather gave an enormous late flow. We raced around in mid-September, sticking three completely empty drawn frames into the middle of each brood nest to give the queen room. Folks who wintered with plugged brood nests lost their bees.

Besides preventing a jammed brood nest during August, extra supers inspire the bees to collect more nectar. If honey supers are more than 80% full, bees slow down gathering, even if nectar is abundant. If you stack a bunch of empties on the hive, the bees keep working hard if the weather and flowers cooperate.

Dr Don Peer,
Nipawin beekeeper

(Photo: David Miksa)

One of the legendary beekeepers of western Canada, Don Peer, a Nipawin beekeeper with an entomology PhD, once told us at a bee meeting, “If I were king of the world, I’d make a law that every beekeeper had to own one more super for each hive of bees.”  Bees need comb space to hold wet nectar. Dr Peer was astonishingly successful. At first, he ran two-queen colonies from packages. According to Dr Eva Crane (from her book Making a Beeline), Don Peer’s hives made up to 40 pounds a day. I saw his outfit and stood on the back of a truck to reach the top supers. Such tall hives made him switch back to single-queen hives, but even then he stacked supers as high as he could reach. “Bees need space,” he said.

As August approaches, keep in mind that the bees might yet store a hundred pounds. If you are trying to maximize your honey crop, the hives still need three, four, or five medium supers. But watch the weather. When the flow ends, remove those boxes as quickly as you can and start your fall chores.

Posted in Beekeeping, Climate, Commercial Beekeeping, History, People | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What will August bring?

A few minutes outside Calgary – canola is fading but sweet clover is still going strong with second-bloom alfalfa just starting. August might be good for the bees.

I had an email last week with a question about beekeeping. I couldn’t answer it. The reader asked, “What can I expect my bees to do in August?” It depends, of course, on where you are keeping bees. In the southern hemisphere, it’s mid-winter and your bees probably won’t do much. In North America, the answer is still not clear. If you keep bees somewhere along the east coast, from Newfoundland through Florida, bees often have an August dearth. You may have to feed them, depending on your exact location within that broad region. Similarly, from coastal British Columbia through southern California, a dearth may be on as most honey is produced in the spring and early summer. The heat and drought of August desiccates flowers. With nectar dearths bracketing the continent, many North American beekeepers think that honey takes an August hiatus everywhere. But no, not everywhere.

It might surprise some readers that most North American honey is made during July and August. Over two-thirds of the continent’s honey comes during those months from Iowa, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and the three Canadian prairie provinces.  Most commercial beekeepers locate in those areas for the summer, but most hobbyists keep bees elsewhere.

Two-thirds of North America’s honey comes from the upper plains.

This points out how important it is to translate the videos, articles, and books you encounter into ideas that work for your own location. I think the best way to learn what August will bring is to get chummy with a good beekeeper in your area and listen to them. To do well at beekeeping, imitate their habits.

In time, as you learn to beekeep, you develop some experience. A repertoire of memories relevant to your seasons and your neighbourhood builds in your head.  But you need to be cautious. I’ve certainly failed massively by thinking – after five or six years – that I had things nicely figured out. I kept a commercial bee farm in an area where I made huge (300-pound average) crops six years in a row. The local old timers warned me that we would eventually have a dry year. We did. After thinking that I was the world’s smartest beekeeper, it didn’t rain for 14 months. I had no honey for two seasons. Suddenly, I became one of the world’s best educated beekeepers, if education is measured by experience.

It’s a truism of beekeeping that every year is different. But in general, with experience, you’ll learn what a normal year will bring you. Maybe your honey flow shuts off in mid-August due to drought or continues unabated until September’s first frost. Or maybe it does either, depending on the season’s weather. Perhaps, in your area, you will never, ever get any honey in August but will need to feed your bees until the flowers of autumn blossom.

I can’t tell you what to expect from your bees in August. If I had that sort of foresight, I would have bought Apple stock in 1980, when it was 25 cents a share. (I bought some beehives instead.) Tomorrow, I will write a bit more about predicting honey flows and I’ll describe an important predictive tool that very few beekeepers use.

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Lighten up – it’s mid-week

It’s Wednesday. We’re halfway through a July work week.  For those of you putting in hours while the rest of the world is at the cabin, this is for you.

I blundered across a cigarette commercial (please don’t smoke) from the ’60s. It features the Flintstones. We all know that high-caliber actors like Fred and Barney don’t come cheap, so the tobacco folks must have spent a fortune producing this ad for kids watching this popular children’s show.

