Under Pressure: DIY Honey Bee Feeder

During the coldest parts of winter beekeepers often feed emergency rations using fondant or sugar bricks, but when it’s warmer syrup can be fed. And if it’s warmer still, and the bees can fly regularly, syrup can be open fed using bucket feeders. In this post, we’ll walk through building your own bucket feeder.

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Pick Out the Seeds and Stems

Here at the Gangsta Garden, we believe in returning nutrients to the earth. I mean, don’t get me wrong – we’re not crazy about it, and we don’t do a perfect job. But, we do try our best to compost, especially after wine making season.

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

Last year I let the grapes get acclimated, root, and I waited patiently to see if they made it through our Massachusetts winter in a raised bed. BOOH YA! They came back! Now it’s time to seriously begin training them along the trellis that I built. In order to do that, I added some wire onto which the grapes vines could stretch their weary legs.

What You Been Drankin’ On?

For the first time ever, the bees have taken a liking to the dog bowl. It makes sense; bees use water for a variety of reasons, like cooling the hive. They use a method of swamp cooling wherein they fan air over the water to evaporate it, removing heat from the hive in the process.

Grape Roots

Last year I planted two grape vines and built an arbor. It’s really nothing special; a couple of two-by-fours and some paint was all it took. I dug a hole on either side of a raised bed I was planning to use for the grapes, cemented the arbor in place, and planted the grapes. I plan to attach some wire to the legs of the arbor and train the grapes onto them. With any luck, it’ll hide that ugly wood pile.

The Pollinators’ Joy

Two sedum varieties, Autumn Joy and Matrona, lived through the patio project. As autumn approached, large heads of tiny florets emerged. In late august, they bloomed. I didn’t think much of it.

How Not to Store Honey Frames

Pumped about the extra honey I was sure to get from these frames, I put them into an empty nuc and stored them in my basement. Here’s what I did wrong: I did not freeze the frames to kill wax moth eggs or larvae off.

When Swarming is Imminent

What up Gangstas? I got a call from a fellow beekeeper this week.  He wanted to make sure that he had prevented a swarm correctly.  He did not. Here’s how it went down.  He found a dozen or so queen cells that had larvae in them.  Realizing that swarming was imminent, he got himself a…

What is a ‘Swarm’, Anyway?

The word, ‘swarm’ is used somewhat colloquially. You’ll hear people describe a swarm of bees to describe a few bees buzzing about, or a ‘swarm’ of flies, or mosquitoes, or the anything else of the sort. But, let’s be certain. In beekeeping, a swarm is something very specific.

Puttin’ Five Carrots in my Baby Girl’s Ear

I took a chance when I sowed seeds in the greenhouse in early March considering our frost date is mid May. I planted cold season crops, like lettuces, carrots, snap peas, and broccoli, to name a few. I figured I’d be able to extend my growing season by, at best, a month. What I didn’t expect was that all the seeds would sprout and that, come late April, I’d already have an abundance.

Where Do My Bees Go?

The anticipation before you get your first package of bees is incredible.  You’re pumped about the impending adventure of beekeeping.  You’re pumped about learning about these little creatures that have managed to figure out how to work in a social society that can communicate and make democratic decisions.  Finally the day comes and get your…

First Things, First: AMARYLLIS!

This gangsta hates winter.  But, by now, you know that.  By late fall, when green has faded to brown, I start getting an itch.  I mean, it’s a serious itch.  I start hoarding indoor plants like a BOSS!  Do bosses hoard indoor plants? In order to scratch my itch, one of my go-to plants for winter…

Gangsta Quilt Box Construction

Some suggest propping the top cover open with popsicle sticks, using an open screened bottom board, and top entrances. All have pros and cons, but the moisture control that I think is best is the moisture quilt, or the quilt box.