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Surviving the Planet X Tribulation

Author Topic: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes  (Read 14391 times)

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2018, 07:27:50 PM »
Fingers are crossed the rains will let up enough for Nature to take its course, as I recall Jacqueline Freeman's discussion about AI in honeybees.

Did your own area suffer excess rain this year?

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #91 on: August 04, 2018, 04:22:57 AM »
It has been torrential and nearly daily since mid-July.  Very little sunlight has been getting through the cloud cover.  Front yard was a lake this a.m., even though we're on a hillside (fortunately not a steep incline near the peak).  Because we're on a rocky outcropping, it usually drains quickly though.  We dug an extra channel recently to divert water from the driveway.

Will post a video on the flooding thread re: what Virginia is experiencing right now.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 07:20:56 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #92 on: August 04, 2018, 08:06:18 AM »
Amazing.  We had the longest winter I can remember in my life as an adult here in MO, and then perhaps one week of spring, then suddenly it was in 90's most of the time since, with very little break.

Rains were nothing like yours.  Weather is totally weird everywhere, and you're probably crossing your fingers your bees and garden can do well in the end.  My BEST WISHES to you, your family, your honeybees, and your garden.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #93 on: August 04, 2018, 08:13:42 AM »
Likewise Ilinda, and thank you so much!  So far the only crop that seems to have rotted is the garlic - including the subsequent planting.  May need a greenhouse not for cold protection, but rot-insurance  :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes: Harvesting Honey
« Reply #94 on: October 16, 2018, 10:00:33 AM »
At this point, after a year of floods in the East, the arrival of our Russian bees has been postponed until April.

Meanwhile, there was residual honey that I had rescued from the hives and wrapped for the freezer.  Today was too chilly to do much work in the garden, so I pulled the frames out of the freezer to process.  One of my sons was handy to help, which was a bonus!

We're very old-school here, and just use the "Mash and Strain" method.  The alternative is to use a honey centrifuge, which most of the larger operations use, and they do make manual cranked versions of those.  A centrifuge helps if you want jars of clear honey in which the wax cappings are entirely separated out.

Materials:
Two large stainless steel mixing bowls
Uncapping knife
Wide mouth canning jars in either pints or half-pints
Wide-mouth canning funnel
Big strainer that fits inside of canning funnel (about 5" diameter)
Old pie plates
Waxed paper
Foil
Old kitchen spoon
Potato masher or sauerkraut pounder
A damp dishrag to tidy up as you go

I suggest doing this job before it's too cold to leave the garden hose hooked up to the faucet, because all the equipment will need to be blasted clean outdoors in order to remove the wax.  For that reason, a work table situated in a location where you can get messy for a while is ideal.

Hold a frame of honey upright in one of the bowls.  Using the curved tip of the uncapping knife, dig all the way into one of the top corners of the frame til the knife stops, and then slice downward, peeling off sheets of honeycomb into the bowl.  When one frame is done, set aside in a clean plastic trash bag.

Try not to lick your fingers as you work!  ;)

In the other bowl, place open canning jar with canning funnel at the mouth, and strainer in the canning funnel.  It should be a snug fit.  Using the knife or kitchen spoon, scoop some honeycomb into the strainer, and mash with whatever tool you selected, moving the honey/wax mixture in a circle with the masher while you hold the strainer still with the other hand.  A creamy colored, rather than clear, honey product will pour into the jar. 

When it becomes difficult to mash and stir the contents of the sieve, it's time to stop momentarily and scoop the remainder of wax cappings (with a little honey still mixed in) into a pie plate, leaving the spoon to drain on the edge of the plate.  These scraps are valuable for two reasons:

1. chewing gum for the children
2. emergency bee food for late winter

Repeat until jars are filled, leaving a little space at the top.  Wipe and then screw lids on jars.  Store honey in a cool, dark place.  Blast dishes and utensils clean outside with the garden hose. 

Wrap pie plates of sweet wax scraps in waxed paper and then foil and store in freezer for emergency bee feeding, along with harvested honey frames which are still covered with bits of honey.  The wax scraps are especially good for the bees in the form of patties when brewer's yeast and a pinch of sea salt are added, as well as a drop of any essential oils that you may be using in an organic apiary (thyme, wintergreen, lemon balm...)

Photos below:
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 06:03:37 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #95 on: October 16, 2018, 07:17:12 PM »
Thank you for that wonderful summary of how you harvest the honey and wax, and why you want to have some jars of the mix.  Wonderful, and the first time I've ever read the chronology of it in detail.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #96 on: October 30, 2018, 05:59:48 AM »
When digging spuds recently, I was surprised to find two enormous wasps in the soil, apparently attempting to overwinter with eggs.

Looked them up online, and found that they were Japanese Giant Hornets, a.k.a. Giant Sparrow Bee:



They have a 6 mm long stinger, injecting venom which can cause kidney failure and damage red blood cells. 

Equally distressing, they destroy honey bee colonies. 

Honey bees in Japan have adapted by surrounding single giant hornets with a cluster of bees to overheat and cook the intrusive creatures:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6m40W1s0Wc



European honey bees are only just beginning to learn this behavior.  This film demonstrates what happens to a honey bee hive when attacked by a whole group of Japanese giant hornets, and it isn't pleasant to watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ1eAM8CChc

This beekeeper has reduced the hive entrance and placed sticky traps for the attackers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdtfWh9aO20

Another film demonstrated how to slice a wine bottle cork in half and use it to reduce hive entrances.

Am now seeing several kinds of more beneficial bees and wasps electing to shelter in closer proximity to one another, and am encouraging it.  Fat carpenter bees insist on sheltering inside one wall of our hen house, which we're permitting, because any attempt to close the hole will result in another one being opened up.  Ordinary wasps  and yellow jackets also shelter nearby, and we find if we don't fight them, they are peaceful neighbors as well as being excellent pollinators.  They seem to sense safety in numbers, and am led to recall Ilinda's post in which honey bees actually permitted wasps to take shelter within their hive from a storm:
https://planetxtownhall.com/index.php/topic,6558.msg93648.html#msg93648

I have yet to see one of the giant hornet's nests, but assume they're high up in the tree tops, which can be several stories up.  So my response to this will be to reduce hive entrances, plant more flowers, practice open-bucket field feeding in which all nectar-dependent insects may come to the table away from the hives, and try to adapt peacefully to our ever-changing biome. :)

« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 08:10:57 AM by R.R. Book »

 

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