It’s been a slow season in the apiary as I have only one active hive this year. But you, gentle reader, will be happy to learn that I have used my bee-down-time productively by making enhancements to my entire beekeeping process.
My husband is completely embarrassed by my bee-geekery and never more so than when I hung this bracket up in the kitchen. I used one of those little brackets that security cameras are mounted on and instead put my beloved Bushnell PermaFocus bird binoculars on it. It is mounted next to the window that has a direct view of the apiary.
And what do I see on the 50,000 times a day I check on the bees?
The New Old Watering Hole
What began as a birdbath proved to be a major benefit for bees: a source of fresh water. I attached a clear plastic hose line (I bought it at Lowe’s, cut to fit) from the condensate drain line on my air conditioner and ran it to my bird bath. I attached the hose line to the chain link fence with (what else?) cable ties so that the water from the hose would splash down into the birdbath. The birds, of course, love it. But the bees really flock to it and it is not uncommon to see a dozen at the birdbath in really hot dry weather. The big bonus here is that on the super-hot days when your AC runs all day the birdbath stays filled with fresh clean cool water and everyone — birds, bees, and you — benefits.
Put A Lid On It
This tip is probably only useful for small-scale beekeepers like me who use entrance feeders instead of hive-top feeders. I make up several quart jars of pre-measured sugar but I don’t fill them with water until just before I need them. To keep ants and other unsavory characters out of my bee sugar I put all the jars, measuring cup, and funnel into one of these canning containers called The Jar Box. The lid snaps in place with little locks on either side.
A Place For Everything
Beekeepers have tools that make the job of opening hives and caring for bees easier. The trick is to have all of these tools handy at all of your hives as your attention is most likely divided between 1) an active and very hot smoker, and 2) several thousand honeybees. This is where a standard grooming tote comes in.