The Buzz: Spring 2022

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Hivelights: Honey Bee Nutrition
Beeyard Basics: Intricacies of Swarming
Buzzworthy: Don’t Miss Out
Combing Soon: Field Days, Interns, Lunch & Learns and More
Sweet Beesus: Recipes Dripping with Goodness
Video: Imperial Bee Puerto Vallarta

Hivelights: Honey Bee Nutrition


My hives at both bee yards are struggling. I’m doing everything I can to help boost them back to health
, but it’s been a long, hard road and they are not out of the woods yet.

Early spring is tough for honey bees. They are coming to the end of their food stores, population is at its lowest, natural resources are not readily available and/or weather isn’t nice enough for foragers to fly out and find it.

This year was extra tough because of the early shutdown of resources last August (due to the drought), higher mite counts (likely a result of that too) and a mix of extreme warm and cold spells.

It was also the winter-that-never-ends with enough snow to drive a person mad! The poor weather delayed resources and, in turn, colony growth.

That all said, my late mentor Ted taught me to always look on your management practices with a critical eye and not be too quick to simply blame external elements like the weather or pests and disease.

I already have some ideas on how I can do better next time, but for now I need to focus on getting the hives healthy! Good nutrition intricately ties to proper brood development and honey bee health.

Natural forage (pollen and nectar) is always best, but beekeepers can help the hive’s health by supplementing with other feed when that’s not available.

Light syrup or 1:1 sugar water helps supplement their carbohydrates to feed the adult population. You can also give them frames of honey from the previous season (stored in the freezer).

Pollen patties are a substitute for protein needed for brood production and the development of young adults. There are 20 amino acids needed to build all proteins for bee life – 10 are produced by their bodies, but the remaining 10 are acquired from pollen or pollen substitutes.

There is pollen now going into the hives and I expect to see drastic changes in the hives over the next week or so! Bees are hardy and so are beekeepers — so I’m keeping the hope and faith strong!

It’s amazing to feel the support and togetherness from the beekeeping community during these difficult times. We all care deeply about the bees and the bigger picture of what’s happening as a whole, kinda like the bees do!

For the bees I lost, I will take the time to pay my respects and thank them for what they have taught me. I’ll also be sure to send love and feel grateful to those that are still with me.

Note: Early reports on 2022 winter colony losses in Manitoba indicate 40% loss. Click here for the report from Rhéal Lafrenière, Provincial Apiarist, Manitoba Agriculture, on the Red River Apiarists’ Association’s YouTube page.

Beeyard Basics: Intricacies of Swarming

 

I’ve been working my way through the Cornell University Master Beekeeping modules and loving every minute of it. 

One of the coolest things I’ve learned is about the intricacies of swarming, a natural tendency of honey bees that occurs in strong hives as part of their reproductive process.

Basically, during a swarm, the queen in the original hive leaves with 1/3 to 2/3 of the bees to find a new home, leaving behind queen cells for the workers to raise a new queen.

Before the swarm happens, the hive is literally buzzing with action. The queen is put on a diet to lose about 30% of her body weight (so she can fly better.) Some foragers turn into scouts and are looking for the perfect new location. The queen’s retinue alerts her to the change in activity by hanging onto her forelegs and ‘shaking’ her. They also vibrate each other.

When they are ready to roll, workers pipe and perform a ‘buzz-run,’ where they briefly dash through the hive vibrating their wings to prepare the troops. They depart in mass exodus, a sight that is awesome to observe!

They find a temporary cluster location, called a bivouac, where 200-300 scout bees have a friendly dance competition to ‘advertise’ this potential home to new recruits.

When a quorum is reached, they stop dancing and force their way through the hive piping and ‘quacking’ as they go. The high pitched sound is made by the vibration of wing muscles, transmitted to other bees as they pass. Each bee that comes into contact raises her body heat and within 10 minutes, the entire colony is heated up and ready to fly!!!

The bees leave with a sudden, tremendous roar, forming a loose cloud, where scout bees fly in a straight line back and forth through it all. The axis of their flight indicates the direction and as more bees recognize the flight path, the swarm shapes into a thick cigar and off they go to their new home.

How cool is that?! I just LOVE this next level learning from this Cornell Master Beekeeping Program. It is providing me with more confidence to analyze different situations and make informed management decisions based on scientific principles.

I aced both sets of modules and hoping to do the same with next round!!!!

Note: For information about managing swarms in your bee yard, visit my The Buzz: Spring 2021.

