Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bee on the salt shaker: What do you do?

I was preparing lunch this morning in my kitchen and reached for the salt shaker. On the top of the salt shaker was a honey bee.

She probably flew in through a gap in the cat door last night, attracted by the neon lights in the kitchen.

What would you do? Pick up some solid object and try and smash it?  This would be a violation of Rule One of beekeeping.

Rule One: Don't box with bees. They are faster then you are.

What I did was to gently pick up the salt shaker, open the back door, stick my arm out of the back door and give my wrist a sharp twist, dislodging the little honey.

The is not the first bee I've found in my kitchen in the morning.  Several times it the past I have entered the kitchen on a bright summer morning and found one or more bees trying desperately to get out through the closed window or screen.

My solution at such times was to pick up a hand towel, press it gently against the glass, scrunch it up slightly and then shake it out on the back porch, freeing the bee.

A much better solution then going postal on the bee.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturdays NYC Beekeeping meeting for Fall and Winter preperations.

I just gave 4 stars to FALL & WINTER PREP FOR YOUR BEES meeting run by New York City Beekeeping.  

If you want frequent eyes-on and up-close bee knowledge presented in a format that is free and open to all, then the NYC Beekeeping is a constant source of satisfaction for NYC beekeepers.

In spite of subway problems and feeling under the weather I was glad I attended.

The single tip to paint the edge of your queen excluder red so you can see it at a glance and be reminded to take it off your hive before winter starts could, by itself, make the difference between disaster and a live hive in the Spring.

The slide show was full of useful images that illustrated the right an wrong ways to go about caring for your bees.

I still find myself thinking of the two images of bees treated with powdered sugar. On the left was a bee that looked normal if a little pale. This was a bee that had been properly "poofed" with powdered sugar.  The right side image showed bees that were so over coated with powdered sugar that they looked like some strange breed of bees that spend their days flying through Antarctic blizzards.

If this blog entry is being read by the new crop of beekeepers in following years then be sure to attend NYC Beekeeping Fall and Winter prep meeting the next time it is offered.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Work is the Curse of the Beekeeping Class

Consider this quote from Oscar Wilde:
     "Work is the curse of the drinking class."

Isn't the same thing true for beekeepers?

It's getting cooler in the mornings and the bees are not hanging out on the hives' porch when I go out to get my daily "fix" of observing the comings and goings of the little honies before heading off to my job.

It's warmer in the middle of the day and no doubt they are out and about, but I won't be there to see them.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde:
Work is the curse of the beekeeping class.

(But it gives the hobbyist beekeeper the where with all to buy the necessary hive furniture.)

Saturday is supposed to be mostly sunny.

Sunday's forecast is for showers.

Anyway, you can find me att the Pacific Standard down on 4th Avenue, 7 PM Friday nights after work, having a pint of fine microbrew beer, if you want to join me in drowning my sorrows.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Warning to Bugs

I found this bit on the internet and had to grin. I hope no bees were harmed. 

A Notice to Bugs found on a Buddhist Temple

Notice to Spray Pesticides

   This is to inform all ants, insects and other creatures
that we will be spraying pesticides in 5 days time. This 
temple is a place for cultivation. Please do not disturb or
cause alarm to residents. We hope all ants, insects and other
creatures can leave this place as soon as possible to avoid 
being harmed.
    We hope all guarding spirits can help insure all these 
creatures leave the temple in time.
   We dedicate all merits from the Compassionate Mantra 
to all ants, insects and other creatures so they can be reborn 
in the Pure Land of enlightenment.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I found this poem on thee BEE-L mailing list
and tried to contact the author to ask if it had been published anywhere
but never got a reply.

I feel this poem resonates with the theme of this blog.


Our abode is modest—small wooden boxes
painted cloister-white, scattered upon a
sunny hill.  There we sustain our meager
existence on eager diet of water, honey, and
pollen we gather in the wild.

We are all filial piety.  We cluster around
our Mother Superior, who bore us into our
existence.  We will defend her, our abode, and
our way of worship to death.  Kamikaze runs
in our veins, and we each carry a dagger.

Daily we divide our simple chores: baby-sitters,
maintenance crews, guards, and hunter-gatherers.
Practicing Puritan work-ethic, we trod miles to
collect nectar, our bread and butter.  Unsung
environmentalists, we live in perfect harmony.

We seldom talk, never balk, for we know talk
is cheap.  We communicate in silence and a few
body-languages.  We respect tranquility—-our
modus operandi.  We do have a few men around
for emergency.  Like most men, they wax their
one-track minded thoughts day in day out.

Large mouths, they consume three times as much,
and when they are around, they call too much
attention to themselves.  They are expendable.
At the first sign of frost, we abandon them, for
they are big and fat and lazy and stupid.

We rise to work at the first hint of dawn; we
toil the natural soil till Vespers, the sixth of
the seven canonical hours.  Throughout our
hard lives none of us whine—-we are content.
When our body can no longer house our soul,
we know the time has come.

Quietly we leave our humble abode behind
to meet the face of our maker, alone.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cartoon: Become a Beekeeper! (Shipping and Handling Extra)




SEND $9.99

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Honey Trail and Leatherwood honey

The speaker at tonight's NYC Beekeepers Association meeting was Grace Pundyk, author of The Honey Trail.

She gave an excellent slide show with pictures of her hives at her home on Bruny Island, Tasmania and her honey travels in Yemen, Borneo, Turkey, Russia and China.

I reserved a copy of the book at the Brooklyn Public Library.

On the way home I got off the Q-train and stopped in at the Big Bananna on Kings Highway. I had remembered seeing Tasmanian Leatherwood honey for sale there years ago and they still had some bottles. I picked up a 17.5 oz bottle for $9.99.

 Amazon has it for $12.99.

Here's  a link to a map of where the honey comes from in Mole Creek, Tasmania.

I must have passed right by the place a decade ago when a friend of mine and I were on our way to climb Cradle Mountain (zoom out and pan to the left).