My daughter is a buckeye transplant living in Florida. She loves all things Disney and recently visited Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. She sent me lots of pictures from the Honey Bee-stro display.
I loved the succulent cement block wall that was part of the display and have decided to create a much smaller version in the small area near my hive. Given my recent history with succulents (most of them died) I am using only seven blocks.
While I’m in town for church today I think I will make my first visit of the year to my favorite off-the-beaten-track greenhouse and see what I can find to put in the ground around my succulent cement block garden. I have quite a few packs of seeds that I had planned on planting there (before the wall idea). I’m not planning to keep this area manicured so it may end up looking a little wild and crazy.
I might also browse around the greenhouse for Mother’s Day ideas to see if I can find a gift for my lovely mother.
Today was the first day it has been warm and dry enough to get back into the hive and see what is going on in our brood box. Our frames came with a plastic inserts which we have learned may be a little harder for the bees to build on.
For our second brood box we have replaced the plastic with wax inserts. From my novice perspective it looks like the bees have made good progress. They have build on 6 of the 10 frames. Some of their work looks like what might be considered spotty, but since I’ve never examined a bee hive before I’m not sure.
From this visit into the hive I learned that it is important to keep your frames together and not leave spacing. There is a place that was open and the bees build right on into it. I’m not sure how that is going to work out in the long run. I didn’t remove it. I just put the two frames together as best I could there.
I went ahead and added a second brood box with the wax inserts. We have two feeder quarts of nectar on the front of the hive and we are keeping the entrance reducer in place. I added an empty honey super and left what remained of the protein patty in it for the bees to keep munching on.
I didn’t see the Queen Bee. Judging from the content hum of the hive, she is in the brood box laying eggs as expected. It take 21 days for the eggs to hatch. I’m expecting to see the hive begin growing exponentially around the 15th of this month.
We have learned what to expect when you buy a pack of bees. Inside the package of bees will be a can of nectar and a small ventilated cage with a queen bee in side. The queen bee is trapped inside the cage by some hardened sugar substance.
When placing the bees in the hive the queen bee is still in her cage when she is placed among the frames in the brood box. Once she is placed, the rest of the bees can be released in the hive.
I went back to the hive today to ensure the queen bee was out of her cage. The sugar blocking the escape hole was gone leaving the hole open. I did not spend time looking through the bees to spot the queen. All the bees seemed busy and happy so I assume the queen bee is alive among them.
I removed the cage and I put a protein patty on top of the frames and made sure they had plenty of nectar.
Next warm sunny day I will get in the hive and check the bees’ progress and try to spot the queen bee in action.
The reason I say today is our beginning with bees is because today is the day we brought a package of bees home and put them in our first hive. I’m not sure exactly where we are heading with this, but I’m thinking at the very least it will lead to having some “bee gifts” available in our shop 🙂 .
I was just simmering with the idea of beekeeping until at Christmas, my husband/family gave me a starter hive.
So in February I signed us all up for the 9th Annual Northeastern Kentucky Beekeeping School. We learned more about beekeeping 101, biter bees, mite sampling, honey harvesting, bee nutrition, and all things bee related.
We bought some protective gear and ordered a pack of bees.
In the next several weeks we painted our hive and selected a location for it. We put it out a few weeks ago because we were supposed to pick up our bees last week, but because of the crazy weather Ohio has been having this spring the delivery had to be postponed.
Finally, the bees arrived today and we drove down to Morehead, KY to pick them up.
We had a few snags that didn’t go by the book. First off, the hanger for the queens cage broke off so we had to take some fishing line and create a new hanger. Secondly, there was not a cap on the candy so just to be sure she could get out we cut a section of the cage where we thought the cap should be to make sure she could get free. Unfortunately, not all the bees made the trip successfully. I can see I’m going to have to get used to losing bees. The life cycle of bees is short so I knew going in that I would have to be ready for that, but actually seeing it was sadder than I expected.
My daughter helped me make up some nectar for them to get them through until spring has completely sprung (it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow! – so to have so much spring snow this year in OH).
After we put in some Honey B Healthy I thought the nectar smelled good enough to drink! Let the stickiness begin!
We have the feeder on the hive and the bees seem to be buzzing happily.
I’m going to patiently wait until weather warms back up on Tuesday before I take a peek inside to see if our queen is out.
In the meantime, we are going to have to perfect our protein patty recipe because our first attempt is not setting up.
So far beginning with bees has been a bit of work, but this project looks like it will be the bee’s knees!
If you live in Ohio I hope it is too early in the season for you to be putting this comic latin weedis victorious plant pick in your flower garden. Beware. It won’t be long before the weeds will be victorious if allowed.
Now is a good time to be putting down a pre-emergent in your flower beds.
