Sunday, October 30, 2011

Currently Enrolling New Students for Spring 2012

Welcome to Science-Based Art! To view class schedules, please click on the class titles above. Each class is two hours long once per week for 15 weeks. All classes require a 15 lesson commitment and the cost is $25.00 per class which includes all science and art materials. Class sizes are limited to a maximum of six students. Spring 2012 classes start the week of January 9th-14th.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finishing Up the Season

For students who are not wintering over their honeybees, now is the time to shop-vac your bees. As long as your queen has been caged for 21 days, its time to kill off your hive. Fill your shop vac half way and wait until it is cold (i.e. early morning or evening) This keeps the bees from flying around so much and ensures most if not all are in the hive. After the bees are gone, tape off the end of the vacuum hose with ductape to ensure any that haven't drowned will not fly out and leave the vacuum outside. A couple days later, dump the dead bees "organic vermiculite" into your compost or garden site.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beekeeping News Hot off the Hive!!!

Of all my beginning beekeeping students this year, student Ginny Kinne gets my congratulations!! She checked her bees every 10-12 days, had no swarms and her hive is full to the brim with fireweed honey. She started with mostly or all bare

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Classes Starting Soon!!

Science-Based and Literature-Based Art classes will begin the week of August 22nd. Science-Based Art Classes designed for students in 4th through 12th grades. They are each 2 hours in duration and cost $25.00. Literature-Based Art classes are designed for 1st through 3rd grades. This class is 1.5 hours once per week and cost $20.00. Each student is required to sign up for an entire semester - 15 lessons. Materials are included.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fall Beekeeping Tips

The summer has really flown by!! I have been robbing my hives for the past week or so. It is a great year compared to last year, despite the rainy weather! This is the week to cage your queen(s) if you don't plan on wintering your bees over. It can be difficult to cage a queen. First find her.Then remove the cork on the queen cage. Gently try to coax her to climb into the box. She will not want to but keep cornering her and guiding her into the box without hurting her or smashing her. Once she is in the box, push the cork into the hole of the queen box and put a pc. of ductape over the cork being careful not to cover the screen. This will ensure she can still be fed by her workers. If you lost your cork, a wine cork can be carved to replace the original cork. Any questions can be asked by calling me at 374-8984.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writing from Florida

My daughter and I are in St. Pete, Florida right now. It is HOT! The beaches are blanketed with white sand and tons of tiny sea shells. A couple hours in this sun and you have to eat lots of ice cream, dump cooler ice on your head and seek out the nearest shade! I look forward to working with honeybees when I get home. Fairbanks summers are really hard to beat!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June brings us to a consistant checking for swarm cells. I found several in each hive this afternoon. Before removing them I made sure the queen has been laying eggs consistantly. I look for several stages of larva and freshly capped pupa. I like to locate the queen as well. Once I'm sure I still have a queen and she is doing her job well, I remove all queen cells with my hive tool. Also, making sure each hive has a top and bottom entrance/exit is important for proper ventilation. Supers and queen excluders will be added around the 18th of June. I am leaving town for a couple weeks but will post again upon my return.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pre-June Tips

What a fantastic season we are having so far. This afternoon I removed all my entrance reducers. I no longer have any insulated inner boards or outer insulation. Sugar feeders are removed since we now have chokecherry and dandelion nectar to draw from. I put my bottom boxes on the top and tops on the bottom. June is the most likely month for swarming so I will keep watch for swarm cells by checking my hives every 10 days. I tend to remove queen cells unless I'm having a queen problem. I always make sure I have a water source nearby.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Haystack Mountain

We are heading out to our homestead officially for the summer!!! Yay!!! I will still be posting beekeeping info. about twice a week so stay tuned!! All of my Science-Based Art classes are full for this coming fall and I look forward to a fantastic summer.
Blessings to All,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What I've Done This Week for My Honeybees.

This week, I will remove the insulation from the inside and outside of my hives all except the outer cover. Also, I will remove the sugar water by June 1st. I purchased a kiddy pool at a garage sale for $1.00 to capture rain water but to keep the bees from drowning I will float sticks or a piece of plywood in the pool. Another thing I have already done is increase the size of my entrance reducer. Now, all that needs to be done is a thorough hive check every 10 days, looking for queen cells.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

June 1st seems to be the "magic day" to add your second box!

