Gridlessness Explained

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Hey All, it seems we finally have a video that explains a few things.  Our friends at Exploring Alternatives made a beautiful video that we happen to be in, Gridlessness Explained:

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How to catch a bee swarm: Act Swift

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Bees can be insanely awesome, and it’s never more evident than when they swarm. We had an epic week of chasing swarming bees, its that time of year… swarmy.  How to catch a bee swarm?  You gotta act Swift:

Why do bees swarm?

Bees swarm when the colony is growing very quickly and the queen feels that it’s time to franchise.  The queen takes about half of the worker bees (can be 10,000 or more) and leaves to find an appropriate spot to build a new hive.  The worker bees that are left behind raise a new queen and continue life as normal.

how to catch a bee swarm

Surprising fact:  Bees can look crazy when they swarm but they are actually super docile and rarely act aggressively (this is because they stuff themselves with honey for the long flight to their new hive location and are a little honey drunk).

 

How to recognize a swarm:

As a beekeeper there are early signs of an imminent swarm, such as the aptly named swarm cell (the workers create swarm cells to raise a new queen when they feel the old queen is going to leave in the near future).  For the rest of us the first sign of a swarm is a growing mass of bees emerging from a hive such as the picture below:

how to catch a bee swarm

Once out of the hive the bees can be seen and heard flying in a tight pattern above the old hive.  They will usually start to congregate on a tree brach with the queen at the centre (apparently waiting until everyone shows up).

How to catch a bee swarm: 

This is where you need to act fast.  The bees may only stay in a clump like this for a couple minutes and somehow you need to get it contained in a bucket or box.  Raise the container up from below the clump and shake the branch until all the bees fall off.  The bees will begin to take flight so put a lid on it and get it to an empty bee box as soon as possible.  Gently dump the bees in a new box with frames, place the cover on it but do not seal it up.  If you successfully captured the queen she should find the new box a suitable home and start to settle in.

how to catch a bee swarm

Not Swift enough to catch the swarm?  They’re gone!  Maybe a neighbouring beekeeper will catch them, how nice of you to share.

Did you catch Sarah’s other bee clinics?  Check them out here:

Spring bee checkup (featuring Drake)

Bee Reproduction (with Dave the bee magnet)

Tired of all the words?  Just watch the videos on our Gridlessness youtube channel.

Now you know how to catch a bee swarm.  Appreciate Sarah the master Beekeeper and her hapless beeminion?  Like it, share it and subscribe to it.  Hate bees and hope the planet dies?  Share this post with your FB friends to let them know what the enemy looks like!

Bee food, yummy:

how to catch a bee swarm

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I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

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People used to be able to pee wherever they wanted.  Not so much anymore.  So often we are left to clench and hold it, hang our head in shame and meekly ask “can I use the bathroom?”.  I’d had enough, and now, I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

Gridlessness is a state of mind. It’s hard to describe, so I won’t try, just watch the video:

(The awesome new song in this video is Chopping Wood by our friends Last Horse Standing)

Going off grid is basically about doing what you want.  Want to build a house but don’t have a permit?  Sorry… a permit?  What’s that?

Can’t afford a house? No problem, just whip up a little hovel.  A nice big house won’t make you happy anyways (we had dirt floors for the first year and Rose loved it!)

I'm off grid

We love to travel and adventure together as a family and homeschooling lets us do it. Wherever or whenever we go, the kids studies can be worked around it.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Wanna be a part of getting your own food?  Collecting and making our own food has got to be the most rewarding work we do.  Hunting, fishing, foraging and gardening is our favourite pastime.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Want to build a culvert house? A forced air incinerator? Blow something up?  Go off grid baby!  No one is out here to tell you what to do or how to do it. 

I'm off grid

Tell us what you think of I’m off grid. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly off grid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Beer for Children?  You should check it out, it’s an off grid essential.

Think that being off grid is just for granola eaters and not for girl breeders? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how confused you are.

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Bee Reproduction: A lesson from the Drones

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Sarah – Some of my bee colonies are starting to get quite large so I decided to split them and hopefully avoid a swarm. Swarming happens when the bee colony grows quickly and feels cramped or overly contained; The queen takes off with half of the colony and leaves the hive for somewhere new. It’s time to manage our bee reproduction.

Try to identify the least helpful helper in this video:

Dave references a few things that he “learned”, let me mention them here just to make sure that you weren’t mislead. I’ll also give the ‘Dave reference’ so you know what I’m talking about.

Burr comb: (Dave reference = bird comb)

Bee Reproduction

Burr comb is wax comb that the bees draw on the bottom, top or edges of the frames. It doesn’t mean anything is going wrong, it just means that you as the beekeeper have more of a mess to clean up. It doesn’t work very well if the bees try to store honey or raise brood in the burr comb as it breaks apart when the frames are removed..

Swarm cells: (Dave actually got this one down pat)

Swarm cells are special cells that the colony makes when they are thinking about swarming. The swarm cells they make are to raise a new queen in; when the new queen is just about ready to hatch, half the hive population and the old queen leave for a ‘better’ home.

Drone cells: (Dave reference = drone frames)

Bee Reproduction

Drone cells are the cells that drones are raised in. The drone cells have to be larger than worker cells because the drones (the only males of the hive) are the biggest bees around. A drone cell can be recognized by the raised cap (it looks like a bump on the top of the cell) where as a worker bee cell is capped flat.

Drawn comb: (Dave reference = drawing comb)

Drawn comb is fully formed wax comb in the typical hexagon shapes that the bees have produced.  When a new frame is introduced to a hive it has a mostly flat base and requires that the bees draw the comb before it can be used to raise brood or store honey or pollen.

Bee Reproduction

Tell us what you thought of Bee Reproduction. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly offgrid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Spring bee checkup?  You should check it out, my apologize for the dance.

Think we should just get out of the freakin’ way and let the girl tend her bees? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how unhelpful we are, that’ll teach us!

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Mid Winter Syrup Snack – Bee Keeping

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Sarah – It finally got above -10 C the other day.  Because of the pleasant weather I decided to check on the bees.  As I opened the hive the smells flooded out and brought me back to the thrill of honey season.  The scent of wax, honey, propolis, and the hive’s own unique pheromones came out to serenade me.  Providing a snack of syrup on the milder days will give the old girls a better chance of surviving the winter.

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