Cutting Grass in Bee Yards

As spring moves into summer here in northwest Washington, the grass grows – with authority.  What looked like a tidy-ish bee yard one week can be a jungle two weeks later. So armed with my trusty power scythe, I headed out for the bee yards.  This is one of those things that folks do not mean when they say “I’d like to spend a day with a beekeeper.”

First the before and after shots of one of my down-river bee yards:

Honeybee hives in tall grass

The yard needed a bit of a trim

Honeybee hives in Northwest Washington state

After the Clearing

As you can see, the grass in the bee yard gets quite tall

Tall grasses obscure honeybee hives

 

 

The bees have challenges at their lower entrances.

Honeybee hive entrance obscured by grass

They do all have an upper entrance as well, but even in tall grass, they seem to like the lower one.

It’s a lot of work, but it is made easier by my Husqvarna power scythe.

Power Scythe used to cut grass

The Power Scythe 

I love it, but they seem to be made for folks over five foot seven inches.   I wind up hoisting it up into uncomfortable positions to make it work.  But it does the job.

Surprisingly, the bees don’t seem to mind the noise or the blade, even when it is right in front of them.  Which means that I can do this without a bee suit (or as I call it on hot days: the wearable sauna).

Beekeeper in Tee-Shirt while cutting grass at hives

Tee-Shirt days in the bee yard

 The warm days help.

I try to clear the grass on warm days when the bees are otherwise occupied pulling in nectar and honey, so that could be the reason for the total disregard of the noise and moving blades.

They seem pretty happy when I’m done –

Honeybees fly from hives

Bees Flying Clear and Free

 

A return to normal northwest Washington weather:

We are now back into our “normal” June weather: wet and cold.  Which means the grass is getting nicely watered to continue its summer growth.  Oh well, that’s nature.

We’re almost on the solstice – so happy summer to those in the north, and a hoping a gentle winter to those in the south.  Happy solstice to all.

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About brookfieldfarmhoney

Brookfield Farm, a small off-grid apiary in Maple Falls, WA focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness. I sell honey from our bees, whose naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives are home to bees who fly Washington’s mountains and farmlands. Herbal salves and lip balms from Brookfield beeswax. Delicately infused honeys and vinegars. Varietal honeys from independent Washington beekeepers. Karen Edmundson Bean: beekeeper, photographer. Her love of the wilderness inspires her to discover new ways of bringing the wonders of nature to others. Brookfield Farm : the tastes, textures, sounds, and images of nature.
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3 Responses to Cutting Grass in Bee Yards

  1. Bruce says:

    Well done. Have you ever tried a full upper entrance like Michael Bush uses (http://bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm)? I’m trying middle and top entrances this year and the bees seem to like them along with the benefits of increased ventilation and less need for grass cutting.

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