Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Late September Sunday

Fall came this morning. The skies dawned a brilliant blue, colorful leaves rained to the ground in the light breeze and the 50 degree temperature was perfect for enjoying my coffee on the deck. We deserved this day. A good portion of the Southeast has suffered from torrential flooding over the past 10 days. I have recorded almost 2' here. Rain fell heavily all day yesterday. There has been extensive damage to roads, bridges, dams and livelihoods. The flooding took a heavy toll on the apple crops in this area. Great piles of fruit just fell to the ground. In Atlanta, there was a devastating loss of 7 beehives at The Blue Heron Preserve. I feel very fortunate not have suffered any losses.

The garden washed pretty badly, but that is easily fixed. The bird population dines heavily on the heads of sunflowers, coneflowers and joe-pye weed. I usually wait until late October to cut these plants back, but nature had something different in mind. Most plants were knocked over and covered soil. I spent this morning cutting and transplanting.

The trout stream flows the length of the property and is usually very lazy. It turned into a raging river with the floods. The house sits far enough north of the water that it is never a threat, but even today I can hear it roaring as I sit in the house. The beehives, too, are at the top of my garden and were never in danger.

I don't think anybody will be talking about drought in the mountains for sometime to come.

Some bee concerns: During the worst of the rain, the bees were confined to the hives for 3 days without a chance to get out. Each hive has a full shallow super full of capped honey, so I was not worried about them having food, but very curious if they had started to consume some of the stores. I was able to open the hives on Thursday and they had started eating a very small amount of the stored honey. Not enough to be alarming.

Small Hive Beetles. When I took the extra supers off the hives, there were several frames of drawn comb, in addition to a couple of capped frames of sourwood honey. I wanted to store the capped honey in case I needed to feed later during the winter. As I was putting the frames into sealed storage, I saw 2 small hive beetles. I had not seen one before. After talking to several friends, I learned that SHB is not much of a problem in the mountains. Most report seeing a few during the season, but never enough to be a concern. My only fear is that my newest nuc came from the upstate of South Carolina where SHB can be a problem. We're only 13 miles from the SC border, but our temperature differences are dramatic. Cool here, hot there. I looked very carefully but did not see any more beetles in the hives. I'll monitor closely in the spring.

Today, for the first time, I saw a varroa mite on a bee. I knew there were some varroa in both hives and have treated with the powdered sugar shake, but this is the first time I've actually seen a mite on a bee. It made me sad. On the advice of Jennifer Berry from the University of Georgia, I'm going to do another sugar shake in November. The population of the hive at that point should be mostly adult bees thereby exposing a greater number of bees to treatment as opposed to brood. Makes sense to me.

Both of these hives are going into cold weather much stronger than Walter did last year. Doesn't mean I won't worry. I will. I've had 2 beekeepers tell me recently they went to their hives in the morning and saw many bees and when they visited in the afternoon, the bees were gone. It just happened that quickly. My main concern for these hives continues to be the threat of damage from bears. They are quite active in the area and there have been several times in recent days when the dogs drove them away from the area surrounding the garden and beehives.

Goldenrod and asters are still blooming, but the amount of pollen being brought in has decreased significantly. Much colder weather is forecast for later in the week.


Paul said...

Lynn if you only see a few SHB's I think you will be fine. We have to equip our hives with traps down here in Louisiana or we will eventually loose a hive to these things. I can not stand the fact that they defecate in the honey.

Anonymous said...

Hola, Lynn! Wasn't it BEAUTIFUL today? Like your area in the mountains, it was sunny and breeze here in the Triad today. When I looked at the thermometer, it was 80 degrees! I have to mow, mow -- and mow some more this week, especially since my neighbor mowed hers and now my yard looks all shabby. I think I'm going to do a sugar dusting this week and wait for a month and do another for good measure as they go into winter. I may switch their syrup out to 2:1 too, thats because they're still drawing comb on a few frames in the lower deep. Since they've been cooped up most of the last two weeks, last couple of days especially, I figured they would be busy in front of my hive and really busy. But no, it was slow today, I guess they decided it was the day of rest and so they did just that. The hives look great! Tip o' the hat to you and your girls!

vicree said...

The stream running through your wooded area is lovely to see. As you described it, I could almost hear it singing its swiftly moving music as it tumbled over the rocks and moved on downstream into shady places. After it slowed some, were you tempted to do a bit of tubing? Or was it still unsafe and much too cold? This year, September, with its cool weather, crept up on me: I had barely gotten into an August frame of mind. You remember, I am sure, that today is Ora's birthday.

And speaking of sugar shakes, were we not? I had my own powdered sugar shake on Saturday and not a bee in sight! But, what is a Funnel Cake at the county fairgrounds without the white treat? Umm good!

Of course the Dairy Goat Show was what drew me there and I fell in love once again with these wonderful animals. Hope there will come a time when you and the darling little one can have the joy of getting to know one or two.