The days are ever so slowly growing longer, and in the next week our temps may get high enough for our poor bees to make cleansing flights. C’mon Spring!
The Mill in Imperial has been around since 1904, and if you haven’t been by lately, you should make a point of popping in soon. They have an amazing selection of feed mill supplies, top notch pet products, and some amazing sustainable local products like soaps, lotions, and of course our own fantastic honey! Say hello to Mary the proprietor, and to Molly and Millie her loveable mascots.
Fans of our bees and their honey will be happy to know that Four Ridge Apiaries’ honey will will be available at the brand new Fields Foods grocery at 1500 Lafayette, near Soulard in downtown St.Louis. Fields Foods opens on January 4th, and is featuring a wide variety of products from local suppliers. We’ll be staffing an in-store display on Sunday the 5th, so come on down and see us! We’ll have honey tasting, free bee and honey literature, and we’ll be talking bees with anyone that has questions about our bee rescue programs or our products.
We just got back home and were surprised to see a giant box full of another couple hundred new honey jars had arrived. As we inspected each box, it got me to thinking about all our rescued bees that are clustered up in a tight ball trying to keep warm as temps fall to 7 degrees tonight. And when the weather breaks, our girls will have an amazing amount of work to do to replenish their winter stores and hopefully gather enough surplus nectar to fill these jars. Each hive needs to make about 60lbs of honey for themselves, and it’ll take an extra 240 lbs of honey, and over 27 MILLION miles of flying, just to fill these jars. I hope they’re resting up !
It is the dead of winter, with temperatures in the teens and a blanket of snow on our hives. This is truly the worst time of the year to be a beekeeper, as all we can do is fret about the well-being of our bees snuggled together in a cluster, and wait for a warm enough day to check on their well being. It also helps to find other ways to occupy our idle time, such as constructing and painting new wooden-ware, creating labels, cleaning and organizing the honey room, and making plans for the flurry of activity that will be upon us when the robins return to our lawns. Its just a couple of weeks before Christmas, so we’re also busy filling special holiday honey and skin balm orders, and placing orders for supplies… call them Christmas Gifts for our Bees! Personally, I’m hoping Santa brings me a new smoker box so I can make it through another year without catching the truck on fire
A couple of weeks ago, we got a call from a resident of an old farmhouse that had honey dripping from her living room ceiling onto her new couch, and bees coming out of her ceiling light fixture. Sort of a problem for her, as her young daughter has a sting allergy. We discussed the situation at length, diagnosed the problem, and she scheduled the hive removal for the following week. Very shortly thereafter, however, the resident called with an urgent request that we remove the bees as promptly as possible, as she was slowly being prohibited from using several rooms of her house due to bees flying around and behaving poorly – such as scaring her by landing on her bright laptop screen as she sat in a dark bedroom “hiding” from them. We were able to juggle some family activities and Christine and I scheduled the work for the next morning, a Saturday. The following pictures show the mess that she had hiding in her ceiling/floor, with a sickened hive having been taken over by wax moths and robbing bees, resulting in several cubic feet of moth mess, wriggling larvae, hive beetles, and an inch of honey sitting on top of her 1st floor ceiling and slowly dripping through. Yuck. A few hours later, the mess was gone, the entrance was sealed from the inside and out, the floor reassembled, carpet replaced, and their lives returned to normal.
Carpet removed & protecting the room: Uncovering the mess:Cleaning up once the majority of the mess had been removed:Reassembling after cleaning and covering the entire cavity with antimicrobial paint and sealing the entrance from the interior.The floor reassembled – glued and screwed.Project completed – carpet and baseboard replaced, room vacuumed, and furniture being moved back to its’ original positions:
We’ve been handling a lot of yellow jacket/ground hornet calls recently, and we stopped to take a few pictures of this one in Brentwood the other day. The homeowners were getting stung by “bees” that were going in/out of a gap in their siding, and had begun gaining entry to the home interior. This collage shows a few steps in the process as we gently removed siding and the two layers of backing material, pulled out the hive and filled the void before replacing the insulation and reassembling.
Another happy customer, and now both their infant and Larry the dachsund are relieved to have their home and yard back!
Just when you think that swarm season is long past, we got not one but Two calls today for swarms nearby. The first, oddly enough, was on the ground. We were able to pick up the queen, place her in a cage, and sweep the rest of those bees into a container. The second swarm was at a concrete plant, hanging on the bottom of a silo… We were able to sweep those right into a container as well. Now to house and feed both of these little colonies, supplementing them with resources from other hives, so they might have a chance of surviving the upcoming winter.
This week’s cutout was at a home for sale in New Athens. The owner could see where the bees were entering the stucco wall near her front door, had a beekeeper come look and was advised the bees were in her wall or soffit. We also paid a visit, took our time, and properly diagnosed this large hive as having established itself INSIDE the home, between the floor joists dividing the first floor from the second. The bees were successfully removed, and hopefully she’ll be able to sell it now that perspective buyers aren’t getting buzzed as they enter the front door.
This week’s project involved removing a large honey bee colony from in between the 1st and 2nd floor of a nursing home in Chesterfield. To access them, we had to take down two adjacent sections of brick walls with an impact hammer then remove insulation, boards, etc to expose the hive. Quite a project, and it added some excitement to the Home’s residents’ day, but we pulled it off with some help from our friend Alejandro, who adopted the bees and will give them a new home.