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An update on the birds and the bees!

Here’s an update on bluebirds and our winery apiary from our Co-founder, Susan Sokol Blosser

About the birds

As of May 23rd, six pair of bluebirds have successfully fought off swallows and house sparrows to capture 6 boxes in which to raise their brood. These six pairs are incubating a total of 32 eggs, the first of which should hatch next week. We check the nests, count the eggs, and feed mealworms (donated to us by the Bluebird Recovery Project) during this time.

Once the eggs hatch, we continue to check on them until they fledge, about 21 days later. These young birds then become part of our bird bug patrol, along with the swallows. After the young leave the nest, we clean out the box so the pair can start again. There are often two clutches a season.

And onto the Bees!

We started this season with two new hives, which are located just below the small shed now named the Bee Barn, which is west of the vineyard sheds. Matt Getsinger is mentoring me in beekeeping and we check the hives every 10 days. In a healthy hive, the Queen is laying eggs, new brood is hatching every day, and the worker bees are keeping the hive clean and making honey. Here’s a photo of Matt and I checking one hive. Note the frame of bees on the ground in front of the hive. The white part at the top is capped honey.

One of our new hives produced so many new bees we were able to divide it to start a new hive So we now have 3 hives and all are healthy. Here is a picture of what a healthy frame looks like—full of bees!

Most frames come with comb in which the Queen lays her eggs and the bees make honey. But I want honeycomb as well as honey, so we put empty frame in for the bees to build their own comb. Here is a picture of one of those frames in the early stage. The bees are just starting to make comb.

Here is a photo which shows empty cells, the cells with royal jelly, and the brown capped cells, each of which will become a new bee.

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