Fall is a busy time here in Bulloch and seemed to keep us entertained. It brought the annual fall plant sale at the Georgia Southern Botanical Gardens where we were asked to present beekeeping on behalf of the Ogeechee Area Beekeepers Association. Ruth acquired some plants while there to increase the diversity of blooming things here in Beefield to keep the bees busy year round. This will let beekeepers who visit us see the variety of plantings that can support the pollinators, not just the bees but the butterflies and other winked things that buzz around here. It was a good event for the recently renamed "Gardens of the Coastal Plain" her they raise some of the operating income they need and recruit new volunteers. We also presented a day of beekeeping at the first Statesboro Sustainability exhibit on the lawn of the Bulloch county courthouse. We were pleased to be right next to our friends the The Little Chicken Ranch and the five hour presentation was made all the better by a loan of the observation beehive managed by Annie Quinting from down out the Oatland Island Wildlife Education Center near Savannah belonging to the Coastal Empire Beekeepers Association. Everyone likes to see bees behind glass it seems, it gives a safe distance."
As the weather has cooled some, overnight it seems, people began to stay a little closer to home we also received a surprising number of requests for honeybee extractions. In one case we were asked to visit the historic Beaver House on South Main in Statesboro which was undergoing exterior painting and renovations. Bees there have resided in one of the Victorian columns for more than 50 years.
Members and visitors of Compassion Christian Church at Mill Creek celebrated a fall festival at its property near the 301 Bypass where Mark and Ruth attended as the Beekeeper and his Bee. Ah, what a Beeutiful bee she was too.
Winter arrived in a windstorm on November 12th with temperatures dipping below freezing and introducing fall colors into the landscape all about. The greenhouse at Beefield suffered damages due to the high winds so the entire collection of all that still green was rushed into the nearby tractor shed while repairs ensued. Our friends over at the Lancaster farm in Effingham county sent us a note that harvesting sugar cane for planting had to be done before the frost so we rushed over and loaded the truck with enough cane to start a cane field for future grindings to use here in the cane syrup pot the center of the 1950's barn where our retail store is located.
It was a very quiet fall as the children were tied up with activities that kept them away until Thanksgiving. A bonfire night at Beefield celebrating Guy Fawkes was enjoyed with our nearest neighbor Hemchand.
August/September, Ah Fall
It's been hot and muggy and the bees are ever busy collecting pollen and nectar for the winter ahead. Too many bees? No, the opposite. Bees are mysteriously disappearing all around the world and we have not been excluded from the loss club. Thirty-three percent they say, it may be higher I think. Check back here soon for a writeup on why.
Summer here has been one of extremes, too hot and too wet. While farmers struggle to keep afloat, beekeepers watch their bees struggling to keep alive without the ability to fly out in the rains. As of July 22 we have had more than 10 inches of rain. And then the "interesting and depressing" news that the cause CCD has been found.
With Spring nearly over and a week into May, the unseasonable cool weather makes the bees a bit confused on where to look for nectar. The azaleas have bloomed, the crops have begun to sprout through wet soil and the pine pollen has been all washed away in the regular almost daily rains. A pleasant green has made its way into every nook and cranny, even the green algae has begun bloom in ponds and the mossy oaks add life to the cracks in tree trunks. April ended with a gathering of friends showing off ur new location and allowing our friends from Effingham the ability to meet our new friends in Bulloch.
Here at the homestead we have added a new color to some of out hive boxes, yellow. Work has begun on the barn to transform a portion to serve as an "office" for Beeutiful Bees and an area free of the bees for processing honey. The 63 year old barn has undergone some overdue maintenance, the double sash windows on the west side replaced with a four by eight insulated glass window that will allow UV filtered sunlight in and create a view of the western sky. The freezer is now able to be used for freezing those frames needing 'cleaned' of beetle larva.
The third meeting of the Ogeechee Area Beekeepers Association met in April going over the process of understanding incorporation with its followers. The Coastal Empire Beekeepers Association was kind enough to put on that program in April. The attendance has continued to rapid grow and the club now looks for its third location for meeting graduating from Public Safety Office at Georgia Southern University and the Bulloch County Farm Extension Extension offices outside the Southern perimeter of the Statesboro Veterans Memorial bypass. It seems the bees have followed the growth trend with three early Spring hive swarms here in the gardens.
We have a very special visitor with us from the Manchester England area. Mrs Betty Newton of Eccleston, the widow of Dr. William Newton pioneer of the nuclear medicine program in England visits us for three weeks and gives inspiration for the gardens. The only Beekeeping certification program begins in this week and attendees of the Young Harris program will undoubtably return with the new energy of a worker bee.
The unpacking of boxes continues while those unpacked have been squirreled away to a room of the farmhouse. The hens of "The birds and the bees" have come into puberty and it is expected that eggs will also become part of the daily chores here. We have missed attending the 2013 Young Harris program at the University of Georgia while taking strides in preparations for our homestead. The vegetable gardens have been placed in raised beds not farm from o small number of hives here while other bees have found their way into pollination duties at a local organic farm. It is important to us that our girls be available for pollination in areas that do not support Genetically Modified Foods. (GM organisms). Those crops are believed to be a contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder that is killing bees and reducing bee populations world wide. It only makes sense that insect resistant crops meant to increase field productivity also be harmful to the insect bees. Pollen laced with proteins to deter crop pests is gathered by workers, returned to the hives and then fed to the bee larva and baby bees. Weak bees just "disappear" from the hives leaving behind boxes of honeycomb free of bees.
Where are your bee boxes working?
At the present we only service SE Georgia. You can identify our Beeutiful Bees boxes easily, each box has this large easily seen bee.
Who are we?
Honey is the oldest sweetener known to man. From the bear squeeze jar on your breakfast table to the carboy of mead under the staircase honey surpasses the billions of gallons of high fructose corn sweetener plaguing everything you eat as a healthy alternative. Honeybees are becoming an endangered species as far as bugs go these days. Varroa mites, wax moths, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), Africanized invaders, insect resistant genetically modified foods (GMO), aerial spraying in farm fields, droughts and the number of dangers increases annually while bees continue to decline quickly. Here at Beeutiful Bees we try to manage bees in our care with a natural kindness like you might with your cat or dog.
Mark & Ruth Mettler are delighted to share with you the life of a beekeeper. The grumpy old bear and his honey can give you an international view of beekeepers. Ruth is from the UK and most Southerner's love to hear her speak. This also allows you to see that beekeeping is not only one of the oldest vocations, it is standardized throughout the world. We delight in sharing with you something that may be with you for the rest of your life.