Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Added another super 7.10.15

My “blue” hive has had a second super for over a month. They seem to do a lot more storing of honey. It was the same last year. Now they look more balanced.


I checked the windows in the back of the supers….


I can lift the back off and look inside….most of my frames have been cut down for better visibility. The wide one is they way they normally come.


The “blue” looked like it still had a few empty frames they need to build comb on.

The ‘pink” hive looked like it needed more room…so Jim and I suited up.

This is now the super on top..


Jim lifted the super and I added an empty one under it. Empty as in frames but no foundation so they will have to build comb the natural way…just like they would do in a hollow tree.


He was surprised at how heavy that super was. Guess it had more honey than I thought.


This close up shows some capped cells. That is new comb. (white). It will darken after thousands of bees run around on it.


The Sabal Palms and the Cabbage Palms have been blooming for several weeks and there are still plenty out there starting to bloom. Sure glad we got that super on.

These are Sabals…the one on the right has almost finished blooming…the 2 on the left are getting ready.028c

This is what the bloom looks like.


This is a Sabal Palm but it was knocked down during the hurricane in ‘04…but the top has turned and started growing up….it is behind the hives.


This is a Cabbage Palm. They surround us and the woods are full of both types of palms.


I put the super below the first one. I did this because last year we had to leave for a month or so and when we got back they had not used the top two. I read that sometimes they get a “honey ceiling” and don’t go above it. So they started back filling the brood nest and swarmed.

When I did the “blue” hive I put a few frames of sealed honey in the new one and put the other on top so they would have to use both.

You can see the new white comb and the frames where my camera reflection is are empty.


None of my frames have foundation. I’ve thought about putting some in the supers to make honey removal easier…but haven't.  I leave them a full super and take some for us. I don’t want to feed sugar water. I’m trying to keep them as natural as possible.

I have a two deep brood nest so maybe I should be leaving 2 supers of honey for them. If we were in the north I probably would…but we have stuff blooming here almost year around and I plant everything I see bees on.

This is part of my African Blue Basil bed…there are 8 tubs of plants here…..another 4 across from them.


Lots of little flowers….and they bloom most of the year. A frost did kill a few but they grow like crazy.


I like being able to check on the bees without having to disrupt them. The bottom deep on “blue” does not have a window but the 2nd one does…both on “pink” have windows. We had bees in “blue” before we realized how nice it would be to have them.

I take some pictures in a week or so to show you the new comb…

Friday, July 10, 2015

Viceroy Caterpillars …getting bigger 7.9.15

I check them each day hoping to find a chrysalis.


But they are getting bigger. Since I’ve never seen them before I don’t know how big they get.


They don’t look very tasty…guess that is their protection.

This is the biggest one. It’s got all kinds of weird bumps on it.


This one is almost as big. You can see what I mean….


They almost look fuzzy in places…



This one looks fairly young….maybe that is the egg case behind it. There are several tiny ones like this on the plant.


It looked like the Viceroy was laying eggs on it this afternoon. I know not all will survive…guess they do have predators….

I have 14 chrysalis in my butterfly house. Queens….released 1 male butterfly yesterday and 2 females today…so they should be laying shortly.

Lots of Swallowtails come through so I am going to plant some parsley for them.

Love my caterpillars….Honey Bees….Raccoons…..well…you get the idea.

Monday, July 6, 2015

2 Momma Raccoons and their babies 7.2.15

I love to see these little guys come in with their Mothers.

She’s checking to see if it is safe to bring them out.


This one has 3 little ones. They are so cute. I toss all my biodegradables by this root. That way one cannot dominate and eat it all. It also helps feed worms and the Raccoons dig them up.


Isn’t this little one cute?


Looking for the kibbles I toss in the weeds. I do that so they have to hunt for them as they would any food and it helps keep the weeds down.


This little guy found a couple and he’s not telling the others.


I think it feels safe under this plant.


This one came in a few hours later. She only has 2 little ones.




I don’t see the babies every day.



We welcome all critters to our yard…as long as they don’t destroy stuff. We have managed to keep them out of the bird feeders…

Sometimes when they are here we’ll hear a warning and they all disappear…no dogs around and the cats don’t bother with them.  We do have a Bobcat in the area and I wonder if it’s prowling around.

When I took this picture it was only a few hundred feet from out yard.

Handsome little guy.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Viceroy Butterfly and caterpillars 7.2.15

This is the Viceroy Butterfly..


It looks a lot like a Monarch. There is a black stripe on the lower wing and dots around the edge.

It is a much richer color than the Monarch or Queen.


I’ve had one come into the yard for the past few years….this year I had two….

While watering my African Blue Basil plants I spotted an odd looking thing on a willow type plant that I was going to have Jim remove….so glad I didn’t.


Weird looking little guy…kinda like a bird dropping…but it was munching away on the plant.



I’ve spotted 5 so far…




The plant is about 4’ from the front of my “pink”bee hive and I am in the bee line when looking for these little guys….that means I get bumped in the head when they are on the way in. Had one get caught in my hair a few days ago…go stung…but guess I needed my bee therapy.

I can’t wait to see what the chrysalis looks like…

I now have Queen , Zebra Long Wing , Gulf Fritillary and Viceroy caterpillars….had a few Monarchs but not many this year.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eastern Amber wing 6.29.15

These little guys hang around my Passion Vine.


Sure hope they are not munching on my little caterpillars.019c

I guess one is a male and the other a female….but not sure.


On June 6 2009 I came home and spotted one on my bottlebrush bush…

Got my step ladder out and started taking pictures.

I almost got sun stroke I was out there so long…and it was hot.

I think this link will take you to it. If not just type Eastern Amber wing into the search box and it will come up.

I wasn’t able to get nice pictures like in that post. I was thrilled when I downloaded them to the computer.

I took this picture from the post… It looks like it has a clown face.

insect3 011cs_thumb[1]

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Our workers 6.3.15

These little guys used to come in the yard and raid my bird feeders.


I decided to put them to work. Our yard has a weed that takes over everything. Years ago my Mom tried killing it with weed killer and it just kept coming back.

I don’t like pesticides or herbicides so the Raccoons are helping us out.


We have a “feral” cat feeder that Jim built to feed our cats when we are away…Raccoons can’t get into it.

I keep a bag of dog food around, but use cat food from the feeder every couple of days.

I toss it along the edge of the woods in the deepest vines.

This one is feeling around with it’s front feet looking for a piece…


They have to dig around and in doing that it helps flatten out some of the vines…keeps them from climbing.

The cats enjoy the show…


Some days I only see one…..but there is a set of three that come in together….here are two of them.


and the third one.


Look at this cute little face….It knows I am looking at it. I snapped this picture and it was gone.


We like to keep them skittish….when they see us get up and walk around they head for the bushes…same if we go outside. Don’t want them to get used to people…someone else might just kill them.

They can be destructive but they’ve been pretty good since I started giving them the old food. It’s tiny pieces and they have to search through all the weeds to find it…

They don’t find enough to fill them up and I think we are just one of the stops they make during the day.

I toss the food first thing in the morning so I get to watch them while having my coffee….along with  the squirrels…doves…Honey Bees….Butterflies…I check my bushes each day to see how the caterpillars are growing….never gets dull around here.