Spring Beekeeping

Our honeybees have finished up their gig pollinating the blueberries at Community By Design Farm. Once the blueberry fruit set, the Mickelberry Gardens team got up before sunrise to seal the bees inside the hives before they were awake. Then the hives were carefully packed into a pickup and trailer and taken back to the apiary in Troutdale. The amazing bees are filling up honey supers as I type this!

The Troutdale Apiary

The Troutdale Apiary

At the Troutdale Apiary, the phacelia cover crop we planted last fall is stunningly abloom. Phacelia is an early flowering, heavy nectar producing cover crop which the bees love. Unfortunately our germination rates were quite low, but we plan on improving our planting methods this fall to get greater coverage of this nectar-abundant crop!

Phacelia - such a beautiful flower, you can see why the bees love it! Photo by Kevin Anderson

Phacelia – such a beautiful flower, you can see why the bees love it! Photo by Kevin Anderson

Honeybee sipping sweet phacelia nectar - photo by Kevin Anderson

Honeybee sipping sweet phacelia nectar – photo by Kevin Anderson

In patches of warm, sunny weather this spring we’ve kept busy collecting swarms throughout the Portland area, as well as catching swarms from our own hives. Here’s some pictures and video footage of these experiences:

A swarm from our hives that moved into a tree holler before we could catch it!

A swarm from our hives that moved into a tree holler before we could catch it!

Bee swarm in a rhododendron bush

Bee swarm in a rhododendron bush

 

View of the apiary from catching a swarm up in a tree!

View of the apiary from catching a swarm up in a tree!

Sometimes beekeeping gets you high!

Sometimes beekeeping gets you high!

Some of our swarms have found a new home at Naked Acres Farm in Southeast Portland, and at neighbor’s houses. Our friends have also had fun helping out with the swarm wrangling!

kate with the bees

We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of blackberry blooms, the most important nectar source for honeybees in Oregon summers. It seems like those flowers have just started to pop!

Blackberry flowers – photo from http://seamlesstiles1.blogspot.com/2009/11/blog-post.html

 

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