Bees on a Passion Flower

Bees taking advantage of a non-native plant which is blooming during the area's summer nectar dearth.

Winter Prep in July?

A week and a half ago the Philadelphia Bee Guild's monthly meeting was on winter prep.  This was fabulous because I needed to get moving on things.  Yes, it's the middle of summer, but pretty much as soon as the spring harvest is over and the dearth around Philadelphia begins, you need to start thinking about the generation of bees that will take the hive through winter.  I will be away for the majority of August so it is doubly important for me to start things in July.  I thought I was taking adequate precautions last year, but

Gecko Condo's First Hatch

Last night I was feeding the geckos and thought "Wouldn't it be cool if there were baby geckos in here?"  Shortly after that thought, while changing the food in Green Man and Belite's partition, I saw two big gecko hatchlin eyes staring at me from next to the roach dish.  It took me a few seconds to realize what I was seeing, and one of the eggs Belite buried in her section of Gecko Condo had hatched! Blintz had arrived!

First Spring Honey Extraction

Last fall I did my first honey extraction ever as a demonstration at Bartram's Garden for Philadelphia's 2nd annual honey fest.  This year I decided to pick up my own extractor and get some of the spring honey from the bees.  The mild winter around here did good things for many insects, and bees are no exception.  Normally it is rare to get honey in your first year from a new package or split, but I was able to extract 36 frames of honey from 3 of my 4 hives, and there are at least 20 more frames that are full

Pulling Supers

I went to pull the honey supers from the hives today for extraction this weekend.  It was the first time I used a fume board, last year I just shook the bees off of the 10 frames I extracted.  I used Bee Quick, which is a nice smelling alternative to Bee Go.  I don't know if Bee Go works better or not, but I would say it doesn't really matter.  I just put this stuff ont he fume board, let it sit on the super for a couple minutes and I could pull it off virtually bee free.  Much easier than last year and it made the bees less ornery. 

Mid-Spring report for Second Year of Beekeeping

This year has been a little light on blog posts but that is mostly because things have been going so well.  Two days ago I addressed the only issue I have really had to face so far this year and that was with Boatmurdered.  Queen Freyja appears to have left with a swarm that I unfortunatly did not witness or catch.  The hive failed to make a new queen or she was eaten on a mating flight, so after giving them 2 frames of open brood and eggs to prevent a laying worker situation I decided to order a new queen.  Queens have been scarce locally, so

A First Look at the Inhabitants of Gecko Condo

I just realized I have not yet posted pictures of the geckos in Gecko Condo!   Things have been going very well in the condo so far. Some of the pothos I planted in the wall have been dying because they don't get enough water from the misting system, but that is ok. The geckos still love to sleep on them. A few slugs have appeared in the vivarium but that just means everything is going along smoothly. Here are some pics of the inhabitants. Sorry that some of them are not the best quality as I took all of these with my phone.

Bee Day #2

Today was the official start to my second year of beekeeping!  Sure I had prep work and other things that I did before today, but today is the day I actually pick up the packages and make a split.  Today the bees move into their new or previously deserted boxes and build upon the structures left by their predecesors.  I am also starting a new hive today at a new location.  A co-worker has expressed interest in having bees on her property and I am certainly happy to install a hive there, especially since it is within about a mile of the community garden where the other hives are.  This new h

Inside Geckos

Some of my geckos are participating in an academic study at the University of Pennsylvania vet school with Dr. La'Toya Latney. When she was finished, Dr. Latney shared with me a bunch of the xrays they took of the geckos. I know I found them fascinating, and figured some of you would like to see just what geckos look like on the inside as well!

Beginning the Second Year of Beekeeping

I went out to the community garden yesterday to get things set up for two new packages I am getting next Saturday. The hive that survived winter is doing great and I am going to make a split from it since its bubbling over with bees. I cleaned out the hive that didn't make it and see they starved to death. It was very sad, the queen and maybe a dozen bees were stuck to a frame near the top, most of them with their heads in the cells. They had honey around them and fondant on top, and there were bees that died while chewing their way out of their cells.

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