Keep feeding sugar water until June 1st as well. The birch pollen is great but there isn't very much nectar out yet and that is what the sugar syrup replaces.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Science-Based Art classes are almost full for Fall 2011! There is still one space available in Human Body two spaces available in Animal Kingdom and two spaces available in Intermediate Art for Junior and Senior High artists.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Is It Time to Add Another Hive Body?

When your foundation is all drawn out and the queen has filled most empty cells with eggs, larvae or pupa, you may need to add your second hive body. I like to put the additional hive body on the top. If you started with two boxes in the beginning of the season, you will want to swap positions (putting the bottom on the top and the top box on the bottom). I will probably add my second boxes in a week to 10 days.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cold Weather

It is still quite cold for our honeybees! I am continuing to feed mine sugar water and pollen patties since they cannot get out to forage on cold, windy days or nights. I won't consider adding another hive body until the weather warms up and the queen needs more space to lay in since a smaller space is easier for them to keep warm.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I only found a couple queen cells in three hives. This is a great sign of happy honeybees!! The three Aurora hives are doing very well. Pupa patterns are all in oval shapes, filling up the center of the frames. I found minimal drone cells, lots of eggs and larva. I will check for queen cells again in ten days. Sugar water will be less and less in demand but I will keep the feeders filled until I pull them in June. I'm thinking I will add a second hive body in 10-14 days to give ample space for the queen to lay in. If you don't have a water source nearby, now is a good time to find a method of providing water for your bees. A plastic kiddie pool works great because it captures rain and you don't have to fill it as often. Be sure to put wood, rocks or moss in the pool to help the bees get out of the water. They have a tendency to drown if there's nothing for them to climb onto.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Time to check for Queen Cells

Tomorrow I will be checking for queen cells. Gently lift each frame and look for large cells protruding downward. When at full size, the queen cell is about 3/4 to 1" long. Before removing queen cells, make sure your queen is laying well. She should have eggs, larva and pupa by now. Remember the pattern should be a circle that mostly fills the middle of your frame surrounded by pollen and sugar water. (later to be honey!) Be sure to check the bottom of each frame. This is a favorite place for the workers to build queen cells. If you have any concerns about your queen(s) give me a call. I still have six queens available which is a great sign! We got awesome bees this year with healthy queens, thanks to Steve Victors.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Keep Feeding Your Honeybees!!

I will be adding the final pollen patty tomorrow after it warms up a bit (50* or warmer). Filling up the sugar feeders every three days has been my schedule this spring. The two on the Chena River have been using 1 quart every day. Last Sunday one of my Carn girls stung me on the chin. It was one of those bad reactions that affected my neck and chest. After two days the pain and swelling started decreasing. My great friends gave me some homeopathics which helped tremendously. Thank You, Susan Yanish and D.A. McGilvary!! Keep feeding your honeybees!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Queen Fertilda

This afternoon I checked my two hives by the Chena River. They both had eggs but one was amazing! That queen I think I'll call Fertilda! I found three frames full of eggs and larva. "You Go Girl" is what I said when I saw how busy this queen has been.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Successful Queen Checks

Tonight was fantastic when I discovered three of my queens are doing great!! The eggs are there! I plan to check my other two Friday night or Sat. afternoon. At first it may be difficult to spot the eggs but if you look closely at the back of each cell (as long as your comb is drawn out) you should see little white eggs pointing almost straight at you. They are actually smaller than a grain of rice.

Save the queen cage(s)!!

Please don't forget to save the queen cage and cork! If you do plan on caging your queen(s) in the fall, you will need the little queen cage to do it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Queen Checks

Here in the next couple days beekeepers should be performing queen checks. Provided it is 50* or warmer, open your hive(s) and grab the queen cage. Pull it out of the hive and look to see if the queen is out of her cage. There may be some worker bees buzzing around inside the queen cage. Remember, you are looking for a bee that is much bigger with a white dot on her thorax. If she is out of her little box then pull out several frames (one at a time) to see if they have eggs and larva. If any of you don't see eggs and larva by Sat. April 30th, call me at 374-8984 and I will come inspect. I do have extra queens in case anyone has problems.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Everything went real smooth with getting the bees transported from California to Anchorage by UPS and from Anchorage to Fairbanks by driving. I am very pleased with the condition of Steve Victor's bees! There were very few dead bees in our boxes compared to last season. The Queens look plump, well-bread and I like the white dot being used this year as the queen mark since it is so easy to spot. One tip you should know about is if you made the mistake of pushing the cork inside the queen cage, it needs to come out so she can crawl out. It is difficult to get the cork out without damaging the queen so I recommend doing a quick release, holding the queen cage down, inside the brood box. Remove two or three center frames first. Then hold the queen cage down in the open space. Remove the screen on the queen cage and she should drop down into the box. 374-8984

