As August leaves us behind for another year, the wicked ladies are hard at work making their preparations for the coming late fall and winter months. Here in the northeast, there will be precious little for our bees to eat after the next month or so, until the flowers come again in spring.
We support our ladies' late summer and early fall foraging as much as we can. We plant pollinator-friendly, late-blooming annuals and perennials, cut back first blooms of early flowering plants for a second bloom, and we certainly leave those stands of goldenrod and lawn weeds to flower in the sun. Even our later blooming plants are sown in succession, so we hope to have pollen-bearing flowers available right up until frost, generally in mid-October in our area. From dawn to dusk each day, we can find our wicked ladies (as well as many other kinds of bees, wasps, hummingbirds, and butterflies) hard at work in each and every flower patch they can find.
So for the next few weeks, while the weather is still warm and there are still blooms to be found, the ladies are enjoying the dog days of summer by bringing in as much pollen and nectar as they can carry. The shots above are from early morning in two of our hives, and the pictures below are from one of our "flower feeding stations".
We hope you are enjoying the last of the warm weather as much as our wicked ladies are!
Gardeners can help bees in their local area by planting a variety of bee-friendly plants. Enjoy our collection of pollinator picks, and we hope you will "bee" inspired to plant some of these in your yard this year!
As soon as the calendar flips the page to March, it seems like every other commercial on television is about how to get rid of the dandelions in your lawn. People go to great lengths every year to remove these yellow puffs form their grass- pulling, plucking, spraying, whacking, and mowing to get rid of that bright yellow glint between the green blades.
But why work so hard? It's better to leave them there!
In early spring, when dandelions blooming your lawn, the bees are in need of a ready source of food to feed themselves and the new bees within the hive. Dandelions can be a great available source of food for bees, especially in the early weeks of spring.
So avoid spraying, plucking, and pruning this year and let your dandelions grow. Your lawn will look like a beautiful wildflower carpet and you can relax in your hammock while you watch the bees enjoy them, too!
Beekeepers throughout the United States are eagerly waiting for spring to arrive- real spring, not a few days where the thermometer hovers above freezing, only to plunge into snowstorm territory once again.
Keepers in many states, especially in the top half of the nation, are reporting ongoing spring hive losses as bees endure the cold weather patterns that have dominated over the past several weeks. For some with a number of hive, winter losses will mean doing more hive splits to repopulate their apiaries. For others, especially hobbyists who have only a few hives, these losses can mean total collapse.
Unfortunately, as weather patterns continue to swing more erratically, beekeepers are likely to continue to experience these difficult conditions in the years ahead. As with any kinds of farming (and yes, bees are livestock), unexpected challenges outside of human control can often make the difference between success and failure.
What percent of you bees survived so far into 2018? Share your story in our poll while we all wait for spring to finally arrive.
" Ask 6 beekeepers a question and you will get 10 different answers."
Just as there are endless choices to be made when managing the health of a hive, there are also many different ways that honey can be processed when it comes out of the hive. As with most things, there is certainly no one correct answer, so there are almost as many ways that beekeepers process honey as there are beekeepers. Filtering, heating, creaming, and other methods of production all have to be considered by the beekeeper who is choosing how to process the bees' crop.
Here at Wicked Ladies Apiaries we choose to process raw honey that is only rough filtered or allowed to settle to remove larger wax pieces, bee parts, or other larger impurities that are included in the honey during the extraction process. No heat is used at any time while we process the honey, either. Because we choose this method, honey produced at Wicked Ladies can have tiny pieces of wax or other impurities, but also contains all of the pollen grains and local 'flavor' that people generally find most desirable.
For those who look for local honey for its reported health benefits around allergies and other seasonal ailments, finding local honey that has not been overly processed is important to consumers. It is believed that it is the pollen and other components of the honey which give it the health benefits they desire, and over processing or heating can remove those elements. If you are a small beekeeper seeking to command the best price for your honey, less processing often commands a higher price from customers.
That is not to say that raw honey only comes in traditionally liquid, bottled form. Chunk honey (a piece of honeycomb jarred and surrounded with liquid honey) and comb honey (honey that is not extracted, but packaged in its comb and sold all together) are two other ways that people enjoy honey in its unprocessed form. Many people only will buy comb honey, since they can visually see there has been no additional processing from the hive.
Wicked Ladies currently produces liquid raw honey in a variety of sizes, but is continuing to adapt its hives to the production of comb honey as well. We enjoy comb honey ourselves, and we believe it is a great way for people to get the best honey experience, apart from sampling directly form the hive.
Whatever honey you enjoy or processing method you choose, it's impossible to deny that fresh, local honey is one of the most delicious gifts we receive from the Wicked Ladies in our hives!
Welcome to Tales of the Wicked Ladies, with information about the Wicked Ladies Apiary, bee products, sustainable living, and more. Each month we will share insight into the bees and products that make Wicked Ladies Bee Company a unique and sustainable organization dedicated to making the world better for pollinators and people.
Join us often for apiary updates, product information, and of course, stories of the bees- the Wicked Ladies themselves.
Tales of the Wicked Ladies reflects the personal experiences of our journey. For more information, visit our About page or contact us with questions or comments and we will be happy to get back to you.