10 07, 2015

Bee “keeping”?

By |2015-07-04T08:50:56-05:00July 10th, 2015|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

One afternoon this spring, I got a call from Beekeeper Brian on his way home from work asking if I would make a phone call. I must confess this seemed too easy of a task. He asked me to call a local restaurant and ask if they had a swarm in a tree in their parking lot. Ok, sure.

I called and talked to the manager and sure enough there was a swarm in a tree in their parking lot. The manager did say he had already talked to one beekeeper that could not come get it immediately but would contact a fellow beekeeper. I told him the fellow beekeeper is my husband Beekeeper Brian. It is a tight knit community – this group of beekeepers.

bee boxesSo Brian came home, put on his bee suit, got his bee boxes and went to get some bees. He returned an hour later with a box of bees, including the queen, and a $30 gift card to the restaurant. He put the BOB (box of bees) on the back porch. It was a successful trip for everyone.

The next day Rachel noticed a lot of commotion in the back yard.

Apparently the new bees were not happy with their new home. They swarmed to a tree in our back yard.

Brian put out a bee trap to entice them back into a hive. In case you were wondering, bees are attracted to the scent of lemon grass. They went into the box for a while. Then they left again.

tree hiveThey were back in the tree in a different spot. We stood in the yard looking at them for a while. Then Brian decided to let them” be”. “Bees are going to do what bees are going to do” he said.

So the name “beekeeper” is really a misnomer. You can’t “keep” bees. You can only invite them to come make honey in your bee box. Sometimes they oblige.


5 10, 2012

Miller Farm Friday – Wax Bees and Bananas

By |2012-10-05T08:17:27-05:00October 5th, 2012|Miller Farm Friday, Uncategorized|2 Comments

For an urban city farm, the Miller Farm produces a wide variety of products. I love the eggs. And, the honey Beekeeper Brian extracts is equally tasty.

Chicken Wrangler email today is about the bees on the farm.

Today has been a bit busier than a normal. I added blood donation to my already full errand list.

 When I returned to the Farm, I discovered an interesting object on my kitchen counter. 

It is a two liter bottle (which I had saved at Beekeeper Brian’s request) which is about a quarter full of clear liquid with what appears to be a banana peel in it.

 This last part was confirmed by the discovery of both ends of the banana peel in the sink. Now being married to Brian for 25 years, I know this is something he has done.

I suspect it has something to do with the bees. Just in case you need a little humor to lighten your day,  any other guesses?

I’ll let you know what this contraption is when I find out.

Then the next morning this Chicken Wrangler email arrived.

A moth trap! 

 Apparently there is a type of moth that takes up residence in bee hives and greatly hinders honey production. They are extremely attracted to the clear liquid in the two liter bottle which is actually a mixture of sugar, water and honey.

If you look closely, you can see the moth mite on the bee’s neck.

The banana peel puts off some gas thing as it ferments that is extremely unattractive to the bees so they are not tempted to join the moths in their final swim.

The banana must ferment for two days so tomorrow the  bottle will go out back near the bee hives. I’ll report back on the success of the “two liter bottle/banana peel moth trap.”


A hive destroyed by wax moths. Note the larva in the honeycombs.
Learn more about the wax moth and bees:

Now I am sure we will all sleep better having solved this mystery. 

~~Sara – who never ceases to be amazed at the wonders her husband discovers

I, too, am amazed at the things Beekeeper Brian can do. Some blog we’ll talk about his fly-fishing skills or his woodcrafting bowls or his dulcimer building skills. A multi-tasking beekeeper-farmer that Brian.

YOUR TURN: Ever found something unfamiliar on your kitchen counter?