Jan. 22nd, 2011

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Lye Preparation
The preparation of lye is simple and acceptable to all beekeepers. The lye is prepared from ash of fresh firewood. It is better to use the ash of birch firewood.

The ash is sifted through a fine grid. Then it is mixed with cold water and left to draw no less than three days, periodically stirring it. Usually beekeepers use one part of sifted ash to 10 parts of water. After brewing it is necessary to remove the ash foam and to siphon the lye through a small pipe into glass crockery. The closed container of lye should be stored in a dark, cool place. The storage time of lye is unlimited. Ash itself loses its alkaline qualities in 6 months or so.

One can fill a container again with ash and water, and after brewing, boil the lye. This yields technical lye which could be used to wash hives or other stock, but it is not suitable as a component of bee food.

from the decidedly Russian website: http://kulikoff.com/russianbees/page_1.html

It's like a goddamn advertisement for Russian Bees, rife with all sorts of opinion errors but I do pay attention to the fanatics; there is a reason they believe the things they believe. I love my Russian bees!

new bees

Jan. 22nd, 2011 06:32 pm
doodlemaier: (Default)
It's pretty apparent that the Italians I got from Dane last year and are hived in a Lang in Annandale are all dead now (although, I'm completely open for surprises) much like the swarm of Italians that I started out with back in 2009 - dead before Christmas. The Russians hived here at Front Royal in an identical Lang made their latest appearance around New Year's day, possibly later, but that was the last I'd seen of them flying about pooping and bringing out their dead. I'm guardedly hopeful that they will pull though winter, but you never know until April, or so. I ordered two packaged swarms of Russians from Walter T. Kelley yesterday, to the tune of $208 which concludes my foray into buying packaged bees for a while. April 9th the new bees ship so I'm looking at a delivery date of April 11th or 12th that I will hive in the top bar arrangement that Chuck and I spent our weekends last winter building.

What I've learned from my winter bee-search so far is that the varroa and nosema, that kill so many bees, aren't so much the enemy as perhaps they are the messengers from Mother Nature regarding our own colony mismanagement, and it seems to stem from the ease of tearing into their hives - the frame - that might actually be the culprit behind colony collapse. More on this later, as I fabricate and utilize some frameless, Warre-type hives.


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The exquisite itch

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