Two weeks ago, we took a trip out to Honey Wind Farm (near Oxford, NS) to pick up a beehive from beekeeper Jerry Draheim. I first met Jerry about 4 years ago when we both attended a Natural Beekeeping workshop with Ross Conrad held at Windhorse Farm (which is held each year). When we had run out of our own honey during the winter, we had purchased some from Jerry to keep us going. His honey is delicious! I think it’s because he has created a bee heaven, with his apple orchard, annual plantings of sunflowers and phacelia, and tons of linden trees. Jerry’s wife Carol said that when the lindens are blooming and you stand under one, all you hear is buzzing. Jerry gifted us with 2 linden trees in pots that we are very excited to plant for our bees.
In order to minimize Varroa mite pressure on the bees, Jerry puts in each super 1 or 2 frames with larger comb which is ideal for drone raising (drones are the boy bees). Mites prefer to lay their own eggs in the cells along with the drone eggs because drones take about the same time to hatch out that mites need. When the bees have capped the drone cells, Jerry removes them and the mites, along with the drones, die. So, basically the drone brood frames are a trap for the mites. Jerry says that he has reduced his mite pressure by quite a bit using this method.
In addition to all his bees, Jerry has some beautiful big Buff Orpington laying hens, a huge rhubarb patch, and a nice new greenhouse with a rainwater catchment system for watering.
We had a lovely time chatting with Jerry and Carol and really enjoyed the peacefulness and beauty of their homestead. As evening came and the bees went into their hive for the night, we taped shut the entrances, packed the hive into our van and brought them to their new home in a protected spot behind our barn. So far, they have been very busily working with all this hot sunny weather we’ve been having.