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Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I know I haven't posted in a while. This is because my bees are driving me crazy! Don't get me wrong, I love my girls dearly but they don't seem to have the same opinion. Last week they swarmed, (a large number of honeybees that leave a hive en masse with a newly fertilized queen in order to establish a new colony).
My brother was playing outside when he came rushing in babbling about how loud the hive was. So I went to check it out and it didn't worry me at first because it happened before but it was just baby bees (when bees are born they take an orientation flight to go to the bathroom and other stuff, sometimes many bees will be born at once which looks like a swarm). However I noticed them settling in this one area of the lawn, so I put on my gear and went to investigate. What I saw was this: my queen crawling around on the ground with bees gathering around her. Of course I started to freak out. I captured the queen and put her back in the hive. I then called a well-versed bee keeper who talked me through the Demaree method. Where the old queen is put in a honey super and trapped there with a queen excluder. The remaining hive box sans queen is inspected for queen cells. All queen cells are destroyed. So I did this sustaining three stings to the leg and my brother (my freaked out helper) one to the hand. I then checked on them yesterday to remove the queen excluder and removed the swarm cells. However I didn't see any fresh brood which is a sign of no queen. Frustrating right? So I'm currently talking to that experienced bee keeper again, updates to follow. Right now I'm just trying to remind myself "this is a learning experience" and everything will be okay. 
More info on swarming: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarming_(honey_bee)
Video of hive swarming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKlh96XWCZo&feature=related

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pictures from last week

Pictures from when I checked the hive last week.
Dad (left), me (right)

Dad, two seconds before being stung

Me examining the brood

Smoking the bees

Brood comb, with the occasional pocket of bee bread (combination of nectar and pollen)
that's the darker hexagons you see.

Queen, (she's the one with the yellow dot)

Pictures with the second level...

Front with second level

Bees doing their bee business, I like the one flying above
the jar of sugar water.

Second level from side.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today's check up...

So checked on the hive today. Stung a couple of times on the gloves, luckily went through only once and very little so my right index finger is a little funny feeling. They were aggressive today and kept bonking the screen on my face, a warning to get away, making me feel very grateful for my veil. This was partially my fault because I was agitated myself (the smoker kept going out), but this is also a sign that the bees have come to except the hive fully as their home. Also saw my first sign of honey, white filmy caps in the corners of several brood frames. I really wanted to taste but resisted. Saw the queen again and plenty of brood. Today marked the fourth week, and so I added the second deep body as around 7 frames were filled in the lower. I think I'm going to have my dad come out and help me from now on, now that there will be 20 frames to check meaning double the work. Be checking in next week to see how they take to the new box.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sun at last!

So it's been in the 80's these past few days, finally! So I went to the hive to and the girls were fanning away! Their tiny little wings beating so fast they were translucent. And as I am currently reading The Secret Life of Bees I thought this quote was appropriate.
"You would have to hear it yourself to believe the perfect pitch, the harmony parts, how the volume rolled up and down. We had our ears pressed to a giant music box."
They were talking about "bee air conditioning" and it truly is amazing.

I didn't take any pics of my bees but found this one to give you an idea
of what it looked like: them all lined up in perfect rows working together.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bee related

Oh the things I do in my free time... None of these are actually my bees but pics I found on the web.

Bee in flight.

Bee hive in a jar!
Goes to show how innovative the tiny creatures really are.

Thought this was a cool picture showing the pollen baskets.

Human sized honey comb.