Mendota Daily September 26

We’re in about the 4th day of fall, and the nights are getting very cool here in Mendota. I love sleeping in on these cold mornings.

Tomorrow I will not be sleeping in. As I mentioned in the post earlier this week, Sam the Cat has a lump on his little neck/jaw area. I did not think it was bothering him. I just found the lump on Monday while petting him, so I made an appointment for next Monday. Sam is a challenge to drive to the vet, and I wanted to be the one to drive him. Since I’m working on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, I felt Monday was best since he did not appear to be in any discomfort and was eating normally. Now, however, he is in pain, and I’ve left my vet a message that he’ll have to see Sam tomorrow. Sam was abused as a kitten and he’s really a mean cat. He’ll have to be sedated before the vet will even be able to touch him. He also gets car sick. Poop pee puke. You get the picture.    I hope you weren’t eating when you read that!

We’re still working on projects and getting ready for winter. This weekend, I worked on the beehives.   I worked and took these pictures just as it became daylight as I wanted the bees to be inside their hives and not hanging around the entry way as they do during the day. 

Here’s Hive #2. If you look  at the base of the hive, you’ll see an opening going across the width of the structure. We leave that open during the “honey flow” so the bees can get in and out easily. If all is well, these hives have many thousands of bees bringing in pollen and nectar, and traffic can get quite congested. It reminds me of Federal Express in Memphis during take offs and landings.   Quite fun to watch as they zoom in with their little pockets full of pollen. 

As the weather cools and the bees become less active, we close this off. We do this to keep out cold and pests such as mice.

Here’s a picture of the same hive after I inserted a spacer.  Look at the bottom now…

When it gets much colder, we’ll close this off to a very tiny opening which is much smaller than what you see in the picture above. I’m very worried about my bees and how they’ll do this winter. They are positioned so that they don’t get strong wind, but they also are in the shade.   I’d really like for them to get the morning sun and the evening shade but it’s reversed.  If we know in advance that there is extreme cold this winter, we may bubble wrap the hives to help hold in warmth. The bees will cluster around the queen and keep her at about 85 degrees.  In summer,  they fan her  to keep her cool.

It is also time to remove the vents from the top of the hive.  In the picture below, I’ve removed the cover, and I’m getting ready to remove the vent.  The dark brown that you see under the screen are a few hundred bees. 

The vent is very useful in the summer. Just like in your house, the hot air rises and the vent allows the heat to escape. If you have attic vents, it is a similar principle.

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In the picture below, I’ve removed the vent and placed the heavy block back on the hive to keep the roof in place.  I left the vent on the side of the hive so that the bees will be able to get back into their hives.   On the day following, I picked up the vents and took them home.  I’ve now got to ask Gerald how I clean them up to store it for winter.  We’ll be using these vents again next summer.

I really enjoy these bees. I was up at the hive this evening swapping around Mason jars of sugar water for these little guys. They’ve got used to my being there every day and are paying little attention when I make the swap. For some reason, one got up my sweatshirt sleeve (I wasn’t wearing the protective clothing). “Yikes,” I thought..”I’m going to get stung.”  Wonder of wonders…I did not!! Thank you little bee (who by the way would have been dead tonight had he or she stung me.)

 There is so much to learn and so much to risk if you do something wrong.

I will be so happy if next spring I have four hives of healthy bees.

To those who buy our honey, we greatly appreciate it.   We are working hard to provide a quality honey and to to our part in restoring honeybees to Southwest Virginia. 

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Comments

  1. Nancy Booher says:

    I love Bella’s fall decorations. They are just look so colorful and creative.

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