Settlement Farm Apiary Does the Time Warp Again

Bee inspection. Photo by Brennan.

Bee inspection. Photo by Brennan.

Settlement Farm Apiary’s blog has a swirl of activity bringing us up to date on doings in the home and satellite bee yards last summer. Of particular interest, you can catch a glimpse of what seem to be bees in the process of extruding wax to build honeycomb, and the threat of invading mites.

Settlement Farm Apiary Makes a Break For Freedom

Photo by Brennan.

Photo by Brennan.

In the most recent update from Settlement Farm, Brennan recounts being on hand to see the Red hive swarm:

I was just in time to see Red issue a swarm!  Fortunately the swarm settled on an easy to reach branch and I was able to capture it.  My process was to spritz the cluster with water (with a little Honey-B-Healthy for good measure).  Then to scoop and brush the bees into a deep in which I had the few deep frames I had to spare and which had a queen excluder on its bottom.

Will Brennan’s swarm-capture technique succeed? Click through to find out. And check out the videos he posted of the swarming action.

Settlement Farm Apiary’s Whirlwind of Activity

Honeycomb at Settlement Farm. Photo by Brennan.

Honeycomb at Settlement Farm. Photo by Brennan.

May was abuzz with activity at Settlement Farm for Brennan. He reversed hive boxes to counteract the bees’ upward movement during the winter, further tweaked the arrangement, developed the annex bee yard and missed catching the bees as they swarmed at the end of the month: “Interestingly, my mother checked her notes and we had a swarm just a few days earlier the previous year.  I need to keep this in mind next year.”

Brennan goes on to comment about swarming and how to prevent it, including his own process in adding supers to each of the hives:

Bees generally swarm when they feel crowded.  They can feel crowded for various reasons, but one obvious one is that they have filled up too much of their brood next with honey and the queen doesn’t have enough space to lay.  The solution for this is to get supers (boxes with frames intended predominantly or entirely for honey production or to swarm frames full of honey in the brood next with new empty frames (either empty drawn comb or undrawn foundation, the former I believe is preferred if you think they may decide to swarm before they can draw out foundation).

Settlement Farm Apiary Takes Stock

Honeycomb. Photo by Brennan.

Honeycomb. Photo by Brennan.

Settlement Farm Apiary has a pair of updates this week. The first week in May, Brennan took stock of the hives and reversed the stacking order of the hives “to counteract the fact that bees had likely worked their way to the top of the hives during the winter and might feel crowded up there even though they have plenty of room below.” Click through to check out more close-ups of open boxes and details on how the hives are doing.

The bee yard annex in development. Photo by Brennan.

The bee yard annex in development. Photo by Brennan.

The next week, Brennan tweaked the bottom slat board to give the bees more space and help keep the hive cooler in the summer. He also visited the bee yard annex, adding some improving touches to the fencing.

Settlement Farm Field Trip

Nucs on site. Photo by Brennan.

Nucs on site. Photo by Brennan.

Settlement Farm Apiary went mobile last month, taking nucs off-site to an organic farm. Brennan hopes “that the bees will flourish there, produce substantially more honey than at the beeyard at my parents (to warrant the extra effort of a second site), and that they will not be attacked by a bear.”

Bold, audacious goals for an apiarist. Click through to read how the transportation went.

Settlement Farm Apiary Wakes from Winter

Our friend Brennan isn’t just a painter of miniatures. No, his geekeries go deeper. Since 2010, he’s been blogging about keeping bees at his parents’ farm over at Settlement Farm Apiary. The archives document his journey as a apiarist, which often seems to be a puzzling one. Why does one hive thrive, while another doesn’t make it through the winter?

As a case in point, in the most recent post, logging notes from the end of this March, it seems that one hive’s occupants died off over the winter, despite frames of honey being available to them within the box.

Also, check out this video of the bees in cleansing flights that day in March:

Geek Things for August 24th

No earthquakes scheduled for today!

  • Greening Your Home, 6PM, Rutland Free Library, Rutland. Free. (Energy)
  • Renewable Energy Workshop, 6:30–7:30PM, Hunger Mountain Co-op, Montpelier. Free; preregister. (Energy)
  • Community Bike Shop, 5–8PM, Bike Recycle Vermont, Burlington. Donations accepted. (Bikes)
  • ‘Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands’, 7:30PM, Film House, Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, Burlington. $10 suggested donation. (Environmentalism / Documentary)
  • Monarch Butterfly Tagging, 3:30–5PM, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier. Free. (Nature)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Batteries & Motors, 11:00 am, Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Mirror, Mirror, 3:00 pm, Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Learn About Simple Touch, Our Newest eBook Reader! 5:30 PM, Barnes and Noble, South Burlington. (eReaders)
  • Learn the Japanese Art of Origami, 10am, Congregational Church, Waterbury. Pre-reg. 244-7036. (Origami)
  • Naruto, 4:30pm – 8:00pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Wednesday Night Board gaming at Triple Play, 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Triple Play, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • D&D Encounter, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • L5R Night at Triple Play, 6:30pm – 10:00pm, Triple Play, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)

Catamount Found, Killed by Car in CT

Remember a couple of months ago, we wrote about how the Eastern Mountain Lion was declared extinct? Well, the good news appears to be that they aren’t. Bad news is that they’re now down another member of their species:

The Eastern mountain lion was declared extinct in March by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but it looks like one hardy cat may have been keeping his species alive in the wilds of Connecticut. Or maybe it was just a different subspecies of mountain lion that escaped or was released by some sick bastard illegally keeping him as a pet. Either way, the kitty was killed by an SUV Saturday morning. But are there more out there?