This commercial made me wonder if I could find any honey advertisements that have appeared on television. But first, here are the Flintstones, lighting up, in 1961:

So, I dug around looking for honey commercials. Didn’t find much. That’s likely because there’s more money in smoke than in honey.

Here’s a honey ad from India:

That was pretty cool. Here’s another well-made commercial.  I saw it on YouTube but maybe it was on television, too. Not sure, though:

This one is a genuine TV commercial and rather funny:

There aren’t many honey commercials made for TV, but bees make some appearances in cereal and candy ads:

And then there are the non-honey commercials where honey has a starring roll:

Since we’re doing Honey Nut Cheerios commercials, here’s their first one, from 1979, when the cereal was invented:

Candy companies also got into the honey thing with this ’60s surfer dude:

Finally, one more cereal ad to get you dancing this morning:

 

Posted in Culture, or lack thereof, Honey, Humour, Outreach, Strange, Odd Stuff | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Prolonging the sweet taste

Most nectar-supping insects land on a flower, take a bit of nectar, then fly off. But bees are different. They hang around the flower, sometimes gorging for ten seconds or more, if there’s enough nectar. Why the difference? Scientists think they have found the glue that keeps a bee stuck to a flower.

Insects (and people, too) are rewarded by their brains for discovering and devouring sugar. There’s a neuron for that – a biological wire that connects tongue and brain and shouts “Joy!”when sweetness hits the palate.

Humans experience satiation when we (for example) start munching a box of chocolates. The first chocolate is great, but by the time we finish all 24 in the box, we’ve had it. Our stomach might be able to hold another package or two, but our tongue and brain are hopefully telling us that we’ve had enough. However, if you were a social bee, you’d want to completely fill your honey tummy because you’re not just eating for yourself – it’s your duty to tank up with as much sweet stuff as you can hold and then pilot your blimp-body back to the hive.  [A honey bee weighs 90 mg (0.0002 lb) but her stomach can hold about 50 mg of nectar – that’s like a 200-pound person eating 110 pounds of chocolates.]

The point is, the bee has to keep loading up on nectar long after the delight is gone. With most other insects, that delight lasts a second or two. But a bee’s neurology has evolved to keep the bee eating. To do this, a neat trick is played on the bee’s taste sensors. First, she notices the sweetness. This attracts her to flowers with a high proportion of sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose, and maltose) and makes her take that first big gulp. This is in response to a neuron (similar to our own) that says “Sweet”.  But then, a second neuron switches on and overrides the pleasure neuron. The second is an inhibitor neuron which quickly shuts itself off, allowing the first neuron  to take control again, giving the bee the taste of sweetness all over again, as if it were the first time she has tasted that flower’s nectar. The intermittent (burst) firing of the second neuron prevents the bee from experiencing sweetness satiation (adaptation). This research is captured in a paper called “Burst firing in bee gustatory neurons prevents adaptation” recently published in Current Biology. The researchers worked with bumblebees but I suspect that the system is similar in honey bees.

Posted in Bee Biology, Science | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

A Taste of Honey

New honey, drawn on foundation.

I checked the bees this morning. They started as packages on foundation but are all grown up now and starting to fill honey supers. The main flow has been going well for a couple of weeks, though interrupted by a bit of cool weather and a wee spot of rain (we could use more). If this is a normal year, the main flow will continue into mid-August. We’ll see how normal this year turns out to be.

For me, this is ideal – two hives in the back yard, shade and a bench to perch upon while counting the number of bees that exit each hour.

So, here’s what’s happening in one of the supers. You can see that the bees have been reluctantly drawing comb, beginning right above the brood nest. They are not starting at the top and working down, but instead are beginning close to most of the bees who live below. Part of the reason is that our nights get pretty cool here in Calgary (high elevation and dry air) so the warmest part of the supers (at night) is the lowest part of the supers.

Look closely, you can see honey glistening in the cells at the bottom.

And here, I just couldn’t help it – I had to have a taste of honey. Reminds me of the Herb Albert song…

Posted in Beekeeping, Honey | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Don’t Step on a Bee Day

squashed Benny

There’s a day for everything.

Today is Don’t Step on a Bee Day.

See if you can keep it up all week!

Posted in Culture, or lack thereof, Humour, Save the Bees | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Honey for the house

We had a late spring. Our main flow hasn’t quite started. In another week, the bees will be gathering ten pounds of clover and alfalfa honey each day here in Calgary. There’s a nice flight today but five days ago, the high temperature was just 14 °C (57 °F).

We have two colonies in our backyard, installed as packages on April 27. Each hive was given 6 frames of drawn comb but everything else had to be drawn from foundation this spring. Turning foundation into comb slows bees down quite a lot, but each still drew out 14 deep frames in the past two months. Even though the weather was cool this spring and the colonies started as packages, they did well and even stored some miscellaneous spring honey.

