Beneficial Insects

Beneficial Insects 

As many of you are probably aware, our populations of beneficial insects are in trouble. Bees and butterflies are what come to the forefront of my mind when thinking of beneficial insects, although they are far from the only ones. There are a variety of insects, including beetles, spiders, caterpillars, and more that offer wonderful contributions to our world.

So why are they in trouble?

Well, there are a lot of theories out there. The probability is that it is a combination of factors. Two of these factors, habitat and pesticides, are addressed in the Bee Better Certification. The Xerxes Society, via grant from the USDA, has partnered with Oregon Tilth to provide the Bee Better Certified program. You can read more about it here.

While this program is for farmers and ranchers, there are lessons to be learned for the rest of us. It is of vital importance for us to be conscientious about our use of pesticides and what we plant. There are a lot of plants out there that do very well for different insects. Even if you don’t want to put a lot of research into it, planting something that flowers is a great first step.

In September and October in Upstate New York, we have what is referred to as the fall “flow”. Bee Balm, Asters, Goldenrod, and Ragweed are all blooming. While allergy suffers don’t like it very much, the bees love it! This is the last chance, so to speak, for the bees to get enough food (honey and pollen) for winter. They will primarily be storing honey at this point, as pollen is primarily used for raising brood. The queens, this time of year, are not laying as strongly as they do not want to have too many bees to feed going into winter. They are also kicking the drones out of the hives, as they (hopefully) will not be swarming anymore at this point.

How Can You Help? 

If you are not a farmer, the best thing to do at this time of year is start looking at your property and thinking about what you could plant next year to help the native and/or beneficial species of insects. You can view our seed starting basics articles here to help get you started. In some cases, you can even buy insects such as ladybugs and lacewings and have them mailed to you. These two particular insects can actually serve as natural “pesticides”, as they eat bad bugs – think aphids.

What will you do to help your local pollinators?

Honey Bottles!

We have HONEY BOTTLES!!!!Honey Bottles

Our first honey harvest of the season is right around the corner, and we have our shipment of bottles ready to go! We have a variety of bottles and sizes, but we only have a few of each, so keep an eye out for your favorite. It probably won’t last long!

Details

The bottles range in size from 8 oz. to 5 lbs! We’ve got bears, jars, skep bottles, upside down bottles, and jugs. It’s exciting, and I hope you can catch your favorite!

Spring Hive Inspection and Splits!

April 2017 Splits – The bees are preparing to swarm!

We knew that our bees that survived winter were doing well, but we had no idea they were doing as well as they are. We’ve already found swarm cells and thus had to do splits. The bees create swarm cells to create a new queen. After the eggs are laid for the new queen, and the old queen leaves with about half of the hive. This is how hives multiply themselves.  We also split another hive that was doing really well, and supered (added supers to the hives for honey). We are very pleased with how ambitious these hives are so far, and with the apples and dandelions blooming, with many others not far behind, a spring honey harvest may not be far off!

Spring Splits

 

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Check out our video to see what we did (including catching a queen!). It’s lots of fun. 🙂

First May Inspection

The following weekend (this weekend) we inspected those nucs, added some more boxes, and took a look at some of our other hives. You can see some of what we did in the below video. We hope you enjoy!

Lots of Honey!

We’ve got our Etsy store up and running, so if you are interested in creamed honey, comb honey, honey in a fancy glass bottle, or just honey in a plastic squeeze bottle – we’ve got you covered. But we have a limited supply, so don’t wait too long!

8 oz Honey

You can click here or click on the Etsy Store tab in the main menu. Enjoy!