Harlequin’s 2015 Opening & new Bee Barn!

HEAR YE, HEAR YE!

ANNOUNCING the new Harlequin’s Gardens BEE BARN & our new WHERE the BEES ARE Bi-Monthly Reports

Harlequin’s Gardens is now open for the 2015 season!

We at Harlequin’s Gardens have loved and supported bees for a long, long time. We also know that many of our customers keep bees, or would like to learn more about how to support bees and other pollinators and how to keep honeybee hives.

Now we are very excited to announce that we are inaugurating a Neonic-Free policy, (about which we will tell you more in our upcoming Spring Invitation & Newsletter). And, we are now offering an extensive line of beekeeping supplies! By the Herculean efforts of Mikl, several fabulous helpers who pitched in at just the right time, and our staff of amazing Wonderwomen, we have transformed the back portion of our building into The Bee Barn (painted the color of honey, of course!).

The first shipment (over 80 boxes and 3 pallets) of beekeeping supplies have arrived and more is on its way.  Our new Bee Barn is full of a good selection of products including Langstroth hive equipment such as starter kits, Deep, Medium and Honey Supers (both assembled and unassembled) as well as a selection of Top Bar hives.  We have locally constructed Top Bar Hives made with Beetle-Kill Pine and screened bottoms. Come and check out our great selection of Hive Tools, Equipment, Protective Gear, Feeding supplies and great books including the recently published, “Beekeeping Mentor in a Book”  by local beekeeping expert, Don Studinski. Special Ordering is also available and we will be expanding our product line in coming months.

If you are a new beekeeper, we can help you decide what you need because we have beekeepers on staff to answer questions and give advice. You will find our prices are quite reasonable. And we are offering three different classes about honeybees (in which you’ll be able to visit the bees in our own Top Bar and Langstroth hives) and native bees, as well as other great bee-related subjects. Please review our extensive class offerings here.

~Introducing a new Blog~

We are happy to present the first edition of our new feature, Where the Bees Are, a bi-monthly report on what’s happening in beehives around the Front Range area, and what bee-supporting plants are blooming, both in the natural landscape and in gardens. We plan to send this informative report to you twice a month through the bee season, and post it on our website as well. We hope it will give gardeners and beekeeper-gardeners some new ideas for choosing plants and sequencing bloom in their gardens to make the garden a haven for honeybees, wild bees (Boulder County is home to hundreds of species!), and other pollinators. If you have feedback about Where the Bees Are, please contact us by sending a note in the mail to 4795 N 26th St., Boulder CO 80301.

WHERE the BEES ARE, ed. 0315Aphoto

As we all know, late February and early March have been bitterly cold and snowy, which is very hard on honeybee colonies.  Honeybees are the only bees that over-winter as a colony. This makes hive management interesting and challenging.  Temperatures in January and February were unseasonably warm, which triggered the bees to get out and take cleansing flights and search for forage. The Maple trees bloomed about 3 weeks early this year and pollen was eagerly collected. In some sunny gardens, early Crocus and Species Iris, like I. reticulata and I. danfordii, began blooming as early as the first week in February. One of our native shrubs, Silver Buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea), was blooming in February – inconspicuous to us humans, but definitely noticed by the bees. Honeybees will leave the hive if the weather is sunny and temperatures are over about 50 degrees, but when conditions are cold they stay in a cluster in the hive, shivering to create the kinetic heat that keeps the Queen and the brood warm.  The rest of the bees in the hive rotate from the outside to the inside of the cluster and back again for warmth. The brood is very limited in size to 50-100 bees and the brood cycles overlap and become larger over time as forage and weather begins to be favorable.  Hopefully, there is enough stored honey for them to make it through these lean times, but many beekeepers supplement with pollen patties and sugar cakes. Even so, prolonged cold can cause hive losses as the bees are reluctant to move away from the cluster and the brood to tap into nearby reserves and may starve within an inch of stored honey as they will not leave their brood unprotected. Sometimes robbing occurs and the bees entering and leaving the hive are not the residents. Beekeepers check their hives for dead-outs caused by weather, starvation and disease whenever temperatures are warm enough to observe the bees out and about around the hive or by opening the hives on warm, sunny days.

As this latest cold snap recedes and throughout the month of March, things become a lot more exciting for beekeepers. Equipment needs to be cleaned, repaired, replaced and built in anticipation of bee packages and nucs (brood frames), ordered at least 45 days ago for delivery and installation in April. Inspections will be conducted more frequently as Queen health and brood sizes are checked. Colony strength is assessed for the possibility of splits and old comb may be removed from the bottom of Langstroth hives.  It’s also time to scrape off burr comb and remove uneaten candy, if any.

As temperatures warm a very important bloom time begins – Dandelions!  Dandelion pollen is moderately nutritious and the nectar is abundant and they bloom just in time to feed over-wintered colonies. Dandelions are a vital source of food for honeybees at a time when almost nothing else is available. And they often occur in large groupings, which makes foraging more efficient.

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Special thanks to Engrid Winslow for providing much of the content of this report!

Look for our second edition in your mailbox later this month.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

In MARCH we are open Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, from 9am to 5pm

for soil amendments, potting soils, seeds, seed-starting supplies, gardening supplies and tools, seed potatoes, onion plants, early cool-season veggie and herb starts, beekeeping supplies, great classes, gift certificates, and much more!

Beginning APRIL 1, we will be open daily. Please see our upcoming Spring Invitation & Newsletter for more details.

Eve & Mikl Brawner and the fabulous staff at Harlequin’s Gardens