Our bees have been invaded by hornets — I don’t think we’ll have a hive much longer, but we spent the day blasting hornets with soapy water trying to protect the hive. A few of the honey bees came over to snuggle with us. It was a really cool experience, holding the little honey bees right on our fingers and letting them perch on our shoulders like really silly pirate parrots.
What a week! The Rhode Island being snatched up by a dog kicked off a week of losses here — one of our egg layers, Tilly, died on Monday. She was one of our smaller, cuddlier chickens. One of our hives has no bees. And today another egg layer, Soaring Eagle, disappeared. Hopefully she’s out in the woods somewhere and will be by the coop in the morning. Or she made a nest out in the woods. She’s a Jersey Giant, but our smallest chicken. Instead of growing, she put her energy into being a magic chicken. And she was out very cuddliest chicken. Fingers crossed for her …
One of our chickens, Soaring Eagle, manages to escape the chicken tractor rather frequently. Even when I’ve locked it down — Anya doesn’t get the door closed up well, and I know exactly how they escape … but I’ve got that thing locked down. And, still, there’s a chicken in the yard. Because she’s a magic chicken.
We drove out to pick up our bees on Saturday. Scott was apprehensive about them because, well, it’s a big box full of bees. The guy was in the middle of explaining how the box is all sealed up and maybe a bee or two might escape, but they’d buzz around the back window as we drove and it’d all be fine. Except we started noticing a stream of bees coming out of the nuc. We, it seems, have magic bees too. The bee guy put bags around our nucs so we wouldn’t have a hundred bees buzzing around the car as we drove. That turned out to be a really good thing. The one nuc had a handful of bees in the bag. The one we’d noticed the bees coming out of? It most certainly did have a couple hundred bees outside of the box. I carried this box to the back of our property. Getting the bag off was a bit of a challenge even in a bee suit. They weren’t super thrilled about the relocation process. But they’re happily settled now.
We made mead from local honey, and it’s got me thinking about having our own hives. In Ohio, you have to register your apiary every year — something to remember if we do get a hive! We’d need to get a hive — and misc equipment. Harvesting the honey seems pretty labor intensive — I like the Flow hives, but a grand for a hive is a lot and I expect there’s a lot of honey that remains in the hive. Which may not be a bad thing — I’ve certainly read about people feeding their bees sugar water over the winter. And I assume that’s from over-harvesting the honey.
Quilt tops — a shallow box on the top of the hive, with a wire mesh on the bottom, which is filled with straw or wood chips. It’s insulation.