Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sunrise in the Hammock 5.27.15

Our Bat House

I love the Sable Palms…..this is looking to the West…during the hurricanes in ‘04 this was bent at a right angle but is still standing….many just snapped off.
This is a VERY tall tree.
 looking southeast…..

We never really noticed these 3 until Jim cut down all the dead trees… they make a beautiful skyline.
We do have some pretty sunrises.

Hen Turkey 5.26.15

She found the seed that was dropped when the bird feeder fell.

She wandered around and checked out the yard.

She was here for a few hours….the cats took some interest but decided she was too big or something….just laid down and went to sleep.

Love her eyes.
I tossed her some cracked corn which she ran to and ate. Now that she knows there is food available and she is fairly safe…I hope she comes back.

We used to have 10 that came in everyday for corn….but not for a few years.

Friday, May 22, 2015

No more Bee Box 5.21.15

This was our Bee Box. It was intended to be a squirrel box but a swarm moved in.

If you look close at the photo you can see the top of my bird feeder hanging on the cable.


Thursday afternoon we had a pretty good storm with hard rain….around 8pm I looked out and saw something on the ground….no bee box in the tree.

It was still windy and raining so we grabbed a hive bottom and 3 supers….I put frames in the bottom super and left the other two empty so we could put the comb in it.

We picked up all the comb and put it inside…it had fallen on it’s side and the comb was all squished together…lots of dead bees.

I stacked it with as much space between them as possible.

I put the front against the stand so they could climb up.

We had to use a piece of board for a cover since we didn’t have one.


This is the top.


There were a lot of bees still alive.


The next morning I made up 10 deep frames…took the box and frame hanger Jim made…the wheel barrow for the comb and box parts.


I used 3 pieces of string for each frame….


I cut and saved the best parts of the comb…tied it with string…


and hung them in the box Jim made. We use this for holding the frames when we are ready to take some honey…I get the bees off then he puts it inside and covers it so the bees don’t get back on them.


If the bees decide to stay they will attach the comb to the top of the frame and eventually remove all the string. I’ve seen them do it.024c

What is really confusing is ….how did it knock down the bird feeder?  There was seed all over the comb…and the bee box was under this cover.


I had the comb stacked inside these empty supers…If we had been prepared and it wasn’t raining we would have just put it in the frames.



I have no idea if there is a live Queen…I find it hard to believe she made it…

I put all the comb that was cut away and the ones too damaged to save in the wheel barrow for the bees to clean up.


Once the frames were done…we pulled the frames out of the bottom super…put the second one on and then put the frames with comb inside….7 frames…3 empty frames.

I put the super on top to let the bees climb down.

We left everything like that till later in the day so the bees could clean up.

I called my neighbor, George, to see if he still had some hive parts left…I needed an inner cover, a cover and another super. He brought them to us. Thanks George!!!


While I was removing frames and the empty super..Jim filled the bird feeder and hung it up. He had to make a few repairs first.


This morning there was a lot of activity around the hive…there was also a large clump of bees on the right end of the cart.


Suddenly it looked like they were in swarm mode and most went to the top of a tree….a few minutes later they came back and most went back to the same end of the cart.

It took several hours but they finally settled down …I think into the hive but not sure.

I suited up and removed the tray  (small hive beetle trap) to see how many bee bodies were in it….it was about half full of seed, bodies, hive beetles and larva and honey.

It is going to keep them busy cleaning up that comb.


Here is some of the comb that wasn’t saved.


lots of dead bees.




There was a lot of larva…I hope there is some that survived and they are able to use one to make a new Queen if she didn’t make it.

I was encouraged when they swarmed this morning…they grouped in the tree like any other swarm….it wasn’t long and they came back…so not sure.

I wasn’t interested in having a 3rd hive but we’ll be happy if they make it.

I have it on a wheeled cart so I can move it a little each day till we can put it on the hive stand.

Wish them luck.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Passion Flower Vine 5.13.15

This is my Passion Flower Vine.

You can see my hives in the background.


Last year I learned that this is the host plant for the Gulf Fritillary and the Zebra Longwing.

Not only are the flowers beautiful…they smell great.


This is the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. It’s less than an inch long now.


I circled the Zebra Longwing’s caterpillars…looks like they just hatched. They will be white with black spikes. The spikes on both types are supposed to keep birds from eating them I’m not so sure about the wasps….


While looking for caterpillars I was happy to see the Honey Bees take advantage of these beautiful flowers.


Each of the green buds will be a flower. There are 5 just in this little picture. I see a bee on this bloom also.


I’ve started another plant.. They are both in large pots. The weeds grow so fast around here it’s easier to use the weed eater this way. I don’t use any poisons for killing weeds…most of them have flowers that the bees use.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Color at the Bird Feeder 3.31.15

The Painted Buntings are almost in full color. Isn’t he a beauty?


The bird on the left is an Indigo Bunting….he is just starting to molt.


This Woodpecker likes a turn at the feeder….everybody leaves when it shows up.


I call this one “little Mommy”. I can see where she has been nursing little ones.


I run off the other squirrels but “little Mommy” gets to grab a bit now and then. Only problem…she tosses most of the seed on the ground to get the sunflower seeds.



The one on the left is just starting to molt…the one in the middle is a little farther along.



The Indigo Bunting in the back is just about colored out. Usually when you see them this bright it’s time for them to leave.


The green bird is either a juvenile Painted Bunting or a female.



Watch the activity…..Cardinals, Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, Titmice and Woodpeckers.

Sometimes you can even see some Honey Bees in the back ground. The hives are just behind the feeder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Honey Bees working Spiderwort 3.17.15

I planted these last year and they’ve come back very nicely. The Honey Bees take a lot of pollen from them.


This little gal already has a basket full.


They work very hard.


Their wings are just a blur.


This one is visiting the same group of flowers but she doesn’t have near as much pollen.


I took some of these out of the video…so they are not very clear.


Here’s another with a basket full. I wonder how much it weighs compared to the bees weight.


Watch the video and see how hard they work.

Every plant in my yard is “bee food”. No pesticides or herbicides…so most of it is weeds…but if it has flowers that the bees can benefit from…it stays.