Gardening and Creating Pollinator Friendly Spaces

honeybee on mint

Anyone can create a welcoming garden for pollinators. Turning your own yard or other property such as a schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside green space into a pollinator habitat is fun, easy and can make a difference for birds also. Planting a few flowers for your honey bees is like adding a few gallons of water to the ocean. Honeybees need on average about a square mile of good cover to forage on. However, adding a diverse mix of flowering plants to your garden will also attract butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, along with native bee species and the occasional wasps. These insects are essential to our survival and need to be welcomed into at the least a corner of our backyards. Besides providing a food source for pollinators flowers provide cover for other wildlife such as birds and also reduce neighborhood mowing area. …[more…]

Ginger Honey Simple Syrup

Honey Ginger Drink

This is a guest post from my brother-in-law Adam. He is a food connoisseur and Vice President of Learning at Lobster Ink: I wanted to make a refreshing and light summery mass cocktail for my housewarming BBQ in Brooklyn. I decided on making a spiked ginger honey lemonade using my favorite honey. On the day before the party I started by making a ginger simple syrup, I also froze three liter bottles of water. I …[more…]

Offsetting unavoidable CO2 emissions: Low Emissions Vehicle

Chevy Volt Rear Logo

With the solar panel installation the next logical step in taking ownership of my contribution to climate change was to invest in a low emissions vehicle. After some research and going over the pros and cons my final choice was the Chevy Volt. The Volt satisfies two major factors when it comes to usefulness of a electric vehicle; the volt is a pluggable and a hybrid electric i.e. PHEV. The volt technology has a …[more…]

Holiday Rum Balls Recipe with Honey

Holiday Honey Rum Balls

The holiday season is never complete without rum balls. This year we decided to modify the classic recipe with honey. The balls need to set a bit but an early sample seems successful! Here is the recipe we used. 1 box finely crushed Vanilla wafers (11 oz box)
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans or about 4 oz (toasted)
¼ cup cocoa
½ cup rum
[more…]

Monitoring Solar Output via MRTG

Brighton Honey Solar Array

I was successful in porting the solar inverter data to MRTG! This is accomplished with program called RRDTool developed by the author of the original MRTG. A script was needed to import the raw solar data into a database using a handy language called python. RRDTool uses a database called Round Robin Database thus the RRD. The solar inverter has the ability to “push” a file via FTP to a host at a selective …[more…]

Brighton Honey Adds Solar

Brighton Honey Solar Array

It was chilly overcast spring morning when we started. I wanted to get them installed as early in spring as possible to get a full season of sunlight. The next day the sky had cleared and the sun was shining bright on a crisp blue background. I threw the switch on the inverter and powered up the system and the capacitors started to hum. …[more…]

Beekeeping and a Disrupted Plant-Pollinator Relationship

honeybee on Callaloo watercolor

Plants and insects have been evolving in unison for millions of years and have benefited from an elegant symbiotic relationship. This relationship has provided plants a willing host to convey pollen in trade for valuable high energy cocktail called nectar. Residual pollen is an added bonus protein source. A new dynamic is disrupting the alignment of this interaction. Climate change is affecting this coordinated inter species relationship by disrupting the flower blooming cycle. Plants have evolved a response to the spring warming cycle that starts the flowering process in most of the northern hemisphere. …[more…]

Hive Extraction and Equipment List with Infrared Photos

Infrared photo of exterior active hive

Worked another extraction this weekend for a local building management company and every time I am on one I learn to be a bit more efficient and wanted to share my list. If there is the opportunity to make a small hole first when starting and extraction this is ideal. So the trick is to annoy the aggressive bees and get them out a small hole and grab them with the vacuum right away. This time around I broke through the drywall with a small hole and kept banging on the ceiling to annoy them. I then opened a hole about 6 inches square. This really helped as the aggressive bees rushed the opening and right into the vacuum. I did get stung on the finger once but was when lifting out some comb and I pinned the bee between my finger and some comb. …[more…]

A New Beekeeping Season is Upon Us

Alden Frost Graham

Even though the north east is under the barrage of a strong winter I am looking forward to a spring gardening and challenge of what the beekeeping season will bring. Last year many beekeepers were reminded that the weather is a relentless foe and we as beekeepers in the north east need to stay diligent and manage bees for winter survival. The more organized of us are already getting ready for when and if the …[more…]

Another Swarm Rescue North Greece, NY

Swarm June 28 2014

Average sized swarm in a row of Junipers …[more…]