Happy New Year!

Wow! Between family holiday fun, birthdays, school projects and parties, recitals, substitute teaching, and a very successful BEE SWEET holiday sale, we’ve been busy as bees, resulting in No-blog November and Deserted-blog December. Please forgive! My New Year’s resolution is to be a better blogger in 2016!

Bee Sweet products

Bee Sweet products

Bee Sweet Bee Farm sends out a huge thank you to everyone who supported our first online Tiny Business Tuesday Christmas sales event. Hopefully everyone enjoyed your products, and you felt the love we put into each item! Our younger staff members each chose a charity to support with some of the profits. The Cleveland County Partnership for Children, Foothills Farmers Market-Farmers’ Foodshare Program, and the Thomas Jefferson Talon Challenge benefiting the Jimmy V Foundation all received donations this year. Thank you for helping us give back!

The weather here is just plain WONKY! We’ve been wearing shorts and t-shirts through the last days of December, which is a nice treat for cold-natured me, but it’s pretty confusing for the bees. The gradual lengthening of days and warmer temperatures trigger bees to raise brood (baby bees) for the spring. Parents, you remember what it’s like to bring a newborn home from the hospital. You spend all your time either preparing to feed, feeding, or recovering from feeding that baby. Just like human infants, baby bees need to be fed almost all the time, and constant feeding uses lots of their honey stores.

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Nurse bees tend to bee larvae

Warm temperatures also make the worker bees want to forage for food, but there are very few plants in bloom right now. About the only thing we have available in our yard are dandelions. (See neighbors, there’s a reason we cultivate those instead of the lush green grass y’all have in your yards!) The bees expend a huge amount of energy looking for food, find very few nectar sources, come home hungry, and eat stored honey. It would be similar to you driving your car around from place to place to look for work. You burn lots of gasoline while driving, but you don’t get paid anything if you don’t find a job.

All this early winter use of honey prompted us to use the extra warm days as an opportunity to feed a little bonus sugar syrup to the girls, just as a little insurance that they have plenty of food to get them through the cold days that are most likely still to come this winter. Normally we wouldn’t be able to feed them syrup this time of year because of freezing night temperatures, and in typical years they wouldn’t need to be fed because they would have plenty of honey stores to last through the winter. So far, this winter is anything but typical!

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Adding syrup to top feeder

There are several choices of feeders for beehives. We use a top feeder that simply stacks on top of the existing hive. Sugar syrup is poured into the feeder, equipped with a floating framework for the bees to stand on and slurp up the syrup. Bees don’t swim, so they must have a place to stand and drink. They ferry the syrup to empty beeswax cells in the hive below and store it for later use. Other feeder designs attach to the entry way of the hive, but these can attract robber bees and pests. Since we sometimes have issues with the feral bees in our area, top feeders work well for us.

Wow! What a year! Bee Sweet Bee Farm would like to say thank you for an amazing 2015. None of us can be sure where life’s adventures will take us next, but we are thankful for our bees and the fun and relaxation they bring to our lives. We are grateful for all our supporters. Your beautiful words of encouragement mean so much, and those who check in on our babees on a regular basis bring a smile to our hearts and faces.

Please celebrate safely as we bring 2015 to a close. Remember, 2016 is a blank slate, full of opportunities to BEE SWEET! Happy New Year!

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