Buzzworthy: Don’t Miss Out



Get on the waitlist for the first summer harvest – straight from our hives to your table! This first batch goes like wildfire and sells out every year. Add your name to the list today to make sure you don’t miss out!

 

Silky-smooth creamed and craft collection with mouth-watering natural flavours also coming soon. The waitlist has already started, so get your orders in. Choose from creamed, lemon or cinnamon — with a few new surprises on the way. Stay tuned to find out more!

 

To place your orders, simply send an email to prairiesweethearthoney@gmail.com

 

Combing Soon: Field Days, Interns, Lunch and Learns and More

 

FIELD DAYS

Join me for a 4-hour field day experience with the bees! These workshop can help you better understand the needs of your colonies and manage your hives with confidence.

  • Saturday, May 28 from 1 – 5 pm – Swarm Management, Splits and Queens
  • Saturday, Jun 25 from 1 – 5 pm – Extracting Honey, Fall Feeding & Pest Management.

Cost is $125 per session or $185 for both. *That’s buy one and get the other for more than half off!!

Click here to learn more.


INTERN EXPERIENCE (Program Full – email for 2023 waitlist)

Come experience the world of bees through a two-day learning exchange on Friday, July 8 & Saturday, July 9 from 1 to 5 pm. This unique experience provides hands-on learning in the bee yard in exchange for work related to bees.

  • Day 1: We will learn about honey bees and best beekeeping practices. Topics include honey bee biology, equipment needs, hive location and set up, beekeeping basics, swarm management and more.
  • Day 2: Come prepared to work and get your hands dirty! Jobs may include equipment building, cleanup and prep, honey extraction, wax rendering and or labelling and jarring honey.

Sorry, this program is now full – for 2023 waitlist, please send an email to prairiesweethearthoney@gmail.com.


LUNCH & LEARN

Curious about bees? Want to learn how they function in the hive? Bring your lunch to Memorial Provincial Park (corner of Memorial and York) on Friday, July 15 for an exciting one hour presentation about the most fascinating insects on our planet!

The Fascinating World of Bees
Friday, July 15 from 12-1 pm

Come to learn about basic bee biology, their roles in the hive and how they communicate with each other to produce magic.

Click here to learn more. Cost is $20.

FALL PROGRAMMING

Stay tuned for upcoming workshops including the Nucs & Knowledge program, Intro to Beekeeping, online sessions and more. COMING SOON!

Sweet Beesus: Recipes Dripping with Goodness 

 


Chewy Honey Oatmeal Cookies

YIELD: Makes 24 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup – butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup – granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup – honey
  • 1 large – egg
  • 1 tsp. – vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups – quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup – whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. – salt
  • 1 tsp. – ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. – baking soda
  • 1 cup – raisins, chocolate or butterscotch chips

DIRECTIONS

In medium bowl, beat butter with sugar until thoroughly blended. Blend in honey. Blend in egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth.

In separate bowl, mix together oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; blend into honey mixture. Blend in raisins or chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 14 minutes until cookies are golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool 2 to 3 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Source: National Honey Board 

Video: Imperial Bee Puerto Vallarta


It was a true privilege to learn about native bees of Mexico from Talit and Gabriella @imperialbeepv!
🐝💛. They run a small organic honey farm and bee rescue just outside of Puerto Vallarta.

Oh boy, these ladies know their stuff! They told me there are over 2000 species of bees throughout Mexico with 43 species in Jalisco zone.

I was lucky to meet a few different types of stingless bees – Nannotrigona perilampoide and Scaptotrigona helwegueri to name two. They shared the history of these bees all the way back to the Mayans, where their honey was considered a sacred food and only used medicinally and for celebrations among the royalty.

We harvested a few pollen and honey ‘boats’ from the hives to sample – my mouth exploded with the flavours, so deliciously rich, each with a unique taste!

The soft and pliable ‘boats’ are made of wax and propolis, they melted in my mouth and I could literally taste the medicinal quality.

It was so fun to learn from these two amazing women, sure hoping to connect again! Who knows, maybe Apimondia in Chile 2023?!? I better start saving my pennies!

Enjoy the videos.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Irv Kroeker
    May 14, 2022

    Nice newsletter with lots of info interesting to non-keepers as well.

    Reply
  2. Joyce Klassen-Nicolson
    May 14, 2022

    So Great! Rebecca

    Reply

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