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Archive for the ‘Honeybees’ Category

Cold weather in March-2019

Posted by blueberrytalk on March 6, 2019

Honeybee finds a snowdrop on a cold march day.


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The foraging habits of honeybees

Posted by blueberrytalk on December 3, 2017

When we heard that Black Locust honey was highly prized we planted Black Locust trees. The trees grew very tall and sent out suckers everywhere! I can’t recall over the years seeing honeybees foraging on Black Locust blossoms. A few bumblebees stopped by. Somewhere in the eastern US or Europe where there is a Black Locust forest and there are no other foraging choices honeybees will make Black Locust honey.

A frequent winner of honey tasting contests is sourwood honey. We planted some sourwood trees with high expectations. Over the years they have proved very popular with bumblebees. Honeybee visits are rare. Oh well, it’s there if they want it!

We happened upon the Heptacodium tree (or shrub). It blossoms for an entire month at the end of the season. It is loved by honeybees and bumblebees for both nectar and pollen. We have no idea as to what kind of honey is produced.

Honeybees will visit blueberry blossoms if it is their only choice! Once the blackberry blossoms open the honeybees will choose blackberry blossoms. I asked an old time beekeeper what the honeybees will do given a choice between blueberry blossoms and blackberry blossoms. He just laughed and said: ”blackberry!”  Late flowering blueberry varieties are hard to pollinate once the blackberry blossoms open. This is where Mason bees and worker bumblebees can be a big help!

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Bees decide where they will forage.

Posted by blueberrytalk on February 15, 2016

Locating honeybees in a blueberry field is no guarantee that the bees will pollinate  the blueberries. In fact, once the blackberry flowers open it is likely the bees will send foragers to the blackberries or any other floral source they prefer. Bees pollinate well in blueberries when there is no other preferred choice. Here is how they choose where they forage!

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Keeping the cluster warm in winter.

Posted by blueberrytalk on January 15, 2014

The inner cover has top openings closed and foam insulation is placed above. Today I slipped a thermometer under the foam to record the temperature of the wood above the cluster. 26.4C or 79.5F. Obviously the bees are taking advantage of the insulation to keep one side of the cluster warm.

Another advantage is that no warm moist air  is allowed to condense on the cold outer cover causing a buildup of moisture. The warm moist air from the bees respiration is routed out the top front entrance.

inner cover temp

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Cosmos continues to set out new blossoms

Posted by blueberrytalk on September 11, 2013

Notice the pollen.

IMG_0645 - Copy

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Honeybees sipping blueberry juice

Posted by blueberrytalk on September 8, 2013

Spotted wing fruit flies have punctured a hole in bluecrop blueberries. The honeybees use this entrance to gather blueberry juice.


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wax or plastic foundation

Posted by blueberrytalk on July 17, 2013

A debate broke out about which was best: beeswax foundation or plastic. (Black plastic was the worst.) I put a frame of each in the same relative position in a hive. The bees started more quickly on the wax foundation. The end result is in the picture. Plastic is the picture on the left. Click to enlarge.

IMG_0636 - Copy

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High bee activity

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 26, 2012

The bees have discovered new sources of pollen and the Japanese Knotweed is a strong source of nectar. When you approach the apiary you hear a load buzz of bees coming and going. The white on the backs of some incoming bees is from the abundant pollen of the Hardy Hibiscus.

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Honeybees on a hot day

Posted by blueberrytalk on August 15, 2012

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Bees count on the sheep for something.

Posted by blueberrytalk on July 2, 2012

Bees often gather on the same patch of wet ground to sip water but during a recent wet period they gathered on the sheep. The sheep were not overly annoyed and the bees left when the sheep dried off. Click on the picture to enlarge.

bees on sheep

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