At our house we use Snapshot which contains the active ingredients isoxaben and trifluralin. Another popular pre-emergent is Preen which contains the active ingredient of trifluralin.
Generally speaking these products do not kill weeds. They simply keep new weeds from sprouting. Don’t use these products on areas seeded with flowers that have not yet germinated. It can be used after flowering plants have germinated and are 2 – 3 inches tall.
Taking the time to put down a pre-emergent now will save you from having to waste time pulling weeds later. Instead you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying your flowers. These products are not labeled for use on all vegetables. Be sure to check the label before applying to a vegetable garden. Also, be sure to check the label to know when it is time for a reapplication.
When in doubt, check the label. Check the label. Check the label. Chemicals can be a great help, but when used carelessly they don’t work properly, or worse, can be harmful.
If by chance weeds become victorious in your yard or garden you know where to find signage for them. Or maybe you have something magnificent that this would be appropriate for.
Last night I took a little venture to Maysville, Kentucky to attend the 8th Annual Farm & Family Night at Maysville Community and Technical College. While I was there, I attended the session Saving the Monarch Butterfly.
According to what I learned, the monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains are now in Texas. They are on their yearly journey north from Mexico. Those that live west of the Rocky Mountains winter in California and spend their summers in the Northwest states.
Part of what makes monarch migration so wondrous is the fact that monarchs are the only insect to migrate a distance of 2,500 miles. During migration monarch butterflies can fly up to 300-500 miles a day. During their migration north monarchs will go through about 4 generations. Those monarchs that fly south in the fall, however, can journey the whole distance living up to 9 months.
The purpose of the session was to discuss why monarchs are at risk and what can be done to help them.
Currently the monarch population is 4% of what it was in the 1970’s. The biggest factor leading to their decline is loss of milkweed. Other contributing factors to the decline of monarch populations are weather, use of insecticides & herbicides, and habitat loss.
Some things we can do in Ohio to help the butterflies as we await their arrival this year is to learn about their habitat. We can plant milkweed and other pollinator plants that monarchs need. In addition we can learn about plants that are native to our yard that butterflies enjoy and keep them in place when possible, rather than removing them.
Being that it is almost spring (12 more days, but who’s counting?), now is a great time to think about monarch butterflies that are migrating our way. When planning your garden try to include some nectar plants. These can be annuals, biennials, and/or perennials. Here are just a few examples: Shasta Daisy, Cosmos, French Marigolds, Lantana, Verbena, Zinnia, Black Eyed Susan, Hollyhock, Phlox, New England Aster, and Purple Coneflower. Milkweed, Goldenrod, and Ironweed are often plants that we might consider undesirable, but butterflies like them.
If possible, know your plant source. When purchasing plants ask what type of greenhouse they came from. Ideally, buy plants raised in a chemical free greenhouse. Often times you can find someone who has perennials who is willing to split off part of their plant that you could start in your yard.
Choose a sunny location for your plants and consider including windbreaks such as a fence or shrub. If you have limited space many of these plants do well in pots or containers. Bird baths or water containers should be shallow with some object which will allow for butterflies to perch. Items such as floating corks can be placed in deeper water to provide a perch.
Do you plant flowers in your gardens for butterflies? What are your favorites?
I am hesitant to get excited about spring just yet. Although it will officially be here in 18 days. I am doubtful that our unseasonably warm weather is here to stay. I am waiting for old man winter to give us a final blast or two.
While I’m waiting I have been planning out my gardens. I love planting annuals . I always plant pansies. I have one from last spring that has managed to survive and is blooming already. I also love petunias and marigolds.
I had almost no perennials at my old house, but our current home came with lots of perennials. I am learning to appreciate them. I used to think perennials were high maintenance and got out of control easily. Now I have seen the light. I fell in love with coneflowers last summer. Although they do require maintenance they are easy because they just come back year after year like magic. With regular tending hopefully they won’t go wild.
My daughter and I have been playing with some new concrete molds that she received for Christmas along with some of our older molds that we bought last summer.
We’ve been doing a little painting with our sculptures. We still have lots more to paint. We are considering having an event where people can choose a piece and paint it for their own garden.
This year we are planning a fairy garden. We thought about it last year, but never made progress other than to read some articles. There is no doubt in my mind that this year we have a sweet little fairy garden. We have been dreaming of the idea in our minds for almost a year so it should all come together pretty quickly.
If not now, When?
The only thing that concerns me is it is in a high traffic area and right next to the garden hose. Hopefully it won’t get trampled or squashed.
We also have a tree in our woods that came with some gnomes in it.
The gnomes we painted to add aren’t to scale with the old ones. I’m not sure how it will turn out. Even if it doesn’t exactly match, I think it will be a fun spot to visit on our walks.
Comment below to share your favorite annuals and perennials. Are you planning anything new in your garden this year?
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