Friday, October 21, 2011

a bee moon


A bee moon on eco-dyed shantung silk for flying dreams. I've forgotten what the silk was dyed with and haven't started a dye journal yet. None of my dyed cloth is labeled, I'm very sorry to say.

I think about our honeybees day and night. When it was hot, I worried they'd overheat and sure as heck, I'd find them sticking their little rear ends out fanning like crazy to ventilate and regulate the hive temperature. Now that the nights are cold, I worry much more because they must maintain a hive temperature of 94 degrees F and that takes a lot of energy. So I feed them special concoctions and am learning about making bee patties and bee fondant or just dumping sugar in. And trying to buy extra capped honeycomb from other bee people but no luck so far.

I check them at least ten times a day. They are constantly being robbed by other bees and wasps so I go out and close up the entrance a little more when I see that going on. I use a twig to break up fights because a wasp will tear a honeybee apart. Then I go back in the house because I know I'm not seeing the half of it all.

When my husband walks in the door, I update him on the bees. At dinner, I update him some more. And probably before bed-time again, I lose track.

We're still deciding on what winterizing technique to use. At this time, the plan is a layer of wool batting topped with an insulation cozy. A few straw bales, but not too many because we don't want to attract mice. And a space blanket when and if we have below-zero temperatures. But this can all change at any moment depending on what new information I uncover.

And that's what's going on here. Happy weekending! xo

P.S. I feel like I should add here that this hive is small in numbers because these bees had swarmed late in the season and were only moved into the hive on July 18. Being small means less bees to forage and less bees to prepare for winter. Also, less bees to defend their honey supply from robbing bees and wasps. Next year will be different. Fingers crossed.

16 comments:

Nancy said...

I love your bee moon! Here our population has been very low all summer. I have seen a few more recently, now that it is more fall-like weather. But, then again it will be heating back up this weekend! Oh bother!

Jeannie said...

Your bee moon is wonderful. Like you, I have been lax about labeling my dyeing results. None have been spectacular, I kind of know what is what. I am the same way about our wild birds. When it gets bitter cold I will throw batting out for them to add to their nests. One bitter cold winter I built ledges under the eaves so they would have protection. (My hubby wasn't too crazy about that as they woke us with all their chirping.) I imagine I would be the same with bees. Could you build a faux cold frame? I think what you are doing is fascinating and if we had the land, I'd be seriously asking questions. They do so much good for the earth and without them, we would perish.

deanna7trees said...

never realized how much work goes into having beehives. you're doing a good thing.

Marie said...

I understand how you feel about the bees...
I tend to be the concerned one about things too.
When we are the "guardian" of something it is a serious commitment! I think it is the mother in us : )
Love your new bee moon. It will go nicely with "flying dreams."

Deb G said...

Love the bee moon! I'm so curious about what you do with your bees...

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

bee love. how great. my favorite
part of this was about breaking up
fights with a twig

woman with wings said...

Nancy, I hope you have a big surge of bees -- maybe where the seasons don't change so drastically, they have a different active season?

woman with wings said...

Thanks, Jeannie. I loved reading what you do for the birds to the point of building ledges! Hadn't thought of putting out batting, that's a great idea. The deal is that you don't want the bees to think it's warm outside because they'll attempt to take a cleansing flight and could die in the cold. It's a back & forth thing. We thought about putting a light bulb under the hive but that may make it too warm, too. I should add to my post that the reason it's even an issue is because they moved into the hive so very late in the season and haven't had time grow in numbers to make enough honey and insulate.

woman with wings said...

Deanna, as I was just saying to Jeannie, the reason is they are such a small group, hived late in the season, and haven't had time to grow the numbers to prepare themselves for winter. That plus all the robbing, and that's again because of their small size. Next year should be much easier!

woman with wings said...

Thanks, Marie -- and me, too! Feel like I find things to take care of. Or rather, they find me. Maybe both!

woman with wings said...

Deb, thanks, since I've got bees on my brain anyway, a moon seemed inevitable... I try not to go on too much about them here but can't help myself sometimes!

woman with wings said...

Grace, thanks. It's not pretty when I need to do that!

handstories said...

well you are as busy as the bees! i agree w/grace about the stick part. i taught about bees a couple of years ago & had no idea how fascinating they were until then. hooray for you for helping and keeping them.

Els said...

Ha, that bee moon is fun and I love the eco dyed shantung !
(I have done some eco dyeing and .... never wrote anything down :-( .... doesn't matter much I think won't make yards and yards and yards ....)

woman with wings said...

Thank you, Cindy! I learn more about the bees every single day, no doubt about it.

woman with wings said...

Els, thanks! Oh, I really wish I'd labeled things. For sure I know the bindweed cloth and the grape cloth and the elderberry and after that it's a blur! How hard is it to write it down, I ask myself, and then I still don't do it! Ha.