Monday, May 27, 2013

Honey Bees on the Honeysuckle in my Yard today

The new hives started getting up to speed today after 2 rainy wet days after installation on Friday. We started seeing indications of pollen being brought back this afternoon.

Italian Honey Bee on Honeysuckle

Pure Nectar

Like Air Traffic Control at the Hive

Late Afternoon Sunlight on the Hives!
Being Guarded by the Totem Owly Owl!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Installation of New Bee Packages and Two New Queens into Two New Bee Hives in our Birds and Bees Backyard East Gloucester, MA

I had installed two Hives with Italian Bees last year which came from Jessup Georgia via Walter Kelley last year and had a lot of success with those two hives and some really 
wonderful honey last Fall. 

I was keen to add two new hives to the Abbott Apiary this year and ordered Bees from Walter Kelley again because I was so happy with last years bees. This time the Bee Packages came from Kentucky and they are Italian Bees too. This is a little photo journal of Charlie and I installing the Bee packages into new Hive Boxes this afternoon. We wanted to get the bees into their new homes ASAP so they could start producing and getting established. It is a little late this year but apparently because it was so cold in the south, the bees were not ready until much later this year.  I would have preferred to get them installed on the New Moon but 2nd choice is the Full Moon and it was definitely something I wanted to get done before tomorrows eclipse. The bees seemed a bit traumatized from their journey and there quite a few dead ones on the bottom of the package. I had received a call from the post office this morning and Charlie went down to the Post Office to pick them up. When he got there a few of the bees had escaped and were flying around. The postal workers said it was the most active bee package they had ever seen!. When I got home from work at around three o'cock I was concerned and we decided to get them into their new homes right away do we donned apparel and got busy with the Bees!!

Spraying the Hive Frames 
with Sugar Water and Essential Oils before
Shaking in the new Bees

Getting the Smoker Smoking!

Charlie puts on his Bee Suit

What a Cute Couple in their Bee Suits!

Charlie Shaking in a Package of Bees into New Hive Body

Shake Shake Shake

Looking Good!!

After we shook in the Bees on Two New Hives (one on either side of two established Hives), we set the shipping container near hive so any bees who didn't make it into the hive during the big shake out can find their way to the other bees and the new Abbott Apiary Condo we provided them!

So Happy the New Bees have made it to their New Home!!

Both new Hives have been installed with New Queens,  syrup cans, and  Shipping container left near by

The Bees have found the entrance and they are
going in and out. They seemed very
thirsty so we put some rainwater in a dish nearby
with sticks and leaves in it so they won't drown

Watching the New Bees get acclimated to
the Hive boxes was fascinating.

We love Sitting on our porch 
watching the Birds and the Bees

This is a close up of my Bee Birds and Bees Evergreen Garden
which Charlie pulled together this Spring. He bought me four pine trees and then we moved some other trees  and bushes from other parts of the yard to create a very pretty
landscaping feature near the Bee Hives

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Honeybees trained in Croatia to find land mines

