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July 25, 2014

Friday in the apiary

by blakehiltunen

Following the scare and concern of the last couple weeks over the health of the hives, this week each of the three hives I have are bustling with activity.  Early in the week I took a trip to Merrimack, NH to visit Hillside Apiaries run by Allen Lindahl.  The hives are reaching a critical mass and thus is time to expand their condo by adding another hive body (box to hold frames).  Allen is a charming New Hampshire man running a small beekeeping supply store from his home.  He has 21 years of experience and thus a tremendous amount of knowledge.  He is very friendly and encourages any beginning beekeepers to call him with questions: 603 429 0808 or


Natural comb production on the inner cover shows the necessity to provide more living space for the bees.


Worker bees secrete wax from a gland on the front side of their abdomen.  A drop of wax is released from the body and hardens when it comes into contact with air.  This wax is thin and resembles a fish scale.  From the abdomen, the bee moves the wax with her legs passing it forward where she masticates it, mixing in saliva and softening it for use in construction.  Above is a picture of a worker making comb.


Today we saw the neighbor working in his garden and decided to bring him a little treat.


The bees had a little feast when we opened the honey stores.  

While visiting with Kevin, the neighbor, we had a conversation about the use of pesticides on his Hibiscus plant that had been attacked by worms.  He said that it was his instinct to use a common pesticide from Home Depot to treat the plant but worried about the bees.  He still had the product he was planning to use so we decided to check it out.


Sure enough, in bold type face in the information on the back of the bottle:


Luckily Kevin hadn’t sprayed the plant yet and passed along an organic and CHEAP! method of treating the plant’s worm infestation.  Here is the recipe for Hot Pepper Spray:  

Soak 5 hot peppers and 5 cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup of water for 30 minutes.  Blend this mix into a paste and add 1 teaspoon of dish soap, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Blend together and combine with 1 quart of water.  


Also, found this great poster of the life of the honeybee at Hillside Apiaries.  It clearly shows the different classes a worker bee will go through during its life as well as nicely illustrating the developmental stages of the queen, worker and drone from egg to emersion.

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