Monday, April 20, 2009

Phlox, Wood Anemone and Pear Blossoms with Bee Update

Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) April 17, 2009

Blue Phlox is blooming profusely along the road where the highway department trimmed the brush. Hooray--wish they would do this every year instead of spraying pesticides. Native wildflowers tend to take over and it is also better for my honey bees which are on my mind a lot lately (see below for update on my hive).

Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) April 17, 2009

Bloodroot and Toothwort flowers are just about gone as the mid spring flowers take over. I spotted this Wood Anemone in the woods. You can see that the forest floor is still very brown with the exception of alien invasive species (i.e. multi-flora rose, Japanese barberry, Japanese honeysuckle) which get a head start by leafing out early. That also makes it a good time of year to remove these troublesome species.

Sweet Cherry Blossoms and Honey Bee (April 9, 2009)

With bees on my mind, I have observed where my bees forage. I have watched them go from the hive to the dandelions and henbit I have allowed to grow up in our lawn this year. I also see my honey bees follow along the powerline to these sweet cherry trees that must have been planted a long time ago by the farmer who owned this land.

Old Pear Orchard (April 12, 2009)

On the back part of our land and next to our neighbor's beautiful barn is an old pear orchard where I went to see if the trees were blooming and to search for honey bees. I have been trying to restore this orchard for several years by pruning the many branches (per a Mother Earth magazine article).

I wondered what happened to the fruit every year since I do not harvest the many small, mostly inedible pears. Last year, I was looking at the pears on the ground when a cow approached. I threw a pear at her to shoo her away. She promptly ate it and came over with her calf and gobbled up a lot of pears--another mystery solved.

Pear Tree Blossoms (April 12, 2009)

I don't know if the honey bee on the right is from my hive but there were several on this pear tree along with bumble bees and many small bees.

The weather has not been good for bees since I installed my package April 3. There have been few warm, sunny days. The bees don't go out to forage on the mostly cold, rainy days we have had. So, it is good thing I have fed them sugar syrup continuously.

Update on my Bee Hive

With some good advice from fellow beekeepers, I requeened my hive yesterday (the eggs in the previous post were probably from laying workers). I also used an ingenious method for removing the laying workers as recommended in the Beekeeping for Dummies book and further detailed by another beekeeper who did this last year. Hopefully, these efforts will rejuvenate my struggling hive.


  1. Oh dear! Do you know what happened to the queen? I had thought everything was fine.

    Nice photographs of the blossoms.

  2. Your flower photos are beauteous...but whats up with your hive?
    Wow..there is so much to learn when it comes to bee keeping. i hope what you did resolves your issue and you have a happy hive.

  3. NCmountainwoman and dAwN--I suspect the queen was killed when she was released early by the workers. The small plastic cage has a little candy plug which the workers eat to get to the queen. This time, the queen is in a wire cage and I'm releasing the queen myself after I am pretty sure she won't be killed. Will check on her today if it warms up enough.

    I've learned a lot the last two weeks--about the workers, the queen. Hopefully, this knowledge will help me help the bees.