We wanted some fresh honey for the house. So my son Daniel and I took two frames out of a second-storey brood chamber. The combs were freshly drawn this spring and have never housed brood, so the honey was quite nice, though more amber and more flavourful than I’m used to.

Here are our two backyard hives:

And this is what the honey combs looked like inside the hive:

There are a couple of reasons that you might pull one or two frames of honey from a hive. Besides collecting a few pounds of honey, it’s a way to sample some off-season honey, the sort you don’t get most of the year. Here in Alberta, our summer honey is graded ‘water-white’ and has a very, very mild flavour. For everyday use, I prefer it over medicinal honeys which are usually dark and sometimes taste earthy, murky, swampy, grubby, or resemble Buckley’s cough syrup. However, I sometimes delight in the earthy (a quarter-teaspoon at a time) and I’m always curious to taste an unusual honey flavour. Well, that’s the sort of honey that bees make from wildflowers in the spring here.

You rarely find such atypical honey in the marketplace in Calgary. Most beekeepers in western Canada leave spring honey for the bees. This is usually a good idea because we have a June gap – a dearth after the crocus, willow, and dandelion have finished but before the clovers have started blooming. However, what if your bees have plenty for themselves, but you’d like to have a little fresh, off-season honey? Say, honey from just a single frame or two? Do you set up an extractor and settling tank for five pounds of honey? You don’t have to. The rest of this blog post shows what we did here at our house, a little over a week ago.

We removed the hive cover and pulled a couple deep frames from the upper brood chamber. We avoided pollen and brood and withdrew frames that started this April as foundation.

Both frames looked like this a few weeks ago. Note that this is a solid one-piece frame. The ‘sheet of foundation’ is all plastic with a veneer of wax coating

Here’s the same frame as above, less than two months later. We brought it into our kitchen where we placed it on a shallow baking tray.

With a large serving spoon, we simply scraped the frame down to its plastic core. Everything we removed is pure beeswax and honey. The plastic core does not break or scratch off, just the honey comb gets scooped.  Also note that you don’t ever need to touch the honey. In fact, since it’s food, in our house, it’s forbidden to touch the honey during preparation.


Next stop, a honey bucket where the wax and honey are gently stirred, breaking up larger wax pieces.

Now we heat up the honey/wax mix. This melts the wax and brings it up to the top.  Here’s something really important. After you heat the honey/wax slurry, you must cool the mix very quickly. Our honey (in the picture below) is really hot (about 145 °F), but only for five minutes. Then we immersed it in ice-cold water. If you do this right (and work quickly) you will not burn the honey. However, if you give it heat (even low heat) for a long time (an hour or two) then it will taste like caramel popcorn without the popcorn. Do this step correctly and the wax and bees’ knees float to the top where they can be skimmed off.

If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the ice-water tub with the small (1-kg) container of honey/wax inside. Let it chill for an hour, replacing ice if needed. Atop the honey, a layer of wax forms. We are skimming off wax in the next picture. This is great wax, the kind you can use to make candles.

Here’s the wax. It weighed 140 grams (5 ounces).

Under the wax is gorgeous clean honey.  Although it’s not filtered, there is nothing visible floating in it except microscopic grains of pollen. (And air bubbles. We tested this honey with a refractometer and found it is only 14.2% moisture. That’s very thick honey. So thick that little air bubbles stay trapped, floating in the honey for days or weeks. The air was accidentally added by us when we stirred the honey and wax to homogenize it while heating.)

We ended up with about 3 kilos (7 pounds) which will last the four of us a week or two. (By the way, we harvested 140 grams of wax and 3000 grams of honey, roughly a 22-to-1 ratio. Extracting normally yields 60 times as much honey as beeswax.)

From beginning to end, this took an hour (not counting cooling time for the warm honey). That’s a ridiculous amount of time for a commercial beekeeper who used to extract a thousand pounds an hour, but that’s not the point. We had fun (you know the old saying, “The family that processes honey together stays together.”). We didn’t need an extractor, although for the main harvest in August, we will use one. An extractor is faster for anything over ten pounds – and the combs aren’t destroyed so the bees can use them again next year instead of drawing foundation again.

We ended up with delicious but unusual honey. It tastes like anise, or licorice, but I have no idea why. What was the dominant flower for this little treat? I’m so curious that I may send a sample for pollen analysis. If I do, I’ll let you know the suspected floral source.

Finally, after skimming off the wax, we filled several jars, including these:

Posted in Beekeeping, Honey, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments