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The first warm, sunny day in early spring when the temperature reaches 45° to 50°F (7° to 10°C) is a great time to pay a visit to your apiary. This first visit of the year involves primarily a quick check of the hives, simply to make sure they are still alive. A trip to see […]Read more »
Mason Bees, also known as orchard bees are docile pollinators that are easy to keep and provide a myriad of benefits for the pollinator community. In nature, mason bees build solitary nests with mud in hollow reeds, woodpecker holes or other small openings. To keep mason bees all you really have to do is provide […]Read more »
Custom Condo Attracting bees with the right plants is important, but what about inviting them to make a home nearby with attractive ready-to-move-in housing? A custom condo became my project in the winter for solitary mason bees and other native bees of all kinds who come knocking on my door for a place to lay […]Read more »
Want to attract mason bees to your orchard or garden? Provide bee boxes where they can lay eggs. Particularly useful in orchards, mason bees (also called blue orchard bees) can visit hundreds of flowers per day. They don’t make honey, but they collect pollen for nest holes where they lay eggs, and then plug the […]Read more »
The Polar Vortex landed a blow to the Mid-West where Five Feline Farm is located. Many of the beekeepers in this area report a significant loss of colonies over the harsh winter. One beekeeper described opening a hive to find bees appearing frozen in place. The entire colony dead. Our losses are not confirmed at […]Read more »
I’ve found that herb gardeners are rarely solitary folks absorbed in pursuing perfect plants. When working in the garden, they often trail a friend or neighbor, sharing volumes of knowledge. They’ll pluck sprigs with abandon, encouraging visitors to “sniff this—taste that—please take this one home. My seeds came up so well this year, I’ve got […]Read more »
Two years ago we added bees to the Chiot’s Run Family. We picked up 10,000 ladies from Dave, a local guy who sells them. He knows what he’s talking about, these were the hives in his front yard. On our way home Mr. Chiot’s looked at me and said, “This has the makings of a horrible nightmare. […]Read more »
Tired of buying compressed smoker fuel, I looked for alternative fuels that would work better and were available around me. I have already used pine needles but after some research found oodles of natural materials ripe for the picking in my backyard. The variety of materials that you can use is only limited by your […]Read more »
Honeybees work. They work all spring and summer to store up enough pollen and honey for their colony to survive the winter. However, sometimes, their best efforts are not enough and they can end up starving to death if their supplies run out. As you have read, in the early spring and late fall when […]Read more »
While many plants are known to be bee magnets, honeybees and bumblebees will pass them all by when germander blooms. An herb garden is traditionally a busy place, with bees buzzing from plant to plant, their fuzzy little bodies perfect for trapping pollen and transporting it to the next flower. But declining bee populations means […]Read more »