Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bee Cool

The air is so thick and hot even the bees come out in force to fan and cool the hives down:

They are all doing really well with no signs of distress or infestation. 
We attended our first Beekeepers Picnic Sunday.  Even though it was exceptionally hot, we were glad we went.  We met alot of nice folks with common interests.  Everyone (obviously) keeps bees and most of them have chickens and other livestock as well.  Erin was right, it was a real treat talking to people whose eyes don't glaze over at conversations on gardening, canning and such! 

Alot of information was shared freely and I look forward to future gatherings.  I thought I'd pass along some interesting tidbids taken from GloryBee:
  • Honeybees pollinate over 80% of fruit, vegetable, and seed crop in the US.
  • The average beehive contains about 20,000 to 30,000 bees in the winter, and about 60,000 to 80,000 during summer months.
  • To make a pound of honey, a colony of bees collects nectar from over a million flowers.
  • A honeybee uses her tongue to gather nectar from a flower to take back to the hive.
  • Honebees have two sets of eyes.  A set of three simple eyes detect light and dark, and a pair of  complex eyes with over three thousand lenses that detect ultraviolet light.
  • All worker bees in a hive are female.  All male bees are drones, whose sole task is to mate with the queen during her one nuptial flight.
  • A honeybee can fly 15 mph.
  • Pollen baskets on the outside of the back leg are used to collect pollen that is taken back to the hive and stored for food.  If you see a bee with yellow granules stuck to her legs, it's pollen.
  • A honeybee has two stomachs:  one for storing the nectar that will be made into honey, and one for digesting food.
  • A honeybee has two pairs of wings that beat 250 times a second.
We also found out that IL recently changed their law regarding the sale of honey.  We have never sold at a farmstand or a local Mom & Pop, but now could!  So long as we are under 500 gallons per year in sales, we need no special licenses, inspections etc. 
Maybe I will find a cute yard sign to put up after we harvest.  Of course, it would go right next to this sign:
Isn't it sad that you would even have to be a little scared?
I'm protected. 
On second thought, if I don't start seeing the garden boom here pretty quickly, I may just make Meads and drink myself silly.


  1. I vote for the mead route, cause I am right there myself. What a cutie putie. What is that a soup bowl your giving her a bath in. What did that dog look like as a puppy? A ping pong ball with ears? And I am surprised you got close enough to take those pictures. Your getting braver. I remember a certain video ;)

  2. Mead! The best thing about the Renaissance Festival here... :) That would be awesome if you could start selling your honey. Might just have to take a drive down there and buy some...

  3. Me too. I'm for the mead! What a cool thing that you can sell honey without governmental involvement. I don't often hear good news for the small farmer like that.

  4. Jane, boy I sure fooled you! HE took those pictures! HA! I will have to dig up some pictures of when Ami was a puppy. Something akin to a mouse maybe :o)

    MamaTea, I've never even tasted Mead! But I have that book with all sorts of wonderful recipes in it and they all sound so good! Hiccup!

    Jody, yes, I was shocked that it passed. We didn't do any markets last year because it was so intimidating! And it's so simple to do, so they really did need to loosen up on that. Maybe they got wise finally and realized that more people would help "Bring back the Bees" if they made it a bit more farmer friendly.

  5. Mead, mead, mead!!!

    I'm jealous of your bees. One day I'll get going on that. Just add it to the "list"! :)

  6. Our annual beekeepers picnic is this Sunday. I'm sure our group is smaller than yours is but we have a good time anyway.

    I remember the very first time I saw the big cluster of bees hangin' outside the hive on a hot summer's day. I thought they were getting ready to swarm!

  7. This was interesting. We let a fellow store his hives in our back field this summer. I really don't know much about bees and found that neat that they cool the hives like that. I know they sure like my cruddy frog pond a LOT. I've started setting out SHALLOW pans of water everywhere for them to get a drink from. I was losing so many to drowning in the pond.

  8. How fantastic in this day of "over-regulation" to hear about being able to sell the honey! Congrats on that, if you ever do it now you won't even have hoops to jump through! Always love the bee stuff :)

  9. Well, if that is not the most ferocious looking dog...heehee...it isn't! My gosh, what a cutie. Your bees look gloriously healthy. Isn't it nice to have a good crop of something? I can't even count bees this year. Poop.

  10. Could you-----u-um send a few of those bee's this way to pollinate my tomatoes-I don't see enough of them but tell them to but a bee in there bonnet or they will never make it to MN by harvest time going 15 mph.I am still trying to stay humorous until reality sinks in.

  11. That's great about honey sales. Great about the beekeepers group too. Sounds like a great resource every whichaway.