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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.

New pictures

Took these last week but thought they were good to share.

If you look really close you can see the tiny bee tongues licking up the sugar water.

I love the one poking her head just above the edge.

You can see the pollen baskets (the orange and yellow sacks on the legs)
are nice and filled, a good sign.

Can you spy the bee?


The weather has been rather crappy lately. Nothing but rain... that 's to say I've been getting pretty wet lately when I went to give my girls their sugar water. However it was pretty nice on friday so I observed the hive for a good hour or so.

I made the opening to the hive a bit larger as you can see to the right to allow the bees to go to and from the hive easier.
They insist in using the smaller hole on this side though.

Burr Comb

When I inspected last week, much to my disappointment; there was a lot of burr comb. This was disheartening as I had to remove all my little bee's hard work including a good amount of pollen stores and brood. The only thing that made it a bit easier was that it was mostly drone brood. I'll be posting some pics of this soon. Besides that the hive seems to be buzzing busily.

Monday, May 9, 2011

First check up

The white honey comb you see is burr comb and was removed before it could become a
nuisance in maneuvering the frames.

Just examining the frame.

All suited up, looking for the queen.


This little honey bee hitched a ride on  my glove all the way into the garage after I went outside to feed them I named her Missa which means honeybee in greek.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bee art

Where did this analogy even come from?

Let the nectar and honey flow

Her Majesty The Queen

In that little box is the queen marked with a yellow dot so that I know it's her and not an impostor.
I named her Queen Victoria and her reign will be known as the Victorian era, in the hope that my bees will build a beautiful hive just like the houses built during that time period.


All suited up and ready to go!

Bringing the bees home, in the center of that mass (of about 12,000 bees) is a can of sugar water and her Majesty.

Just shake them into the hive.

This is what my hive will one day look like...?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Suiting up

I suited up and watched them for about an hour, just letting them crawl over me. They didn't sting or attack at all, I stayed very calm therefore so did the bees. Their abdomen pulse constantly because their heart runs all the way through it. It was amazing to watch.

Bees are here!

Arrived this morning! Installation went smoothly and bees are flying freely. Queen has a yellow mark on her thorax and is perfectly healthy. Be checking in, in a few days to see the progress.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


My hive with out the bee's yet in it. The circle on the side is a window I put into the side so I can get a look at the bees in "their element". The metal things sticking out of the side are my hive rests (a structure to keep the frames on when inspecting them) 
I would like to thank my parents for funding this project especially my dad who helped me build the hive one long saturday afternoon, and my mom and friend monica for helping me paint them.

Bee's arriving

My Bees will be arriving tomorrow and I am beyond ready. I can't wait to get my girls situated and start observing!