Residents of fancy Greenwich, Connecticut and other towns have been reporting sighting mountain lions for weeks, and despite the death of this one, Greenwich police continue to receive reports of the ferocious felines. But authorities are urging citizens to remain calm, and they’ve decided that this was the only mountain lion roaming around. “DEP continues to believe that the animal killed in Milford was indeed the one seen in Greenwich,” DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette told reporters yesterday. “Until we have something that we can really go on — a fresh paw print, a photo — we will go on the assumption that there is only one.”


Geek Things for May 19th

I’m out of the country for the next week and a bit, so these lists might be a bit out of date. We’ve got a list of 30 or so websites that we check every morning – that list can be found here. (Let us know if there’s something that we have to add up)

  • Way to Go! Commuter Challenge – Visit for details. 12AM–11:59PM, Various locations statewide. Free. (Environment)
  • Build Your Own Rain Barrel, 5:30–7PM, Public Works Building, South Burlington. $25. (Water)
  • Mt. Mansfield Scale Modelers, 6:30–8:30PM, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. Free. (Models)
  • All-Community Youth Art Festival, 8AM–9PM, Various locations, Woodstock. Various prices. (Youth)
  • Chess Club, 7PM, Faith United Methodist Church, South Burlington. $2-3. (Chess)
  • Open Computer Time, 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Teens)
  • Morning Bird Walk. Preregister, 7–9AM, Shelburne Farms, Shelburne. $6. (Birds)
  • Media Maven Luncheon, 12–1:30PM, Channel 17 Studios, Burlington. $5-15; additional $5 for lunch. (Tech)
  • ‘Facebook 101 and More’, 8–10AM, Franklin Conference Center, Rutland. $20-25. (Tech)
  • Susan Morse – “Bobcats, Bears, Cougars, Moose … and More!”, 6–8PM, Library, Vergennes Union High School & Middle School, Vergennes. Donations accepted. (Nature)
  • ‘The Crucible’, 7:30PM, Fuller Hall, St. Johnsbury Academy, St. Johnsbury. $5-10. (Theater)
  • The Moth – An evening of storytelling with a metamorphosis theme. 7PM, Big Picture Theater & Café, Waitsfield. $10. (Theater)
  • Warmachine / Hordes, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games Gamespace, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Author Signing: Jack McDevitt, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Flights of Fantasy Books and Games, Albany NY. (Author Signing)
  • Alan Benoit, Sustainable Living Series, 7pm, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester. (Environment)

Geek Things for April 5th

  • Open Computer Time, 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Computers)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Lunch & Discussion: ‘Eurydice’ chat about the upcoming production. 12:30PM, Seeler Studio Theatre, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, Middlebury. Donations accepted; lunch included. (Theater)
  • Matthew Dickerson – “The Mind and the Machine: What It Means to Be Human and Why It Matters.” 12pm, Farrell Room, St. Edmund’s Hall, St. Michael’s College, Colchester. Free. (Technology)
  • ‘Speaking From Experience’ Lecture Series – William Herman shares wisdom gained from founding, managing, directing and funding software and electronics companies, 7pm, Perry Hall, Champlain College, Burlington. Free. (Business)
  • ‘Macbeth’, 7–8PM, Milton Middle/High School, Milton. $6 suggested donation. (Theater)
  • Poetry Alive! 2011 Poetry Display, Various downtown locations, Montpelier. Free. (Poetry)
  • “Environmental Effects of the End of Life,” 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Living and Learning Commons, 315, UVM Campus, Burlington. (Talk)
  • “The Politics of Debt: The Evolution of the Sovereign Debt Regime from Argentina 1956 to Greece 2011,” 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Old Mill John Dewey Lounge 325, UVM, Burlington. (Talk)
  • CLiF Presentation, Tunbridge Central School, Tunbridge. (Reading)
  • “Alice in Wonderland”, 9:30 am & 12 pm, Flynn Mainstage, Burlington. (Theater)
  • Boardgame Night, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • HeroClix!, 7:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Dana Lecture, Mapping and Tabletops, 12:15-1, Multipurpose Room, Kreitzberg Library, Northfield. (Talk)
  • The Final Inch, 7 p.m., Dole Auditorium, Norwich University, Northfield. (Documentary)
  • April Showers Bring Salamanders. Preschool discovery program for kids age 3-5. Dress for a walk on the trails. 10-11:30, North Branch Nature Center, $5 per child, Info. 229-6206. (Nature, Kids)