Honeybees trained in Croatia to find land mines

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Mirjana Filipovic is still haunted by the land mine blast that killed her boyfriend and blew off her left leg while on a fishing trip nearly a decade ago. It happened in a field that was supposedly de-mined.
Now, unlikely heroes may be coming to the rescue to prevent similar tragedies: sugar-craving honeybees. Croatian researchers are training them to find unexploded mines littering their country and the rest of the Balkans.
When Croatia joins the European Union on July 1, in addition to the beauty of its aquamarine Adriatic sea, deep blue mountain lakes and lush green forests, it will also bring numerous un-cleared minefields to the bloc's territory. About 750 square kilometers (466 square miles) are still suspected to be filled with mines from the Balkan wars in the 1990s.
Nikola Kezic, an expert on the behavior of honeybees, sat quietly together with a group of young researchers on a recent day in a large net tent filled with the buzzing insects on a grass field lined with acacia trees. The professor at Zagreb University outlined the idea for the experiment: Bees have a perfect sense of smell that can quickly detect the scent of the explosives. They are being trained to identify their food with the scent of TNT.
"Our basic conclusion is that the bees can clearly detect this target, and we are very satisfied," said Kezic, who leads a part of a larger multimillion-euro program, called "Tiramisu," sponsored by the EU to detect land mines on the continent.
Several feeding points were set up on the ground around the tent, but only a few have TNT particles in them. The method of training the bees by authenticating the scent of explosives with the food they eat appears to work: bees gather mainly at the pots containing a sugar solution mixed with TNT, and not the ones that have a different smell.
Kezic said the feeding points containing the TNT traces offer "a sugar solution as a reward, so they can find the food in the middle."
"It is not a problem for a bee to learn the smell of an explosive, which it can then search," Kezic said. "You can train a bee, but training their colony of thousands becomes a problem."
Croatian officials estimate that since the beginning of the Balkan wars in 1991, about 2,500 people have died from land mine explosions. During the four-year war, around 90,000 land mines were placed across the entire country, mostly at random and without any plan or existing maps.
Dijana Plestina, the head of the Croatian government's de-mining bureau, said the suspected devices represent a large obstacle for the country's population and industry, including agriculture and tourism. In the nearly two decades since the end of the war, land mines have taken the lives of 316 people, including 66 de-miners, she said.
"While this exists, we are living in a kind of terror, at least for the people who are living in areas suspected to have mines," she said. "And of course, that is unacceptable. We will not be a country in peace until this problem is solved."
In 2004, Filipovic and her boyfriend were on a fishing trip that took them to a river between Croatiaand Bosnia.
"As we were returning hand-in-hand, my boyfriend stepped on a mine," the 41-year-old Filipovic said. "It was an awful, deafening explosion ... thousands of shrapnel parts went flying, hundreds ending up in my body. He was found dead several meters away, while I remained in a pool of blood sitting on the ground."
She sued the Croatian government, saying the area wasn't clearly marked as a former minefield.
"At first I thought I was asleep," she recalled. "Then I heard the voice of my father. I opened my eyes, and saw nothing. I thought I lost my eyes."
The government admitted guilt in the case for failing to keep the minefield sign, but the court has yet to determine financial compensation.
It may be a while before the honeybees hit real minefields, Kezic said. First, they will conduct controlled tests, with real mines but which are marked.
Kezic said American researchers have in the past experimented with mine-searching bees, but TNT — the most common explosive used in the Balkan wars — wasn't part of their experiment because its smell evaporates quickly, and only small traces remain after time. Rats and dogs are also used to detect explosives worldwide, but unlike bees, they could set off blasts on the minefields because of their weight.
Even after the de-miners have done their job in an area, some land mines are missed and remain in the soil, and they are most often the cause of deadly explosions. Once the experiment with bees proves scientifically reliable, the idea is to use them in the areas that have already been de-mined, where their movement would be followed with heat-seeking cameras, Kezic said.
"We are not saying that we will discover all the mines on a minefield, but the fact is that it should be checked if a minefield is really de-mined," he said. "It has been scientifically proven that there are never zero mines on a de-mined field, and that's where bees could come in."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What's New at the Abbott Apiary!! New Bee Garden, Getting Two new Hive Boxes ready for Arrival of New Bees in a few days. Lilacs and Trees Blooming!!

 I am expecting two packages of bees later next week and I have gotten the hive boxes (on either side of the two larger hives) ready for them. 

Charlie put together some hives stand for me and I have them out and ready to fill with bees.

My other hives are incredibly busy and multiplying like crazy this spring. Both hives are extremely strong and doing well.  I am thinking I am going to get honey early!

We spent a couple of weeks doing some wonderful landscaping and we are calling it "The bee garden" because it is behind the hives. My hives face Southwest which is a wonderfully sunny area but I have a few trees nearby for shade in the summer time and we love sitting in the yard or on our porch watching them and listening to them. We really wanted to have a stand of pines and we got 4 white pines which I will be able to make pine needle baskets with them when they get bigger. We also dug up some larger evergreens around the yard, a rhododendron, an azalea, and a couple of other smaller pines we had gotten as seedlings for free last year and had planted in the yard and they had grown. All of this landscaping still has a way to go but we are really happy with the results.
The Italian Honey Bees bring in loads of pollen today!
White Lilacs in my Yard
There is something so intoxicating about the scent!

Large Purple Lilac Bushes in my Yard!

Just Beautiful!

Close Up of White Lilac

Abbott Apiary with new Bee Garden developing behind the Hives!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

White Pine Trees planted Yesterday for my Apiary Garden

Four new trees for my Apiary Garden Space , little white pines which I hope will grow up to be a lovely copse of trees someday! The bonus is that I can make pine needle baskets from them too!!