Reminder: I checked my sugar H2O last night and found my two quart jar feeders already empty so I refilled them. I checked my frame feeders as well and they were 2/3 empty so you probably ought to feed your bees today (Monday, April 25)

There's a Bee Club meeting coming up soon so when I get the date and time I will post it here.

Please post on this blog. If you have any tips or questions, it would be a great way to communicate and network.
Blessing for a fantastic season!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hello Beekeepers of Interior Alaska! I leave tomorrow at 6PM to drive to Anchorage. I will meet Steve Victors at the Ted Stevens International Airport around 8AM on Sat. Prior to loading your honeybees, I will use a flashlight to ensure your queen(s) are alive and well. Please be near your phone between 2PM and 6PM on Saturday as my friend, John Strothenke will be calling you when I am one to two hours away from Fairbanks. If the weather is 50* or above I advise you to hive your bees as soon as you get them home. If not you will need to keep them in a room that is about 50*. spray them lightly with sugar syrup every 2-4 hours. This ensures they have food if their travel can has run out. If you haven't already done so, get yourself a bottle of benedryl in case someone gets stung and has an allergic reaction.
I'll See You All Saturday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Getting Ready for Our Honeybees

We have less than a week until our honeybees arrive. If you haven't already done so, get a bag of sugar (a 25# bag should be more than enough for one colony). Make your sugar syrup by boiling water and sugar with a 1:1 ratio. Let the sugar water cool. When feeding your bees, use a juice pitcher for easy pouring. You don't want to get sloppy and pour sugar water into your hive. Bees tend to drown or get "stuck" in excessive puddles of sugar water. Do you have a spray bottle? This is quite important when you receive your bees! Remember, you need to spray a little sugar water on bare foundation prior to hiving the bees. When you spray your bees (while they are still in the box) be careful not to overspray them. Make sure you have all the equipment you will use this spring inside a warm, chemical-free place for at least 24 hours prior to hiving your buzzers! Do you have your insulation ready? If using hard, blue board insulation, make sure it is pre-cut and ready to go. The bubble wrap insulation could be measured and pre-cut as well. Check your staple gun to ensure you won't run out of staples when you are adhering the insulation to your box. My estimated arrival time from Anchorage will be 5PM on April 23, 2011. I will do a hiving demonstration about 20 minutes after I arrive in town. Pollen patties and some medications will be available for purchase. The fuel charge per colony is $7.00.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

For my Beginning Beekeeping Students. I spoke with Steve Victors this evening. He says we are still on schedule for our honeybees arriving on 4/23/11. California weather had us worried for a while but things seem to have worked out well with our later arrival date of 4/23/11. The queens are already laying in hives in California which means they will be eager to get out of their cages and fill our hives with eggs as soon as possible. I will meet Steve at the Anchorage International Airport and head back to Fairbanks arount 10AM on Sat. 4/23. My approximate arrival time in Fbks. is 5PM. Please check this blog periodically for updates. Spring is Bee-Ginning!!

Now accepting new Students for Fall 2011!

Animal Kingdom, Marine Marvels, Soar Through the Solar System and Human Body are two hour classes once a week. Two hour classes cost $25 per class. K-3 Beginning Art is 1.5 hours and will cost $20 per student, per class. Materials are included. Each class is limited to five students. We will have 15 lessons per class, per semester and to see more details, just click on the buttons above. Each student/parent is required to make a 15-lesson commintment. Two excused absenses are allowed and reimbursable per student, per semester. All classes are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Thank you for your interest in adding art to your child's education.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring is Here!!!

Now that April is here, I find myself preparing for picking up over 50 colonies of honeybees in the Anchorage area. These bees are from the California almond fields. Rumor has it the queens are delayed in getting fertilized since they mate with drones in the air. The weather has been terrible in California this spring. Yet another hobby I long to enjoy is gardening. The tomatoes are already up and now it's getting time to plant gladiolas.