Let me Tell Ya ‘Bout the Birds and the Bees…
Things are progressing rather well here at Hunny-Bunny Farm and nature has fulfilled
all its springtime potential. The honeybees, so new just two weeks ago, are doing very well. The first hive (orange/rectangle) is the stronger of the two and not only has a stronger bee population but also a stronger queen. The second hive (red/heart) is also doing well but the population is not nearly as strong as the first. I think this happened on installation of the hives when I noticed most of the bees were gathering around the orange hive and the distribution was very uneven. Additionally, the queen in the red hive seemed significantly less robust than the other. In fact, though she is laying eggs and brood is progressing the hive has already begun to make a queen cell, which effectively is a replacement queen. It never ceases to amaze me how God’s nature works so precisely, … and yet supposedly intellectual men cannot see that there is a Divine Design to the world. The likely reason is that modern men confined to great cities and megalopolises have so far removed themselves from nature that their intellectual ruminations and textbook theories don’t often jive with the natural world. Their assumptions, therefore, are flawed from the get go.
The honeybees are therefore planning what is technically known as a superscedure of the current queen. When this happens one of three things can occur: the old queen finding the new queen cell will sting thorough the cell wall and kill her rival; the new queen once hatched will induce the old queen to gather a swarm and move out in search of new digs; finally, the worker bees may kill the older queen when the new queen is hatched. Well, so much for loyalty, …long live the queen! Whatever the case may be there is an opportunity here for an astute and observant beekeeper to expand his hives. Therefore, I will set up what is called a nuc (pronounced nuke) box, that is a five frame hive in front of the hive / colony in question. If the old queen emerges with a swarm the conveniently placed nuc might prove to be to good for her to pass up.
Still another way exists to expand the hives of the beekeeper by taking frames of brood from strong colonies and putting them into a new hive with nurse bees ( a stage of worker bee) surrounded by adequate honey and pollen or pollen substitute. I’ve actually done this by taking frames from both the orange and red hives, along with attendant nurse bees, and put them into the yellow/flower hive. I’ve provided honey stores which had been reserved in the freezer and pollen substitute into the new colony. This was done last Monday and already many of the nurse bees have graduated to foraging bees and have begun bringing in nectar and natural pollen. These nurse bees will sense that they have no queen, technically called not queenright, and begin to feed royal jelly to a newly formed larva, thus producing their own queen. So now I’ve got the potential for a possible third or even forth hive. Now if only I could capture additional wild swarms!
Meantime, in the Bunny portion of our name we have four cute little balls of fur who are about ten days old. In addition, I will be mating several other pairs this week to prepare to stock the freezer for the winter. I know, I know, you are asking just how cold hearted I must be to kill, butcher, and eat these warm and fuzzy little cuddlies, but I must remind my readers these are not pets and were never meant to be so, and as I’ve stated before in the CRSpages rabbits are one of the most vile and murderous creatures in God’s creation. In fact, the great beast
in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not far off the mark. 😉 Rabbit is good and tasty meat, by the way, and will provide protein should the store shelves become bare or priced beyond range. They are very prolific in that they breed, well, …like rabbits, providing an open ended supply of meat with no additional purchases. Along with the chickens for eggs and potential meat we will have met our protein requirements for the foreseeable future.
Meantime, in the garden everything is taking off, even, or most especially the weeds. Even these have their place though as these are feed to the livestock or put directly into the compost pile. There they will serve to provide nutrition for future vegetable plants.
In general, this is a very prolific year even the wild birds seem to have gone beyond their
usual output. I’ve so far counted five wild bird nests around the foundation plantings of the house and this does not include several that were blown from there places during the strong winds and rains of the past ten days. By far, I’ve never had so much bounty here at Hunny-Bunnyand it will soon be time
to start canning and preserving.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.