How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Nice Italian Queen

I left the hive alone until today, after installing the new queen. What I found was not good. The beautiful divide that I made last week was completely infested with Small Hive Beetle Larvae. I was so disappointed to find this. The new Italian Queen was still in her cage not released, but alive. Her attendants were all dead. I completely destroyed all the bars throwing them into the trash, as there were very few bees left. Inside the hive there were dead bees, larvae, wax, and hundreds of small hive beetle larvae. I can only think of two scenarios to explain what happened. First with the queen not being released the hive was too weak to protect and defend itself from the small hive beetles. Or second, it looks like the population of bees was affected somehow, maybe by robbing, which is maybe why the queen wasn’t released. That may have weakened the hive allowing it to succumb to the small hive beetles. Either way the results are the same. I feel badly for all the bees that died, I feel badly that a beautiful divide failed.

I cleaned out the hive box with water and a scrub brush and a little Clorox Clean Up, got all the larvae and scum out of the hive and preceded to make another mix origin divide. Thank you Les for teaching me this during your class in Albuquerque it has come in very handy. I was able to take 12 bars of honey, nectar, and various stages of brood and make another divide. We cleaned out the Queen Cage of her dead attendants and punctured the candy in the queen cage so the bees could eat through properly.

All looked well! Let’s hope this goes a lot better. I will check the hive Sunday to make sure the queen is released properly. If not I will release her myself. By Sunday it will give the bees enough time to adjust to the new pheromones. I will also brush a few nurse bees into the hive if I think I need to boost the population.

Here is a really cool picture from the hives today, some new honeycomb with bees festooning. It is so cool to watch their behavior. Now if they would just behave so they don’t stress me out so…. I need to breathe!

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