Two Hives just Humming!!
Cute White Pine!

A little grove in the making

Bees are so very busy!!

I think the new pine trees will be a
great North Wind Protection

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 2013 Honey Recipes from Honey Feast Recipe Newsletter from

Celebrate May With Honey!  
Vibrant music, exciting chatter and incredible food are all characteristics of a great party.  The month of May is full of celebrations with Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and graduation, just to name a few.

The National Honey Board and event planner and CEO of Zikei Event Design, Coral Bosch, have developed mini indulgences with honey that are sure to be a hit at your next party.

Honey highlights the overall flavor of all these delectable combinations, going beyond its role as a natural sweetener. It plays a key role in enhancing simple snacks like the Caramelized Nuts with Chile Piquín and even seafood like the Mini Tostadas with Honey-Soy Marinated Tuna. “It’s fascinating how well honey can complement such a wide variety of ingredients; each recipe is so different, but they all share the distinct flavor and special touch of honey,” says Coral.

Kick off your May celebrations by treating your loved ones and guests to these mouthwatering bites that will take your party to the next level. You can even make a family activity out of putting each recipe together… but you may want to make a few batches of each since they’re sure to go fast!
Honey Cups with Brie, Walnuts and Cranberries 
(makes 30 pastries, serves 8)
  • 4 tbsps - honey
  • ½ lb - brie cheese 
  • ½ cup - chopped walnuts
  • 6 tbsps - dehydrated cranberries
  • 1 tbsp - chipotle paste
  • 30 - phyllo pastry shells 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 - canned chipotle peppers , For the chipotle paste
  • ¼ cup - chicken stock or water, For the chipotle paste
In a small saucepan, lightly heat the honey and mix it with the chipotle paste, salt and pepper. Add the walnuts and cranberries and stir. Remove saucepan from fire.
Cut the brie cheese into ½-inch cubes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the phyllo cups onto a baking sheet and fill them evenly with the cubed brie. Top them evenly with the honey mixture and bake them in the oven for 5 - 7 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve them hot.
For the chipotle paste: Clean the chipotles peppers and remove all the seeds. Put them in a blender with the water or chicken stock. Blend until perfectly mixed. It can keep for weeks in the refrigerator and is a good base for preparing chipotle sauce or for flavoring other dishes.

Mini Tostadas with Honey-Soy Marinated Tuna

(makes 8 servings)  

  • 2 tbsps - honey
  • 8 - small corn tortilla tostadas , (preferably baked and pre-packaged)
  • 2 - tuna fillets , (5 - 6 oz. each)
  • 2/3 cup - low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup - lemon juice
  • ½ cup - chopped chives
  • 2 - leeks
  • 2 - avocados
  • 3 tbsps - mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp - chipotle paste
  • ½ cup - olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 - canned chipotle peppers , For the chipotle paste
  • ¼ cup - chicken stock or water, For the chipotle paste
Cut the tuna fillets into thin slices, approximately ½ cm thick. In a medium-sized bowl, combine honey with soy sauce and lemon juice. Place tuna slices inside the mix and leave them marinating for 3 - 4 hours in the refrigerator.
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, chives, a tablespoon of chipotle paste and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Cut the white portion of the leeks into thin strips and heat in a frying pan with the olive oil. Fry leeks in small quantities until browned and crispy. Place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Spread the mayonnaise mix on each mini tostada and top with the marinated tuna slices. Cut avocados in thin slices and distribute them evenly onto tostadas. Garnish with a bit of fried leeks and serve.
For the chipotle paste: Clean the chipotles peppers and remove all the seeds. Put them in a blender with the water or chicken stock. Blend until perfectly mixed. It can keep for weeks in the refrigerator and is a good base for preparing chipotle sauce or for flavoring other dishes.
If you are unable to find packaged mini tostadas, use 8 tortillas and cut each one using a round cookie cutter, focusing on the center of the tortilla to obtain a mini tortilla. Preheat oven to 350°F and place all the mini tortillas on a baking sheet in one single layer. Lightly spray each mini tortilla with olive oil. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn the baking sheet and bake for another 7 minutes or until they look crunchy. Let cool before serving.

