Craft Fairs

Posted in Bees on October 27th, 2013

A big thank you to all the people who came out to see us at the craft fair. We currently have a booth setup at the Albany Shaker Craft fair.

Craft fair booth

We have also updated our etsy page to include the new hexagon tapers, jumbo pine cones, and votives.

If you are in the Albany area and are looking for comb honey or creamed honey please send me an email at

Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Yellow Jackets eating together

Posted in Bees, Photo Friday on September 9th, 2013

After our extracting party, the massive task of cleaning and sterilizing everything starts. Part of the process is rinsing out the honey and small wax pieces from the extractor and uncapping tub. The honey water was dumped at the edge of the garden. I short time later, there appeared wide array of foragers. They eagerly lapped up the any remaining sweet water. What surprised me the most was the different species tended to stick together. Honey bees would form tight head down clusters. The Bumble Bees would wander around but always within a hand span of each other. The few Yellow Jackets would stay towards the outside edge and move must quicker.

Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, and Yellow Jackets

Dangers of using pressure treated wood for hive stands

Posted in Bees on September 4th, 2013

Wes, W. a SABA club member, was having a terrible summer with his bees. The hives were aggressive and several of his queens were superseded. Due to his great record keeping, he was able to trace the problems back to his newly installed hive stands. These stands were build out of pressure treated wood and used with screened bottom board. He wrote a great email about what he learned.

I thought I would fill everyone in with an update to my dilemma earlier this summer.

Recall I was losing queens (absconding/death/swarming/drone laying) on a regular basis with no overt cause.

Aaron M. came by my yard a few weeks ago to try and help troubleshoot and he noticed the bees in the yard were “annoyed” even before we began to work them.

After his visit we could not arrive at any reason for the loss of queens/colony defensiveness other than the possibility below:

Ian M. (who learned this from Greg S.) suggested the queen problems might have something to do with pressure treated lumber. Apparently, pressure treated lumber is now using a different chemical (targeted as more of a pesticide than a preservative) and it is causing some issues with queens for some beekeepers.
Well, this spring, I just installed some new pressure-treated hive scale frames (they sit directly under my screen bottom board).

As I looked back over my notes from this season, I realized that all my problems began soon after I installed the pressure treated lumber under the colonies. I even saw a correlation between my lone overwintered hive that went “drone layer” in the spring; this happened 3 weeks after I installed the scale frame.

So, I removed the lumber from underneath the colonies and installed a virgin queen in my latest queenless hive.

I’m happy to report that all three of my remaining colonies are currently queen-right and doing well.

I share this story not only to fill everyone in that was following the thread, but as a cautionary tale about using “fresh” pressure treated lumber as hive stands. I can’t tell you how many hours and dollars this issue has caused me this year; for most of the season I felt like I was chasing my tail – running to and fro, replacing queen after queen. I believe it was all caused by my well-meaning installation of this hardware to help me quantify colony honey store rates.

Coincidentally, my actual hive stands are made from pressure-treated 4x4s, but they are at least 10 years old, and have been subjected to the weather for most of that time before I re-purposed them for hive stands.

Thanks to everyone who offered advice/queens/time to help me figure this one out!

I hope the next 6 months involve less drama for my colonies as I help them prepare their winter stores.