Crt Jakhel

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since Sep 23, 2012
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NE Slovenia, zone 6b
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Recent posts by Crt Jakhel

Edward Norton wrote:It’s important to realise that their are two kinds of ‘guard’ dog. The first kind attack, the second kind make a lot of noise.

This. We have a Hovawart dog, the breed is from the Middle ages (Hof wart - watchman of the property) but has been re-created in the modern time after the dogs were mostly killed in WW 2. Very large. Generally a healthy breed. Very loud and with an impressive deep voice when alarmed. Hardly aggressive at all if trained correctly. However, maybe not the best dog to be left alone outside - it much preferes to be with its humans.
1 week ago
Same problem right now a long way from you in Slovenia. In my experience crimson clover usually looks like a basket case during winter but bounces back strongly in the spring. Won't be a lot of green during winter though since it was sown late. Rye should do fine. No experience with vetch.
1 month ago
Those are some good looking plants Never mind that the fields are not perfectly weeded... Victory comes from chosing your battles.

You ask:

Would you use this area for growing food or would the proximity of the conventionally farmed grain field put you off?

My answer is that it depends on the groundwater. If you share a high ground water table with your 'cides-heavy neighbor then that's likely a problem. Apart from that, having a good shelter belt of shrubs and trees should help a lot. Maybe try hazel and willow? They don't mind the cold and grow quickly. You mentioned some willow is already present.
3 months ago

Crt Jakhel wrote:Elizabeth Bear - Ancestral night. Classic space sci-fi but without the pew pew. An imaginative and reliable author.

Followed by the next book in the series, Machine. Very enjoyable if you grew up on scifi and believe space will have to eventually be our future.
3 months ago
Like Bruce and Mike said, bees will consider the full menu of what they find available and decide what to make the most of.

There's also the time of day to consider - by my observation there is an ebb and flow of activity during the day on individual species of flowers, which is expected due to different bloom opening times (see Linne's clock), as well as in general bee activity, probably dependant on air humidity, angle of the sun, etc.

Also, the foraging range is not really small so that while you're seeing good food available around you, the bees may have found some delicacy a mile or two away.

It's hard to be sure in advance and it can be tricky to expect hard answers - for example at our location pumpkins are usually very popular. If black locust and crimson clover flower at the same time, they will usually go for the locust.
3 months ago
Elizabeth Bear - Ancestral night. Classic space sci-fi but without the pew pew. An imaginative and reliable author.
4 months ago
Be safe when using organic acids! They are not harmless in their concentrated form,. Read about usage. Protect your lungs, eyes and skin. If you dilute your acid, pour acid into water, NOT water into acid.

4 months ago
As to what was left in the old hive before the new swarm came -- normally it's a good idea to clean hives with a burner (or a bath in a caustic solution) because varroa, the arch enemy, is not just a bug that does vampiric stuff to your bees - it also leaves a hole in their body which won't heal. This can lead to the situation where a heavy varroa infestation also creates a breeding ground for various viral, bacterial and fungal disease. Thus the fire / chemical thing.

Elle, it's not my aim here to discourage you,  I'm just somebody who doesn't particularly like risk and thus the precautions above. Your hive can be entirely OK. It already has new tenants anyway so here's hoping they will thrive.

One more thing, you mentioned that the hive is full of comb. Now, a swarm is a comb-building machine and it's a good thing to let it do its stuff. It will keep the bees in good form and you'll get fresh wax. So in my opinion it would be a good idea to remove not just some of the frames which contain honey (for later use) but also some of the non-honey-filled old comb - preferrably the darkest, ie. most heavily used one by your previous bee family. That way when your new queen starts laying it will happen in a new, healthier environment.

4 months ago
If there are many beekeepers around you then no-treating is not really a nice thing to do because while performing natural selection on your bees you will also be a varroa breeding ground for your neighbors.  Varroa being inserted in your hives by somebody else's bees on a robbing mission is very real.

At our place we make do by treating with organic acids - formic and oxalic. I prefer that since those are chemicals that are naturally present in honey although, of course, not at the concentration that we use for varroa control.

Since the hive has been out of use for a while formic acid would give you a double benefit: cleaning the newly resident bees and the hive itself since formic has been known to take care of various molds and fungal based disease. Not just in theory, that's been my experience as well.

Read up on what's recommended for your local enviroment - for us in Slovenia, a long way away from you though also in a temperate climate, a single treatment is 20 ml of 65% formic per box, dripped onto a sponge or similar material when daily temps are not above 80 F or so - and repeated 2-3 x with a week's pause inbetween.

4 months ago
Could also be not-yet-ripe aronia (chokeberry), the time is about right for this stage of fruit development.
4 months ago