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Wild Blackberries

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I went out for a morning walk in San Luis Obispo this morning. I discovered a patch of wild blackberries that I snacked on. I am scheming right trying to find a way to establish some of theses plants back in Houston. Farthing seeds will be easiest, a couple of cuttings would be best! They are much bigger and sweeter than the local wild dewberries!

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Blossoms and wild blackberries along the trails walked this morning.

Hope to find a couple of Farmers Markets for a sampling of local fare! Need to find some local flowers to take over to Mom’s house in Los Osos, she is celebrating her 85th Birthday today!
TTFN
Bishop

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Bees – A Sad Story

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Something just didn’t quite look right when I installed the bees into my hive. The NUC box, four frames and a feeder, was littered with dead bees, probably 100+! I faithfully followed procedures and waited 8 days to let them settle in to their new home! When I opened the hive all of the bee activity was in the lower corner of three of the fames. What was disturbing were the large number of small white larva all over those three frames. Not bee larvae but something else….The floor of the hive was covered almost two deep with dead bees. Houston we have a problem!

I put everything back together and pulled out my bee book and Googled for answers….It was pretty obvious that I had a Wax Moth infestation. It looked bad! I got on touch with my supplier and learned that 5 other colonies picked up when picked mine up had problems. The owner said the hive got too hot….Not sure if that is the full answer but that is the answer I got…..I suspect that the NUC was infected before I picked it up. It will be replaced but I still have an hour and a half drive each way. My instructions were to pull the frames, wrap them in plastic and freeze them.

On my return to the hive to pull the frames, I found it nearly abandoned. I was prepared to have to brush the bees off of the frames but found very few. Apparently they decide they had had enough and decided to relocate. My wife is paranoid, thinking that they will take up residence in the attic….probably not.

See the little bad guys....This was not the worst of the bunch!

See the little bad guys….This was not the worst frame of the bunch!

One more time!

TTFN

Bishop

 

My Bees are Home

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I picked up my 4 frame NUC (Nucleus Colony) from an Apiary in the vicinity of Navasota. Quite a crowd on hand for the pick-up date. The bee keepers are a mixed bunch. A grandfather and his grandson, a retired couple form Georgetown adding a third colony to their backyard, several young couples ( FYI – most of the couplse were younger than me!), a young man picking up 5 NUC’s …… beekeeping is alive and well in Texas. I feel like I am doing my little part to address the big problem of the disappearing bees!

Being part of the bigger picture: Save the bees!

The facts that keeping a hive in the backyard dramatically improves pollination and rewards you with a delicious honey harvest are by themselves good enough reasons to keep bees. But today, the value of keeping bees goes beyond the obvious. In many areas, millions of colonies of wild (or feral) honey bees have been wiped out by urbanization, pesticides, and parasitic mites, devastating the wild honey bee population. When gardeners wonder why they now see fewer and fewer honey bees in their gardens, it’s because of the dramatic decrease in our wild honey bee population. Backyard beekeeping has become vital in our efforts to reestablish lost colonies of bees and offset the natural decrease in pollination by wild bees.” http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/discovering-the-benefits-of-beekeeping.html

The new bees clustered around their frames installed into my hive.

The new bees clustered around their frames installed into my hive.

My new hive and the new occupants.

My new hive and the new occupants.

In operation...almost. Restricted entry for a week or two and feeding sugar water until they are well established and filling in most of the bare frames.

In operation…almost. Restricted entry for a week or two and feeding sugar water until they are well established and filling in most of the bare frames.

TTFN

Bishop

Bringing Bishop Bees

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I am off to Navasota on Friday the 13th to pick-up Nuc Pack, 4 frames of bees and a queen. My wife still gives me the hairy eyeball look when I bring up my latest hobby/venture! Once the hive becomes part of my backyard garden landscape it will fade as a focal point( I hope! )

Sunday, of this week I finished building all of the hive parts. I saved a few dollars and assembled everything myself. If I value my time at about 25 cents per hour I break even. I will admit that I was not very efficient. I will be adding a super ASAP. I may just buy it complete!

I need to thank Linda who writes “The Orange Bee” blog. A talented writer, cook and bee keeper. Her inspiration along with the beekeeping class my daughter Lisa gave me for Christmas has pushed me off center! Check out Linda’s blog.
http://theorangebee.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/peach-upside-down-cake/

Expect some photos from installation day!

TTFN
Bishop

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