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Batten Down The Hatches! Prepping for Hurricane Sandy

28 Oct
Ventilation holes up top, Pre-Duct-Taping

Ventilation holes up top, Pre-Duct-Taping

Duct-Taped Ventilation Holes

Duct-Taped Ventilation Holes. Ready to ride out the storm!

With the impending storm, I have finally gotten enough pressure to clean up the roof and tie down anything loose with a bungee cord. The hives have always been storm proofed, tied down to four concrete blocks with two cargo ratcheting straps. Along with about 100+ lbs of honey, the hives are not going anywhere.

Since Hive A had the modification from last check-in (where I doubled up on the top ventilation shims to accommodate the beautiful work of “freestyle” combs they created right off the inner cover), I sealed up all of the ventilation holes on the shims. The hive still has the main ventilation in the inner cover and bottom screen board has not been covered up, so I hope that should be enough ventilation but keep the water and wind out during the storm.

Freestlyin' Inner-Cover

Freestlyin’ Inner-Cover

I confess, I still have not prepped the hives for the winter.

My main decision in making sure that the bees survive the winter, is to not harvest at all this year.

Kickstarter sponsors: Please bear with us as we are setting ourselves up for a good, plentiful summer harvest in 2013.

Before the first frost, my intention is to create a new shim for Hive B, so that there is enough space to insert a chunk of dry sugar in there. For Hive A, I’ll insert the sugar next to the freestyle combs, which are only covering about 50% of the inner cover. The freestyle combs look like the combs in a top bar hive or skeps. Next year, I plan to cut the combs out and tie them to frames, but for now, they look too beautiful for me to mess with them.

I laid out a whole lot of intentions and plans, but the bees usually laugh at all of them, and I usually have to invent something new…

May everyone and their bees stay safe.

Here’s a glob of propolis I scraped out in the last check-in. For good luck.

Gob-O-Propolis from last check-in for good luck

Gob-O-Propolis from last check-in for good luck

UPDATE: The honeybees made it through Sandy!!!


Featured in a Documentary + Tree Hugger Debut = Good News

30 Jul

After the bad news last week, at least there is one good news.

The footage of the last remaining bees can be seen in a beautifully edited short documentary about urban beekeeping, featuring Phil’s teacher Tim, and Yours Truly.

The documentary was created by Adrian Bautista, Martha Glenn, and Brooke Tascona for the Design and Technology: Sound and Vision course at Parsons during the summer semester 2011.

The video was also covered by Tree Hugger (yay!)

Also posted on

Honey made in Queens, NYC

8 Nov

This project was successfully funded on! Thanks for your support!

I live in Astoria, Queens, in an apartment where you can walk out onto the flat roof from the kitchen window.

The roof is about 500 sq. ft, and I have been lucidly visualizing this barren roof as a green roof.

This began as a simple post on Facebook by a friend —
just finished the first of three beekeeping 101 classes and it was totally awesome and inspiring. Does anyone have a roof I could borrow to keep some hives?
This post then lead to an initial meeting yesterday, in which we discussed the plan and how we will proceed.

It opened up a whole new world of beekeeping for me — I never knew this was possible in an urban setting like Queens, NY.

Turns out, it is very possible. I also didn’t know it was just legalized in NYC back in March 2010.

Schedule and Milestones:

Nov 2010 – Feb 2011:
Take courses in beekeeping, Plan green-roof
Visit sites with hives, such as Queens County Farm and Added Value
Get funding, investors, support
Join NY Beekeeper’s Association and go to Beekeeping Meetups
File for NYC Beekeeping Permit

March 2011:
Prepare / Green the roof (or at least put in a bunch of flower boxes)
Get composter and rainwater collector
Order bees and supplies

April 2011 – ongoing:
Get the hive going, inspect the hive from time to time, make sure they are built up to survive the winter

Wait, inspect
Wait, inspect
Wait, inspect

Sometime in 2012 or 2013, when the hive is well established, we will harvest the surplus honey.
Dividends for investors will be paid in honey.