My Highlights of the 2016 Beekeeping Season

2016 was a wonderful year of learning from the bees, and from other beekeepers, and then sharing that knowledge with others – both beekeepers and non-beekeepers alike.

Here are just a few of the highlights (the descriptions refer to the photo just above):

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I had a wonderful time teaching at the Central Colorado Beekeepers Association’s beekeeping class titled, “A Year in the Life of a Beekeeper.” We had nearly 100 people register for this class and some of them drove between 3 and 4 hours to get here.

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On March 21st, I wrote an article for our local newspaper entitled “How to Support Honey Bee Foraging.”  It was picked up and reposted by the facebook group Non Toxic Communities.

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On March 22nd, I did a cut-out of a feral colony that was living in the outside wall of a house in the San Luis Valley.  It was sunny, still, and 60°F.  The caring homeowner was getting ready to re-side the house and did not want to kill the bees.  I hived the bees and moved them to my apiary, the Gold Rush Apiary.

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April 11th.  I was privileged to be invited to make a beekeeping presentation to elementary school students in Colorado. They had been studying honey bees all year.

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In April I created TheBeautyofBees.com, a website where people can purchase fine art honey bee portraits in support of bee-centered honey bee research.

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In April I also posted this short video, “Why I Keep Bees.”  It has had 12,000 views and can be viewed on my facebook page Little Mountain Town Beekeeper.

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April 8th.  I captured a photo of this beauty tanking up on water at the bird bath.

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On May 2nd, I enjoyed representing the Central Colorado Beekeepers Association at the 2016 AgriSummit in Salida, Colorado.

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May 12th.  This was very difficult to capture on film, but I finally got a shot.   I had noticed that after the bees filled their honey sac with water at my bird bath, many of them would eliminate after flying just a few feet away from the bird bath and back toward their hive. They were lightening their load for their heavily-laden trip back. Some even eliminated just before landing on the bird bath to tank up on water.

In this photo, these bees are back-lit by a low-angle sun, that’s why they appear to glow. The bee furthest away has eliminated and you can see it as a bright spot, falling through the air, just at the edge of the grass.

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In May I was excited and privileged to be a guest speaker on a radio talk show on KUHS in Denver.

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June 24th.  Captured this photo of a forager loading up on pollen.

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July 2nd.  Of course I had to get this. And then, of course, I had to do this with it.

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July 31st.  A lot of activity at all four hives.  This photo also shows my first experimental outer cover that allows me to set hives tightly side-by-side for over-wintering.

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September 17th.  A beautiful frame of capped honey in the Gypsy Queen hive.

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September 17th.  Hosted an instructional hive inspection, for the Central Colorado Beekeepers Association, with Jerry Shue of the Moab Sustainable Honey Bee Project.

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September 18th.  Got to co-teach a fantastic class with Jerry Shue of the Moab Sustainable Honey Bee Project. We had folks from as far as three hours away at this class!

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September 22nd.  I was able to capture this photo of a returning forage bee, on the outside of the hive, expressing nectar out of its nectar sac and into the floor of its mouth.  House bees came out and extended their proboscis into the mouth of the forage bee to draw up the nectar and take it into the hive to be deposited into a cell in the honeycomb.

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In early October I hiked in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York.  I collected fallen birch bark and then mailed it home to myself.  Birch bark has a natural oil in it that will ignite even when the bark is wet.  It makes a fantastic bee smoker fuel starter.

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October 26th.  I was called to come and re-set a hive that had blown over in a very strong wind.  Because the client had only just discovered this after being out of town, the hive had sat like this for 9 days by the time I righted it.  It was exciting to see the bees still there and busily working to re-configure the comb.

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That same client then hired me to build this multi-hive stand (for future expansion of their apiary) and this L-shaped windbreak.

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On November 11th, I finished my own over-wintering system experiment for my colonies.  That can be further explored here:

https://littlemountaintownbeekeeper.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/201617-colorado-over-wintering-system-experiment/

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November.  I was honored to be asked to teach the Beekeeping Seasonality module for the Colorado State University Beekeeping Mentorship class.  What a great group!

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