Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bee's Wrap & Missing the Bees

Before I begin pining for our honey bees in print, I want to tell you about something really cool I read about in the last issue of Bee Culture magazine- Bee's Wrap.  If you're like me, you've started moving away from using plastic for food storage.  Bee's Wrap is an ingenious alternative to plastic wrap.

"Bee's Wrap is made of organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin.  This combination of ingredients creates a malleable food wrap that can be used again and again.  Simply mold the Bee's Wrap to the top of your dish by using the warmth and pressure of your hands to create a seal. When the Bee's Wrap cools (within seconds) it holds its seal.  Use the same method to wrap cheese, vegetables, bread, and baked goods.  It is not recommended for meat." 

You can read about how Bee's Wrap came to be here.  I applaud this mother's commitment to finding a healthy, safe and sustainable means of food storage.  Sarah sent me a sample after I inquired about her fascinating product.

We rarely use plastic sandwich bags because the kids and I eat lunch at home and Jamey takes leftovers to work (not sandwiches).  So what I was really curious about was how this wrap would work for covering bowls.  Some of my glass bowls have plastic lids, but not all of them.  And, even though the plastic wrap and "shower cap" covers don't usually touch the food, they all end up in the trash eventually.  The Bee's Wrap molded very nicely to the bowl- the heat from my fingers made it more pliable and in very little time, my bowl was wrapped with a tight seal.

This, I LOVE.  Follow the link above to find out more about the different uses and care of this extraordinary wrap.   Thank you, Sarah, for creating such an amazing product!


It's been five weeks since we've opened up the hives and really inspected the bees.  This time of year we really don't want to disturb them.  They've organized their pantries just so.  You wouldn't want someone going in and reorganizing yous, would you?  We need to back off and stop hovering- but we shouldn't ignore them either.

We're still feeding them sugar syrup since they're still taking it.  Soon we'll need to switch to a non-liquid form of sugar if we want to keep feeding them or just stop and trust that they have enough stored up.  We think they do based on what we saw during our last inspection but we certainly don't know everything there is to know about all this and still feel as if we're winging it a good part of the time.

Soon, we'll tie the roofs on with rope or strong twine to keep them from blowing off by winter gusts.  We're also planning on making some sort of wind barrier to protect them from the cold, prevailing winds.  We also might insulate the roofs with some straw for added protection from the cold.

One of the major mistakes we especially don't want to make is to impede proper ventilation.  People generally do not like drafty homes in winter, but honey bees must have adequate air movement.  On cold days, they form a ball around their queen and the small brood nest- keeping the colony-in-a-ball in the mid-90-degree range at it's core. This heat can condense above the colony and then drip down on them.  Which would you prefer to be in winter- wet or dry?  Air movement helps evaporate the condensation, keeping them from getting chilled by moisture.  They also need easy access to the outside.  On warmer days, they'll make cleansing flights- they are very tidy creatures and prefer to relieve themselves outside their home.  We'll also want to make sure they still have access to water.

So what will we do this winter since we can't be checking in on the bees?  Well, I'll likely worry about them. We'll probably go out and put an ear to the hives every once in awhile to see if we hear their hum.  Jamey is thinking about building some more hives.  It may be wishful thinking since there's no way of knowing if ours will survive into spring, but he'd like to try a couple Langstroth hives- not because we're unhappy with the top bar hives but because we're curious about beekeeping in them.

I also want to make a list of flowers I want to plant to give our bees more variety for next year.  We have some big ideas about this we need to think through a bit more.  It makes me a little sad to know that it will be months and months before I'll be able to stand inches away from their bustling combs, taking in the amazing scents and workings of a bee hive.  And all the amazing details- eggs, larva, capped brood, emerging adult bees, pollen-heavy back legs, perfectly sculpted cells, glistening nectar and gorgeous shades of yellow and orange pollen.

Who knew I'd grow so attached to and protective of a bunch of insects?

Give me a day
That is balmy and shimmering;
Give me a field
Where the clover blooms sway;
O let me linger
While nectar is gathering,
Deep in the blossoms of flowering May.

Give me a shelter
Where sunlight is filtering,
Tempering music
Of humming and whirr,
Then I will gather
A treasure so glistening,
Fragrant as incense, and precious as myrrh.

- Florence Holt Davison

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  1. I like the Bee's Wrap idea. I have lots of questions, though. If it gets dirty how do you clean it? Is simple soap and warm water okay? Do you know if, over time, there's a point when they stop sealing? I'd really like to get some. Just wondering about these things. Thanks for letting us know about this product!

    1. They answer a number of frequently asked questions (like yours) on their website- just follow the link above! :-)

  2. I think a "Bee Cam" is in order. Then we can all see what they do all winter!

  3. How do you give water to your bees when it's freezing outside? Or do they not need water?


    1. We're planning on making sure there is water out in their containers (old flower pots near the hives). If it freezes, it's likely they won't come out until it warms up a bit (melting the ice a little). That's our plan anyway!:-)


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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