Printer Friendly Version - Mini Tostadas with Honey-Soy Marinated Tuna

Chicken Nachos with Honey, Zucchini and Jalapeño Salsa
(makes 8 servings)
  • 3 tbsp - honey
  • 2 - chicken breast, fillets 
  • 2 cups - zucchini , cubed
  • 1 - red onion
  • 1 - garlic clove
  • 4 - jalapeño peppers 
  • 1 handful - cilantro
  • ¼ cup - olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups - lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 - tortilla chips, regular-sized bag
In a small bowl, mix one tablespoon of honey, the lemon juice, one teaspoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture into a resalable freezer bag and add the chicken breasts. Seal the bag tightly and gently shake it to cover the chicken breasts. Let marinade for 2 hours.
Boil the chicken breasts in a saucepan. Once cooked, wait for them to cool. Finely chop the garlic, red onion and jalapeño peppers. Cut the zucchini into small cubes. Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix them with 5 teaspoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 250°F. Spread vegetables onto a baking dish and cook them in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, cut the chicken breasts into small cubes and place them in a large bowl. Finely chop the cilantro and mix it into the bowl with the chicken. Once the zucchini cubes have lightly browned, remove vegetables from oven and wait for them to cool. When cool, add them into the bowl with the chicken cubes and the cilantro, and mix them with 2 tablespoons of honey, the juice of 4 lemons, 6 teaspoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours. Serve over tortilla chips. 

Printer Friendly Version - Chicken Nachos with Honey, Zucchini and Jalapeno Salsa

Shrimp- Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers with Honey Vinaigrette 
(makes 12 peppers)
  • 2 tbsps - honey
  • 13 - jalapeño peppers
  • ½ lb - shrimp, shelled and without tail
  • 4 tbsps - cream cheese 
  • 1 - red onion
  • 2 - garlic cloves
  • 1 handful - cilantro 
  • 1 - tomato
  • 2 tbsps - olive oil
  • ½ cup - apple vinegar
  • 7 cups - water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ice
Using a small, sharp knife, cut each pepper horizontally near the stem and then vertically lengthwise to form a T. Open the pepper with care so that it won’t come apart and remove all the seeds and veins using the point of a knife or a very small spoon (even a baby spoon). Rinse each de-veined pepper to get rid of the remaining seeds.
In a large saucepan, boil enough water to cover all the peppers, adding 1 teaspoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. Try a pepper; if you find it tastes too hot, add a teaspoon of honey and ¼ cup of apple vinegar to the water. Place all the peppers in the saucepan, leaving them to boil for one or two minutes. Make sure they are cooked, yet firm and crunchy. You don’t want them to lose their texture. Place them in an ice water bath (approximately 2 cups) to stop the cooking process and drain.
For the shrimp stuffing: Cut the shrimps into small cubes. Place them in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Chop the garlic cloves, red onion, cilantro and tomato. Add one tablespoon of olive oil into a medium-sized saucepan. Place half the red onion and all the garlic into the pan and cook over a medium-low flame. Once the onion becomes translucent, add the tomato and the shrimp.
As soon as the shrimp become orange in color, add in the cilantro and allow to boil. Add pepper and salt to taste. Cook the shrimp for another five minutes. Remove from fire and allow them to cool. Stir in the cream cheese. Preheat oven to 350°F and stuff the peppers evenly with the shrimp mixture. Bake the peppers for 8 - 10 minutes in order to heat and brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle the honey vinaigrette over the peppers and serve.
For the honey vinaigrette: Put the remaining red onion into a saucepan and fry lightly with one tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add the remaining vinegar and the remaining honey, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Add the ¼ cup of water and let the mixture simmer a few minutes to thicken the vinaigrette.

Caramelized Nuts with Honey and Chile Piquin
(makes 8 servings)
  • ¼ cup - honey
  • 3 cups - mixed nuts, plain 
  • 1 tbsp - butter 
  • 1 tsp - sea salt
  • 1 tsp - chile piquín or cayenne pepper, powdered
Heat honey and butter in a pot over low flame, stirring with a spatula until blended. Add the chile piquín and the salt. For best results, use a thick-based pot so that the heat distributes evenly.
Add nuts into pot, stirring every so often to make sure that the honey covers them completely. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure to leave enough space between them so that they don’t stick together. Let stand until cool.
Heat the oven to 250°F and bake the nuts for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand until cool and serve.