Monday, July 27, 2009

Honey Bees and Japanese Beetles

We had a swarm of honey bees try to take up residence in the floor of Finn's new playhouse/swing set a few days ago. I have never seen so many bees in one place; it was a little unnerving to be honest. So I looked up a beekeeper and called in the professional to help us with the problem. He brought over a spare hive and we managed to get most of the bees to take up residence in the new hive and leave the playhouse alone.

A funny side note... Finn loves strawberries. Raisins and strawberries are his two favorite foods right now other than ice cream. He can't say "strawberries" so it gets shortened to his form of the word "berries" which in turn sounds like "bees." So when I was getting ready to call the beekeeper back and let him know to come by because the bees had stopped swarming I asked Lindsay to take Finn to the other room. My reason was, "because I have to call the bee-man..." Finn flipped out! He wasn't going to be shut out of that conversation that was for sure. She had to drag him to the other room screaming and it didn't dawn on us for a few minutes that he thought we were calling the strawberry man. Anyways moving on...

Josh has been wanting to try his hand at beekeeping since we decided to go the homesteading route way back when, but has never gotten around to it. The beekeeper I called in, Gary Forsythe, was a pretty knowledgeable and friendly guy that happened to be into a lot of the same kind of farming stuff we are. He has a small herd of boer/kiko goats, and raises rabbits and bees. He talked with us about the ins and outs of beekeeping and what we would need to do to get started, etc. We even bought a quart of honey from him and he gave us a spare beekeepers catalog for ordering equipment. He also recommended the vet from Pulaski for any goat care, and said the guy is real good and pretty cheap too! I was surprised by one thing for sure; he actually knew what a Lamancha goat was!

It is nice to meet a like-minded farming contact close by, especially one that sells honey! He will probably help us get set up with a starter hive when it comes time, but he said that it would probably be better to start one in the spring...

I read up on Japanese beetles and we did some handpicking to try and curb the tide of them in the garden. It seems that they drown if you throw them in a bucket of water and also that the smell of dead ones repels any would be tomato munchers. We fashioned a couple of tea jugs with slits in them and stuffed all the handpicked bugs into a half jug of water. Once we had all that we could find in there for about two or three days we hung them up on sticks in the garden and let them sit. They do stink, but it seems to work. I can't find a Japanese beetle anywhere close by the jugs now. How about that? Worth a try if you are trying to be organic anyway...


  1. That's funny about the strawberries to bees translation.
    I wish you well in your beekeeping endeavor, but I think you're a bit crazy.:-)

  2. We hope to do bees next spring. We'll see if money and time allows it.


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